Preparations and Industry in Clifden

Heavy machinery on Main Street

Road works outside the Lavelle Art Gallery this week 


Clifden has been a hive of activity this month in spite of the inclement weather.

It is the last few days of the Irish referendum on marriage equality and we are proud to have been engaged in promoting a YES vote in Clifden. We have ‘YES for Equality’ signs in the gallery window and Gavin and I took it upon ourselves to source some posters in Galway and put them up around town. There was a disappointing proliferation of NO placards that frankly made for a sorry sight each time we stepped outside the door. The YES campaign has been slow to mobilize here, perhaps because we are a small population and not therefore deemed worthwhile in terms of votes. There is also the sense of a strong if muted NO camp in the area that may be tied to the age demographic       ( many young people have moved away ) as well as the prevailing adherence to the catholic church and its views. I have noticed even among friends, a reluctance to assert the YES view publicly and we are one of the very few businesses in town at present to display our preference in the front window. Scrolling through social media last night, I was truly amazed to see how many homes and businesses are covered in material relating to the campaign in urban areas, it’s as if we are have been buffered here by the closeness of each other. I hope in earnest that this does not materialize as a low turnout on polling day and that the national movement towards a more inclusive society in Ireland will be endorsed on Friday.


Lavelle Art Gallery window with YES equality sign      The gallery window with YES  equality sign

The Lavelle Art Gallery window this week



Puttin gup YES posters                Puttin up posters for the YES campaign

Gavin and myself putting up posters for the YES campaign for marriage equality


On Monday morning, we arrived down to work to find the entire length of Main Street cordoned off. An army of machinery was already well underway, removing the top layer of road surface in thick grey strips. Shopkeepers gathered together to establish how long this was all going to take and were quickly reassured that the street would be restored to normal by the end of the week. We gave each other dubious looks but have been chastened by the efficiency and diligence of this excellent squadron of workers and engineers ( McGraths Quarry Group). Today the second layer of tarmacadam is being set down with implausible ease and fine sheets of rain mingle with bursts of steam as the hot black tar is exposed to the air. I understand that we are lucky to have had rain these past few days as it has helped to reduce the dust that would otherwise have coated every shopfront along the street.


Road resurfacing on Main Street

Road resurfacing on Main Street, Clifden


Lastly, we ourselves are in the throes of party preparations in advance of our gallery relaunch on Saturday week ( 30th May ). This morning, we rehung existing works to give each painting a new lease of life and we found space for work that has just come in. I have been busy sourcing glassware and party drinks, balloons and bunting for our celebration. The invitations have been sent and social media has been alerted to spread the news. Customers and friends who will be in Clifden this June bank holiday week end are warmly invited to join us.


Party preparations

Party preparations! 




by Deborah Watkins