Rusheen Bay, one of Galway city's main water sports amenities, is being auctioned on Friday July 20 and risks being “lost forever unless people act fast”, according to a group of water sports enthusiasts, now seeking to buy the school.
The Rusheen Bay windsurfing and water sports school is being auctioned for an asking price of €200,000. However, there are concerns the popular amenity will be lost if purchased by developer interests.
In order to protect the site, a local group including water sports enthusiasts, instructors, and parents have formed Save Rusheen Bay Watersports, a club entity (company limited by guarantee ), to purchase Rusheen Bay Windsurfing School, including its stock, website, and storage containers. To do this it has set up a crowd funding campaign with Galway company iFundraise.ie it is now calling on the public to make donations to "help secure Rusheen Bay for generations to come", via www.ifundraise.ie/rusheen
If successful at auction, Save Rusheen Bay will then seek to run the school as a not-for-profit club teaching water sports and land-based activities to children and adults in Galway city and county. It plans to finance the club through sustainable, commercially-run, water sports camps during the summer months. Due to the bay being almost completely enclosed, it is regarded as one of the safest and places to learn waters ports. Its flat water is regarded by some of Ireland's best slalom sailors and freestylers as a training ground.
“If you were to design a perfect water sports location that is safe and enclosed, this would be it," said Liam Wade of Save Rusheen Bay. "The bay provides an introduction to young people and adults to watersports in a safe, fun, and professional environment.”
The group also said that if Rusheen Bay was lost to developers, that this would have a "serious impact on tourism, employment, and the "life of the residents who live in the area".
The group has received support from the Mayor of Galway, Labour city councillor, Niall McNelis. “I fully support this worthy cause," he said. "Galway is a city by the sea - a Green Leaf city - and needs to protect maritime amenities like Rusheen Bay for generations to come. This would be a shame if it was lost to the community.”
Windsurfing and water sports have been carried out in Rusheen Bay since 1991 and it is estimated that more than 25,000 children and adults have learned water sports at the bay. Originally it was run by Martin Rowe and Aoife Cooke; then Cathal Kavanagh between 1995 and 2011, after which it was sold to Danny Mulryan, Galway Bay Watersports Ltd.
Rusheen Bay plays annual host to Irish Windsurfing Association events such as the Irish Windsurfing Championships, National Freestyle Championships, Intervarsities, and the IWA Youth Championships. It won the Irish Sailing Association Training Centre of the Year award in 2011. However the school has not been open since October 2017.