Major regeneration plans for dilapidated area in heart of Galway


Nuns’ Island in Galway city centre is set to undergo a massive facelift in a joint venture between NUI Galway and Galway City Council.

The charming, but rundown, former industrial quarter is planned to be transformed into a hub of innovation and culture in a bid to revitalise the area and attract multinational companies.

Approximately 15 acres of land in the middle of Galway city, including the striking Nuns’ Island Distillery building on the banks of the Corrib, are included in the plans which are part of the government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.

A strategy for the regeneration is being prepared by BDP urban planners, business strategy advisors Colliers International and quantity surveyors AECOM.

A spokesperson for NUI Galway told that €200 million is a “reasonable estimate” for the value of the project.

Community, educational, cultural, economic, start-up, environmental, residential and social uses will all be considered in the master plan and a public consultation process has now opened.

The consultation will inform the master plan which is set to be completed later this year.

The 1911 census reveals that Nuns’ Island, which is nestled between the River Corrib and the canal, once boasted two flour mills, a granite works, a brewery, a fever hospital and the Poor Claires convent, while the distillery was shut down less than a handful of years beforehand.

Many of the buildings associated with these activities are now rundown or no longer in use.

“We very much welcome this support from the Urban Regeneration Development Fund and are delighted to see an agreed vision that this part of our city has the potential to generate a range of community, economic, social, environmental and educational benefits,” said NUI Galway president Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh. 

‘Our dul chun cinn as a University is influenced strongly by the strengths of our hinterland and we welcome all views that will contribute to the long-term development of Nuns’Island for the betterment of our community.’

The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said it has been working closely with NUIG to bring the project to this point and it is looking forward to the engaging with stakeholders in the consultation process.

This article was first seen on