by Donogh Moore
€54,087 is set to be provided to five projects locally under the Community Enhancement Programme. Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D. announced recently that a number of projects around the country are set to receive grant aid, with five community projects in the locality set to benefit from this. Ballinasloe Rugby Club received €10,675 for a new 3G AstroTurf training facility and pitch. Ballinasloe Town Hall Theatre, on Society Street, received €12,810 for building maintenance. The maintenance required for the theatre entail repairs to the ceiling of the front offices. Due to a water leak, the ceiling was damaged and is currently still leaking.
A portion will also be spent on refurbishing the bathroom facilities backstage. Ballinasloe Social Services, located in Brackernagh, received €14,602 for the development of their community services centre. This money is set to go towards the establishment of a new dining room in the centre, as well as refurbishing bathrooms off that. The idea originally came from staff, as they were having to use the facility’s day room as a makeshift dining room, but now they can finally separate the two.
Ballinasloe Tidy Towns received €1,000 for photography equipment, which is set to help their online and social media campaigns. Chairperson Tom Madden indicated that the new equipment will aid their biodiversity project, which first started in 2017. Not only that, but through their work with youth groups, it gives the volunteers a chance to get involved with hobbies such as bird watching, and the camera will prove useful in logging these sightings. Ballinasloe Cancer Support, found on Main Street, received €15,000 in order to refurbish the ground floor of the building, as well as to make the building wheelchair accessible. The centre, which was founded in 2010, aims to provide support to people and families dealing with cancer.
Director of Services, Maura Fahy, said that she was “delighted to hear” about the influx of grant aid. The money is set to go towards general refurbishment of the building, which includes the building of wheelchair accessible services, as well as the construction of an extension to the back of the building. “After previous fund-raising efforts, in which Coral Leisure Centre helped us greatly, we amassed nearly €6,000 in the space of a month.” It was the support centre’s first time since establishment nearly 10 years ago, that they’ve applied for government relief. Maura said: “Receiving this money was great, but hopefully we can reapply again in the future, and the next application will be met with the same empathy as the first.”
Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins welcomed the allocations: “Support for these projects will provide a great boost for the locality. It is so important that we continue to support the work of volunteers who are so giving of their time in order to further develop our community.” All of the groups still have to fundraise a considerable amount of match funding to draw down their grant aid as typically under the terms of the letter of offer – promoters own matching finances can range from 45% to 65%. For more information regarding the Community Enhancement Programme and how to apply, see the Department of Community and Rural Development’s official website at: drcd.gov.ie
People from the town and the surrounding areas gathered in Gullane’s Hotel, Main Street recently, for a huge fundraiser concert for local photographer Jackie Dolan. Jackie has been taking photos in the town for the last eighteen years, and since 2010 launched and ran her own photography studios and store in Society Street’s J&S Photos, capturing most of the notable events over the years. However, in May 2018, Jackie suffered a minimal brain bleed and as a result lost her balance and fell down the stairs.
She was immediately transported by ambulance to Galway University Hospital, where the doctors worked frantically to access her injuries, and from there began the lengthy process to repair her broken body. She damaged her spine in the fall and is now currently confined to a wheelchair. Not only did people come from the local area to show their support on the night, but the event also drew supporters from abroad, including Jackie’s own sister, Angie, who flew in from the United States where she resides but was instrumental in putting the road to recovery fundraising campaign in place.
At the start of the Dublin City Ramblers concert, Angie made a brief address of welcome and gratitude – singling out especially Jackie's son Paul and his wife Fiona, Jackie's daughter Michelle Doyle, (Angie's) uncle Austin, uncle Matty and aunt Kathleen, neighbour Seán Fletcher, Tomás Gullane and family for the use of their premises and in particular to Sean Ward and the Ward Family. All the proceeds from the night went towards Jackie’s ‘Road to Recovery’, which included sales on the door, as well as several raffles that took place. People in attendance were treated to a night of music and culture, with the added benefit of donating to a good cause.
Four young dancers from the World Championship Irish Dancers group in Clare gave a lively display of Irish set dancing, which marked the beginning of the evening’s affairs. Jackie herself made a short appearance via a pre-recorded video, as sadly she couldn’t be there on the night. Jackie in a deeply moving clip, thanked everyone in attendance, and gave special thanks to her family & friends for organising it. Speaking about what happened to her, she didn’t dwell too long on the details of her accident and recovery, but rather focused on an uplifting and powerful message. She told her friends and wellwishers “I want to walk again."
The Dublin City Ramblers, entertained the large audience with their upbeat and lively renditions of many famous songs, as well as taking a few requests from the crowd too. Not only that, but local man Johnny Johnston, accompanied by other local musicians, troubadors and entertainers hosted a trad session out in the front bar into the wee hours. The total raised on the night was in the order of €21,000 and coupled with the online campaign of some €10,000 means the team behind Jackie’s road to recovery is 60% towards its funding target. If you would like to find out more or make a donation to the crowdfunding campaign set up for Jackie’s ‘Road to Recovery’, the details can be found on GoFundMe, at: Jackie Dolan’s Journey – Road to Recovery
By Donogh Moore
Society Travel recently hit a notable milestone, when they celebrated twenty years in business. The local agency was founded by Geraldine Dolan, daughter of Brian and Freda Dolan (née Headd) of Carrowreagh, Taughmaconnell.
First opening its doors to the public in December 1998, they specialise in a wide range of trips; from camping packages to a variety of continental destinations, to the more intimate honeymoons. They also organise the annual Clonfert Diocesan Pilgrimage, which sees a mixture of invalids, elderly pilgrims and volunteers depart for Lourdes for a week. This year’s pilgrimage takes place from the 15 – 20 August.
After many years working in the travel trade and much encouragement from friends, family and most importantly her two brothers, Gerry and Pat, she set out on her own. “I decided I wanted to build something from scratch. I have enjoyed every moment of it, the sense of accomplishment I cannot describe. It’s the best thing I have done and it would not have been possible without the support of our customers who are with us since we first opened our door on that crisp December morning with my great friend Patricia Hynes (née Dervin) with me that morning” recalls Geraldine. Society Travel deals with specialist groups for all destinations, and for larger, more comprehensive trips, these companies will arrange everything from accommodation to visas. While the general consensus is that booking holidays online is always a better option, there is a difference between both methods.
Travel agents operate with bonded companies, who offer security both locally and abroad, should something beyond your control go awry. They also need to remain up to date with the constantly changing laws and regulations regarding travel and insurance, so they can offer advice and guidance to prospective customers with any query they may have. While booking a holiday online is fine for a quick and direct trip, when it comes to more than one flight, holiday-goers often turn to travel agents due to many issues arising, such as varying passport validity issues, visa restrictions and minimum connection layovers at foreign airports.
Whilst they have had staff come and go over the years all in all with a very low attrition rate. Glenn Burke, who is highly respected and sought-after by all their customers, due to his level of knowledge ranging from cruises to ski trips. Bridie Dolan works in the accounts section of the business, after working in an accountant’s office for many years. Yvonne Garvey and Anna Guider cover sales and admin respectively, as well as dealing with potential visa issues, after having worked in local outlets for many years before joining. Her memories of the opening days of the firm are tinged with sadness as her founding employee Patricia, who was such a fun loving person to work with, passed away tragically in an accident in Nov. 2004.
When they opened in 1998, they got many cards and good luck wishes, but one that stands out most in Geraldine’s head to this day was a note written on a slip of paper, (as he had no money to buy the card) was from her 8-year-old son Brian: “Best of Luck Mam, Hope it works out, Probably the best Travel Agent in the World”
"We would just like to extend, from the bottom of our hearts, a massive Thank You to everyone we have done business with over the years, especially our loyal customers for your continuous support. Without you, all this would not be possible. Here’s to another twenty of getting you going places!” exclaims Geraldine. For more information and regular updates from Society Travel, you can visit their Facebook Page or pop into the shop.
ConTempo Quartet Concert
Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association, the Galway Music Residency with its resident artists ConTempo Quartet, artist Finbar McHugh and Ballinasloe Library present Connecting the Dots, an intergenerational project connecting primary school children with the older generations through Sound, Music and Art.
The first part of this project will take place with a concert on Tuesday 12th February in the Church Gallery, Ballinasloe Library at 1.00pm. All are very welcome to attend!
Author Stella O'Malley will be visiting Ballinasloe Library on Tuesday 12th February for a talk on the subject of 'Bully-Proof Kids', her hugely successful guide for parents. The event will take place 6.30pm in the Church Gallery space, as part of the Healthy Ireland at Your Library initiative. For those who can't make it, multiple copies of her books are available to borrow at the library desk.
At 8pm On 20th March GIY (Grow it Yourself) Ballinasloe are hosting a demonstration with Stephen March on how to do apple tree grafting. You are welcome to bring along a 10-12 inch section of your favourite apple tree, but the club will have plenty to practice on.
The cost is €10 if you want an actual grafted apple tree to take home afterwards (first come first served) and €5 if you just want to learn the technique.
March is apparently the ideal time to do grafting, but you need to gather your grafts and root stock now and keep them until March. So if you want a particular tree, you need to collect 10-12 inch branch of new growth (not growth that had apples on it, something that grew fresh since April 2018). Choose from the sunny side of the donor tree and choose an un-diseased clean branch. Cut the branch cleanly with a sharp secateurs. Take the branch and wrap it in damp newspaper, put the branch(s) in moist peat in a tall pot buried up to the tip and keep them in a cool place out of direct sunlight. You can’t use branches that have already filled with sap – so you'd need to pick them now.
You will also need some damp newspaper to wrap your grafted on root stock in to bring home afterwards.
Feel free to invite anybody you know who would be interested. Email Aidan Clifford for more info.
Tiny Tots Crèche came from humble beginnings, starting out in a converted house in Woodlands, Creagh, in January 1999, some 20 years ago.
From there,the owner and business woman Jennifer Sheridan, daughter of former
President of the Chamber of Commerce Tommy Sheridan, renovated and officially opened Tiny Tots Educational Preschool and Crèche in the Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre on the Roscommon Road, in August 2003.
The Creche moved into a section of the old hospital building that originally was the kitchen and dining room for the facility. It was hoped that it would add to the attractiveness of the Enterprise Centre and adjacent IDA Business park for the anticipated workforce.
Jennifer said she couldn't have succeeded without the help and constant support of her parents, Tommy and Eilish. “Dad, who is a self made entrepreneur, encouraged me to start out on my own and gave me great support and advice along each step of the way, ” states Jennifer.“An opportunity arose for me to renovate part of the Enterprise Centre which had been set up to provide an affordable and high-quality enterprise space for businesses wishing to set up in town” she added.
Jennifer began her enterprise by minding four small children on her own. Twenty years on and her first clients still keep in contact. Katie Conlon is in her final year of psychiatric nursing in NUI Galway, Daniel Dent now works and lives in Galway City, Nathan Waring went on to play Rugby with the Leeds Rhinos and now works in the family flooring business in Leeds. Rafeek Khan went onto Maynooth College to study law where he played Rugby and Wrestling, before his untimely death.
From those modest beginnings, Tiny Tots went from strength to strength and now caters for 50 children on a daily basis. The Crèche has 5 groups: babies, toddlers, junior and senior preschool and afterschool, as well as offering a pickup service from Creagh National School.
The School now has a team of 8 qualified childcare staff. The crèche would not be as successful as it is without the dedicated team. “I am fortunate as a proprietor and the parents are really fortunate that we have the staff we have; they go above and beyond every single day to make Tiny Tots the place it is. And also a special mention for Erol’s parents, Roy and Doris, who offer Erol and I help and support whenever needed”, states Jennifer.
Finally as one of the longest clients of the Enterprise Centre who has seen some five managers come and go over the years she singles out Lyn Donnelly for being such an excellent resource and supporter for all the businesses in the centre. “Everyone in the building loves coming in here to work – she has really got a wonderful vibe going and we are lucky to have her in a key management role."
For further information contact Jennifer at 090 964 4480 or visit their website
By Donogh Moore
Garbally Oil are celebrating 25 years in business in Ballinasloe this spring. An independent, family owned company who originally hail from Ferbane, in Co. Offaly and in January 1993,
they opened their gates for the first time in Poolboy Industrial Estate, with a total staff number of four.
The business grew quickly as they supplied heating oil, diesels and petrol to the houses, businesses, churches and factories in the east Galway region. In 1998, the business purchased a second plot adjacent to their site and doubled the size of their depot, where they installed retail pumps and opened their forecourt to the public.
The family-run business has been voted through various surveys as having the most competitive prices for fuel in the area. In 2010 they opened Claddagh Oil, where they began to expand their range, and supply oil to the likes of Galway city and beyond.
Garbally Oil now employs 11 people, which is a far cry from the mere four staff they had when they first opened all those years ago. Not only that, but the business also has further plans for expansion in the near future. They also operate from two other oil and fuel depots in the midlands area-Flaherty Fuels in Ferbane, Co. Offaly, and Birr Oil in Woodlands, Birr. Taking these other two depots into account, the tally comes up to twenty three total employees.
The three directors, Brendan Flaherty and his two sons, David and Conor, are incredibly proud
of not only the business they’ve created, but the legacy that has come with it too. Garbally Oil has become a staple in town of Ballinasloe. “Genuinely we are so thankful for everyone being so welcoming, and accepting us with open arms as one of your own here in town” states Director Conor.
They are incredibly happy to have been able to keep running a successful business for so long, and they hope to be able to continue this success for another twenty five years. If nothing else, their story proves that the locality is a good setting for commerce, and businesses have ample opportunity to grow and expand, given the town’s prime location.
Garbally Oil deliver 6 days per week, and their pumps are open 7 days a week. They can be contacted via telephone on (090) 964 4147, or email or find them on Facebook below.
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