Mayo news in briefs

Westport Civic Trust public lectures return

Westport Civic Trust’s public lecture programme will commence on Tuesday October 17 this year at 8pm in the Walnut Suite in the Plaza Hotel. Dr Michael O’Connor, historian and author of Caribbean slave owners and other lesser-known histories from County Mayo, will give a lecture on ‘Clew Bay Slaveholders’.

Westport Civic Trust was formed more than 20 years ago to raise awareness about the natural, historic and architectural heritage of the Westport locality; to promote higher standards in planning and architectural heritage; and to provide educational lectures and excursions for members.

The public lecture programme has been running monthly evening talks during the autumn, winter and spring since 1999. It aims to provide interesting and informative talks by speakers from Mayo and elsewhere. The lectures usually have a local or regional focus on historical, environmental, artistic/literary themes, and even a bit of nostalgia. They take place on a Tuesday monthly at 8pm in the Plaza Hotel on Castlebar Street. They are free to members of the Civic Trust who can join on the lecture night. Non-members are welcome for a small cover charge.

Remaining speakers until April 2024 include archaeologist Michael Gibbons (14th November ) who will discuss recent research findings in West Connacht archaeology; writer Kate Carty (12th December ) in a Christmas Miscellany of readings and poetry with the Townhall Barbershop singers; and artist Sinead Wall (16th January ) to talk about artistic visions of Ireland. On 13th February, journalist and documentary maker Liamy McNally will look at the changing face of Westport. Garden designer Mary Reynolds (19th March ) will outline her plans for the landscape of Westport House and Demesne. Historical geographer Patrick Duffy (16th April ) will look at the progress and impact of the coming of rural electrification to the west from the late 1940s.

Aontú at 6% in Connaught Ulster

One of Ireland's newest political parties has achieved its highest rating in a Red C poll. The latest Red C pol has revealed Aontú currently sits on 3% approval, marking a rise of 1% since the previous poll. Aontu has also reached its highest poll rating in Connaught Ulster reaching 6%. Aontú representative for Mayo, Paul Lawless, commented: “I am delighted to see Aontú polling well nationally, and particularly across this region. We are growing significantly in Connaught in terms of support and members. 6% in Connaught/Ulster in the latest Red C poll is a strong result and places us just 5 points behind Fianna Fáil in the region. People are furious with the damage the Government is doing. Aontú are leading the opposition in terms of health, housing and standing up for farmers and rural Ireland. We are growing across the county, people are joining Aontú every week. We are also launching another election candidate in Galway this week, Luke Silke. Keep the momentum going, join us.”

National Broadband connections in Belmullet

National Broadband Ireland (NBI ) has announced that engineering survey works for almost 1,400 premises in the rural surrounds of the Belmullet deployment area are now underway. This area includes the rural communities of Belmullet and An Geata Mór. These initial works pave the way for the next stage of deploying fibre on poles/ducts and includes the erection of poles, unblocking of ducts, and the insertion of sub duct into existing ducts, for the fibre to be installed. National Broadband Ireland is calling on people living in Mayo to visit and enter their Eircode to see if they are ready to connect.

Mayo house prices decrease 1.3% in three months – REA survey

The price of the average second-hand three-bed semi in county Mayo has decreased to €192,500, down 1.3% from €195,000 in the last three months, according to a national survey by Real Estate Alliance.

This represents the only reported county-wide price decrease in the country this quarter, the Q3 REA Average House Price Index shows.

The survey shows that across the county 40% of purchasers were first-time buyers, and 10% of purchasers were from outside of the county.

A total of 20% of sales in the county this quarter were attributed to landlords leaving the market.

The average price in Westport remained at €270,000 this quarter, while Castlebar prices fell 1.3% to €192,500.


Three more tennis courts for Castlebar Club

Castlebar Tennis Club has applied for planning permission to develop three more tennis courts at the popular sporting facility, which is situated at Knockacroghery, near the Lannagh Leisure Centre. The application from the trustees of the club was registered with the council on August 31 last and applies for the construction of three Padel tennis courts, within the existing site, complete with artificial grass surface and 4m high fencing around sections of the court perimeters, as well as 6m high lighting posts. An exemption from paying a planning fee was applied for on the basis that the proposed development is carried out by a voluntary organisation and is designed to be used for recreational purposes by the inhabitants of the locality. A decision on the application is due by 25 October 2023.

Great Western Greenway surfacing works

Mayo County Council wishes to advise it is improving the user experience of the Great Western Greenway by carrying out surface renewal works along much of the 44km route, which will run until Friday December 1. The works will involve the localised rerouting of short sections of the greenway. Signed diversion routes, along quiet local roads, will be in place Monday to Friday. The Greenway will be fully open throughout each weekend.


Permanent memorial proposed to mark President Biden visit

Fine Gael councillor and Ballina MD member Jarlath Munnelly has proposed that Mayo County Council erect a permanent memorial of the visit of US President Joe Biden to the town earlier this year.

At the September monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District, Cllr Munnelly said the visit was for many people the highlight of a special year for the North Mayo capital. However, he claimed that there is nothing to mark the spot that President Biden delivered his historic speech that exposed the town to a global audience.

Cllr Munnelly stated: "Many people have come to Ballina since that speech and will continue to do so. But there's nothing to mark the spot from where President Biden delivered that speech to the whole world. What I am proposing is some form of permanent installation along Cathedral Road, so that visitors who come to the town in the years ahead will see something to commemorate this special moment in the town's history. It could be a very good commission for artists that would generate a lot of interest across the world - and it could become something that would attract visitors too."


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