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St Patrick’s Day Parade to put focus on fun and frolics

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Tomorrow’s  St Patrick’s Day Parade will be led by Little John Nee whose prominent role in the arts highlights this year’s theme celebrating the cultural and artistic life of the city over the past 30 years ahead of Galway’s bid to become European Capital of Culture 2020.

Around 70 community groups, schools and clubs will take part in the parade, which will feature the Macnas Young Ensemble who are promising to create magic, mayhem and buffoonery.

There is a particular emphasis on cultural icons in recognition of the theme – there will be a giant puppet of the Taibhdhearc man, the emblem of the national Irish language theatre company, a puppet of St Patrick himself and representations of Manannan Mac Lir and St Francis, patron saint of ecology and environment.

Groups set to ramp up the entertainment will be the Dirty Circus, the Salsa Latin Dancers Community Group, Galway Egypt Belly Dancers, Les Hot Culottes and the dancing troupe from Lorient, Galway’s twinned city, Bugale An Oriant.

Music is being provided by Gamelan Na Gaillimhe’s Indonesian gongs, local band Cúla Bula, the Patrician Brass Band, St Patrick’s Brass Band and the Funky Drums.

Two circuses will take part – Duffy’s and Galway Community Circus.

Badóirí an Cladaigh (Claddagh Boatmen) have arranged for a hooker to be place in Eyre Square where a band will provide music before the parade makes its way to Eyre Square.

A spokesman for Galway City Council said performer, writer and musician Little John Nee was invited to lead the parade as he was a pioneer of street performance in Galway and Ireland.

“Little John Nee is the Godfather of the Street, a modern day seanchaí, a musician of some note and a brilliant theatre maker and story teller,” he enthused.

“The invitation to lead off the Galway St. Patrick’s Day Parade is recognition of the role that Little John Nee has played in the creative and cultural life of Galway over the past 30 years and ties in neatly with the theme of this year’s parade as Galway heads toward the bid to become European Capital of Culture 2020.”

For many years, Little John had a key role in the Macnas summer parades in the Galway Arts Festival. This time he leads the parade in a horse drawn Victorian carriage.

A long-time Galway resident, the Donegal native has won critical acclaim and awards at home and abroad for his informal, engaging style of theatre with its unique mix of storytelling and song, humour, poignancy, and lyricism.

The parade’s reviewing stand will not feature Cllr Pearce Flannery, who has given up his place for a representative from the special school Ábalta. He invited other councillors other than the Mayor to follow suit.

“It really is an unedifying sight when one sees the elected body wearing their red capes up on a covered viewing platform absolutely removed from the public while others with special needs or disabilities view from unsuitable places often in the rain,” the Fine Gael councillor stated.

Cllr Anna Marley said she had been contacted by people working in the disability sector who were outraged by what they termed “an opportunistic, empty gesture” while government cutbacks continued to impose additional suffering on an already beleaguered section of society.

“Broadly speaking, Sinn Féin can see some merits in this but it was never our intention to be on the reviewing platform anyway. But, more importantly, marginalised groups in society must never be used in a tokenistic manner.”

A City Council spokesman said in line with a practice that has continued for many years, there will be a viewing area for disabled people. Following a safety audit, this has been moved beside the main stage.

The Gardaí have urged motorists to leave their cars at home if they intend to drink over the bank holiday. Additional resources will be deployed across the Western Garda Region during the weekend with a series of mandatory alcohol testing checkpoints in place.

The parade kicks off outside the Fire Station at the end of Dominick Street at 11.30am before entering Shop Street, William Street and Eyre Square and finishing on Prospect Hill at around 1pm.

Parade route

CITY TRIBUNE

Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

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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