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Project aims to document locations of ‘first kisses’ around Galway


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Project aims to document locations of ‘first kisses’ around Galway Project aims to document locations of ‘first kisses’ around Galway

Do you remember where you had your first kiss in Galway?

If you are of a certain vintage, it may have been in one of the many dance halls in Salthill. If you’re a child of the 70s, was it on the dance floor of the long-closed Central Park – CPs – on Abbeygate Street. Maybe the Gen X kids ventured for a ‘shifteen’ in some sheltered spot in Salthill Park?

The University of Galway’s UrbanLab wants you to reveal where exactly you first locked eyes and lips for a unique project designed to document the changing landscape when it comes to romance.

Mo Chéad Phóg or My First Kiss has already attracted 250 entries since it was launched for Valentine’s Day.

Dr Patrick Collins, Director of UrbanLab, said the overall aim of the project is to get people to think about Galway differently.

One of the other projects the UrbanLab is involved with on behalf of Galway City Council is looking at possible future uses for Leisureland over the next ten years.

“We tend to design centres in very prescribed ways. We want a place for shopping, a place for living. We’re afraid of designing places for accidental encounters, places where you might have a first kiss,” says Patrick.

“That feeds into how we tend to see teenagers as worrisome when planning. We don’t want them hanging out, we want to move them on. But where to? They need to hang out, so where do they do that? Where did teenagers hang out and how has that changed over the years? That’s the idea behind asking about their first kiss.”

Patrick’s first kiss was in a field in Dangan.  He doesn’t believe there would be much kissing there now as it is adjacent to a school, Moyola Park estate and the Croí headquarters.

The mostly likely place for a first kiss for today’s city teens is probably a teenage disco in Claregalway or Ballinasloe.

“Being a teenager is tougher these days, it’s coming at you from all sides. They’re spending more time online, which brings its own obvious pressures. In the offline world there’s less places to be together to hang out in the ways they want to hang out, beyond the prevue of the adults to do whatever teenagers want to do.

“We should have proper places for every person to hang out.”

The academic, who recently released the book  ‘Galway: Making a Capital of Culture’, said despite the negative publicity about people drinking on sunny days at the Spanish Arch during the lockdown, it’s not a new phenomenon.

“There were hordes of people gathering at the Spanish Arch dating back to the 1600s. Cities have long histories of people hanging out and people need to be mindful of that.”

He’s hoping enough people of all ages will contribute to the survey to give an honest and accurate map of how teenage hotspots have changed over time.

“Salthill Park was a place for people to go shifting on a Friday or a Saturday night. I don’t think that’s happening anymore. Everybody has their own history, their own geography than means something to them. This is a chance to reflect on that.”

Already there were clear trends emerging in the survey findings from the answers shared so far.

But he’s not keen to reveal what they are until a 3D map of hears is published denoting hotspots at the end of March.

“It would be bad social science if I said where people have said yet – it might skew other people – but we’ve also asked them to name their most and least desirable places and there are definitive trends from that,” explains the lecturer in economic geography.

Submissions are open for the next fortnight.

To participate, see

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