Bring Back Blackrock’s Barista Bus!

Tom Hayes preparing coffee at the Barista Bus outside Murray's Cafe in October 2017. Photo: Mark White Media

18 months ago, I met with Tom Hayes outside Murray’s Cafe at the bottom of Taylor’s Hill to find out more about his new Barista Bus.

Since then the bus has gone from strength to strength but was recently prohibited from trading at its new location in Blackrock when complaints were made to Galway City Council by other Salthill business people.

This Facebook message from Barista Bus tells the story better than we could. There is now an online petition hosted by Social Democrat’s John Crowley to reinstate the Barista Bus at Blackrock:

“From everyone here at Barista Bus we want to firstly say, thank you Galway.

Your support over the last three weeks have been immense and goes to show what drive we have as a community to encourage small business.

This story began 3 months ago when we received a letter from the Galway City Council that we must cease trading due to “unauthorized development” which could have been categorized by the bench we attached to the wall.

This plot of land is privately owned and was leased to us at a monthly rate.

I went into the Galway City Council to inquire further and they replied saying they received confidential complaints about us trading there. This is what kick-started this whole thing.

The City Council demanded our immediate cease of trading so we complied with this due to the “heavy-handed” implications laid out in their letters.
Since then, a number of blocks were laid (now removed) at the site from an unknown source. 
The Council has certainly “played it’s part” in the reason for Barista Bus ceasing operations at Blackrock, nevermind the boulders. 
But again, it seems it is the “confidential complaints” that lead the City Council to come down with such a threat.

“It is understood that some businesses in Salthill Village were unhappy that barista bus had an unfair advantage because it wasn’t paying annual commercial rates.” writes Dara Bradley of the Galway City Tribune.

Barista Bus is a mobile unit which is not required to pay annual rates which was confirmed with a Galway rate officer during the opening weeks at Blackrock. 
Furthermore, due to the nature of a movable business without a roof, we are not protected from the rains and winds that frequently wipe out an entire days business. Being completely weather dependent has certainly had its challenges.

Our main goal was to provide a unique service for Blackrock swimmers, prom walkers and outdoor enthusiasts when nature allowed.

Currently we have ceased trading. We are looking to do some small events or gigs if you the public have something in mind while we look further into the Blackrock situation.

There are countless people we have to thank. We have received amazing support from the public, councilors, swimmers, friends and so many more of you. Stay tuned and thanks for your warm and continual support.”


Statement Ends —

About the Author

Mark White (Editor)
A native of Dublin, Mark has slowly been moving West since 1997. Schooled at Gonzaga College and CBS Dun Laoghaire, he received his undergraduate degree in Software Engineering from Athlone Institute of Technology in 2002. Mark spent a number of years working as a C# Developer in the private sector before deciding to undertake a research masters in Information Technology at NUI Galway in 2010. His work resulted in a new algorithm to reduce energy consumption in virtualised data centres and has since been published. He fills his working days and nights writing software, taking photographs, coaching rugby, kayaking and editing Eye News.