7.1 Maigh Cuilinn Small Growth Town

Closed20 May, 2021, 9:00am - 30 Jul, 2021, 4:30pm

7.2       Town Context

Maigh Cuilinn is located approximately 10km north-west of Galway City. The origins of the town were focused around a crossroads where the N59 Galway Clifden Road bisects the An Spidéal to Knockferry local road (L1320 and L1313).  The town provides residents and visitors with a good variety of local services and facilities.  In recent years a limited amount of employment has been generated in the area.   These jobs are based in the service sector, such as retail and restaurants along with a modest amount of industrial and enterprise type jobs. Maigh Cuilinn is also situated in the Galway Gaeltacht, which contributes to the cultural fabric of the area. Maigh Cuilinn has a large hinterland, which illustrates its strategic role in providing services and facilities for the local residents of these areas.  The expansive rural DED’s stretch from Bearna rural DEDs to Killannin west of Maigh Cuilinn and southwards to Tulaigh Mhic Aodháin.

7.2          Sustainable Communities

7.2.1    Housing

Maigh Cuilinn has developed around the intersection of the N59 (Galway – Clifden) and L1313 (An Spidéal - Knockferry) Roads.  At this location the town is characterised by a linear pattern of development, principally along the N59 north south axis which exhibits a number of two storey terraced buildings with ground floor commercial uses and residential uses at first floor level.  This area is characterised by a variety of building styles which range from traditional stone-built buildings and more modern developments which include apartments.  There are also a number of detached properties on the approach roads into Maigh Cuilinn town.  This linear pattern of development is also present on the L1313 road albeit to a lesser extent, with a more modern variety of housing design.  A significant number of suburban type housing has been constructed in Maigh Cuilinn in recent years. 

7.2.2    Education

Scoil Mhuire is a co-educational primary school in the town and there are a number of primary schools in the catchment. There is no secondary school in the town, pupils attend secondary school in nearby Galway city in addition some pupils attend secondary school in An Spidéal.

7.2.3    Community Facilities

The town of Maigh Cuilinn has a number of key community facilities which are important amenities to the town and wider hinterland.  These facilities include the children’s playground, creche, primary school, church and graveyard, medical facilities, Garda Station, post office and a number of sporting facilities.  There will be a new primary care centre which is nearing completion on the approach into Maigh Cuilinn village. The town is also served by a nursing home facility that is located in on the L1313/Knockferry Road. There is also another nursing home located outside of the plan area in close proximity to the local GAA facilities in the townland of Ballyquirke.  Whilst the GAA facilities are not located within the town envelope there is a strong sporting tradition within Maigh Cuilinn. The sporting facilities have improved in recent years, with the addition of a handball alley which is situated on the grounds of the GAA lands at Ballydoita.

7.2.4    Environment and Heritage

Built heritage including architectural and archaeological heritage informs the character and appearance of Maigh Cuilinn.  The crossroads in Maigh Cuilinn are a historic and prominent feature in the town.  The vernacular buildings develop from this point along the Main Street.  The Council is committed to the protection and enhancement of this heritage as set out in planning legislation, through the implementation of appropriate conservation led, sensitive land use policy objectives, urban design principles and development standards that significantly enhance the architectural setting of Maigh Cuilinn.  The Record of Protected Structures lists the buildings within the town that are Protected Structures, including the Co-Op building. 

Part of the cultural heritage of Maigh Cuilinn relates to the Gaeltacht status of Maigh Cuilinn which merits protection, particularly given that an Ghaeilge is no longer the community language.  The County Development Plan contains relevant policy objectives in Chapter 13 Gaeltacht and Islands

Lough Corrib is visible from certain vantage points within the town as the land sweeps downwards from the town towards the lough in an easterly direction.  Lough Corrib is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) which has implications for development that takes place in Maigh Cuilinn and surrounding areas.  There are a number of other SAC’s and Special Areas of Conservation (SPA) in close proximity to the town that must be safeguarded as the town grows and develops. 

Drimcong Wood is a Natural Heritage area and Moycullen Bog Natural Heritage Area adjoins the plan to the south.

7.2.5    Employment and Economic Development

Maigh Cuilinn has been designated as a Small Growth Town (SGT) in the Settlement Hierarchy for the County.  The SGT are key service centres and drivers for growth for each town area and wider hinterland. Maigh Cuilinn has a strategic location on the N59 Galway Clifden- Westport Road.  It is on the edge of Galway City and it also forms part of the Gaeltacht and is a gateway to the wider Conamara area.  It is linked to An Spidéal via the Knockferry Road.  As such, the town is quite accessible from all main directions.  Furthermore, it offers a high-quality living environment with views of the Lough Corrib and as such is an attractive place to live, work and visit, which would have the positive effect of generating significant economic interest.  It is the largest and only town on the western approaches to Galway City.

Maigh Cuilinn does have an established active employment base in the town centre which is primarily focused on retail and local services. There is also an employment base on the Knockferry road which will be discussed in section 2.3.7 below.  The town has the potential to become more self-sufficient which could be achieved with the creation of new employment opportunities, while still accommodating small scale and start-up businesses, including the retail sector. 

7.2.6    Town Centre/Retail

Maigh Cuilinn centre serves the local town population as well as the wider hinterland.  While the strategic location of Maigh Cuilinn town in close proximity to Galway City is an advantage, this can also pose a challenge for the retailing and service sectors in the town as residents may easily opt to shop in some of the larger out of town shopping centres that are located on the western fringes of the City, which is en route to the town.  It is noted that there are a number of vacant commercial units within the McCann’s Supervalu supermarket building. 

7.2.7    Business, Enterprise and Industrial

The plan has identified lands in Maigh Cuilinn where Business and Enterprise and Industrial uses would be allowed.  Currently, there is a large portion of industrial zoned land to the north-east side of the town.  There is a limited amount of business and enterprise zoning at this location also.  Further south towards the south eastern end of the town there is a quantum of land that has been zoned for additional Business and Enterprises uses.  There is a modest amount of employment in industrial/enterprise sectors. There is potential for these sectors to develop further within the town, due to the close proximity of the town with Galway city and the projected population growth that has been identified for the plan area and the wider hinterland that the town of Maigh Cuilinn serves.

7.3       Services and Infrastructure

Whilst the opportunities for public transport are limited in Maigh Cuilinn, the provision of a bypass which is currently forecasted to commence construction in Quarter 2/3 of 2021, will alleviate significant traffic constraints within the town.  The construction of the bypass will provide a significant opportunity to focus on promoting and facilitating the use of sustainable modes of transport, such as walking and cycling, within the town areas including in or near the old Clifden to Galway railway track.  Facilitating bus service provision and associated facilities and reducing car dependency through integrated land use and transportation and wider sustainable travel initiatives are also key considerations in the plan making process.

7.3.1    Water Services

Maigh Cuilinn receives its water supply from the Oughterard Town Supply Scheme and the Galway City Western Environs Water Supply.  All of the lands identified for development potential are served by public water supply.

7.3.2    Wastewater Disposal

The town is serviced by a public wastewater treatment plant and constructed wetlands that are located in Ballyquirke West. 

7.3.3    Transportation, Infrastructure and Movement

 Public transport provision in Maigh Cuilinn is limited to bus services, consisting predominantly of local services which play a vital role in connecting Maigh Cuilinn and its environs to both Galway City and the wider Conamara area.  Public bus services are provided by Bus Éireann with a private busing operator also serving the town. 

Provision for cycling is limited in and around the town of Maigh Cuilinn given the limited capacity of the road network (at certain pinch points) to accommodate cars.  However, the town is located on a popular long distance on road cycling loop from Galway City via Maigh Cuilinn, An Spidéal and Bearna.  The redevelopment of/or near the old railway line as a cycle/walk remains a policy objective of the plan that may be realised in the future, which would form part of the proposed Galway – Clifden Greenway. 

Walking and Cycling is promoted as a sustainable mode of transport within the zoning pan area.  It is important to provide and encourage attractive pedestrian linkages between the town centre with the residential areas.

The Plan supports the improvement of movement and flow within the town centre.   The town is located at a small crossroads junction with the N59 national route and the An Spidéal – Knockferry Road.  These routes generate significant traffic and accessibility problems in the town.  The proposed N59 Maigh Cuilinn Bypass Scheme is supported however, this will not entirely satisfy the towns road infrastructure requirements.  Improvements to the road network in and around the town will be required over the plan period to avoid excessive congestion and lack of connectivity in the compact town centre and surrounding area.  Efforts will be made to ensure that the town grows in a sustainable manner and that accessibility and connectivity is maintained.  This would provide an improved living environment for both residents and visitors to the area.

7.4          Flooding

With respect to lands within the village that are liable to flood risk, the Council will require any proposed developments to comply with ‘The Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DEHLG, 2009) and Circular PL2/2014 and any amendment thereof.  The Council, having regard to the nature and scope of development, may require the submission of Flood Risk Assessments, as appropriate, to assess the suitability of development proposals. There is a flood map identified for Maigh Cuilinn and it is in accordance with the guidelines and circular referenced above.

Land Use Zoning Policy Objectives for Maigh Cuilinn (Maigh Cuilinn Small Growth Town-MSGT)

MSGT 1                                Sustainable Town Centre

Promote and support the development of the Town Centre as an intensive, high quality, well-landscaped, human-scaled and accessible environment, with an appropriate mix of uses, including residential, commercial, service, tourism, enterprise, public and community uses as appropriate, that provide a range of retail services, facilities and amenities to the local community and visitors to the town.  The town centre and associated main streets shall remain the primary focus for retail and service activity within Maigh Cuilinn.

MSGT 2                                Sustainable Residential Communities

Promote the development of appropriate and serviced lands to provide for high quality, well laid out and well landscaped sustainable residential communities with an appropriate mix of housing types and densities, together with complementary land uses such as community facilities, local services and public transport facilities, to serve the residential population of Maigh Cuilinn. 

MSGT 3                                Community Facilities and Services

To encourage and support the development of local facilities and services to meet the needs of the local community.  In particular in the case of Maigh Cuilinn encourage the provision of additional community services such as a new school, local library or other civic use to the benefit of the local community.

MSGT 4                                Business and Enterprise

To facilitate the expansion of business and enterprise uses in the plan area of Maigh Cuilinn.  Promote and focus the town’s strategic location in close proximity to Galway City as a place to locate and do business. 

MSGT 5                                Economic Development

Encourage the addition of a hotel and conference centre type development on suitably zoned lands in Maigh Cuilinn to encourage additional business and visitors to this part of Galway.

MSGT 6                                Industrial

Promote the development of industrial and industrial related uses, including manufacturing, processing of materials, warehousing and distribution on suitable lands, with adequate services and facilities and a high level of access to the major road networks and public transport facilities.  Adequate edge treatment and/or screening will be required to ensure high quality interfaces with public spaces and any adjoining residential areas or other sensitive land uses, as appropriate.

MSGT 7                                Infrastructure

Support the improvement and upgrade of the road and street network in and around the Plan Area, subject to normal planning requirements and environmental considerations.  A detailed analysis of movement in and around the town shall be carried out to ascertain the infrastructural improvements required in and around the town to secure its sustainable development into the future.

MSGT 8                                Public Infrastructure

(a) Support and encourage infrastructural development and improvement works that benefit Maigh Cuilinn as an SGT and the wider Region.

MSGT 9                                Pedestrian and Cycle Network

Encourage and support the development of a series of pedestrian and cycle routes linking the residential areas to the town centre and local community services, where feasible.

MSGT 10                              Signage

Protect the linguistic and cultural heritage of the Gaeltacht areas of Galway by, amongst other things, promoting the Irish language in accordance with the Local authority’s Scéim Teanga and ensuring that all new external signage is in the Irish Language.

Promote the Irish language in accordance with the Local Authority’s Scéim Teanga.  Any external signage that will be erected on buildings and on lands in Maigh Cuillinn shall be in Irish only with internationally recognised symbols.

 MSGT 11                             Enurement Clause

A Language Enurement Clause will be applied on a portion of residential units in development of two or more units in Maigh Cuilinn. The proportion of homes to which a language enurement clause will be a minimum of 20% or to the proportion of persons using Irish Language on a daily basis, in accordance with the latest published Census whichever is greater.

MSGT 12                              Language Impact Statements

Require a language impact statement (LIS) with applications for two or more houses or where an applicant applies for more than one house in an area, in accordance with Section 8.3.4 of the Galway County Development Plan (or as updated). A LIS will also be required for all large commercial and mixed use applications for development in the area or those that may have a potential impact on the Irish language in Maigh Cuilinn.

MSGT 13                              Agricultural Lands

To support the development of these lands for agricultural purposes and limit residential development on the subject lands in accordance with policy objective SGT7.

MSGT 14                              Opportunity Sites

To promote and encourage the appropriate development of the opportunity sites identified in this plan to positively contribute to the vitality and character of Maigh Cuilinn.

OPT – MC1 Former restaurant/public house


Area: Approx 0.3HA

Zoning: Town Centre

Current Land Use: The building is currently part occupied by an art gallery.

Opportunity:  This is a brownfield site in the centre of Maigh Cuilinn on the south-western site of the Main Street (N59).  The site is occupied by a large stone fronted protected structure building that is two storeys in height.  The site is close to the crossroads in the town centre and as such its listing as an Opportunity Site is merited in this case as its redevelopment could make a valuable contribution to this part of the town.  A flexible approach would be employed in determining the type of use that would be permitted here.  Community and cultural uses would be encouraged here.  Therefore, the Town Centre zoning of the site does not limit its development to a commercial use.

Maigh Cuilinn Land Use Zoning Map

Maigh Cuilinn Flood Risk Management Map




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