Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Tourists flock back to travel agents over troublespot fears



Holidaymakers are flocking back to travel agents – seeking alternatives to those troublespots that used to be high up the tourist agenda.

That’s according to an award-winning Galway agency which has just reported its busiest January since 2008 before the recession hit home.

Fahy Travel had more than one reason to celebrate this week on the back of increasing business – but also at the first west of Ireland winner of Travel Agent of the Year Award for those companies with under ten employees.

Maura Fahy of Fahy Travel said they were delighted to have secured a national award after winning the Connacht category for two years running.

“It’s great for Galway, great for us and that it was won by a female run travel agency. The award is run in conjunction with the Holiday World Fair which was held in the RDS at the weekend and it was encouraging to see the optimism after years of the industry taking a hammering.

“It has been the busiest January for us since 2008 before the recession and I can see already that this boom will last well into February.

“There’s a huge interest in family summer holidays this year and places are fast booking up.

“We had noticed in recent years stiff competition from tour operators and people booking holidays online but there seems to be a shift back to the bonded travel agents as well as more cooperation between us and tour operators.”

Ms Fahy believes that their increasing cruise business helped secure the award. Fahy Travel have opened a cruise specialist shop upstairs employing two full-time staff.

And last Saturday instead of having two on duty downstairs, they had five agents working to deal with the level of enquiries.

Fahy Travel acquired Corrib Travel a few months ago and One Stop Travel run by Colm McDonagh folded in November which no doubt has put more business their way.

She believes that the public are more optimistic about the economy and have more money to spend but she added that the threat of terrorism globally has made people more cautious when making travel arrangements.

“We have noticed a rise in enquiries after years of people booking holidays online and put this down to people wanting to deal with a bonded travel company for the security.

“Of course that global situation also means there’s more pressure on us to find accommodation in European destinations as Morocco, Tunisia and Egyptian markets are effectively closed to Irish operators.”

Those particular markets accounted for up to 600 holidaymakers a week from Ireland (400 alone to Egypt) which means those beds now have to be found elsewhere.

She said that the city break market was particularly hit by the global terrorism which was probably another reason people were returning to the more traditional sun spots.

Though much of the New Year bargains might have already been sold, there is no doubt, she added, that tour operators will be sourcing newer resorts.

That also means new routes will be opened from regional airports as tour operators try to encourage holidaymakers to other destinations.

A new service to Costa Dorada in Spain starts in June from Knock Airport and indeed Fahy Travel encourage people to use both Knock and Shannon where possible.

Spain remains the most popular destination with their customers and last year over 1.3million people travelled from Ireland to the mainland and its islands.

Ms Fahy said that Lanzarote continues to be the most popular of the Canary Islands with the Irish.

The big news in the holiday business is the huge interest in cruises from people of all ages and apparently there’s a cruise holiday to suit everyone.

Ms Fahy says that they are particularly good value this year as more and more people seek value for money with the all-inclusive packages.

Honeymoon budgets seem to be on the increase and money is no object when it comes to couples booking exotic and long distance holidays with the Maldives and Asia being the most popular among newlyweds.

Kellers of Ballinasloe is one of two travel agents outside the city (the second is Society Travel, also in Ballinasloe) which has developed its own holiday parks in France.

Pierce Keller said that families still continued to visit France via car ferry making their way to campsites and mobile home parks along the French coast involving a drive of anything between 90 minutes and six hours.

A family could spend as little as €1,200 on a two week holiday like this in France in the early part of the summer but that prices increase the further it gets into the season.

Connacht Tribune

Heartless thieves steal shrubs from garden honouring organ donors



The Circle of Life Garden....targeted by thieves.

THIEVES have stooped to a new low over recent weeks in Galway city – stealing plants and shrubs from a public garden set up to remember organ donors and to help support their families.

The Circle of Life Garden in Quincentennial Park, Salthill, was developed in 2014, and has since attracted thousands of visitors – many of them remembering loved ones in a tranquil setting.

However, the garden – established by the Strange Boat Donor Foundation – has, over recent weeks, been the target of systematic thefts of plants and shrubs.

“It is with regret that the Charity now reports the recent systematic theft of newly planted shrubs and plants, some of which were planted by members of the organ donation community in memory of loved ones.

“Apart from the expense in buying and replacing plants and shrubs, this theft is so disheartening and demoralising, particularly for the many local volunteers who give of their time each week to maintain the garden and who lovingly care for its many features,” the Foundation said in a statement issued this week.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Galway grandparents who cared for 60 kids – as well as six of their own



Deirdre and Michael Burke.

A Galway grandmother who – in addition to her own six children and six grandchildren – has also cared 60 youngsters over 35 years was among dozens of foster carers honoured for their commitment and generosity at City Hall last week.

Deirdre Burke, from Milltown, is one of those is long-serving foster carers in the county, caring, with her husband Michael, for 60 children and young people – from four days old up to 17.

“It’s mainly girls we’ve fostered, so there are lots of girly things. The house looks like a florist sometimes with all the cards and flowers,” laughs Deirdre.

Indeed, given that she also supports people in aftercare, that upper age limit even stretches beyond 17.

“I was pregnant with my fifth child when I was first approved [to foster]. We started off with pre-adoption babies, who would come for a few days and then go for adoption,” she says.

“I loved the whole idea of taking a child into your home and making a difference.”

For a lot of people, the thought of bonding with a baby and then having to hand it back would probably make them think twice about fostering.

“It was difficult initially,” concedes Deirdre.

“I had to accept that they’re not my own and that I won’t be keeping them forever. I can just love them while I have them. At the end of the day, it’s all about the child, so you have to get over it.”

Deirdre and Michael were among dozens of foster carers honoured at an event hosted by the Mayor of the City of Galway, Councillor Clodagh Higgins, paying tribute to those who have given more than 20 years of their lives to help children and young people.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Jobs blow for Galway as multi-national relocates to Dublin



The Poly Galway office at Crown Square.

A major multinational employer supported by IDA Ireland has closed its European headquarters in Galway City – ending hopes of creating 200 high-skilled jobs.

Poly has confirmed to the Connacht Tribune that it has closed its offices at Crown Square in Mervue.

The communications software and hardware provider announced a new research and development base at Crown Square in September 2021. Recruitment commenced immediately.

It had plans to create more than 200 high-skilled jobs over five years and embarked on a further recruitment campaign in May 2022.

But a spokesperson confirmed it has shut its Galway base, and moved to Dublin, after it was subsumed by another company.

A spokesperson said: “Poly is now legally a part of the HP organisation and Poly employees, who were employed by Poly in Ireland, have joined HP’s trading entity in Ireland (HP Technology Ireland Limited).

“The Poly Galway office at Crown Square in Mervue is now closed. The focus of our operations continues to be located at HP Ireland’s main office in Dublin, where HP and Poly continue to build on synergy and collaboration.”

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads