Well really it's being retained because it's very old and because it's part of the little fragment of streetscape that is Flood St. It's not because of any inherent architectural quality - although it is a very simple, unadorned, elemental structure just like the new tower rising behind. In a way it reminds me of the group of buildings housing The Kings Head pub on High street. There a very simple vernacular street frontage conceals the significant remains of a massive tower house which was buried within the city block. This image of Speeds Pictoral Map of Galway 1651 taken from the King's Head Website
has the structure I mean highlighted.
In a way the proposed cinema is a bit like as if the new main road has exposed the face of one of these old mid-block tower houses. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it...!
Johnglas, the Bish is the monstrosity that you come upon as you follow the one way system from the cathedral carpark, between the big old engineering buildings onto Nun's island proper. There is another rather more elegant modern building facing the cathedral which is also a part of the Engineering department. I'd love to see the Cathedral carpark become something more urban - you could imagine an almost Florentine experience, wandering through narrow streets with little glimpses of the massive dome looming overhead. Ive heard that there could be issues as the ground was possibly used to bury prisoners from the Gaol which previously occupied the site. Surely though something could be done that could respect this as well as developing the places potential.