Galway City is a wonderful town. It`s a place where everyone knows people to see, but not to know. Yet, in general, there is a relaxed vibe and homely feel to it. When the sun shines like today, the rain is away and the storms are beyond the bay, it seems bliss.
Today as I walked up Shop Street the sun shone on my back and I was finally feeling that Spring was in the air. People seemed upbeat as they meandered by one another and, for those few moments, the world seemed at ease. Then, as I glanced to my left, I noticed a barricade and some men working on cobbles by a shopfront. As I stopped walking momentarily, I was greeted by a friendly smile from a professional in the group and from there we just so happened to shoot the breeze.
A lovely man, he explained to me the plans for the street and how on both sides of the street there would now be new footpaths put in and a new tar maced surface put down the middle. It reminded me of yester year, around the turn of the century, before the cobbles were put into place and pedestrianisation was the order of the day. As he spoke, I listened. Progressive as it sounded from one point of view, I couldn`t but help wonder about the street doorways where people slept at night.
Hard and all as it is to sleep on a cold street in a shop doorway at night, it is now going to become more challenging in the morning as throngs of people are footing it to shops and work as others are crunched up against their duvets while the delivery vans will have the middle of the street to themselves.
After querying to the man in the hard hat of what would be done with the remaining small cobbles that would be removed from the centre of the street, I was informed that to the best of his knowledge, that there was no plan to reuse them in another street or for another project.
As he spoke, I looked up and down the street. It seemed to me that there must be over 10, 000 blocks that would need to be taken up and then there would be no home for them either.
Ten thousand blocks is a lot of work to pick from a surface. It all costs money. Fair enough, there`s rules and regulations, but, I wondered in my childish way, if the blocks could be stacked and made into a dwelling of sorts for the homeless to keep dry and give them some dignity? In that way I felt that it may be the literal occurrence to the proverbial solution of ‘killing two birds with the one stone!’
Although my thinking was not unlike the three pigs (who built straw, twigs and then eventually brick houses) to protect themselves from a big bad breath, in that imaginary moment as I listened to the man who worked on the road project, I dreamt that something could be done for those still homeless in the doorways.
To think that over ten thousand bricks will not be used again on a day when little old welcoming Ireland has announced that there are now officially the same amount of people without a home.
Still, it was sunny for a while.