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Supermac’s boss secures Renville House for €3.2 million



The magnificent 19th Century Renville House in Oranmore has been purchased by Supermac’s boss and hotelier Pat McDonagh for €3.2 million at auction.

The property, which is set on 135 acres overlooking Galway Bay, had a guide price of €2m and was chased by four bidders.

Bidding quickly rose to €2.7m at the auction in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway last week, at which point the property was declared as being ‘on the market’. hall Renville House-11

Mr McDonagh then vied with one other bidder, before the hammer came down at €3.2m.

He confirmed to the Connacht Tribune that he was the successful bidder, but was not in a position to discuss his plans for it at the moment.

Renville House is 388 square metres (4,176 sq ft) and was built in circa 1820, comprising an extensive two storey house, formerly known as Renville Lodge and is in need of some modernisation. There are many traditional features remaining, including timber windows with shutters, marble fireplaces and plaster work.

It was purchased in 1960 by the Lydon family from the Blake family, one of the Tribes of Galway.

The ground floor accommodation includes a kitchen and dining room, two bathrooms, library, study, drawing room, laundry room and boot room, while upstairs are five bedrooms and two bathrooms.

It’s approached via a half-mile winding avenue and is set on an elevated setting with farmyard to the rear, Coach House and a derelict Herd’s Cottage. It backs onto Galway Bay with over 800 metres (2,600 ft) sea frontage.

Paddy Jordan of Jordan Auctioneers in Kildare told the Connacht Tribune: “The sale had generated huge interest since the outset of the marketing campaign and it had been one of the finest properties we have sold, particularly in terms of the reaction of viewers when they saw the quality of the land, the setting and its unique charm, there were almost no negative comments, which is very unusual.

“We had been quoting €2m prior to the auction. There was a certain X-factor with the property which was hard to put a number on, and really it depended on people’s individual desire to purchase – it now appears this X-factor was possibly €1.2m over the guide.

“There are three key factors when buying a property – location, location, location and this result certainly bears testament to that,” said Mr Jordan.

The Coach House is located behind the main residence and it is a traditional limestone building converted into living accommodation making it ideal for guests or staff. It comprises a kitchen, living room, bathroom and two bedrooms (one en suite).

The yard is located to the rear of the main residence and coach house and comprises a number of traditional farm buildings including a lovely two storey limestone building which could convert to a guest cottage in addition to six boxes; four span hay shed with lean-to; silage slab; old milking parlour; sheds and cattle crush.

The derelict Herd’s Cottage is located in the middle of the holding and has its own internal gravel drive providing access, but is in a poor state of repair.

The average price of agricultural land in the county last year was €7,443 per acre – this sale equates to around €24,000 per acre.

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway



The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

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

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base



The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.


Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number



Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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