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Pieces fall into place for €800m plan



Date Published: 26-Feb-2010

Plans for the €800m regeneration of Ceannt Station in Eyre Square are progressing behind the scenes – with property developer Gerry Barrett starting to move parts of the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ into place, the Galway City Tribune understands.

It is believed that while an overall planning application for the 15 acre site is still a minimum of six months away, other key elements in Mr Barrett’s vast property portfolio are being prepared to ‘make way’ for what will be one of the country’s biggest ever construction projects.

In the first major step forward, Mr Barrett is seeking planning permission to demolish the 1970s extension to the side and rear of the Meyrick Hotel in Eyre Square – the roadway to the side of the hotel is expected to form one of the two main access points to the redeveloped ‘New Galway’.

The other access point is expected to be from the former ‘Topaz’ site at the Docks, which the developer also owns, and successfully had oil tanks removed from at the eleventh hour for the Volvo Ocean Race stopover last Summer.

This also opens up the development to the proposed new Galway Port.

Already, CIE have moved the Bus Eireann maintenance facility from behind the Meyrick to a new site at the Harbour Enterprise Park.

In 2004, Mr Barrett began ‘cherry picking’ properties around the city through his Edward Holdings and Radical Properties companies to position himself as owner of strategically- placed sites around the CIE lands.

Last December, our sister newspaper the Sentinel revealed he had been chosen by CIE as the preferred bidder for the 15 acres at Ceannt Station. That agreement is understood to still be in a lengthy legal process, and he is expected to be officially appointed later this year, with a full planning application subsequently being lodged directly with An Bórd Pleanála under Strategic Infrastructure legislation.

The matter must then be brought before the City Council for its submissions – and potentially an oral hearing – before the final go-ahead can be given.

The first phase of the Ceannt redevelopment – which stretches from Eyre Square to Lough Atalia Road – is the ‘front-loading’ of a new bus and train station with new platforms and waiting facilities, a bar and restaurants. The other elements have not yet been finalised, but are understood to include around 600,000 square feet of retail space, more than 200 residential units, office space, cafés, restaurants, cultural space and civic squares.

The entire project is expected to be completed in four or five phases and would take around 10 years to finish.

Continued on page 3

See also ‘Business as usual’ at landmark hotel – Page 1


Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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