Market Square Kudos
The award for the redesigned Market Square in Castlebar is music to the ear of the Connaught’s editorial writer this week. The paper states "The officials of the Castlebar town Council came in for a lot of heat as the design became apparent and the outspoken opponents verbally knocked it before waiting to see the end product." They go on to say I told you so outlining the three-page article glorifying the Market Square in the latest edition of "Urban Spaces". The Association of Irish Architects have nominated the Market Square for a special urban design award. The Connaught claims to have written in defence of the project on many occasions. The Market Square is a monument to those who came up with the blueprint and had the courage to continue with the project despite the protestations of a loud but tiny minority.
I must say I agree with the CT on this one. Take a bow Ray Norton and all those who took the brickbats at the time!
The entertainment section of the Connaught was, of course, full of promos for the Castlebar Blues Festival 2003. All gigs in the pubs around town are free with just the Blues Ball and the sit-down concerts in the Linenhall being charged for at a not unreasonable12 euro. Not bad at all when you consider the talent listed. Old favourites like Errol Linton and his Blues Vibe is back again and likewise Rev Doc and the Congregation. New bands this year include the Blues Fools all the way from Hungary. Ten or 11 different pubs have ads for their particular band playing blues on the long weekend.
Castlebar really does become a more than usually cosmopolitan place on the June Bank Holiday weekend. I bumped into an American chap coming out of McCarthy’s on Sunday. He wanted to know where the Deep South guy from Alabama was playing (actually I think he cancelled – poor Coxs lost out this year and it’s a fine venue). Anyway I directed him to Errol Linton as an excellent English Jamaican substitute for the Deep South of the Blues. He was delighted – "when that Carribean thing meets with the Deep South Alabama Blues you should get something really going" he said. He added one thing though that struck me – the American guy said "This is a big deal you know?" he said, "The Castlebar Blues Festival! – a big thing". The prophet in his own land and all that - maybe we don’t appreciate the fact that over 20 different highly skilled groups of musicians come to our small(ish) town and play for us. Anyone who has ever had piano or guitar lessons will know what is involved in standing up there on a stage – or maybe perhaps in a snug in a pub – and playing music for a few hours for an audience. Did you gave up the piano when you were 15, because you didn’t like your piano teacher rapping your knuckles with a ruler? If so you will appreciate the skill of musicians who can rock you for an hour or two! And if you don’t know the difference between a piano, where middle C will always sounds the same, and a trombone or Double Bass where a fraction of a millimetre of a difference in where you hit the note can make you sound just like an English Eurovision singer - then stick to playing your CDs! You may be able to tell the difference between the original Jimi or Rory and the cover version played by a blues band in McGoldricks or wherever – but hey! - playing a CD ain’t the same as playing a piano or guitar, never mind a double bass or trombone. The point is that here in Castlebar you can listen to one hundred or so highly skilled artists every June Bank Holiday weekend - and these guys and gals play for free!! You don’t have to travel or win a prize. At most it will cost you the price of a pint or two. So folks of Castlebar get off your ass and support your local sheriff!
Notice to Planning Authority
The Connaught has among others two planning permissions one sought for "Statoil Service Station, Newtown South, Ballindine, Co. Mayo." and one for the "Townland of Mountain Common, Agahamore, Killeen, County Mayo"
The small ads are always interesting – of course they’re the reason local newspaper titles are being gobble up for millions by the likes of Tony O’Reilly. He has bought up half the local papers in Australia for their small ads!
The first requests planning permission to redevelop an existing petrol station at Newtown. When I first saw it I thought of for some reason I thought of two separate petrol stations in the vicinity of "Newline" in Castlebar that really do need redeveloping. But reading it more closely I saw that it was "Newtown South" and in Ballindine not Castlebar. I’m not sure but I assume that this particular petrol station is the the one just opposite Cathal Walsh's amazing sculpture in Ballindine. A fine establishment that once helped me with a punctured tire. I could be wrong because there's another one just down the road at the other end of Ballindine....
The second one is perhaps an even more interesting one. It's posted by someone called Guenter Klempt and applies for the erection of a 30m high Wind Monitoring System at Aghamore, Killeen, County Mayo. I can imagine "environmentalists" all over the country scurrying for their maps to find out where Aghamore is in order to stop the march of the renewable energy devices that are designed to produce electricity which does not add to climate change and greenhouse warming! Anyone know where Aghamore is?