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Galway Independent


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Wednesday, 19th April, 2017 10:09am

The Latin Quarter’s Gin Fest, Galway Food Festival, Galway Theatre Festival, Cúirt International Festival of Literature… Welcome to Galway. That’s just April.

Galway really was buzzing over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend as a total of 80,000 people attended the 5-day Galway Food Festival between the Festival Village at the Spanish Arch, the new Halla Bia Food Hall on Market Street, food tours, food talks and in-house events at restaurants and venues around Galway.

The festival has grown substantially since its inception, but retains a community focus that keeps it grounded and keenly attuned to its audience. It’s a difficult thing to do but, as the many families that visited the festival, feasting on everything from burgers to brioche, will attest - it works.

The festival doesn’t just serve up the same meal each year and expect the same results; it listens to what its diners want, and surprises them with what they need. For instance, the indoor food market Halla Bia on Market Street.

This is Galway and we all know that, most days, it’s either raining or about to rain. We need more indoor community spaces. An indoor food market would be manna from heaven for most Galwegians. It’s something that’s been talked about for decades, with many locations mentioned.

A permanent market space would prove a major boost for local traders, as chef Heather Flaherty pointed out in last week’s Galway Independent. “It’s a really, really great place for small businesses to start… For small food businesses and drinks businesses, it’s perfect because you get to interact direct with customers and sell the products without a huge amount of risk,” she said.

There are plenty of vacant spaces in the city that could fit the bill. We’re European Capital of Culture 2020 and Region of Gastronomy 2018, it seems like a fitting time to work towards that indoor food market.

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