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Record breaking year for city’s premiere arts event



Pink aliens run riot in Eyre Square as they explore the city and interact with people in a hilarious way as part of the Galway International Arts Festival. 'The Invasion' was performed by Slovenian street theatre artists, Ljud.

There will be no rest for the wicked-ly good organising team behind the Galway International Arts Festival.

On the back of a record-breaking year for the city’s premiere arts event, key staffers are planning to decamp to Edinburgh to check out work that may appear in next year’s festival.

Artistic director Paul Fahy is also closely involved in touring the hit shows of the festival – Ballyturk moves to Dublin on August 8 before travelling to Cork and London. Last year’s production of Riverrun premieres in Edinburgh before moving to New York.

“It’s very busy. We don’t get a few weeks off as people may think. We have the big mop up from today and then we start the touring for the home-grown productions. It’s great, brilliant to be in a position to bring these to a bigger stage.”

While no figures have yet been collated for the fortnight’s extravaganza, Paul is in no doubt it is the biggest box office smash yet during his tenure at the helm.

“It will be another couple of weeks before we get figures balanced but without question it was our best year. Pretty much everything sold out, there were those red dots all over the place on the board in the box office.”

As for the most memorable shows, Paul singles out Ballyturk as the runaway hit of the fortnight.

“I knew the Redball would be a grower and it would take time for Galway to get it but it really captured the hearts of the people. Pictures of it on the Salthill Prom and on the canal really made Galway look stunningly beautiful. It really captured the imagination.”

He labelled the Janet Cardiff sound installation at the Aula Maxima, called The Forty Part Motet, as “one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever done.”

Room 203 by writer Enda Walsh in the Absolut Festival Gallery managed to really astonish, he recalled.

“This was a gem of a surprise, you have this box in the middle of a large white space and you walk into the 1970s seaside hotel room where you hear the heart-wrenching story voiced by Niall Buggy. It was really special.”

Other big talking points were the Big Top gigs, in particular The National which blew audience members away, he says.

The French production Dragonus and the Slovenian street show The Invasion (both free shows) proved a real crowd pleaser.

As for next year, it’s certainly not too early to say, laughs Paul.

“The rebranding and repositioning of the festival really worked for us. We had a lot of festival directors from international festivals here – from Edinburgh, New York, London, Australia, New Zealand.

“That’s going to really open up possibilities for our own productions and in terms of material,” he explained.

The festival from now on will be on the hunt for new exciting productions to lure west.

“We never repeat ourselves in terms of the programme. You never look at the Box office and say that would go down again. You’re constantly coming up with new ideas.”


Plan for ‘world-class’ campus with potential for 10,000 jobs at Galway Airport



From this week’s Galway CIty Tribune – A proposal to transform the former Galway Airport into a ‘world-class’ business and technology campus has been drawn up by Galway County Council – with the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs.

The plan, which was compiled as part of the Draft County Development Plan, proposes a multi-million-euro investment in the 115-acre site owned jointly by the County and City Councils.

According to the vision document, the airport site at Carnmore could become a key economic driver that would “attract and secure long-term investment in Galway and the western region, and underpin the development of the Galway Metropolitan Area”.

Among the sectors identified as potential occupants are renewable energy, biodiversity, food science and logistics.

Some of the structures included for are a ‘landmark building’; commercial units; park amenity and recreation space; a renewable energy park; and a multi-purpose leisure facility.

A contemporary development with the potential to accommodate emerging industries is promised, with projected employment numbers ranging between 3,500 to 10,000 over time.

However, county councillors raised concerns at a meeting this week that the proposal they had seen in the Development Plan had been ‘sitting on a shelf’ since last March – and they still hadn’t seen what was dubbed ‘the masterplan’ for the airport site.

Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) told the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District meeting that the recent news that Oranmore was among the locations being looked at by multinational tech giant, Intel, put fresh focus on the future of the airport.

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

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Work expected to start on Galway City cycleways next summer



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first six projects in the city’s major new cycle network are expected to begin construction by next June.

In an update on developments that are in train to improve the lot of cyclists, councillors at this week’s local authority meeting were told that the Martin Roundabout (near the Galway Clinic) would next be changed to a junction and the BusConnects, involving priority bus lanes from Moneenageisha to University Hospital Galway, were advancing.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved a raised cycle lane north of Railway Bridge on Doughiska Road South and for a shared street south of the bridge.

Eglinton Canal will turn into a shared cycle and pedestrian path. Four weeks of public consultation on both of these is set to begin in October, with the projects set to go to detailed design and tender following final NTA approval.

Ballybane, Castlepark and Bóthar Stiofáin Roads will also go to public consultation for “raised adjacent cycle schemes” a month after that.

The six projects are expected to begin construction by the end of June or early July next year.

Millars Lane is currently in preliminary design stage after clearing works were carried out last November.

Options are being examined and parking survey prepared for Threadneedle, Bishop O’Donnell, Dr Mannix, Devon Park, Salthill Road Upper and Lower Roads with input and designs from the Parkmore Strategic Framework awaited for the Monivea and Doughiska North Roads.

Active Travel Schemes had been approved in principle by the NTA for Ballyloughane and Clybaun South Roads, involving pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, signalisation of junctions and the integration of safe school routes.

Cllr John Connolly (FF) noted that the first quarter of 2021 was when some of these projects were to go to construction, according to a previous timetable.

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

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Racecourse Park and Ride a non-runner for Christmas in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The lack of a park and ride service this Christmas will drive shoppers out of town at a time when businesses are struggling to recover from months in lockdown, the Mayor has warned.

This is after it was revealed that the City Council has failed to secure an alternative location for the service – with its usual base at Galway Racecourse out of action due to the ongoing vaccination programme.

The service, which had previously operated for the three-week period in the run up to Christmas, enabled motorists to park their cars in Ballybrit and take a return trip by bus to town at a cost of just €2 – taking hundreds of cars out of the city centre.

The Mayor, Cllr Colette Connolly, said it was ‘completely ludicrous’ that it would not be in operation this year, in a city that was already gridlocked with car traffic.

“I think that it is a retrograde step not to proceed with the Christmas Park and Ride because we know what will happen – we’ve seen before what happens at the Corrib Centre around Christmas where traffic backs up and people get stuck in the car park,” said the Mayor.

This would result in shoppers from outside the city avoiding coming in, while others would go to other towns and cities to avoid traffic misery.

“They will go to Limerick or to Dublin, which is only two-and-a-half hours away. They will go to Athlone, because they may as well go there, rather than spend two hours sitting in traffic on Lough Atalia,” added the Independent councillor.

In Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath’s report to councillors, it is stated that “it is looking unlikely that Galway City Council will be able to run the Christmas Park and Ride in 2021”.

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

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