Once a poor fishing village just outside the old city walls of Galway, the Claddagh is one of the oldest villages in Ireland with its existence having first been recorded with the arrival of Christianity in the 5th century.
Home to Victoria Cross recipient Thomas Grady, Claddagh locals have supplied the city with seafood up until as recently as the 19th century, and was often the prime location for regular fish markets.
The beautiful authentic Irish cottages that once dotted the area were sadly demolished in 1935 and were replaced by a housing estate scheme, much to the despair of those at the Claddagh Arts Centre who take pride in the Claddagh heritage.
With nothing remaining to remember the cherished history of the area, the Claddagh Arts Centre have teamed up with local campaigners to take matters into their own hands.
Extensive research was carried out by the Centre over the past year, everything from the dimensions of cottages to the construction materials used, and the hard work has since paid off.
The Centre has finally been granted planning permission to construct a brand new authentic Claddagh cottage.
The level of research is clear in the Centre’s promise to keep the cottage as close to the originals as possible, with everything from the doors to the roof to be constructed authentically.
The cottage will serve as a museum where members of the public can have a traditional cup of tea and a scone, or relax in the landscaped gardens.
The cottage and adjacent Arts Centre will offer workshops on stone and wood carving and be available for use for community events such as traditional music nights, Irish language classes and charity fundraisers.
The walls will be built with lime mortar and local stone, some sourced from an original thatched Claddagh cottage before being white washed.
A stone fireplace will similarly be made of locally-sourced stone and the roof will compose of bog oak rafters, cross members of hazel and willow before being topped with bog scraw and finished in wheaten straw thatch.
The floor will consist of local flagstone, the windows of old style timber sash, and the front and back doors will be half doors.
An emotional Kay Conroy, who has been campaigning for the cottage since 1968 finally had her dream realised when she was given the honour of turning the first sod on the build, last Thursday.
Local councillor Catherine Connolly and King of the Claddagh Mike Lynskey said a few words to mark the occasion along with proprietor of the Centre, Cathriona Walsh and her father.
“We have huge community support and we are certain that this project can only add to Galway’s bid for Capital of Culture 2020 and its reputation as a hub for history and the arts,” said Cathriona.
Official construction will commence on October 14, but the Centre has not received a single cent in funding by way of grants, and would be extremely grateful for any donations people would be willing to offer.
Depending on the amount, donations will be rewarded with anything from donor’s names inscribed on a stone of the cottage, to free rental space for events, or matching Claddagh wedding rings designed to the contributor’s specifications amongst other gifts.
Anyone interested in helping out with the project in other ways, such as the construction itself or promotion of the project can call into the Claddagh Arts Centre on Upper Fairhill Road while donations can be made at Fundit.
Gardaí raid cocaine lab in Galway City
Two men have been arrested following a Garda raid in which a cocaine laboratory was discovered in Galway City.
In total, Gardaí seized €178,500 in cash, €50,000 worth of cocaine (subject to analysis) and a number of drug manufacturing components as part of an intelligence-led operation into the sale and supply of drugs in the Galway Garda Division.
At 7.40pm yesterday (Sunday) the Divisional Drugs Unit in Galway stopped and searched a car on the M6 motorway in the vicinity of Loughrea where €17,580 worth of cash was seized.
As part of a follow-up search, Gardaí uncovered what is believed to be a cocaine processing laboratory and seized cocaine (pending analysis) with an estimated value of €50,000 at an address in Galway City.
At this address, Gardaí seized a quantity of mixing agent, a cocaine press, vacuum packer, industrial gas masks, and a cash counting machine, which are believed to have been used in the manufacture of cocaine for sale or supply.
In a further follow-up search, Gardaí seized €161,000 in cash at a separate premises in the city.
One man in his 20s was arrested following the detection on the M6, while a second man in his 30s was arrested at a property in Galway City.
Both men are currently detained at Galway Garda Station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drugs Trafficking) Act 1996.
These seizures were part of an intelligence led operation and were detected by the Galway Divisional Drugs Unit with the assistance of the Western Regional Armed Support Unit.
Two arrested in Galway over spate of burglaries
Two men in County Galway have been arrested as part of a Garda investigation into a series of burglaries in businesses in Limerick and Tipperary.
As part of the operation, three houses were searched yesterday (Saturday) morning in Co Galway and two men in their 20s were arrested. They were brought to Henry Street and Roxboro Road Garda stations in Limerick, where they were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007.
During the search operation, two vehicles were also seized for technical examination.
The eight burglaries were carried out in the Limerick and Tipperary area in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.
As part of these investigations, an operation was put in place by detective Gardaí from Henry Street Garda station with the assistance of the Armed Support Unit in the Western Region and Gardaí from Tipperary, Limerick and Galway.
“It will be akin to the notorious Rahoon flats”
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – More than 700 local residents have signed a petition against plans for the construction of 330 apartments in Knocknacarra – which have been likened to “the notorious Rahoon flats”.
Child safeguarding concerns have also been raised by the principal of Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh – who pointed out that the apartments will look directly into 19 classrooms.
A total of 27 objections were lodged against Glenveagh Living’s plans to build 332 apartments in six blocks – ranging from four storeys to seven storeys in height.
Locals have demanded An Bord Pleanála hold an oral hearing into the plans – that planning authority is due to make a decision by March 20, although it can decide to hold such a hearing first.
One of the objections – which accuses the developer of designing “tenement style” homes in a “blatant attempt to profiteer from the housing crisis” – was signed by more than 700 local residents.
Another objector said the development was “akin to the notorious Rahoon flats, with people being packed on top of each other”.
Locals have raised concerns about the huge number of apartments planned; overshadowing of homes; inadequate open space, playing pitches and community infrastructure; parking and traffic problems; low quality of design and road safety.
Glenveagh Living did not respond to a request from the Galway City Tribune for comment.
This is a preview only. To read extensive coverage of the Glenveagh plans and objections, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.