Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Volvo Ocean Race ignited lifelong love affair with competing over the waves



Cian Mullee’s passion for racing on the high seas was properly ignited when he sailed into Galway for the arrival of the seven big boats for the first Volvo Ocean Race stopover.

He was just 13 when thousands of people descended upon the docks to watch the seven formula one racing yachts cross the finish line in the early hours of a balmy May night.

He and his dad had sailed up from Westport and were staying on their yacht in the harbour with a bird’s eye view of the biggest party the City had ever seen.

“That would be the big dream, the Volvo Ocean Race, my lofty goal. You never know. Three years ago I wouldn’t have dreamt that I would have just skippered around Ireland and I’m still only 26,” he exclaims.

Cian, who divides his time between Galway and Sligo working for the sailing school Wild West Sailing, has just scored an impressive victory in his first Round Ireland Yacht Race.

The native of Westport, who was the second youngest skipper in the fleet of 60 boats in the competition, was placed first among boats crewed by sailing schools and 25th overall. The competitors included Volvo Ocean racing vessels Telefonica and Green Dragon.

The six men, two women crew on Lynx spanned ages from 17 to 52 years old – five of them came through the Wild West Sailing Social Sailing and Fair Winds Schools Programmes, with only a few years of sailing under their belts.

The school has a base in Rosaveal from where it does excursions, mainly around the Aran Islands, and in Sligo, where it teaches people to sail on Lough Gill.

“It took us six days, we slept on the boat and did shifts, two teams of four, four hours on, four hours off. It was my first time in the race and my first time racing around Ireland.”

The race goes nonstop around Ireland clockwise, starting and finishing in Wicklow leaving all of Ireland’s islands to starboard. This year’s edition had it all, from 35-knot winds on the southwest coast to calm conditions on the east where every decision has to be carefully calculated.

Cian recently won the Monohull Line Honours in the Transatlantic Atlantic Rally Challenge, a race from the Canary Islands to Cape Verdi and then onto Granada in the Caribbean, where he joined his brother for the winter.

As a youngster he was a member of the Mayo Sailing Club, first sailing his family’s dingy before graduating to his parent’s “small” 23ft yacht.

In 2018, at just 22, he received a scholarship from the Ocean Cruising Club and made his way to New Zealand to meet up with the captain and crew on what was to be an epic challenge: cross the South Pacific Ocean from New Zealand to Australia, followed by a journey over the Indian Ocean from Australia to South Africa.

He reflected on his experiences at that time: “From walking on the rim of an active volcano, to swimming in the middle of the ocean thousands of miles from land, experiencing diverse and unique cultures, landing in tiny remote villages and big coastal cities, to witnessing a vast array of wildlife.”

One of his favourite destinations was Vanuatu, which lies between Australia and New Zealand. Another was Grenada, the Spice Island in the Caribbean.  “The people are really friendly, there’s amazing fruit, it’s amazing, really, really beautiful. The Caribbean lived up to all my expectations.”

On his return to Ireland in 2019 he set his sights on being a professional skipper and joined Wild West Sailing where he earned his qualifications as a Yachtmaster giving him the licence to coach both youth and adults. He is also a cruising instructor, teaching offshore sailing.

“I really like the racing side. I’m competitive by nature, but I also like the cruising and the teaching and training. That’s seasonal here. There’s no sailing work in Ireland in the winter. Next winter I’ll probably looking for work in the Caribbean or the Med.”

Next year he hopes to skipper another Wild West Sailing entry in the Rolex Fastnet Race, which goes from the south coast of England to Fastnet in Cork and onto Cherbourg in France over between four and six days.


Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

Continue Reading


Official opening of Galway’s new pedestrian and cycle bridge



The new Salmon Weir pedestrian and cycle bridge will be officially opened to the public next Friday, May 26.

Work on the €10 million bridge got underway in April 2022, before the main structure was hoisted into place in early December.

A lunchtime tape-cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, as the first pedestrians and cyclists traverse the as-yet-unnamed bridge.

The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, previously said the bridge, once opened, would remove existing conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and traffic “as well as facilitating the Cross-City Link public transport corridor over the existing 200-year-old bridge”.

The naming of the new bridge has been under discussion by the Council’s Civic Commemorations Committee since late last year.

One name that has been in the mix for some time is that of the first woman in Europe to graduate with an engineering degree – Alice Perry.

Ms Perry, who was from Wellpark, graduated from Queen’s College Galway (now University of Galway) in 1906. The university’s engineering building is named in her honour.

The bridge was built by Jons Civil Engineering firm in County Meath and was assembled off-site before being transported to Galway. Funding for the project was provided in full by the National Transport Authority and the European Regional Development Fund.

(Photo: Sheila Gallagher captured the city’s new pedestrian footbridge being raised on the south side of the Salmon Weir Bridge in December. It will officially open next Friday, May 26).

Continue Reading


Minister branded ‘a disgrace’ for reversing land rezoning in Galway City



From the Galway City Tribune – Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell was labelled a “disgrace” for overturning councillors’ decisions to rezone land in the new City Development Plan.

Minister O’Donnell (pictured) confirmed in a letter to Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath last week that he was reversing 25 material alternations made by councillors to the CDP 2023-29. He made the decision on the advice of Office of Planning Regulator (OPR).

Minister O’Donnell directed that 14 land parcels that were subject to land-use zoning changes by councillors as part of the Material Alterations to the Draft CDP should be reversed.

He directed that a further 11 land parcels in the city should become “unzoned”.

The Minister found that the CDP had not been made in a manner consistent with recommendations of the OPR, which required specific changes to the plan to ensure consistency with the national planning laws and guidelines.

At last week’s Council meeting Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) asked for clarity on the process by which councillors could rezone the lands that had been changed by the Minister’s direction.

Cllr Declan McDonnell said, “What he [Minister O’Donnell] has done is an absolute disgrace”.

And he asked: “Do we have to have another development plan meeting to deal with it?”

Both Cllrs Hoare and McDonnell wondered what would become of the lands that were rezoned or unzoned by the ministerial direction.

Mr McGrath said the Council had put forward an argument in favour of retaining the material alterations in the plan, but ultimately the Minister sided with OPR.

He said if councillors want to make alterations to the new plan, they could go through the process of making a material alteration but this was lengthy.

The Save Roscam Peninsula campaign welcomed the Minister’s decision.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, it said the direction would mean the Roscam village area on the Roscam Peninsula will be unzoned and a number of land parcels would revert back to agriculture/high amenity.

A spokesperson for the campaign said: “the material alterations made by city councillors following lobbying by developers continued the long-standing practice of councillors facilitating a developer-led plan rather than an evidence- and policy-based plan that meets the needs of the city.

“The Minister’s direction is an important step in restoring confidence in the planning system. It is clear from the City Council’s own evidence on future housing projections that there was no requirement to zone these lands for residential purposes in order to meet the needs of the targeted population increase up to 2029,” the spokesperson added.

Continue Reading