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Connacht Tribune

Tuam mental health facility gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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The green light has been granted for a multi-million euro mental health facility in Tuam – despite concerns that the development would interfere with the integrity of a burial ground on the old Grove Hospital site.

Fears have been expressed that the part demolition of the old Bon Secours Hospital in Tuam and the provision of a mental health unit could have a negative impact on the unofficial burial of babies in unconsecrated graves.

Planning permission for the conversion of the old Grove Hospital into a state-of-the-art mental health facility was granted by Galway County Council earlier this year but this became the subject of an appeal to An Bord Pleanala by an Oranmore woman who believes her infant brother is buried there.

But the Planning Appeals Board rejected the appeal and granted permission for the development subject to seven conditions being complied with.

One of the conditions stated that the appointment of a conservation expert be appointed. They will manage the removal of stained glass windows from the building to ensure the integrity and protection of the historic fabric of the building.

There was no mention of the protection of any children’s burial ground in the decision to grant planning for the mental health unit on the site of the old Grove Hospital.

However, the Health Service Executive were asked to facilitate the preservation, protection and recording of archaeological materials or features that may exist within the site.

The decision has been welcomed by Galway East TD Sean Canney who said that it paves the way for the proposed mental day hospital and disability facility to proceed.

“This project follows on from the completion of the Tuam ambulance base which is now fully staffed. Also the new €10 million Primary Care Centre is reaching completion and will be opened later this year.

“Progress is also being made on the new Community Nursing Home and I expect that the design stage for this project will progress rapidly,” Deputy Canney added.

The planning appeal was lodged by woman living in Oranmore who says that her infant brother may have been buried on the site of the old Grove Hospital in Tuam when it was under the control of the Bon Secours sisters. She took her case to An Bord Pleanala.

She stated that her brother may have been buried there in or around 1958 or 1959 and that there may be other infants buried there. In her submission, she also states that while the nuns’ remains were removed for reburial, the remains of the babies were ignored and left behind.

Over the past year, Tuam became the focus of national and international media attention following the revelations surrounding the Mother and Baby Home off the Athenry Road which was also operated by the Bon Secours sisters.

But planning permission was granted by Galway County Council to the Health Service Executive for the part demolition, refurbishment and remodelling of the Grove Hospital which closed more than 25 years ago.

This is to provide a mental health services facility, an early intervention and disability services facility and shared services for the HSE West.

It is proposed to carry out the works in two phases. The first phase will involve the part demolition of a two-storey extension that was constructed in the 1960s and the refurbishment of the ground floor and first floor of the existing hospital building.

The works will also involve the reconfiguration of the car park to the front of the building providing 20 spaces and the provision of a new car park to the rear of the hospital which will have 26 additional spaces.

The second phase will require some further demolition to the existing building and refurbishment works to the remaining sections of the first and second floors along with the old chapel, where the sittings of Tuam District Court are currently held. This facility will become unavailable to the Court Service at the end of June next.

However, it became the subject of a planning appeal from Noreen Meehan from Oranmore who said in her submission that her interest in the old Grove site arises from her belief that her infant brother may be buried there.

She says that she and her family are fearful that the area could be inadvertently interfered with or disturbed as a consequence of site development works.

“We want to ensure the current owners (the HSE) respect and protect the heritage of this burial ground into the future and we propose this plot of ground be designated and preserved as a memorial garden and landscaped without interfering with the remains of the babies buried there,” she said.

Ms Meehan has asked An Bord Pleanala that no further works or landscaping be carried out to this area pending a full detailed archaeological assessment is conducted by appropriately qualified independent consultants. She was not successful in her appeal.

Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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