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Chef Kieran relishes new challenge in tough times



Date Published: 12-Apr-2012

Kieran Nolan looks 10 years younger than his 36 years but he is already an established businessman who has recently taken on a new venture.

Kieran has been running his own restaurant for nine years and in January opened up a new eatery, which he hopes to franchise. Next month sees the opening of his third Galway city outlet.

It was almost a given that Kieran would end up working in catering as his parents worked in the GBC for years. In fact they both left secure senior management jobs in that company to join him when he took out a two-year lease on The Galway Plate on the Tuam Road. That was nine years ago and that restaurant is a busy spot.

Although the Plate is thriving and there’s a good team working there, including Kieran’s parents, Mike and Margaret, he was itching to get his teeth into something different, something edgy that would challenge him further and where he could experiment with the more exotic foods he came across when he worked for a year in Sydney.

Mixt Greens is the name of Kieran’s new venture, where the motto is ‘gourmet food – fast’, but where good friendly service is not compromised.

That opened on Scholar’s Walk opposite the University Hospital Galway in January and it’s standing room only at lunchtimes thanks to the hospital clientele.

The name was inspired by something Kieran spotted on his honeymoon in San Fransisco, but the food and decor is a mix of other places he has seen on his travels. In recent years, he has travelled to London a lot to attend motivational seminars – he has heard Alan Sugar, Richard Branson and motivational expert, Tony Robbins speak. He used those trips to research various eateries and believes he has come up with a good mix of what he likes himself and what he hopes Galway customers will like.

“In recent times, I have hired a personal trainer who also advises me on nutrition, so I am trying to eat more salads, nuts and seeds. And I have also developed an interest in ethical eating and organic food.

“I made sure that all our packaging and disposable plates, cups and cutlery are completely compostable. It is not only ecological but really cuts down on the washing up!” he says.

The premise of Mixt Greens is being able to make up your own salad in four easy steps by choosing your own greens, your deli items, garnishes and your dressing.

But Kieran knew that in the Irish climate he just couldn’t serve salads, so he also provides a range of hot food, mostly hot pots that can be eaten on the premises or taken away, thanks to their packaging. Their Malaysian pork crock pot is particularly popular.

The response from customers (he is continually seeking feedback) has been so positive that he is opening the second Mixt Greens in the city centre next month, which will bring his cosmopolitan style of eating to a whole new level because of its central location.

Kieran has worked in catering since his first summer job in the GBC at the age of 14 and appreciates the long hours involved in the business. Because of that, he admits to feeling guilty about having to be away from the kitchen so much as he concentrates on promoting Mixt Greens and works on the franchise aspect of it.

“I have worked hard to get here . . . yet I feel like I am starting on a journey again with the long hours I am putting in but it has to be done to get this venture (Mixt Greens) off the ground.

“I believe in being positive and upbeat. For a while there, I had to turn off the news because of all the negativity. I like to surround myself with positive people and I believe that I am building a good team here, much like the team already working well together in The Galway Plate.


For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Note: The Mixt Greens outlet described in this article has no relationship with Mixt Greens Restaurants based in San Francisco, California and with outlets in Los Angeles and which has been in operation since 2005.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Galway have lot to ponder in poor show



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013




GALWAY’S first serious examination of the 2013 season rather disturbingly ended with a rating well below the 40% pass mark at the idyllic, if rather Siberian, seaside setting of Enniscrone on Sunday last.

The defeat cost Galway a place in the FBD League Final against Leitrim and also put a fair dent on their confidence shield for the bigger tests that lie ahead in February.

There was no fluke element in this success by an understrength Sligo side and by the time Leitrim referee, Frank Flynn, sounded the final whistle, there wasn’t a perished soul in the crowd of about 500 who could question the justice of the outcome.

It is only pre-season and last Sunday’s blast of dry polar winds did remind everyone that this is far from summer football, but make no mistake about it, the match did lay down some very worrying markers for Galway following a couple of victories over below par third level college teams.

Galway did start the game quite positively, leading by four points at the end of a first quarter when they missed as much more, but when Sligo stepped up the tempo of the game in the 10 minutes before half-time, the maroon resistance crumbled with frightening rapidity.

Some of the statistics of the match make for grim perusal. Over the course of the hour, Galway only scored two points from play and they went through a 52 minute period of the match, without raising a white flag – admittedly a late rally did bring them close to a draw but that would have been very rough justice on Sligo.

Sligo were backable at 9/4 coming into this match, the odds being stretched with the ‘missing list’ on Kevin Walsh’s team sheet – Adrian Marren, Stephen Coen, Tony Taylor, Ross Donovan, David Kelly, David Maye, Johnny Davey and Eamon O’Hara, were all marked absent for a variety of reasons.

Walsh has his Sligo side well schooled in the high intensity, close quarters type of football, and the harder Galway tried to go through the short game channels, the more the home side bottled them up.

Galway badly needed to find some variety in their attacking strategy and maybe there is a lot to be said for the traditional Meath style of giving long, quick ball to a full forward line with a big target man on the edge of the square – given Paul Conroy’s prowess close to goal last season, maybe it is time to ‘settle’ on a few basics.

Defensively, Galway were reasonably solid with Gary Sice at centre back probably their best player – he was one of the few men in maroon to deliver decent long ball deep into the attacking zone – while Finian Hanley, Conor Costello and Gary O’Donnell also kept things tight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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