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Vienna evokes memories of thriving times in a big city

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Date Published: 11-May-2011

I never thought that I’d wake again to the sound outside the window of three men operating a digger before eight in the morning. But then this was Austria, a long way – geographically and economically – from Celtic Tiger Ireland.

The skyline  around Vienna is dotted with giant cranes and the world of commerce is thriving in a city where the historical mark of the Hapsburgs intertwines on every corner with the wealth and well-being of this modern metropolis.

We were there last week to accept two newspaper awards – a certificate of excellence for our Galway City Tribune and a magnificent trophy for our sister paper, Gaelscéal, chosen by the panel of international judges as one of half a dozen of the best newspapers of 2011 from 27 European countries.

The European Newspaper Congress also chose to show the best of the old and new Vienna; the two-day conference of 500 journalists, editors, designers and managers was held at the city’s ultra-modern conference centre a stone’s throw from the Danube while the Winners Dinner was in the magnificent old Rathaus, the Town Hall in the heart of the old city.

The point of all this talk of Vienna was that it gave us an insight into the Ireland we had once been so proud of – and then the Austrians took it a step further.

Because while they had all the big stores – from Armani and Versace to Jack Wolfskin and Timberland – they also had the added dimension of a street culture, where restaurateurs and café owners were able to leave hundreds of tables outdoors overnight without fear of some toe-rag coming along to kick them up and down the street.

 

Newspapers are sold from clear plastic containers combined with a little money box where there is sufficient trust around to believe that the reader will insert the price of the paper rather than simply lift the open flap for their daily read.

Bars run tabs for customers who never fail to present themselves for the bill, irrespective of how long they have enjoyed the hospitality – although it must be said that one of the things missing from the streets was drunken idiots – and the underground requires little more than very occasional spot checks because everyone buys a ticket.

For a city with a population of 1.8 million people, Vienna is a piece of cake to get around – because the ultra-efficient underground, with just four lines and a network that a six year old child could master, takes you to wherever you need to go within six minutes of your arrival at a station.

It is also steeped in European history with the mark of the Hapsburg dynasty to be seen on every corner – and the legacy of a city that was home to Mozart, Strauss and many others is the half a dozen magnificent opera houses when any one of them would be a jewel.

The city that is also home to the Vienna Boys Choir has an exemplary approach to its music; you can pay close to €100 to enjoy the nightly opera over dinner – or you can stand at the back and enjoy the same performance for €3.50.

Each night thousands pour onto the street like the best dressed group of fans to ever leave a football match – only they’ve come from another musical extravaganza.

And for all of their commercial awareness and big label stores, the Austrians haven’t lost the run of themselves. Because the commercial heart of this old city doesn’t beat on a Sunday; apart from the souvenir shops, the rest of them are closed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway Bay FM News Archives

Galway has country’s largest population of young people

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Date Published: 07-May-2013

Galway has a population of young people which is more than twice the national average.

According to information gathered by the Central Statistics Office, Galway’s population of 20 to 24 year olds is more than twice the national average.

The number of 25-34 year olds in Galway is also more than the norm nationally, with the two main colleges thought to be the main reason.

However immigration in Galway is much higher than in other areas at 19.4 percent, compared to the national average of 12 percent.

 

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Call for direct donations to city charity shops

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Date Published: 07-May-2013

A city councillor is encouraging people to donate goods directly to charity shops.

It follows allegations of thefts from clothes banks in Galway and across the country in recent months.

However, cameras are in place at some clothes banks and surveillance is carried out by local authorities.

Speaking on Galway Talks, Councillor Neil McNeilis said the problem of theft from clothes banks is widespread.

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent

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Date Published: 07-May-2013

A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.

That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.

The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.

Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.

Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.

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