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Plans to have Thoor Ballylee back in business for Yeats’ anniversary



One of William Butler Yeats’ most famous quotes captured the pessimistic outlook of a nation.

“Being Irish,” said Yeats, “he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy”.

But this doesn’t ring true of the campaign to revive his ancestral home in Thoor Ballylee, as optimism abounds that the building could be reopened by next Summer.

The building, also known as Yeats’ Tower, has been closed for the past five years due to severe flood damage.

Now, local group, The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, has ambitious plans to have it re-opened in time for the Nobel Laureate’s 150th birthday in June 2015.

Minister of State for Tourism, Michael Ring this week granted a licence that allows the group to start fundraising to secure the money needed to re-open and keep open what was once described by Seamus Heaney as “the most important public building in Ireland”.

Located on the bank of Cloone River near Gort, it was in this impressive Hiberno-Norman tower where WB Yeats was inspired to write some of his most lauded poems, The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair (1931). After buying the property in 1917 for £35, the tower was restored by Yeats and he spent Summers with his family there from 1921 to 1929.

The building was badly flood damaged in 2009 and has remained closed ever since. Ireland West, the custodian of the tower, no longer exists and the building was subsumed into Fáilte Ireland whose mandate does not include protecting or promoting heritage sites and which cannot afford to re-open it.

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, chaired by Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, stepped in with plans to revive the building.

The society comprises people from the local community, business and academia who feel Thoor Ballylee is a “national treasure” that should be enjoyed by all.

Senator Healy Eames’ Seanad motion now paves the way for the society to fundraise, which is a major boost to plans to have it reopened next year.

“It would be an utter travesty if this iconic building, a national treasure, was not reopened in time for Yeats 150th birthday,” she said.

“We thank the Minister for granting the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society a licence to allow us to start fundraising and secure the monies needed to re-open and keep open this culturally important building, of huge touristic, heritage, academic and educational potential. We are determined to make it happen and as chair, I will lead this project. The granting of this license is significant and enabling. It gives a new lease of life and hope that Thoor will re-open.”

Senator Healy Eames says already philanthropists and academics in the US have pledged to help the campaign.

Minister Ring said: “The work by this community group is to be congratulated and shows that much can be achieved at grassroots when people are impassioned about a cause.

“I am delighted to support them in their efforts to raise the necessary funds to see Thoor Ballylee once again open to the public.

“It would be quite an achievement to have this historic building open in time for Yeats’ 150th birthday next year and would be sure to prove a huge attraction for the area and boost tourism revenues for Ireland as a whole.”

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area



A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.


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