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Ocean Race worth €60m to the city – but shops lost out



Date Published: 26-Nov-2012

By Dara Bradley

A new report estimates the economic worth to Galway from the Volvo Ocean Race grand finale this summer was €60.5 million.

However, the report noted that while city bars and restaurants increased their turnover by 50% during the 9-day event, it also found that the retail sector took a hit and actually lost business because of the festival.

The report, Volvo Ocean Race Finale Galway 2012 – An Economic Impact Assessment, found that a total of 505,000 visitors attended the Race Village at Docks and the Global Village at South Park from June 30 to July 8.

The report, published yesterday, was carried out by the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics and the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway.

It was launched by Mayor of Galway, Terry O’Flaherty, who described the figures contained in the economic analysis as “staggering”.

But despite the report, the organisers, Let’s Do It Global, yesterday confirmed that it will not be making a renewed bid for the event in 2015 and it said it would be focusing on repaying outstanding debts to creditors. It paid tribute to the ‘real heroes’ of the event, the people and businesses of Galway, and reiterated that the State benefited to the tune of about 50 cent in every Euro spent during the race.

The report is based on 600 surveys carried out on attendees at the festival, a sample that is in line with best international practice for such events.

Around 80,000 or 16% of the 505,000 visitors to Galway for VOR were international visitors, the majority of whom were from Northern Ireland and the UK.

The biggest chunk of visitors (29%) to the event were from Galway, with a further 28% coming from the West of Ireland and 27% from the rest of Ireland. The figure of 505,000 visitors is not necessarily ‘unique’ visitors, and includes each visit by people who may have attended twice or even every day for nine days.

The report finds that the pubs and restaurants were the real winners in terms of local businesses while the retail sector suffered, according to responses to a survey of 155 local businesses.

It revealed that turnover in the bar and lounge sector in Galway was one and a half times greater during the Volvo Race compared with last year. The food and restaurant sector’s turnover was up by 20% and hotels and B&Bs reported increased turnover of around 15%.

Shops and the retail sector reported a reduction in turnover of almost 17%. Dr Patrick Collins, of NUIG’s Whitaker Institute, said some in the retail sector complained that traffic congestion in the city as a result of the race hurt their turnover; others complained that visitors had spent their disposable income at the Race Village and Global Village and did not have the same amount to spend in established shops as they did the previous year.

Meanwhile, one in every five businesses, according to the report, increased the numbers of people they employed as a result of the race. That included hiring more staff and giving extra shifts to existing staff. Over 70% of the increased employment was in the hospitality sector, and was mostly concentrated in the city centre.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel

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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