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CITY TRIBUNE

Tenders sought for €6.5 million expansion of City Museum

Denise McNamara

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The Galway City Museum is looking for architects to design a major expansion to its bayside building.

The tender calls for a project management team to design, go for planning approval and oversee the construction management for the proposed upgrade, which has a estimated budget of €6.5 million. The plan proposes to develop and expand the Galway City Museum site at the Spanish Arch into a cultural hub, extending into Comerford House and the Spanish Arch structure.

Once the plans are drawn up, the planners will seek Part 8 approval from the councillors. Fáilte Ireland have approved funding for the design stage and it is hoped they will foot €4.5m of the total bill.

A spokesman for Galway City Council said earlier this year that it hoped to be well under way on the project by the start of European City of Culture designation in 2020.

Last year the director of Galway City Museum defended the institution as a well-functioning museum which punched above its weight in terms of visitor numbers and exhibitions, despite of the building’s limitations.

It is the second most popular non-fee paying attraction outside the capital.

A draft strategic management plan by consultants on behalf of the museum detailed the “highly problematical” design of building for the display and conservation of archaeological and historical objects.

The glass throughout the building, opened at a cost of €10 million a decade ago, means the display of environmentally sensitive objects such as watercolours, textiles and prints is unsafe for long periods.

Air exchange units to regulate humidity are also inadequate to control the environment for valuable collections.

The National Gallery of Ireland has refused to lend important paintings due to the “serious” fluctuations in conditions which would breach standard international and national protocols on borrowing and lending.

The museum has applied to the Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs for funding of €360,000 to fix the environmental problems, and a further €200,000 to sort out the storage areas.

The long-term vision for the site is to move the medieval collection to Comerford House, trebling the size of the lecture room to seat up to 90 people, and reordering the current building to house the prehistoric artefacts with tales from the era.

An all-weather area outside could hold currach-building workshops, and themed markets, as well as concerts and films with a viewing platform on top of the Spanish Arch. The four Council-owned cottages opposite the House Hotel would be transformed into “living heritage ateliers” for craftspeople to work and live.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara

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Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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