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Connacht Tribune

Poor signposting robs historical location of tourism potential

Declan Tierney

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Tourists are missing out on one of the most famous battle sites in the country – because of very poor signage hidden behind shrubbery.

One of the ‘brown signs’ giving directions to the site of the 1691 Battle of Aughrim is hidden because of overgrown vegetation, while a sign on the other side of the village has fallen to the ground.

And it has been claimed that another sign is so far removed from the road that it cannot be seen by passing motorists.

The Battle of Aughrim Visitor Centre has become a huge visitor attraction over the years but there are complaints about the lack of proper signage to the facility.

The matter was raised at a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council when it was stated that the visitor centre should be properly promoted and adequate signage should be part of this process.

Cllr Aidan Donohue said that while there was a sign on the M6 motorway for the Aughrim Visitor Centre, the signs along the old N6 between Ballinasloe and Loughrea were totally inadequate.

“One of them cannot be seen and the other one has fallen to the ground so it is basically ineffective. Not everyone who wants to visit the site of the battle come via the motorway”, the Fine Gael councillor added.

Visitors to the centre can relive one of Europe’s most bloody battles that changed the course of Irish history.

They will discover how three rival European Kings (William of Orange, James II and Louis III) took hold of Ireland in their struggle for power with over 45,000 soldiers gathering at Aughrim in 1691, in what proved to be the defining battle of the Williamite War in Ireland

It has become a popular venue for school tours who reenact scenes from the battle as well learning about the significance of the event in relation to other events such as the Battle of the Boyne and the sieges of Athlone and Limerick.

The centre offers visitors an interactive exhibition and a display of artefacts along with a guided tour of the battlefield at the Hill of Aughrim.

Cllr Donohue told the meeting in Ballinasloe that it was one of the most important visitor attractions in East Galway and proper signage was a necessary requirement.

“There are signs for Aughrim village but the brown tourist signs are inadequate as they cannot be seen. It is a basic requirement that the County Council provide proper signage to this important historic site.

“Not everyone who visits the interpretative centre come off the motorway. There are tourists who are visiting various parts of the county and the Burren and who do not see signs indicating the historic significance of Aughrim.

“It is a marvellous centre that has developed and improved over the years. In fact it could do with further investment but we have to put it on public display,” he added.

Connacht Tribune

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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