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Jim Cuddy – Appreciation from your local Councillor

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all the people of the Claregalway, Carnmore and surrounding areas for their wonderful support on June 11th which ensured my election to Galway Co. Co. Your support on Election Day was so overwhelming and I was deeply moved by the large number who turned out on the day .

The canvass itself was very enjoyable and the courtesy and good wishes extended on the door steps is very much appreciated. Any problems that have been presented to me are being dealt with.

My term of office is for five years. I am looking forward to the challenge and as your local councillor will be working with you for the good of the area.

I am indebted to my very loyal campaign team who worked tirelessly over the past number of weeks to ensure my success.-Mile buiochas dibh go leir.

Now an update
The Minister for Transport Seamus Brennan has met with a delegation from Claregalway in relation to my request for the The Claregalway By- Pass. He is now to consult with the NRA towards moving this project forward and I will keep you up to date on developments.

I have arranged that in the near future additional public lighting will be provided in Gortacleva and that lighting will also be erected at Clogher and School Rd, Carnmore.

I am awaiting correspondence from the council in relation to my request for traffic islands at the junction of Cregboy and Rockwood.

As always I can be contacted at (091) 798136 or Mobile (087) 6360242. -Jim

Claregalway Hotel

The Claregalway Hotel is on its home run!

The hotel will be opening its doors in Early July and our plans are well advanced with our recent launch of our Race week program in Tí Cusack’s Public House and Café Bar.

Ti Cusack’s Public House & Café Bar

Our Racing festival entertainment is as follows:
Monday 26th Mike Tobin and Guests until late
Tuesday 27th Mike Tobin and Guests until late
Wednesday 28th Sproí @ 6.30 (Trad Session) & The Neil Diamond Experience 10.00 p.m.
Thursday 29th Sproí @ 6.30 (Trad Session) & The Neil Diamond Experience 10.00 p.m.
Friday 30th The Neil Diamond Experience until late.
Saturday 31st Sproí @ 6.30 (Trad Session) & Maiden Heaven at 10.00 p.m.
Sunday 1st After noon session with Sproí, followed by Rain Dance @ 10.00 p.m

No need to drive to the Races.We will provide a coach from Ti Cusack’s to the race course.

Return tickets for the bus will be available from behind the bars 1 hour before the start of the Races each day.

A return coach will leave every 20 minutes after the last race back to the Ti Cusack’s. For 1 hour.

Tickets cost €3.00 per person

Parties: If you are planning a small gathering or party why not hold it in Ti Cusack’s café bar- you can have complimentary finger food for parties of 20 or more.
Sports: Feel part of the action in Ti Cusack’s when watching all the major sporting events on our larger plasma screens with stadium sound in our public bar.
Music: Live music will be a regular in Ti Cusack’s with regular Irish sessions on Wednesday nights. Live music then Thursdays thru until Sunday Night with the odd surprise night thrown in.

River Bistró
Carvery lunch from 12.00 noon until 3.p.m. with bar food until 6.00 p.m. every evening.

Open for dinner every evening after the races with our special race week menus.

Booking not essential.

When the Hotel opens it doors it will employ 50 people full time and at the height of each season the numbers would be in well in excess of 70 staff.

Meet the Team
Liam Heffernan – Operations Manager – hails from Kilkenny, now lives in Mountain West, Oranmore. Liam joins the team from the Ardilaun House Hotel. Previous to that Liam worked in Australia and was Assistant manager in Renvyle House Hotel for 8 years. Don’t be surprised to see Liam pulling out his guitar on the odd occasion as he is well known to be able to rattle out a tune or two!

Paul McCarthy – Head Chef who hails from Co. Cork and now resides in Lackagh. Paul joins us from Moran’s on the Weir Kilcolgan. Prior to that he was Sous chef in Pot Bellies here in Claregalway and previous to that Paul was head Chef in the West lodge Hotel, Bantry Co. Cork which was one of the leading wedding venues in West Cork. Paul’s extensive menus offer a wide variety of dishes to suit all tastes from smoked Duck starters to Seafood Kebabs along with Prime Steaks and other mouth watering international dishes. Paul is assisted by his Senior Sous chef Aiden Cleary who joins us from the Westwood House Hotel and Gerard Cahill from Kitty O’ Sheas in Salthill.

Valerie Duffy – Front of House Manager is from the Ballybane Road in Galway – Valerie joins the team from the Shannon Oaks Hotel. Prior to that she was in the Galway Bay Golf and Country Club Hotel. Valerie also worked in the Connemara Coast Hotel.

Olive Molloy – Guest Service Manager – Olive a native of Longford but settled in Cloonbiggin. She rejoins the Hotel industry after taking a few years break. Olive worked with Great Southern Hotels for nearly 20 years where she spent the last 10 years as accommodation manager in the Corrib Great Southern Hotel.

Barry Donavan – Bar Manager needs no introduction to the people of Claregalway! Barry is well known for his work with Claregalway Celtic where he doubles as chair person and Goal Keeper. Barry is joining the team from the Huntsman in Galway where he has been for the last two years. Previously Barry was Bar Manager in the Spanish Arch Hotel, Quay Street.

Catherine McLaughlin – Restaurant Manager – joins us from the Sligo Southern Hotel where she has been Assistant Manager for the last two years. Catherine has also worked in Australia, Germany and the Downhill Hotel in Ballina, Co. Mayo.

What is a Grandmother?

A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own, so she likes other people’s little girls best.

A grandpa is a man grandma. He goes for walks with boys and talks about fishing and stuff.

Grandmas don’t have anything to do except to be there.

Grandmas drive you to the supermarket where the pretend horse is and they have lots of coins ready. Or if they take you for walks, they slow down past pretty leaves and caterpillars.

Grandmas never say “Hurry Up!”

Sometimes grandmas are fat, but not too fat to tie kids’ shoes. Grandmas wear glasses and funny underwear. They can take their teeth and gums out.

They answer questions like “Why do dogs hate cats?” and “How come God isn’t married?”

When they read to us they don’t mind if it’s the same story again. Everybody should try to have a grandma, especially if you don’t have a TV, because grandmas are the only grown-ups who have got time.

Composed by a girl aged seven.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a common skin infection that occurs between the toes. Around 1 in 6 adults have it at any one time. Some have it for years without doing anything about it, others find it more of a problem, while it is easy to treat with creams, powders and sprays, some people find it keeps coming back.

Athlete’s foot is a skin infection caused by a fungus. It most often affects the skin between the toes, making it scaly, cracked, red or sore. Symptoms may vary from mild to painful and itchy. It can also spread to the soles, heel and sides of the foot.

The infection is spread from person to person, for example sharing shoes or towels, you can also pick it up by walking barefoot in changing rooms at gyms or swimming pools. Some people are more prone to athlete’s foot than others. The fungus thrives in warm moist conditions. Avoiding such conditions will help prevent infection.

The treatment of choice is to use an antifungal cream e.g. Daktarin cream or Lamisil cream. In recent tests Lamisil used once daily for 7 days cured 90% of patients with athlete’s foot. Often the fungus appears to disappear quickly however it may still be present and it is important to continue treatment after it appears to clear.

Patients with diabetes mellitus, whose blood sugar levels are elevated, are prone to fungal infections and often have difficulty fighting the infection. It is often an indicator for undiagnosed diabetes mellitus.

Tips for healthy feet:
It is best to wash and dry your feet carefully every day, particularly between the toes. Sharing towels, shoes or socks should be avoided. Flip-flops or plastic sandals should be worn in public changing rooms or showers. Avoid letting your feet get warm sweaty and moist, wearing cotton socks can help, frequently changing them when required. Sometimes the fungus can remain in shoes so it is often worth sprinkling athlete’s foot powder into the shoes when you’re not wearing them. If these tips and treatments are unsuccessful then a visit to the doctor is required, anti-fungal tablets may be required.

John Duffy MPSI. Claregalway Pharmacy

Cleanup in Claregalway

The residents of the Cloon, Clogher, Cahergowan area demonstrated the meaning of Community Spirit recently with a concentrated effort to clean up the environs.

Anyone who walks, cycles or drives through this area of Claregalway knows how unspoilt and beautiful it is. However, the ongoing problem with dumping of rubbish in the locality reached a level which became intolerable to the community. A meeting was called on the 5th May in the Community Centre to make all parties aware of the extent of the issue and to explore options in both clearing the offending rubbish and preventing recurrence. The meeting was exceptionally well attended and Galway County Council was represented by Mr. Rory Connor, Community Warden and it was decided to make Saturday 15th May the official ‘Clean Up Day’. Commitment was sought from all households in the area to fund the clean up and also, equally importantly, commitment to take part on the day. The response was inspiring, to say the least.

Saturday the 15th May came around and it was all hands on deck! Work started before 8 am and the workforce grew as the morning stretched on. People made their way into the shrubbery, over walls and into the most inaccessible areas to make sure that no area was overlooked. David Bellamy himself could not have foraged through the undergrowth more thoroughly!

In all, 11.5 tonnes of rubbish was removed and placed in skips, kindly provided by the County Council. Plastic bags and gloves were provided also, as promised by the Community Warden, Mr. Rory Connor. There were tractors and trailers, a digger, a track machine, cars and trailers and many, many workers including the youth of the area. A welcome break of sandwiches, biscuits and tea just before noon recharged the volunteers and gave a boost to all involved. By mid afternoon the bulk of the work was complete, photographs taken to record this event and a proud and motivated group of people headed back to their homes for very welcome showers.

As well as gathering the dumped appliances and rubbish, some people were involved in erecting gates, fencing and signage also. All in all it was a great weekend’s work by the people involved. Even the weather stayed good for us! Certainly the pheasants, otters, badgers and other indigenous wildlife will appreciate the hard work.

As an ongoing part of this project, the local community need to be vigilant and observant of any suspicious vehicles in the area, whose occupants might have plans to ‘dispose’ of their rubbish on our doorstep. Car registrations, dates and times will be noted and passed on the local authority.

The great bonus from this clean up project is the inspiring sense of community in the area and meeting and talking with residents instead of just a wave as we pass one another on the road. We all have a part to play in our environment, including the younger generation and it is hoped that the ‘community spirit’ will continue into other project/issues which may need to be addressed as time goes on.


Hello and welcome to our June issue of Nuacht Chláir. Didn’t our local Councillor Jim Cuddy do well – 1,900 first preferences!! What an achievement for first time out and well deserved. Jim has been working tirelessly in the background on behalf of us all and I personally have great faith and confidence in him – a man to deliver and that’s what we need. Of course we have Jarlath McDonagh in Lackagh and Fidelma-Healy Eames in Oranmore on our doorsteps also and I feel equally confident of their support.

In ‘Cleanup in Claregalway’, read about the works carried out by the residents of Cloon, Clogher and Cahergowan – a group not to be reckoned with! Well done to all concerned.

Claregalway is expanding rapidly and we are all eagerly awaiting the opening of the new hotel – a development so badly needed in the area. Read all about it in ‘Claregalway Hotel’.

Until next time,

Special News

Congratulations to Deirdre (Claregalway Pharmacy) and Brian Melia on the birth of their baby boy Evin on the 17th May. Hope you are both adjusting well to parenthood!!

Welcome to Helen and Niall Concannon to their new home in River Oaks. Wishing you both many years of happiness there.

Wedding congratulations to the following couples and best wishes for the future –
Clodagh Fleming, Cahergowan and Hugh Sheehan, Ballinrobe on the 5th June last.
Fiona Kenny, Carnmore and Brendan Morley, Mayo on the 11th June.
Pat O’Malley (Kreation Hair Design), Corofin and Caroline Doherty, Manchester on the 26th June.

Michael Costello, Mullacuttra, May 2004.

Natures Healing Stones

Natures Healing stones includes the placement of stones on the body to improve energy flow. The application of essential oils and the incorporation of the stones into the body to produce therapeutic effects can be traced to ancient times. It also detoxifies and rebalances the whole body.

For further information, please contact Evelyn Kitt: (091) 798485 or 087 6783733.

Abbey Restaurant under New Management

On the 10th of May 2004, Leona Monteith and Marty Concannon took over the Management of the Abbey restaurant in Claregalway Village – retaining the existing staff. I spoke to them recently to hear about themselves and their hopes and plans for the future of our Local Restaurant.

Leona is a native of Birr, Co. Offaly and Marty is from Barna, Co. Galway. Both come from a family background in the Food Industry, as Leona’s Mum was a Caterer and her sister is a Chef, as is Marty’s brother. Leona and Marty are both chefs, but for the moment Leona is looking after the Front of House. They graduated from the GMIT in 1996 and headed straight off to Australia, where they gained a wealth of experience in the Industry over the following seven years. On returning to Ireland last Christmas, they settled in Riveroaks, and have been getting to know the people and the area since then.

So, how does the new Management of the Abbey intend to make a success of their business in an area that is presently undergoing unprecedented growth, with a rapidly growing population, and the infrastructure to support it, including the two new hotels?

Well, they are extremely optimistic, and positive in their attitude, and they believe they can realize their ambitions. They are open for business 7 days a week from 5.00-9.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 12.00-9.30pm on Sundays. When adequate staff is available, we can look forward to ‘lunch being served’ also. From the menu on offer, I have no doubt The Abbey will be a very busy spot on a regular basis. The fact that Nora, Siobhain and the other ‘old reliables,’ who have been serving us all so well under previous managements, are still around to look after our needs, will continue to be a major asset to the Restaurant. The same menu is available upstairs and downstairs, so you can enjoy your meal in the formal setting upstairs or in a more relaxed, easygoing atmosphere downstairs, depending on your mood or the occasion.

Leona and Marty would like to make many people aware that they are available to cater for whatever the public require of them. Special occasions can be accommodated at any time, be it Christenings, Funerals, Family Reunions, etc. There is no problem in opening the restaurant especially to cater for such a situation. Menus and rates can be agreed to suit the individual need.

What about the effect on business of the new hotels due to open in the near future in Claregalway? Well, with the ever-predictable, positive mental attitude of the young people of today, Marty and Leona see this as a very major PLUS for themselves. They figure anything that brings people to the village is an asset. The hotels will bring visitors who are potential customers for the Abbey Restaurant. In fact, as Marty pointed out, when you are a resident in a hotel, it is quite common to go to the local restaurant for a meal, especially if it a reputable establishment with a name for excellence.

So, good luck to Leona, Marty and all the staff at the Abbey.

Mary Casserly.

Gardening Tips

Early summer is a busy time. Weeds grow rapidly and tender species can be planted out. By mid to late summer, you can enjoy the results of your efforts; just make sure plants don’t go short of water.

Jobs for summer

  • Train climbers – the long, flexible stems of climbers grow at their fastest during the summer months and often need support. Wrap self-supporting tendrils around wire supports, spiraling the stems upwards. Tie more substantial stems against posts or trelliswork using garden twine or raffia.
  • Watch for pests and diseases – Warm, wet British summers encourage pests and diseases to multiply rapidly. Treat aphids, blackspot and powdery mildew before they take hold.
  • Propogate softwood perennial cuttings – new summer growth is perfect propagating material. Look for strong, pliable stems and cut off the top 10 cm or so below a leaf joint. Trim off all but the top two pairs of leaves, then insert into pots of compost. Water the cuttings lightly and keep the compost moist by placing a plastic bag over the top.
  • Water the garden – as the summer gets hotter and drier, it is essential to water welll – but sensibly. Water in the early morning and evening to minimize evaporation. Water precise areas thoroughly rather than giving the whole garden a sprinkling. If you water in the day, avoid wetting the leaves as the sun may scorch them. Installing water butts wherever you have a downpipe means you will have more water if there is a water shortage.
  • Damp down the greenhouse floor – when watering greenhouse plants, spray a fine mist over the bences, paths and windows. On hot days open doors, windows and vents to aid ventilation. This prevents overheating and deters red spider mite.

Trees and shrubs

  • Weed out seedlings – remove self-sown seedlings of ash and sycamore before they become established.
  • Prune deutzias – cut out flowered shoots.
  • Laburnums and Lilacs – remove faded flower clusters and thin out weak shoots.
  • Hard-prune broom – cut back plants hard after flowering, avoiding old wood.
  • Clip hedges – trim berberis, escallonia, hawthorn and privet hedges.
  • Take softwood cuttings – use softwood or semiripe side shoots of cotoneasters, deutzias, fuchias and philadelphus. Root in a cold frame.
  • Disbud large-flowered bush roses – remove all the buds adjacent to the main bud at the end of the stem to give exra-larege blooms for cutting.
  • Keep the area around trees and shrubs clear of grass.
  • Reduce water-loss from the soil – mulch moisture-loving plants with garden cmpost or shreddead bark.

Lawns and Ponds

  • Spike lawns – make small but deep holes to enable rain to penetrate to the roots.
  • Mow regularly – during dry spells, raise the mower blades and leave the clippings on the grass. This will help to conserve moisture.
  • Lay turf – This is a good time to lay turf as it will settle down quickly, but water continuously throughout the growing season.
  • Dry-weather strategies – stop all weedkiller treatments and feeding during dry spells, unless you can water the lawn regularly.
  • Top up ponds – maintain the water level in ponds with fresh, clean water.
  • Reduce floating plants – this will allow light to filter through to the deep-water plants below.
  • Flush out aphids – water lily buds can be attacked by aphids. Instead, use a mesh net to immerse the afflicted plant in the water for several days and drown the pests.

Kitchen Garden

  • Earth up maincrop potatoes – lift early varieties that are ready for harvest.
  • Set out tomato plants – provide stakes for all but bush varieties. Keep them well watered and feed regularly with liquid tomato fertilizer.
  • Start planting out – plants leeks and make a watering well at the base to retain water. Plant self-blanching celery. Make sowings of chicory, spinach, beet and Swedes. Sow chervil and dill, and thin out seedlings.
  • Pick herbs regularly – this includes annuals such as chervil. Regular picking keeps them bushy.
  • Tie in long, vigorous shoots of cane fruits – the shoots are soft, so be careful not to damage or snap them.
  • Protect bush and cane fruits from birds – use fine netting or a wire cage.
  • Prune outdoor vines – cut new shoots back to 60 cm. Tie in two replacement shoots to carry next year’s side shoots.

Flowers and bulbs

  • Finish planting half-hardy annuals.
  • Pinch out growing tips on chryanthemums, dahlias and modern pinks – Disbud border carnations. This encourages larger flowers.
  • Sow hardy perennials in an outdoor seedbed.
  • Propagate pinks – Take side-shoot cuttings and root in a cold frame.
  • Move planted-up hanging baskets outdoors – turn them regularly so plants develop evenly on all sides.
  • Promote bushy plants – pinch out growing tips of annuals to induce side-branching.
  • Pinch-prune container plants – Nip out new shoots with your fingers to encourage new leaves. Stop a month or so before you want the plants to flower.
  • Maintain thriving containers – Fill gaps with annual plants lifted from the garden.

Loughgeorge Golf Society

The third outing of 2004 took place in the sun-drenched fairways and greens of Shannon Golf Club on Saturday 22nd May. Almost 60 members took part and shared the sky’s with a myriad of assorted aeroplanes all clambering to get a glimpse of these superb golfers.

The results of the day were:

1st Sean Doyle
2nd Gearóid Hartiga
3rd Martin O’Neill

Cat 1:
1st James Giles
1st Brendan Cummins
2nd John Costello

Cat 2:
1st Tommy Moran
2nd Nicky Joyce
3rd Jonathon Duggan

Patricia Newell

Front 9:
John Noone

Back 9:
JJ O’Kane

Longest Drive:
Danny O’Connell

Nearest Pin:
Craig Stephen

A very special word of thanks to our sponsors for the day, Mairtín O’Connell and Patrick Killilea. The committee and the society deeply appreciate your support.

The next planned outing is the President’s (Gerry Loughnane) prize in East Clare (Bodyke) on Saturday 17th July.

Members will be reminded of tee times closer to the event.

The Committee

S. N. Baile Clár na Gaillimhe

City Sports
Claregalway N.S. dominated the City Primary Schools Sports at Dangan recently. The girls won three of the four relays while the boys added gold and silver in their events. There were also some notable performances in sprints and long distance.


Faoi 10 (4 x 100m) – Boinn Óir – Georgina Ní Éalaithe, Aislinn Ní Thnuathail, Nicola Ní Chonalláin, Leann Nic Aindriú.
Faoi 11 (4 x 100m) – Boinn Óir – Amy Ní Robhcháin, Deirdre Ní Bhraonáin, Tara Ní Oisín, Felicia Nic Aodha.
Faoi 12 (4 x 100m) – Boinn Óir – Amy Ní Robhcháin, Seána Pléamonn, Aingeal Ní Chonchúir, Alexis Giwa.
Faoi 10 (80m) – Bonn Airgid – Georgina Ní Éalaithe
Faoi 11 (80m) – Bonn Chré-umha – Amy Ní Robhcháin
Faoi 12 (100m) – Alexis Giwa.

Faoi 11 (4 x 100m) – Boinn Óir – Seán Ó Móráin, Éamonn Ó Lochlainn, Seán Ó hÉimhín, Riocárd Ó Comáin
Faoi 12 (4 x 100m) – Boinn Airgid – Riain Ó hArrachtáin, Seán Ó Discín, Dónal Ó Conraoi, Micheál O hÉimhín
Faoi 11 (80m) – Bonn Óir – Seán Ó Móráin
Faoi 11 (400m) – Bonn Airgid – Riocárd Ó Comáin
O/12 (800m) – Bonn Óir – Micheál Ó hÉimhín

Green Flag
Congratulations to all the teachers, children and school community on the renewal of the Green Flag. The Green Team, with representatives from all classes, Iníon Ní Bhreathnaigh, Bn. Uí Fhlaithearta and caretaker, Anthony Blade, have done trojan work over the last few months to ensure the successful renewal of the flag.

Comenius Project
Teachers from our three partner schools visited our school at the end of May. We had three teachers from Miskolc (Hungary), two from Turin and one from Bonn. They were very impressed by the standard of music and singing in all the classes and were delighted to be in attendance for the raising of the Green Flag. They also took in a trip to the Aran Islands and had a tour of Galway City.

Carnmore Camogie Club

Chairman – Ger Crowe – 087-6390010
Treasurer – Mary Thornton – 087-2242318
Secretary- Pakie Fox – 087-2517486

Team Managers and Trainers
Maura Murphy 087-9381093 and Dorothy Kenny
U12 Mary Thornton 087-2242318 Joe Coen and Phelim Manning.
U14 Anthony Molloy 091-798930, Declan Walsh and Roddy Grealish.
U13 Declan Walsh and Mary Thornton
U16 Anthony Molloy 091-798930 and Sean Davoren
Junior Team Anthony Molloy and Sean Davoren.

U10 – Our under 10’s are in a quarter final on the 3rd June against Shamrocks. Best of luck to this team and their managers Maura Murphy and Dorothy Kenny.

U13 – Our under 13 team has had a great run with the result that they are in a strong position after beating Kilimordly, Skehanna and St. Thomas in the Group to make the play-off stages.

U14 – Games finished for this season with all these players currently on U12, U13, and U16 panels.

U12’s – Our under 12’s will commence games later in the year.

U16’s and Juniors will both commence after Junior Cert, Leaving Cert and 3rd Level exams.

Special congratulations to two of our U14 girls who have been selected and played with the Galway U14 County Team – Jennifer Davoren and Natallie Molloy. The best of luck to these girls in their upcoming games.

More information will follow in next month’s issue of Nuacht Chláir.

Ger Crowe, P.R.O. for Carnmore Camogie Club (087-6390010)

Interior Design – Hints & Tips

Open Plan Living
Houses in the past were planned with small, self-contained rooms and each of the rooms had their own function. This type of arrangement suited the life-style, particularly in Victorian times, where you had the front room for entertaining and receiving quests and the other rooms to the back for family use. Also the rooms were easier to keep warm in the days before central heating (we might be returning to this set-up if the price of heating oil continues to rise). Attitudes have changed and the open plan home is in-tune with informal lifestyles. In some modern homes an open plan living area is built into the layout of the ground floor area by design, while in older homes a wall can be knocked down to join together two or more smaller rooms into one larger open space area. Whether you already have an open plan area or created one, the planning and decorating for it is the same.

Open plan living does not provide extra floor area, but it can create an illusion of extra space by increasing light and airiness. In an open plan area you have different combination of living – Living, Dining, Kitchen together or Dining and Kitchen or Dining and Living or Living and Conservatory or Living and Study etc. It makes sense to combine rooms where related activities takes place e.g. living and dining, cooking and dining etc. Without some planning it can result in a large, featureless space with a high level of noise and lack of privacy. Open plan is not suitable for everybody.

In your planning you need to cater for socialising, watching television, relaxing, working, dining, and in some cases cooking and sleeping as well. Try to keep the layout simple. It makes sense to have the dining section at the end of the area nearer the kitchen and if possible to have the dining table near an east-facing window, so you get sunshine at breakfast time. Or you might want to place the TV where the screen doesn’t catch the glare of the sun. Having plenty of storage makes it easier to stop the area getting a cluttered look. Arrange the furniture so that people will use it, without having to re-arrange it every time the room is used. Also allow for traffic flow through the room without having to detour around a table or cutting across a group of armchairs etc.

You can create different activity zones within an open-plan area, without loosing a sense of spaces. Do this by placing e.g. a table, sofa, or sideboard across the space. In Dining/Living combination, you could use most of the space as a living area by using folding dining table, which is placed against a wall when it is not in use. Another option is, instead of leaving the dining table surrounded by chairs you remove some of them to other parts of the room. This will give a more informal look and spare seating.

Before you open up your home – knocking walls etc., think carefully about how it will effect your way of living, your working patterns and relationship with family and friends. An internal wall, which is load-bearing is helping to hold up the house, so if you remove it, you’ll need alternative means of support, so get advice. Removing a wall doesn’t just make a room, you may need adjustments e.g. to architectural details. You may end up with two fireplaces, so you could block up one to give space for arranging furniture. Dado rails may appear to reduce the height of a ceiling, so you could remove them altogether. You can also end up with extra doors into the new room, which you didn’t need.

Partial open plan
You may go the whole hog and open up spaces or you may wish to retain some form of division to separate different activities. There are many ways of dividing space without loosing the open plan look and blocking out light. A permanent solution could be an archway or a squared-off opening. Fitting the opening with double doors gives the option of closing off the room when you need too. Glazed or part-glazed doors look good in this situation. You could retain a margin of wall on just a side to enclose part of an area or half-height counter to act as a barrier between two parts of the room e.g. a screen for a cooking area. It doesn’t have to follow straight lines. A curving counter is an attractive feature and it hides the kitchen clutter from view. Sometimes permanent dividers are too restrictive, so flexible ones offer more options e.g. change the focus of the room when needed. A curtain hung across an opening or a folding screen can offer this type of solution. One of the simplest ways of dividing space is positioning of large piece of furniture e.g. a sofa across a room, but place a table a bat its back, to make it more effective. Plants grouped together can also be used to divide the area.

Decorating the area
It is important that the decoration in the different areas work together and that there is a sense of unity between them. It doesn’t have to match exactly, but they should relate to one another. Flow of colours between the sections of the room visually holds the space together. You can modify the colour scheme and atmosphere in each area, but avoid too many changes or the area can look bitty and loose the sense of space. Floorcovering plays a big part in the open plan space. It is best to keep the same tone throughout the area even if using different materials e.g. a pale carpet in the living space with wood strip flooring in the dining section. Well placed rugs are useful e.g. under the dining table to mark out the eating area. Co-ordinate the curtains and blinds throughout and if the windows vary in shape and need different treatments, you could have curtains at one window and blinds in the same fabric at the other. Having dashes of colour appearing on cushions, ornaments, pictures, rugs, etc. around the areas, draws attention to the different zones, while at the same time unifying the whole scheme.

You need a flexible lighting system, to make the open plan area work, because all the activities that goes on there. Background lighting can be supplied by wall-mounted uplighters or sconce and spotlights on the ceiling. Table lamps, desk lights, standards lamps etc. create warm pools of light around the room wherever you want them. In the dining area concentrate most of the light on the dining table. A rise-and-fall pendant, which lifts out of the way when not in use is a good idea. To create atmosphere use dimmer switches, which allows you to adjust the level of lighting.

As our lifestyles and tastes change, expect to see more open plan living in our homes, where relaxing, eating, cooking all taking in one main area.

Mary D. Kelly
Decorating Options
(091) 798224.