Date Published: 21-Apr-2011
New blood. It brings new energy – and that new energy is apparent in Spiddal Craft and Design Studios, better known as the Ceardlann, which this year marks its 27th anniversary with a free family festival from Tuesday, April 26 to Sunday, May 1.
Féile na Ceardlainne, a celebration of art, craft, music and dance, will take place throughout the attractive craft village, located on the Galway side of Spiddal with picture postcard views across to the Burren.
On a sunny Saturday, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be, says potter and ceramic artist Rob D’eath of Sliding Rock Contemporary Ceramics who has been there from the beginning, 27 years ago.
The concept of a crafts centre in Spiddal was first mooted in the 1980s by Spanish sculptor and art-gallery director Jesus Modia, who lived in Connemara. He had established an art gallery in Spiddal and felt that a craft village would be a valuable local asset. Údáras na Gaeltachta agreed and came on board to create the first such venture in Ireland.
Jesus Modia died shortly after it was established, and today the Ceardlann stands as a legacy to his memory, with nine crafts workers making and selling their work on site. There’s also a restaurant, Builín Blasta, which attracts diners from far and near for the quality of its food.
Over the years, the ‘Crafts Centre’, as it is known locally, has been home to a wide range of talented people. As well as Rob D’eath, weaver Máire Ní Thaidhg and Gearóid Murphy of An Spailpín Fánach, which supplies crafts items relating to the Irish language, have been there since the beginning.
The three original members are delighted to welcome the two most recent members of the craft community, Brazilian artist Andrea Rossi whose colourful contemporary paintings explore different aspects of Irish life, and Dublin-born stained glass artist Sue Donnellan. Both the newcomers now live locally, as do all the artists based in the centre.
Andrea’s and Sue’s new blood has brought fresh energy and that has been vital in organising Féile na Ceardlainne, says artist Geraldine O’Rourke, who has been in the Ceardlann for 10 years and in business for two decades.
Geraldine works in mixed media, including hand designed paper, and porcelain to create pieces that draw on Ireland’s mythology and rich aquatic culture.
An Siopa Buí is a more recent addition to the Craft and Design Studio, with a ceramic café where people can take part in a range of activities from painting their own pottery to making greeting cards. Children are welcome and an Siopa Buí has proven to be a popular venue for children’s parties.
Nearby, Celtic Coin jewellery produces work using the designs of the first coins of the Irish Free State. Their range includes brooches, cufflinks, silver necklaces, earrings and golf ball markers.
Cloon Keen Ateliers, meanwhile, is a family run business, making candles from top quality ingredients as well stocking as a range of body, bath and home accessories.
There have been many changes at the Ceardlann over the years, with various people coming and going, including the well-known musician Rick Epping who ran an accordion making studio in the centre. The current line up of nine artists and top class chef Jaime Peake in Builín Blasta sees the Ceardlann in a very strong position, says Geraldine O’Rourke.
And because 2011 has been designated Ireland’s Year of Craft by the Crafts Council of Ireland, it seemed an ideal opportunity to celebrate the achievement of the Spiddal Craft and Design Studio, she explains, adding that Féile na Ceardlainne is “evolving itself nicely”.
“It’s good to reinvent ourselves,” she continues. That’s particularly true in light of the country’s economic woes, when craft workers, like many other small businesses are facing serious challenges.
“These are tough times, but there are positives,” Ger feels. “People are getting together and trying to solve problems and that wouldn’t have happened in the boom times.”
That is being done partly through Conamara Network, a group organised by local businessman Enda Folan. The Ceardlann workers are members of that and it has been invaluable in helping them to exchange information with other people in business throughout Connemara, and make new contacts.
Potter Rob D’eath of Sliding Rock Ceramics adds that being small has its advantages in the current climate.
“It’s easier because these are only one or two-people businesses,” he says, adding that of the craft workers are in the Ceardlann seven days a week.
Rob also works as a lecturer in the Fine Art Department of GMIT, which has been a great cushion. In addition, he also holds exhibitions of leading artists on a regular basis in his Spiddal workshop.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.