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Arts & Culture

Dame Edna O’Brien

EAST Clare author Edna O’Brien has been honoured with her appointment as Dame of the British Empire for her services to literature. It comes six weeks after the Tuamgraney native was named as the winner of the PEN/Nabokov award for achievement in international literature. Her nephew, Michael Blake, said this was “a long time coming” and said, having spoken to her on Wednesday and Tuesday of this past week, that Edna is delighted with the honour. He said she is currently busy working on her latest book and has found the last few weeks very busy, but rewarding. “She is very happy to have this title, she got it for her contribution to literature and that is what her life is about, it’s not about monetary reward. She got the Pen award and now she’s got this so now she feels ‘maybe I’m doing something right and maybe all those hours of frustration and desperation were worth it’. A writer …

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Second Olivier award for Denise Gough

ENNIS actress Denise Gough has won her second Olivier award. Denise was named best actress in a supporting role for her performance as Harper Pitt in Angels in America at the National Theatre, Lyttelton. The actress from College Green was unable to make the ceremony in London’s Royal Albert Hall on Sunday, as she was busy preparing to appear on stage in the same play on Broadway. However, she did prepare a speech, which was read out in her absence, in which she voiced her “solidarity for the Time’s Up movement”. She stated, “It’s an important time for us in the industry and I couldn’t be prouder of the progress being made. With the Time’s Up movement ensuring that we will have a safe, supported environment to work in, going forward, I am excited at what lies ahead. I’m very moved by the very real power behind this movement and the women who created it.” She thanked the cast and …

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Ennis artist presents rare works in documentary

ENNIS artist Mick O’Dea has been given unprecedented access to the State’s art collection housed in Leinster House for a landmark one-hour documentary, which will debut on Monday. For the first time in broadcasting history, the collection will be showcased in House of Art. Having been given unprecedented access, Royal Hibernian Academy president, Mick O’Dea, discovers the stories, the artists and the people behind this unique collection, revealing a rich tapestry of our socio-political history. The documentary, produced by Red Shoe Productions, will be launched with a premiere screening in The Little Museum of Dublin, where Mick and director Maggie Breathnach will do a question and answer session.The documentary will then debut on Oireachtas TV on Monday at 8pm. There are over 300 pieces of priceless art housed in Leinster House. With the foundation of the State in 1922, successive governments were keen to create a pantheon of heroes aimed at affirming national self-image. With over 18,000 pieces in the …

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Help make a child’s wish come true

Twenty-five local volunteers are needed on Wish Day, which takes place on Friday, March 9 to support Make-A-Wish Ireland’s flagship fundraising day. Volunteers are asked to give just a few hours of their time to sell wristbands in order to raise much-needed funds for the charity. Last year, in Clare alone, the charity made wishes come true for four children living with life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer, cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Another teenager to benefit from Make-A-Wish is self-taught Ennis musician, Stephen Price. He had his wish granted a few years ago when he received a custom-made Pearl drum kit. Stephen was very patient while waiting for his kit to be built and spray painted to his specifications. His family and friends were invited to join him for the reveal and not only did Stephen receive his fantastic drum kit, but he was also invited to join one of his favourite bands, The Coronas for a sound check …

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IFTA nomintion for Ennis actress

ENNIS actress Denise Gough has been nominated for an IFTA Film and Drama Award. She has been named in the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role (Drama) for her performance in the BBC’s revenge thriller Paula. She is up against such names as Ruth Negga, Amy Huberman, Caitriona Balfe and Elaine Cassidy for the coveted award, which will be announced on February 15. Speaking during the announcement of the nominees, the academy CEO, Áine Moriarty commented, “What a fantastic kickstart to the academy’s 15th anniversary year, with this superb line-up of Irish nominees showcasing the very best of Ireland’s creative talent, delivering world-class film and drama across the globe. “The academy looks forward to acknowledging their achievements and rewarding excellence at the IFTA awards ceremony next month.” Denise played the title role in the BBC drama by Dublin playwright and filmmaker Conor McPherson. She was joined in the three-part drama by Tom Hughes, who is known for his …

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Wexford Opera Festival features three little known operas every year.

A night at the opera

The Wexford Opera Festival is a bit of an unusual proposition but it works and has done for years. Take three obscure operas, some of which haven’t seen the light of day since their début performance, and stage them again over the course of a few weeks. Of course, some operas are obscure for a reason and maybe they should be left mouldering but for every duffer there are several gems. This year was promising, with all three operas sung in Italian. It’s a general rule of mine not to go near German language opera. I find it dark and depressing. Surprisingly, opera in English is often woefully bad. There’s the advantage of being able to fully understand what’s going on without resorting to subtitles but there’s just something wrong about English language opera. You’re generally safer sticking with Italian or at a pinch, French. We travelled down in the aftermath of Ophelia and just before storm Brian made itself …

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Clare to shine on Culture Night

Clare’s cultural community will come together on Friday, September 22 to showcase the creativity that exists within the county. Culture Night Clare 2017 will see 40 free cultural events for all ages being held throughout Clare over a 10-hour period from 1pm to 11pm. This year’s programme, which is organised by the Clare Arts Office and funded by Clare County Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is filled with free events. Arts and cultural bodies throughout Clare will throw open their doors offering members of the public a chance to enjoy unique performances and catch a glimpse inside some of the most beautiful buildings and cultural institutions in their area. A poetry trail, classical music, a ceramics and jewellery showcase and a family art workshop are just some of the ways that people around the county can enjoy this year’s Culture Night. Culture Night in Ennis will culminate with ‘Firestorm’ – a show of light and …

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Michael Flatley opens Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann this weekend

Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley will officially launch Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the largest Irish Traditional Music Festival in the world, in Ennis tomorrow, Sunday August 6 at 2.30pm in the Abbey Street Car Park in Ennis town centre. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is delighted that the man who revolutionised Irish dance, and who previously took to the stage at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis in 1977 as a competitor, will now return to the Clare county town 40 years later to declare the Fleadh open to a new generation of competitors. For many, the Fleadh is the culmination of months of hard work and practice as they compete against fellow musicians, singers and dancers to achieve the recognition of being an All-Ireland champion. For others it is a unique and welcoming festival of the best of traditional arts that offers a wide range of activities to be enjoyed by all. Shannon Airport has come on board once again as the …

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