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Sod turned on replica Claddagh cottage

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island

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Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.

A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.

Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.

It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.

Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash

Enda Cunningham

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A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.

At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.

The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Salthill Garda Station (091) 514 720 the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.

Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.

It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.

In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”

It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.

“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.

“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”

Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.

The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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