In just five years, Ballinasloe has developed a girls rugby programme that has brought more silverware to the club and green jerseys onto the walls of their clubhouse. Irish Rugby TV went to East Galway to meet the volunteers and the players who have made it happen.
Ballinasloe RFC has known plenty of success over the years. The jersey of Ireland international and Lions tourist Ray McLoughlin hangs above the clubhouse bar. The walls are covered with photos of great teams and famous wins from the club's 143-year history.
Trophies sit on the mantelpiece above the turf fire. Most of these, however, only stretch back to 2013. That is when underage Women's rugby kicked off in Ballinasloe RFC. Just two years later, there were five Ballinasloe players in the Connacht Under-18 Women's set-up - Georgia Codyre, Sarah Dent, Ellen Grehan, Grainne Lohan and Rachel Tierney.
By 2018, that number had doubled. Jordan Hopkins, Emily Gavin, Aoibheann Reilly, Méabh Deely, Hannah Gullane, Niamh Kenny, Beibhinn Parsons, Áine Galvin and Mia Fahy were all in the matchday squad as Connacht claimed their first ever IRFU U-18 Women's Interprovincial title recently. Nine of them started in the title-clinching 21-19 win over Leinster.
A week later Parsons and Reilly were named in the Ireland Women's squad for the upcoming November Tests. The pair were also invited, alongside club-mates Galvin and Deely, to an Emerging Talent Day squad get-together by Ireland Women's head coach Adam Griggs.
Credit: Irish Rugby TV
PAYE Modernisation Briefing
On behalf of the Town Team we would like you to join us for the
PAYE Modernisation Project Briefing which will be held in
The Pulse Office, Ballinasloe
(2nd Floor Office Space above The Library), Society Street,
on Tuesday, 23rd October from 13.00 to 14.00
Registration will open from 12.45
Light lunch will be served
The PAYE Modernisation Project will involve the most significant reform of the PAYE system since its introduction in 1960.
The new real time reporting regime will be operational for all employee payments being made from 1 January 2019. This will require employers, agents and payroll providers to review their current business processes and practices so that they meet the new requirements.
We would be delighted if you could join us as Sinéad Sweeney, Change and Communications manager, PAYE modernisation project, Department of Revenue and James Coyle of Coyle & Co. Company Chartered Accountants take us through these changes. This is a free event open to all businesses and interested parties in the area.
We hope you can join us for what promises to be an insightful briefing.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please share with any interested parties.
On behalf of the Ballinasloe Town Team
Ballinasloe Town Team: Val Colleran, Colm Croffy, Jacinta Divilly, Lyn Donnelly, Andrea Duffy, Seamus Duffy, Tara Flynn, Carmel Grealy, Paula Harley, Anita Killeen, Mike O’Brien, Pádraig Ó Ceithearnaigh & Ger Tully.
The town team was set up by BACD Ltd. to revive the fortunes of Ballinasloe and its hinterland. With the main focus to build on the town’s many strengths, change existing negative perceptions and bring about measurable improvements in the town centre economy and its wider social value.
Beechlawn Organic Farm won the Best New and Innovative Product Award at Bord Bia Food Awards on Tuesday 10th October. Well done to Una Fahy for leading the way with new Biobags and reducing our use of single use plastic.
Padraig and Una met in 1999 while both studying organic horticulture at The Organic College, Dromcollogher. In 2001, they started growing vegetables on Padraig's parents farm. The following year, Beechlawn Organic Farm was established.
The business grew year-on-year, and the couple gradually gave up teaching horticulture to work full-time alongside other staff members, growing and selling organic vegetables.
Starting with a box scheme, the business moved into farmers' markets. In 2009 it started selling to supermarkets. Over the following years, Beechlawn Organic Farm gradually gave up the markets and now focuses on the veg box delivery scheme alongside sales to shops, restaurants, supermarkets and larger wholesalers.
You can find out more and order your box of seasonal vegetables by visiting their webpage
PS: EuroSpar in The Square stock Beechlawn Organic Veg as well!
Venezia Ristorante has been awarded the best Italian restaurant in Connacht, From the prestigious Yes Chef magazine at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sliglo.
This is great achievement in such a short time, and Venezia Ristorante would like to particularly thank all its customers for their continued support as well as their staff for their hardwork and dedication!
You can book a table by visiting the Venezia Facebook page here
One of the town’s most popular clothing and home décor department stores, Utah, in Society Street, are celebrating 10 years of business this winter season. The store was set up in late 2008 at the beginning of the economic crisis by 47-year-old Val Colleran from Beagh, who has over 30 years’ experience in the retail sector. The shop now employs 8 staff members from the local area.
At the age of 17, Val began his working life in the old Londis supermarket on Society Street. During the 90’s he managed several Penny’s stores throughout Ireland and the U.K. After leaving the popular retail chain, he went on to manage the very successful midland based department stores ‘Texas’. Utah started off in Marina Point in a 2000 sq. ft. premises with only 2 staff members. With the success of Marina Point and customer demand, Val needed to expand his business. Once the opportunity arose to open a new 10,000 sq. ft premises on Society Street in 2011, where the old Central Cinema once was, he took it with no hesitation. The expansion allowed Val to stock a diverse and exclusive range of products while not losing the street value ethos Utah carries, and helped him create five new jobs for locals. Val says that starting his own business in Ballinasloe was a no-brainer. “We live and work in a great business town with a catchment area of over 14,000 houses. I want to be part of the town’s resurgence and help bring it back to the ‘go to town’ of the midlands like it once was.
Ballinasloe desperately needed a department store to compete with other neighbouring towns, and that’s where I got the idea of Utah. “I noticed a market for top brands at discounted prices, where I travelled all over Europe to top fashion houses to get the best deals on all clothing products. We now have extensive ranges in men’s, ladies’ and children’s fashion and footwear, along with outdoor clothing, curtains, blinds and bedding. Our store also offers a call out measuring and fitting service for blinds and curtains. ‘Value Val’s’ Bargain Basement offers up to 75% off all fashion brands all year round”. Coming from a family of ten, Val’s late father Bill (who ran a successful wood mill business off Main St.) and some siblings also have/had businesses in town such as An Táin Bar (Ger Colleran), The Bread Basket Café (Martina Reynolds), and Tranquility Beauty Clinic (Olivia Kelly). Setting up a business in Ballinasloe is a good idea once it’s done right according to Val. “To start a business, you must identify a niche that you love, and that people can/will benefit from and pay their hardearned money for. Be ready to invest 24/7 in the initial few years and go beyond the expectations of your customer. Never be the bad guy, always love your customers and your staff, as they say you get what you give. Create a business plan that you can work on, and never thrash it, just stick to it”.
Utah wouldn’t be open today without all the support they have received says Val. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our loyal customers for the last ten successful years and hope to serve you for the next ten and beyond. “A big thank you also to my loyal staff team (Cathy, Bridget, Vera, Brenda, Tammie, Conor and Liam) for the hard work and commitment they have shown over the past couple of years, and to my wife Kellie and two sons Fadlán and Éanna for their patience”. Utah opens from 9am – 6pm from Monday to Saturday and will remain so throughout the Town Enhancement Work on Society Street
Visit Utah Department Store on Facebook
by Colm Croffy
After some five decades on Dunlo St. and nearly two decades on Main St., brothers Pat and John are hanging up their business boots and retiring. Both men were raised in a family farm in Aughrim. John the elder went to farming with an uncle while brother Pat decided to lease a going concern business, known as “Holloways Restaurant” in Dunlo St.
Motor Rallying enthusiast Pat married his love Ellen – a domestic Science Teacher, and between them and six of a staff they managed and ran the Restaurant from 1968 to 1973.
The town of the 70’s was a shopping spot and there were some 3,000 people directly employed in factories and healthcare. Jim Burke returned from the States in the 60’s and opened the town’s first dry cleaning business and Pat saw the need for another similar business. “People can’t imagine the level of commercial activity that was here in the 70’s, 80’s and much of the 90’s – we can remember queues of customers in a line, on a Friday evening out the door, collecting garments. We’d be working till the early hours of the morning to cope with demand” states Pat.
Over the decades they reared a family of three, Paddy who manages the Locksmith business in Athlone, assisted by Niamh and Owen. In the early 90’s Pat expanded the business into key cutting, as well as specialising as a locksmith lock and installing alarms. He developed that aspect of the business so much so that they expanded to another outlet, choosing Athlone as their new base. Two things in Pat’s view took the footfall off the principle streets by at least 50%. “The moving of Tesco from Sarsfield Road to Dunlo Harbour in 2004 and the introduction of pay parking when customers can rock up for free to new Multiples, have decimated numbers” states Pat.
He is sad to look out at the current state of Dunlo St. during the Big Dig and hopes it will come back to its former glory. “Planners are hell bent on fads. I can see it again in Athlone, where they are pedestrianising the main street. Our town is not for strollers - it’s for the Rural hinterland to come to get their messages and services in their car. I hope they return the streets back sympathetically to the heritage and find a new parking system that allows the down town business to compete fairly with the out of town multiples.”
Looking back, he laughs at being 50 years this Autumn, in business seeing off three bank strikes, three currencies and numerous recessions and highs “My favourite currency was the LSD, but seriously for this town to get moving with its centre it needs jobs – some cluster of new factories or a Govt. Agency is vital” urges Pat. Pat will continue helping out his son Paddy as a Locksmith consultant but is really looking forward to spending more time on the golf course and with his family in the years ahead. John, after years of farming went into a forecourt business, first in Roscommon in 1995, but diverted his energies to a business that could co-exist with the Computer Training College that his wife Christina had built up. In 1999 he rented a premises off Mrs. Rothwell in Dunlo St. which became the town’s first Internet Café, with 10 computers, a small stationary store and some book binding. “People don’t recall but a computer weighed nearly 25 kgs, a printer machine could cost anything from £300 upwards and cartridges and toners were a scald to buy; there was no data roaming or emails coming into house never mind a basic phone less than 20 years ago” states John.
In 2002 he moved the business to Main St. (Rafter’s old store) and has remained there since. For John, not alone has the technology changed rapidly in the space of two decades, but those who are his core customers have as well. “I still get my students wanting their CV’s done or reports bound but what is most striking of all is the wonderful new nationalities that make up my customer base – Brazilians, Filipinos, Polish, Indians, Pakistanis and nearly every national from the EU have crossed my door in numbers these past few years” states John.
Over his time he and Christina reared their three offspring from their business in the town centre – Andreanna (Mallow), Natasha (Wexford) and Alan living locally. Whilst John is known and respected for his role in business in the town, it’s his association with the Agricultural Show for nigh on 60 years that singles him out. “Martin Joyce in Aughrim brought me to my first show in 1962 and got me on the committee in ’63 and don’t ask me why but I can’t seem to get away from it since” says John, who is current Chair of the Show Society.
For John looking back changes in on-street parking and customer use of online shopping have been huge stumbling blocks to. “Since 2011 the footfall has really gone off the streets and I don’t know if it will come back for our provincial towns but I had an enjoyable time meeting customers and providing services. I am looking forward to caring for Christine, keeping an eye out for the kids and the Show for the next few years” smiles John. Both men warmly thanked their hardworking staffs and loyal customers down through the years.
The 4th issue of Volume 8 of the 'BALLINASLOE LIFE' magazine is now available. It is published to promote Ballinasloe and its environs, highlighting what is happening in the locality and the amenities it has to offer. This is a FREE 48 page glossy magazine that is distributed to every household and business in Ballinasloe town and to various locations within a 10 mile radius of the town. The current edition is the October - November 2018 publication and each edition will be bi-monthly thereafter.
You can download the magazine by clicking here
The weather played its part in a very successful first day of European's Oldest Horse Fair in Ballinasloe yesterday. To find out more about the October Fair and Festival and all its events visit www.ballinasloeoctoberfair.com
Great article here from The Irish Times: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/higgins-is-no-dark-horse-amid-fawning-crowds-in-ballinasloe-1.3646930
It's BACK! Ireland's premier Halloween experience in Garbally Woods, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway takes place on the 27th and 28th October 2018. Over the last few years thousands have done it and some have even lived to tell the tale, are you brave enough?
Be prepared for a better than 3D experience with chainsaws revving up close to your ears as you navigate 2km into the deep dark Garbally Woods with only a ghoul and his lantern to lead the way. Goblins, Ghosts, Spectres and Spooks all take their turn in testing your nerves. And let's not forgot the Zombies who rise up from the ground and try to make you part of the family.
Not for the faint-hearted, this 30-minute journey is best suited to older children and costs just 5 euro!
Book your tickets now: www.ballinasloetownhall.com and don't forget to bring a clove or two of garlic with you.....and your wits of course :-)
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