Galway city is to get a long-awaited permanent civic arts space as part of a planned redevelopment of its major post office.
An Post announced on Wednesday that it had tasked agents Cushman & Wakefield with a competitive tender to redevelop the landholding at the junction of Eglinton Street and William Street in Galway City Centre.
The site includes the city’s central post office as well as a number of buildings behind it that housed a former telephone exchange and now defunct sorting and storage offices. The parcel of land includes the main post office on Eglington Street and a number of linked buildings backing onto William Street.
In 2019 An Post made available the former sorting office, comprising 640 sq m (6,888 sq ft), which had not been used in decades, to the Galway International Arts Festival. It transformed it into a temporary pop-up gallery, over nine weeks work, costing €50,000. Since then the former sorting office been successfully used for temporary exhibitions by Galway International Arts Festival and TULCA Visual Arts Festival among others.
Welcoming the announcement, Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Hildegarde Naughton, who has responsibility for An Post, says the project will regenerate a very prominent part of Galway City and provide a “world-class” arts space for the community, she said: “this new development, once complete, will become a hub of activity which will benefit all walks of life in Galway”.
Describing the location as a “hidden gem”, she said: “I am particularly excited for the arts community, and the team behind the Galway International Arts Festival, which have already demonstrated boundless initiative at this location in recent times with the support of An Post.”
The Galway International Arts Festival welcomed the news, saying it had “a long history of temporarily transforming old buildings to facilitate the arts and this news is something we have wanted for Galway for a long time”.