Date Published: 23-Jun-2011
It might seem like madness to be setting up a craft business in the middle of a recession, but Caimin Coyne has faith that his handmade furniture will find an audience.
Caimin, from Inishbofin and now living in Roscahill near Oughterard, learned his skills the old-fashioned way, from his father and his grandfather on Inishbofin. Both were boat builders and carpenters and it was through them that he first explored his talent for woodwork.
Now, he makes quality furniture that ranges from colourful slated bird houses and feeders, to hall tables, three-legged milking stools, children’s stools and súgán chairs and stools.
While many of the pieces Caimin makes are modern, the influence of tradition is obvious – for instance his súgán chairs were inspired by the chairs his parents received as a wedding present 41 years ago.
“I wanted to make a refined version, more sleek than traditional,” he says as he turns one of his creations over to show the detail in the work.
He has added his own element to the chairs by putting the rope on the back as well as on the seat, which isn’t usual. They are sleek, but also sturdy and comfortable, he explains, because he wants to create furniture that is pleasing and practical.
“If you can’t make a chair better then don’t make one at all. Function is vital. It has to be strong and it has to look well – something that is comfortable and that you don’t see every day.”
He also makes a variation on the súgán chairs, which he has called the Rusheen Chair for his Bofin home. Instead of rope, the seat and back are made from heavy cotton, with a range of colours and fabrics available on request.
Caimin’s route to artisan furniture making was an indirect one. After school he trained as an aircraft mechanic, qualifying in 1998. It was a job that took him all over the world and one that he loved, but it didn’t give him much outlet for his creativity. Then, after the attacks on America in September 2001, the bottom fell out of the airline industry, while Ireland’s construction industry was in lift off.
Caimin began to reassess his career and adopted a flexible approach to his work. When he got a contract for aircraft maintenance, he took it and went off travelling. When he didn’t, he focused on carpentry and building around Galway.
He built an apartment in town for a client, roofing it and
doing the internal fittings and staircase. He also created a beautiful spiral staircase which is now part of his signature work, he explains.
In late 2007 he saw the warning signs in the building industry. It was an area he had fallen into by accident and he felt it was time to focus on his dream of making his own bespoke furniture.
“I wanted to work from home and be able to work whatever the weather. And I didn’t want to spend hours driving around the city getting to and from work.”
Ideas for his pieces come to him at various times. “It might be before I go to sleep and if it’s a really good one I get up and put it on paper.”
Sometimes he’ll think of something when he’s driving west towards Cleggan for the boat journey home. He reckons it’s to do with the space he enters in his head, he explains.
Sometimes, too, people offer good advice.
For instance, a hall table made of ash and partially painted in muted pastels, with a cheery glass drawer knob, came about after a conversation with the owner of Whistlestop craft shop in Clifden.
The owner explained that customers were looking for narrow tables as halls in new houses were narrower than in older builds.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.