An Inside View into this week’s Launch!

Here are the presentations delivered on the night of the website launch in the Carlton Shearwater, Tuesday 24th February!

B.A.C.D Manager, Lyn Donnelly Presentation

‘Life’ Editor, Colm Croffy 

And now for a short video, telling the story of Launch Night!

Volume 5 , Town Survey and New Website Launched!

Sometimes they come in three’s – the saying goes but this week the team behind the ‘Life’ Magazine project held a launch of the new look for the town – a new website for the town, the initial results from the Town Benchmarking Survey AND the fifth edition of the Life Magazine.

A great number of local contributors, community representatives and most importantly of all the subscribing Advertisers – those in the business community who underwrite the €50,000 approximate annual costs; were present at the Carlton Shearwater Hotel this week.

Since its inception in 2001, the magazine has grown and developed from a 36 page magazine with a distribution of 27,000 copies to an average print run of 5,000 (peaking to 37,500 copies 2014 ) thanks to the ongoing support of community organisations and groups who have shown such wonderful support over the years.

Chairman of the BACD Seamus Duffy welcomed the large respresentative crowd – especially welcoming the local elected representatives and the Acting CEO of Galway County Council Kevin Kelly as well as the Cathairleach of the Municipal District Area Council – Cllr Michael Coneelly and Brian Egan Area Manager West of Enterprise Ireland.

Advertising and Circulation Manager Lyn Donnelly gave a very detailed breakdown of the income and costs associated with the project – noting that the magazine enjoyed some 72 advertisers of which some 44 were founding subscribers. She paid tribute to the Transition Year students of Garbally College and the pool of volunteer drivers who ensure that within 3 to 4 hours of a Friday morning over 3,000 households in the town and old urban catchment areas receive their free copy. She also warmly thanked Ken Kelly who undertook the delivery of almost a 1000 copies to all the national schools within a 10 km of town and various nursing homes.

Editor Colm Croffy reviewed the growing on-line and offline readership of the publication with some 40,000 regular on-line readers between issue, Facebook and the blog – allied to the paper readership of some 7,000. This is a huge potential advertising reach for the business community and some 16 new businesses or firms were profiled by the Magazine in the last 12 months.

Sinéad Colleran herself the PR and Office Manager with the HSE Community Games then unveiled the new look of the Town’s Official website – Ballinasloe.ie – which went live this week and aims to place Ballinalsoe, it’s amenities, events , attractions and businesses professionally and properly on the Google map. Sinéad pointed out that the news and feature content for the Website would come from the Ballinasloe Life Magazine desk – including the bi monthly events guide.

She pointed out however that the technology allows businesses once registered to divert the user to their own Facebook or website with more tailored information.

Seamus Duffy thanked Sinéad who undertook the build of the new website as a volunteer for her community and thanked the Council for allocating the old town council domain name to B.A.C.D.

The final segment of a very positive community evening was the outline presentation by Chris Wade CEO of People for Places on the Town Benchmarkng Report which saw unprecedented numbers of surveys being administered to the town centre users and indeed over 80% of the business community within the precincts of the town centre.

Chris outlined the results and undertook a question and answer session with the audience who at times had a different view of how aspects of the town were perceived or rated by the shoppers, users and business owners.

There was much to be positive about and in a revealing question and answer session afterwards it was made clear that whilst there was work to be done on the challenges – the foundation for a very successful niche provincial town was all at our feet. The full results of the town benchmarking on-line and footfall and business sentiment surveys will be made available to the community on-line by the end of March .

Chairman Seamus Duffy introduced & thanked Jacinta Divilly, the Town Team facilitator and her town team; who have been tasked with interpreting the data into an agreed issue list to feed into an action plan for community led local revival.

He also thanked Lyn, Colm , the LIFE Reporters including the newest U.L. recruit Zara Hill and all the various contributors , advertisers and volunteers who have combined to make the Magazine the award winning success that it is.

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Is there a Flood Risk near you? Take part in CFRAM Local Flood Risk Assessment TODAY!

  Shannon CFRAM Study – Public Consultation

CFRAM

Three locations in Co. Galway (Portumna, Ballinasloe and Ahascragh) have been identified as Areas for Further Assessment under the Office of Public Works’ Shannon Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme.  The Study is assessing flood risk across the Shannon catchment area and will develop Flood Risk Management Plans for those areas most at risk of flooding.  

Jacobs Engineering Ireland, who are conducting the Shannon CFRAM Study, on behalf of the OPW and with the support of Galway County Council, have produced Draft Flood Maps for Ballinasloe and Ahascragh. To provide an opportunity for all interested persons to view and comment on these maps, a Public Consultation Day will be held in the following Locations:

  • Ballinasloe Municipal District, Civic Office, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway on Thursday 26th February 2015 from 12pm to 7.30pm.
  • Back Lounge O’Donnell’s Pub, Ahascragh, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway on Thursday 26th February 2015 from 12pm to 7.30pm.

The people of Ballinasloe are invited to view and discuss with CFRAM Team, the Draft Flood Maps for Ballinasloe and / or Ahascragh. This will be an opportunity to preview the maps and discuss them with a member of the Shannon CFRAM Project team.

The Draft Flood Maps for Ballinasloe and Ahascragh will be on display at the above venues on 26th February 2015 and will also be accessible on the Shannon CFRAM Study website www.shannoncframstudy.ie from that date.   

The CFRAM team look forward to meeting you and hearing your views on the Draft Flood Maps. Should you have any questions in the meantime, get in touch with The Shannon CFRAM Study Communications & Engagement Team!

00353 (1) 2028113

Merrion House;

Merrion Road;

Dublin 4

www.shannoncframstudy.ie

Good news at last for St. Brigid’s Hospital?

In a night of good news for East Galway, the HSE has confirmed that it is also investing €1.6 million in two new specially designed state of the art homes for adults with a learning disability. These new homes are to be built on the St. Brigid’s Campus in Ballinasloe and will accommodate ten residents who currently live in the Oak Grove building which is fairly unsuitable for their needs. St. Brigid’s does have a major role to play in healthcare in the future and this is the first of a number of other investments to be made in the campus. 

St. Brigid's

Incredible News for Ballinasloe as Veronica Burke wins her 2nd National All Ireland Title in under 4 weeks!

The ‘GloHealth’ Senior Indoor Championships were held in AIT over the weekend and Veronica Burke from Ballinasloe & District Athletic Club put in another electrifying performance in the Senior Women’s 3K Race Walk.

veronica burke

The young athlete claimed her 2nd National All Ireland Title in under 4 weeks, after once again winning Gold at National level. Veronica also won a National Gold medal in the Junior National Indoor Championships 3k race walk which was held in AIT on January 25th. She knocked over 11 1/2 seconds off her time in under 4 weeks – remarkable!

We would like to offer a huge congratulations to Veronica on behalf of Ballinasloe District & Athletic Club and of course, on bahalf of this great town. It is great to see this truly remarkable athlete retain TWO National Gold medals in just one month – a truly significant achievement!

Veronica is a credit to Ballinasloe and District Athletic Club, who could not be ‘more proud of her representing them both at National and International level’, remarked club PRO Monica Mckeon.

It is safe to say that Veronica is an incredible inspiration to all of the town’s young athletes and we wish her well in her future endeavours! Although, it’s unlikely that we won’t be writing about her again in the very near future!

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Veronica Burke is a true inspiration for young athletes

Ballinasloe Battle it out on hit TV Show! Extended Interview with Rónan O’ Healy!

From Swimming to Athletics, Rugby to Singing, Ballinalsoe truly succeeds in all!

And if this year’s series of The Voice’ is anything to go by, it’s exciting times ahead for the town as not only one, but TWO native contestants have made it through to the battle stages of the singing competition, which will commence THIS Sunday evening at 6.30 pm on RTÉ One.

18 year old, Ciara Monaghan and 22 year old, Rónan O’ Healy both impressed this year’s panel of judges when they took to the stage recently to showcase their extraordinary talents.

Hillcrest native and GAA star, Rónan made it through his first blind audition with an unconventional yet catchy rendition of the Bruno Mars classic, ‘The Lazy Song’ that impressed former S Club 7 singer and new member of this year’s judging panel, Rachel Stevens.
RonanIn a recent interview by ‘Ballinalsloe LIFE’, Rónan remarked,

‘Music has always been a big part of my life. However it has only really been in the last 18 months that I have begun to take it seriously. Sport was always my main passion and music was always my hobby on the side’.

However, even though Rónan attended Athlone Community College primarily because they offered Competitive Soccer, music has recently taken centre stage and become a great passion of his.

The talented young man, began playing music at the age of 13, ‘hitting anything in the house that made a sound’ until he was rewarded with his first Sonor drum kit at the age of 15.

‘I always wanted to be a drummer and I had pots and pans made into bits by the time I was 15. I always liked guitar but the fact that I’m left handed made it difficult for me to learn’, added O’ Healy.

Rachel

Former S Club 7 member, Rachel Stevens was impessed by Rónan’s quirky and innovative performance.

A keen learner, Rónan taught himself how to play the guitar and drums.

‘People never usually know what chords I’m playing and if I am honest, half the time I don’t know what I’m playing either! They sound good though, I think’, joked the local talent.

Rónan always kept playing to himself and admittedly he added, ‘Very few of the lads knew I had such a keen interest in it’. 

When asked about his main music influences growing up, the Sound Engineering Student claims his main influence was Noel Gallagher.

‘His guitar playing wouldn’t be by the book either! His brother Liam is also another huge influence. I loved everything about Oasis; the lyrics, the sound and the image. They were the ones who really made me want to pick up a guitar and sing’, expressed the passionate music enthusiast.

Rónan has many talents and singing is only one of them. A sports fanatic, O’ Healy was part of a very successful soccer team in ACC where he won numerous competitions including an impressive Leinster A Title. Rónan also remarked that he is greatly looking forward to ‘getting back playing ball and helping St. Grellans get back up to Senior!’.

Rónan describes his experience on The Voice so far as a ‘nerve wrecking process’.

‘The thing people don’t realise is that the auditions start long before the ones you see on TV! The Blind Auditions are the 4th stage of the auditions! My first audition was way back in August where I had to submit a piece on-line. Thousands and thousands audition but only about 100 get through to the Blind auditions’, revealed Rónan.

O’ Healy added, ‘it is a process that involves a lot of waiting and a lot of trips to Dublin but so far it has been class!’.

Rónan acknowledges the ‘amazing talent in the show this year’ and says that a huge plus for being on the show is the attention it brings.

‘The good outweighs the bad by about 100:1’, joked the 22 year-old. ronan5

The talented son of Seán and Margaret O’ Healy is looking forward to writing new music and performing locally in 2015 as part of his new two-piece band, ‘On Rail’, with Neil Harney.

Speaking of this new innovation Rónan said, ‘we only started in early December but we were flat out all Christmas. We played mainly in Athlone in places such as Seán’s Bar, Naughton’s Bar, The Prince, Coosan Tavern, Dan’s Tavern and out in Luker’s Bar in Shannonbridge’.

According to Rónan, On Rail has ‘a great sound’.

‘I play the guitar as well as a foot drum and vocals while Neil Harney plays the box accordion’, describes O’ Healy.

Rónan has received huge attention locally since his début Television appearance on RTÉ one a few weeks back and fondly remarks,

‘I’m lucky to be from a town where there are such incredible musicians. I don’t think people realise the talent we have in this town’.

Rónan advises young musicians who would like to enter a talent show like ‘The Voice’ to go for it and ‘make the jump that many are scared to take. It is tough and it might not always work out but it is better to try something and fail than live with the regret of not trying. Take a chance!’. 

MEANWHILE, Glentaun representative Ciara Monaghan has also made it through her blind audtition, earning herself a place on Westlife member Kian Egan’s team of singers.

Stay tuned to RTÉ One on Sunday evenings at 6.30 pm to follow Rónan and Ciara on their journey.

The Next Issue of ‘Ballinasloe LIFE Magazine’ which will feature an exclusive interview with Ciara  Monaghan as she describes her experience on the hit TV show and her claim to fame!

Click here to watch Ronan and Ciara’s Auditions on The Voice! Ciara

Rónan O’ Healy Voice Audition!

Ciara Monaghan Voice Audition!

Exciting Times as Success Continues for Ballinasloe Swimmers!

Following a successful report from the National Minor School Swimming Championships that took place in Dublin over the weekend, there really is no limit to the success of our local swimming club here in Ballinasloe!

Swimmers

U11 Boys Breaststroke National Silver medal winner James Mooney from Ballinasloe Swimming Club who represented Creagh NS at the National Minor School Swimming Championship, 8th Feb.

Four members of the Ballinasloe Swimming Club represented Creagh NS at the National Minor School Swimming Championship which was held in the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin on Sunday Feb 8th.
James Mooney got into the final of the U11 boys Breaststroke where he put in a magnificent performance to win a National Silver medal in an extremely close race. He narrowly missed out on the Gold when he was pipped just before the finish line.  He also swam well in the U11 boys Freestyle. Well done James.
Tara McKeon & Ruth Dolan both had great swims and made the final in the U11 girls Freestyle final where they came in 9th & 10th place respectively.  Ruth also made the final in the U11 girls Backstroke where she finished in 4th place which is a fantastic result.  Tara also swam well and made the final in the U11 girls Butterfly where she came 10th.
Ava made the final of the U10 girls Freestyle where she finished in 6th place after an impressive swim.
These are all excellent results for the club and for the town. The standard at the Nationals is exceptionally strong according to club secretary and PRO, Monica McKeon.
‘It is often the case that just making it into the final of the Nationals is a great achievement in itself as it places you in the top 10 in the country in that event’, stated a proud Monica.
The club secretary added, ”A huge congratulations to Tara, Ruth & Ava who should all be proud of their performances in the National Minor School Championship. Also, congratulations to James Mooney in his success in winning a Silver National medal”.
Ballinasloe Swimming Club expect to have more swimmers in the Nationals next year as the club currently has many young swimmers who are capable of achieving this.
It’s very exciting times for the club!
Swimmers 2

James Mooney, National Silver medal winner with National Finalists Ava McKeon, Ruth Dolan and Tara McKeon at the National Minor School Swimming Championships on Sunday.

Visit Our Fantastic Country Market Every Friday!

The Ballinasloe Country Market successfully continues to do business in the Town Hall every Friday morning from 9a.m. until 1.30p.m.

Jam

There is a wide range of fresh, home-made produce sold at the market.  

The successful market boasts a fine array of local home-made produce ranging from brown bread, fruit scones, cheese scones, Oxford lunch and boiled cider cakes to apple tarts, bake wells, queen cakes and home-made jams; all of which are reasonably priced and freshly made.

A huge amount of free range eggs sell out every week and fantastic seasonal vegetables and flowers can also be purchased.

Craft items available for purchase include Martin Colleran’s wonderful wood crafts, which is just one selection of the craft items available.

Among other stand-out items displayed are Mary Egan’s fascinators and jewellery which can be made to order to co-ordinate with special occasion outfits.

Lots of baby wear gift items such as matinee coats, hats and blankets are also available as well as cards for all occasions to write your personal message on.

New additions to the market include Zara’s handmade soaps which are ideal gifts for any occasion.

Orders for novelty cakes can be taken at any time of the year. Orders for cakes and confectionery are currently being accepted for Communions and Confirmations in April-May.

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Mary Egan and some of her fascinators that can be bought from the weekly country market.