The Quincentennial Park in Salthill is to be re-energised and opened up to visitors with the addition of the Circle of Life commemorative garden which received unanimous support by city councillors when it came before the council recently seeking approval under the Part VIII Planning and Development Act.
Its creators Martina and Denis Goggin, founders of the Strange Boat Donor Foundation were praised for their vision and for turning a family tragedy into something positive that can be enjoyed and appreciated by the community. The foundation was established by the parents of Éamonn Goggin, a young County Galway man whose organs were donated following a road crash in 2006.
Since its inception the foundation is actively involved in promoting and supporting this life giving cause, and is engaged in various related activities. It is the intention to develop the Circle of Life, the first national public garden of its kind, so that it will be a “place of beauty and evocation with particular and significant meaning for recipients and the families, friends, and loved ones of organ donors”.
Welcoming Mr and Mrs Goggin to the council chamber, Mayor Pádraig Conneely proposed that the application be approved - seconded by Cllr Peter Keane - and that €5,000 in funding be taken from the money received from the Mumford & Sons concert held in Salthill Park last summer be allocated to this worthy project which is estimated to cost in the region of €150,000.
“I’m very pleased this has finally come to a conclusion,” said Cllr Conneely. “I welcome the Goggins here. They lost a young son, they have been pursuing this and they haven’t given up. This is going to be a fantastic facility for those who want to find some peace of mind,” he said.
Cllr Keane also congratulated the Goggins for “the positive and proactive manner in which they dealt with this”. He said: “It will be an enhancement of the existing park and that can only be good for the area”.
“I commend them for their vision, it’s a fantastic design. It will draw national and international visitors to the area. The Goggins are doing the community a great service,” said Cllr Hildegarde Naughton.
Cllr Niall McNelis also welcomed the project adding: “They have created something that’s going to be a very special place, a great place to remember and to celebrate.”
In his recommendation for approval of the project, director of services Ciarán Hayes said the garden “not only meets the objectives of the foundation, but fits well within the footprint of the park and indeed enhances it”.
According to the plans the project will have a main feature garden with a new park entrance, a stone constructed reflective area, feature stone pieces, heritage stones, a small water fountain, landscaping and re-alignment and re-grading of some existing pathways. The development shall also include the provision of water and electrical services, drainage and associate site works. The garden will be located in the southern section of the park, comprising 37 per cent of the overall park. The entrance to the park will also be widened resulting in the park being more clearly identified and encourage greater use of this public recreational facility.
The Circle of Life is being funded almost entirely through voluntary donations, a proportion of which is being procured through corporate/organisational sponsorship, philanthropic donations and local, national, and international fundraising events. It is understood that construction work will commence in September with the view of it being open to the public by the end of this year.