The Galway to Athlone Cycleway project team have confirmed the options selection report confirming the preferred Route Selection 5 corridor will issue shortly.
It will outline the benefits and advantages of the Route 5 corridor from Athlone to Shannonbridge via Ballinasloe to Portumna, Gort, Kinvara, Oranmore and Galway. And so many communities outside of the main route are also looking at regional cycleway options to connect with the national route. The Cycleway to Ballinasloe will come from Kylemore along the towpath of the Grand Canal and potentially under the motorway bridge, beside the lock and through the village of Poolboy following the Grand Canal to arrive in Ballinasloe at the Marina.
This option 5 selection report brings Phase 2 to an end and the project team are already working on Phase 3 of preliminary design and environmental evaluations. Public Liaison Officers are engaging with landowners to finalise the precise route and hope to have an initial update in roughly 3 months time. The officers are committed to work with the farmers and landowners to identify a route that minimises any impacts on farming activities.
Senator Aisling Dolan stated “There is a lot of anticipation for the Galway to Athlone cycleway coming into Ballinasloe and a phenomenal level of support through submissions and petitions at each stage of the consultation. Families will now have places to walk & cycle off-road and it will bring so many opportunities for our town. We can see the construction of the cycleway bridge across the Shannon in Athlone at the Radisson Hotel – bringing it one step closer into the West.”
“Phase 3 will take roughly 18 months with detailed environmental assessments on the route and an application to be prepared for submission to An Bord Pléanala in early 2024 with construction anticipated in 2025. This is a priority national cycleway project – even international as people can cycle to Dublin & all the way to Moscow under the Eurovélo route.” Senator Dolan concluded.
The 2022 edition of Ireland's oldest horse fair takes place on Sunday 2nd , Monday 3rd & Saturday 8th. Visitors have been coming to town for centuries its legacy is known worldwide, it is a traditional Irish Horse Fair that which has remained steadfast in its origins into the 21st century. The way horses will be sold on the green in 2022 remains as it was centuries ago, which is what makes the event so unique.
The hosting of the horse fair on the green, market stalls in the town centre & the funfair is the responsibility of the local municipal authority, the local festival committee has absolutely no remit whatsoever with any of these activities. As they have done so for centuries equine enthusiasts, local, national & international horse traders come to Ballinasloe for a fair regardless of any festival activities.
The primary focus of the festival committee is to provide the community with a memorable & enjoyable experience while the horse fair takes place and to give the town a festival type atmosphere with free entertainment.
This includes the pageantry of crowning a festival queen, music, and street entertainment on the festival sound stage, inviting celebrities / dignitaries to officially open the fair, host a heritage evening to illustrate the history of this great event, fireworks & family entertainment, children’s art. bakery & craft competitions, festival dog show, vintage display, motorcycle stunt show much much more.
The voluntary festival committee has no direct source of income and are indebted to the many sponsors and contributors, without their support there would be no festival. Committee meetings are held every Monday evening in Gullane’s Hotel in the 10 weeks lead up to the fair and if you would like to get involved, please contact the festival secretary @ 0872071869.
Volunteers are always welcome to give a hand and share ideas that could be used to enhance the festival element .
To find out more visit the website: http://ballinasloeoctoberfair.com
Xin Gin has won another prestigious International Award, picking up a gold medal at The Gin Masters 2022. The Gin Masters received over 513 entries from 244 different companies around the world. To receive a gold medal is a wonderful achievement for a new Irish Gin within a very competitive category and less than a year since its release.
The announcement follows recent wins for Xin Gin at the World Gin Awards, International Wine and Spirits Competition and The Gin Guide Awards where it was named “Best in Ireland”.
Michelle McAllister, Xin Gin’s creator said “I am delighted that Xin Gin continues to be recognised in such prestigious International competitions. The feedback on the design and taste of Xin Gin has been incredible from both judging panels and our customers. We’re looking forward to sharing our creation with fellow gin drinkers across Ireland and the world.”
Located in the heart of Ahascragh , the mill complex has remained derelict for the past 70 years. Now, the McAllisters are giving the building a new lease of life. The distillery will be an eco-distillery, powered by renewable energy with a drive to be carbon neutral
Xin Gin is available all good regional stockists. You can also taste Xin Gin is bars across Galway and beyond.
After four editions since the new year we say thanks to the man from Knocknacroghery - Robbie Gately who is heading off to sunny Portugal on Erasmus and hope that as he views Ballinasloe and his posting from the rear-view mirror – most of his memories will be good ones.
Huge welcome then for 20 year old Oisin White, Journalism and digital communications student at the University of Limerick, hailing from Quigley’s Point in north Co. Donegal. He pretends to be a quiet shy lad as an only boy but really does enjoy having the craic with others – as the man that has come the farthest on the island to the posting – 4 hours nearly a trip home, he has taken to his role as Reporter with gusto.
A keen soccer player in his teenage years, with some coaching under his belt – he is now more of a fan than participant but likes the sport of badminton in his spare time and an odd visit to the driving range!
We wish them both well!
Nearly 10 years after it’s formal closure St. Brigid’s Hospital Complex – a listed Monument and hallmark entry façade on the Eastern approaches to town continues to crumble under the apparent indifference of the State.
BACD approached the HSE and Dept of Health nearly 10 years ago and were crudely told it would no be parcelled off but would all go as a block site – provided the State agencies had no requirement for it.
A Full day Seminar on the Re - Imagining of St. Brigid’s under the Patronage of the then Minister Naughton was held in Summer 2018 with representatives of all the state agencies – a report was commissioned, agreed and circulated.
Various private buyers and consortia were met and many meetings were held with County Council, HSE, Dept of Health all agreeing in principle that they all wished the site to be developed.
Thirty six months after the Respite Hotel Group last met with the principals there has been frustratingly no progress and the private investors are both frustrated and puzzled as to why their proposals to buy and maintain the fabric of the iconic buildings and campus have met with such official indifference.
Cllr Dr. Eveyln Parsons is calling on the HSE to prioritize the appointment of a St Brigids Project Team to urgently move on development.
Cllr Parsons motion passed at a Regional Health Forum recently on St Brigids Hospital Campus“ to make the HSE prioritize the appointment of a St Brigid’s Project Team to formulate a Plan for the re-use, disposal and/or development of this state owned property including consideration of Multi-Agency Involvement and/or Public Private Partnerships taking cognizance of the cultural, visual, protected status and heritage sensitivities of some buildings and the central importance of St Brigid Hospital’s history and legacy in the psychiatric, medico-social and economic lives of people throughout the West of Ireland over the past two centuries. “ . She is also adamant that the HSE must now regularly report regularly to the forum on the disposal.
Breda Crehan Roche Community Healthcare West HSE, confirmed in reply to the motion that the HSE has been approached by a private developer, the Respite Hotel Group, with regards to its development and that the HSE themselves have no plans to re-use or develop it but are in the process of moving the Maintenance department off-site in the next few months. When the Estates department decamps from St Brigid’s Campus it will be listed for sale on the State Register following Dept of Public Expenditure and Refrom procedures.
This will open full possibilities of acquisition for development. Cllr Parsons called on the HSE for IDA to be consulted also with regard to acquiring lands to the east of the Taughmaconnell road for future Industrial use and expansion close to the existing IDA Business Park, which is separate to the main campus and derelict hospital buildings.
The Respite Hotel Group are a consortium which promotes the design and development of bespoke retirement, healthcare and wellness facilities . Directors Sean Ruane and Maureen Lynch of the stated: “Our Vision is to create a multi-purpose Campus focused on the health and wellness needs of older people, providing independent and assisted living accommodation as well as respite programs and services promoting positive mental health and well-being. Yet we continue to be frustrated with the lack of clarity and co-operation from the HSE.”
The group proposed a full redevelopment of the existing premises including a new Retirement Village, a Wellness Retreat Hotel, Housing for Dementia and Alzheimer patients, a hostel for visitors, and other amenities including a museum on the history of the complex, a café, pharmacy, a small shop, Chapel, Green Space for outdoor exercise and a Leisure Complex. The project which was provisionally due to be finished by 2028 , can’t even get to the starting blocks!
The town is awash with fresh concrete, as apart from the cranes over Porciuncula ; there are 314 housing units being built or in the pipeline this Autumn.
In 2021 the housing stock within a 8km radius of the town (Roscommon and Galway side of the Suck) was approximately 3,100 units – this is a near 10 % of an increase.
With a combined 20km catchment radius of Ballinasloe Urban/Rural and South Roscommon of near 22,000 people – it is anticipated from the national increase recorded by the CSO of 7.6% on census night and a whopping increase of 8.4% of Roscommon’s population, these figures are set to increase by 8 % - 1760 more persons living in the area since 2016.
Crownbell LTD is looking to develop 38 residential units in the existing Cuil Na Canalacht housing development. Crownbell LTD has also submitted a second application to build another six residential units on the same site.
The two developments comprise 20 three-bed, semi-detached houses, and 24 three-bed townhouses”. Crownbell LTD have also included landscaping works, associated car parking, connection to existing surface water, foul sewer and watermain as part of the application. A Natural Impact Assessment was also to be submitted with the application. Final decision is due from Galway County Council on the two planning applications in early August.
Permission for a new housing development consisting of eight homes has been granted. Brian and Breda Connolly are leading this development of a current residential plan in Bachelors Walk. The eight houses will be six four bed units and two larger units and will finish the estate.
An Bord Pleanála granted permission for 38 new houses with Carbon Sole LTD doing the building in Creagh. The application was granted in November 2021 after the original application was reduced from 47 houses to 38 houses. Carbon Sole also plan to build a playground for the children and a public green on the development.
The current access to the site is being replaced by a new junction onto the R466 Dublin Road. There was an appeal against the decision that there wouldn’t be enough facilities in the area for the extra houses. This appeal was rejected but one of the conditions required for Carbon Sole LTD is that they cannot sell any houses to an investment fund. Site clearance and groundwork preparation has begun.
Up to the left of the Tesco Store – between Beechlawn Heights and St. Brendan’s Terrace work is very advanced on 40 Social housing Units which begun in January of this year and further 167 units was granted permission by Board Pleanála in May of this year for this site.
The Part 8 Application process is underway for 15 units from Dooleys Corner down to the Mount which are being prioritised for Social housing of those in need of town centre access, with out cars.
The CSO average persons per dwelling figure is 2.75 so when all these builds are complete in the next 24 months or so – there could be close to 900 new residents living here locally.
It will certainly help those workers and families looking for housing which is in very short supply – with some 24 properties for sale on DAFT and just 2 to let !!
Padraig and Una Fahy celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their Organic Farm Enterprise in Beechlawn this Autumn. The reality though is that the Fahy Family have been tending this very same land for close to a 100 years.
Just a year after the state was founded Padraig Grandfather Pat Fahy and his wife Mary Ellen Goode bought the original farm. As well as running it as a mixed farm Pat was a master grower of vegetables. He was the Head Gardener in St. Brigid’s before handing over the post to the late Tom Quinn in 1958 (a man who was still winning prizes for his vegetables in Shows up and into his 90s).
Little wonder then that the tradition of setting seeds and thinning, continued to the third generation. Padraig is aware of even earlier efforts, “I can recall him telling us stories of the Suck Callows being used for Garden Fillers and seed potatoes being shipped to the markets of Dublin back to Famine times till the first world war”. “The Mackney area in Gaelic times was famous for Parsnip growing. There was also a tradition of cereal growing in the Beechlawn and Mackney areas with Bertie Walsh’s Mill”, explains Padraig.
After Padraig's education in Garbally College and a Humanities degree in Maynooth University in the mid-90s, like most 20 years olds of the time he decided to travel and see the world. “I was backpacking and WOOFING (working on farms and in social enterprises) around the world. I was in Ghandi’s house in India on St Patricks Day 1997, surrounded by like-minded people enjoying quality lives on subsistence farming when I had my EUREKA moment “he recalls.
On return to Ireland, he enrolled on a Teagasc course in Horticulture in Drumcollogher, Co Cork and this began his love affair with the production of quality organic food and farming.
His wife Una (Ni Bhroin) enters the story a year later formally in the Teagasc course but they did encounter each other during the famous Glen of Downs Protest in 1998. “I was always a keen networker and many of the people I met on my travels and in supporting sustainable and environmental issues are all still connected to green sector enterprise or lifestyles today. We still to this day learn a lot from each other as well as formally” he notes.
On qualification from his course Padraig secured a field office post in Co. Roscommon in 2000. Advising and supervising in a Community Garden and quickly found himself as a Horticultural teacher in Castlerea Community Prison 2001 – 2005. This secured his first few seasons of off farm income, critical to the establishment of a new enterprise in Beechlawn.
“2001 was my first year to plant on ½ acre of my late parents farm. The land was located just beside the cowsheds on the old farm. So, it was well manured land, and I planted my first crop of Potatoes. John Glynn was very helpful to us in the early days, and we would never have bought a tractor, delivery van or tunnel without the huge backing we received from our local Credit Union “, explains Padraig.
Both he and Una chuckle looking back at the memorable week of 2003 when their first tractor, the estate car for delivering the veg boxes and the apple of their eye – eldest daughter Meabh all arrived at the same time!!
For both entrepreneurs the move from their rented home in the Pines back to the Padraig family farm, a new eco build home and the arrival of children Roisin, Tomas and Teegan. This, combined with their first staff, would never have happened without the huge support of Padraig’s late parents Tom and Margret who massively helpful and encouraging to the couple.
In 2005/2006 they founded the Farmer's Markets Network in East Galway South Roscommon and were busy suppling 6 Markets locally on a weekly basis from 9 acres. Back then their core output was 20% wholesale and some 80% direct to customer, generating 20 tons of vegetable output per year.
With Leader support some 6 years in they were able to engage key technical experts who supported in the development of their business strategy. They also secured participation in Bord Bia Vantage programme in 2009. Teagasc have used the farm as a demonstration farm for good organic practice since 2008-2011 and 2020. They also won accolades with Supervalue under their “Local Organic Supplier Initiatives “more recently.
From one staff member in 2005, they now have a fulltime staff exceeding 20 working all year round. They manage 50 acres of farmland and deliver nearly 150 tons of organic vegetables to more than 100 whole sales operators – restaurants, shops, co -ops – with just 20 % of output in direct sales to customers! Currently they are one of Tesco’s Main Organic Supplier of Leek, Kale and Sprouts.
Looking around the couple are not resting on their laurels, “the time has flown , the pandemic was a challenge with labour, and with supplies but people were certainly more interested in locally grown food. We will consolidate and expand our current model. We might look into other areas of education, training here on the farm there are huge possibilities for courses on site for a variety of ages and backgrounds. This combined with alternative medicine or healthy lifestyles are areas we are looking forward to exploring”, states Una.
Location has been key for the enterprise “we have the mighty Esker free draining soils here, the PH is strong, we are at the crossroads of Ireland for distribution with easy Motorway access. We have a loyal and hardworking staff, and we have a hugely loyal local customer base “offers Padraig. With added support from the Department of Agriculture also who are now putting a big emphasis on organic production as part of EU policy for climate change. Biodiversity is a key factor in the importance of Organic Farming for the future.
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary the Farm is hosting an Autumn Harvest Fair from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm on Sat 10th of September - promising a nice open day for families to come and see some of the demonstrations, talks and walks. See their website https://beechlawnorganicfarm.ie/ for full programme details.
Ballinasloe Area Community Development (BACD) finally received planning permission to convert the Old Bank Chambers on Society Street into a Co-working and Remote Hub working space.
The proposal will see the 6,000 square foot premises being converted into state of the art remote working hubs catering for more than 40 people, including six hot desks, 16 offices (with capacity for between one and seven people), three meeting spaces, one meeting room, canteen and toilet and shower facilities within the three story building.
The design team which was appointed in quarter one of 2022 are currently finalising tender documentation with contractors to be sought over the coming weeks through the government tendering website www.etenders.gov.ie as per protocols set out in the funding received from the Just Transition Fund.
The works will include the installation of energy efficient lighting, heating, ventilation, installation on new internal and external doors and windows, internal partitions, floor and ceiling finishes, full furniture fit out and highspeed broadband installation.
Seamus Duffy, Chairman BA.C.D. stated “once the building is renovated it will offer flexible, high quality serviced office space for local entrepreneurs to co-work, to meet and to collaborate with each other and will offer remote workers (currently working from home or in other locations) a long-term solution. It will attract people into the town centre which will have a positive spin off for our town centre businesses”.
“This has been the result of hard work and prudent management of the last 20 years by successive boards of directors in managing all previous state grants for job creation and town development, through our charitable community development Company.” explains Seamus.
Seamus also stated there is already huge interest by local businesses, entrepreneurs, and remote workers, who have all formally expressed an interest to being located in this innovative space when it is operational in quarter two of 2023
BACD company manager Lyn Donnelly is currently managing the project in conjunction with the design team and all queries in relation to the project or the rental of the enterprise space can be directed to email@example.com or (090) 964 6516.
by Ballinasloe Life Facebook Team
The Ballinasloe Women’s Group and the Knitting and Crochet group are bringing some colour to the town this summer with their wonderful Yarnbombing around the town. We spoke to Carol Slevin, Patsi Grady and Abbie McGowan who discussed where the idea came the inspiration behind it from and the benefits of being a part of a group environment. Lovely work ladies!!
Countdown to the All Ireland Final where Joe Kelly Snr. takes us through a momentous bus journey of Ballinasloe natives who boarded from Ryan's Bar - driven by Ritchie Green to one of the famous Three In a Row All Ireland of the 60s.
The Supporters Store is open from 10.30 am to 5 pm daily beside Fletchers Electrical Store for all your Galway Colours!
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