A nephew of one of Galway’s most famous hurling heroes has lamented the state of the Blackrock diving tower in Salthill. Séan Duggan was one of the most high profile users of the facility, swimming there for more than 50 years. Indeed in hail, rain, or snow the GAA legend still undertook his daily swim, up to six months before he passed away at the age of 91. His nephew Peter L Duggan says it is a travesty that the famous landmark has deteriorated to such a state.
Mr Duggan, who is a native of College Road but now lives in California, has continued the family tradition and swims at the tower when he returns to Galway on holidays. “It is an iconic place to visit in Galway which is very much part of the city’s history. I see pictures of the tower on Facebook and it is in a sad, sad, state.”
Mr Duggan feels so strongly about the issue that he has written to Galway City Council to outline his disapointment at the tower’s state of neglect and requested a facelift become a priority for the local authority. “I am passionate about this issue as it has been part of my family history for 50 years and it is where I learned to swim. The tower needs to be made a preserved site and taken care of in such a manner. Thousands of people visit Blackrock on a daily basis to walk our famous prom.”
City councillor Pearce Flannery is another passionate advocate of this issue and he is due to put a motion before the council at Monday’s meeting calling for the raft at Blackrock to be re-instated. “This is a big issue around Salthill and Knocknacarra. There is a very strong body of opinion in the area that the raft should be re-instated.”
He says a revamp of the facility is scheduled but is waiting on a confirmed date for the work to start. “We are led to believe it is imminent, I would love to think it would happen this summer.”
However Councillor Flannery does not believe the planned work goes far enough. “There has been €100,000 set aside for painting and other work but it is my intention to get that amount increased because I don’t feel it goes far enough. The Blackrock tower is an iconic part of Galway life and the council should be doing all it can to restore it to its former glory. It is a big bugbear of mine. There needs to be a bigger vision for the facility and a look taken at extending the diving tower and maybe building a child’s bathing pool in the vicinity.”