Hoarding to surround Galway landmark until €40,000 is available
Lack of public funding for preservation of Browne Doorway ‘lamentable’
The perspex-and-steel hoarding was erected around the Browne Doorway in Eyre Square, Galway, “in the interests of public safety and protection” on a temporary basis due to budget constraints. Photograph: Eric Luke
A temporary hoarding will remain around the famous Browne Doorway on Galway’s Eyre Square until the city council can find €40,000 to repair the prominently-located early 17th century relic.
Heritage officer Jim Higgins said that this was the estimated cost of “restoration and stabilisation work” recommended by a structural engineering report on the monument, which dates from 1627.
The doorway, topped by a stone-mullioned window, was once the entrance to a mansion on Abbeygate Street owned by Dominic Browne and his wife Maria Lynch. It was salvaged when the house was demolished.
As a stone plaque in front of the monument says, it was relocated to its prominent position at the top of Eyre Square in 1905 by the then Galway urban district council with funding from the Galway Archaeological Society.
Dr Higgins explained that the perspex-and-steel hoarding was erected “in the interests of public safety and protection” on a temporary basis due to budget constraints. “This was never intended to be a permanent resolution,” he said.
“It is lamentable that no central funding is available for the conservation of public structures of heritage interest now that the conservation grants are gone and ‘buildings at risk’ funding is only available for privately owned building.”
Derrick Hambleton, chairman of An Taisce’s Galway branch, complained that the “hideous plastic fence . . . conceals and takes away from public appreciation of the Browne Doorway”, and he called for fresh proposals from the council to replace it.
As Dr Higgins recalled, it had been intended that the doorway would be housed in Galway City Museum “as provided for in the architectural plans”. But objections to its removal from Eyre Square were made to An Bord Pleanála.
The board agreed it should remain at its current location and no further proposals had been examined. But he said the issue “may be reopened” when the draft of an architectural conservation area designation for Eyre Square is brought to the council.