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Arts & Culture

Canadian TV Show ‘The Travel Guy’ Films in Clare

Canadian TV personality and travel writer Frank Greco has been visiting Clare and Ireland, to film for his popular show ‘The Travel Guy’, as a guest of Tourism Ireland in Toronto. The special Ireland episode, which will be seen in millions of households in Canada and elsewhere around the world, will include footage of many of the county’s top visitor attractions – including the Cliffs of Moher, Loop Head Lighthouse, the Music Makers of West Clare in Miltown Malbay, and a traditional Irish music session at McGann’s Pub in Doolin. During their time here, the crew stayed at Crotty’s Pub and B&B in Kilrush and Hotel Doolin. ‘The Travel Guy’ series is broadcast on many networks across the world including Discovery World HD (Canada), the Back9 Lifestyle Network (United States), Asia Television Network, Japan Television and U7 (Russia) – reaching millions of potential holidaymakers for Ireland. Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Canada, said: “We are delighted that Frank Greco …

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Ennis Fleadh bid gets a boost

CLARE could be tuning up for a €30 million Fleadh Cheoil windfall in 2016, after a bid to secure the return festival to the Banner County got a major boost. Efforts to host the lucrative 2016 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann competition in Ennis got a significant shot in the arm after a submission from the local branch defeated Cork City by 11 votes to nine. For the first time ever, counties have to submit their plans for hosting the event and Clare’s bid, which was in the name of the Abbey branch in Ennis, triumphed, with two votes to spare. It is expected a final decision on the current shortlist will be made next March. Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann was last held in Ennis in 1977. People always remember the 1956 Fleadh too, made famous by the Robbie McMahon song, The Fleadh Down in Ennis. Ennis is now in a three-horse race involving Sligo, who are hosting the All-Ireland showpiece …

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Kim finds a voice with debut novel

KILSHANNY-based Canadian, Kim Hood  has been shortlisted for The Bookseller’s inaugural Young Adult Book Prize for her debut novel, Finding A Voice. The competition was open to writers in Britain and Ireland and the winner of the £2,000 prize will be announced in March. “Basically, it’s a story about friendship. A girl, who is 13, is basically a caregiver for her mother, who suffers from mental illness. Life isn’t going so great for her, between home and school where she kind of has the reputation of being ‘the weird kid with the weird mother’. She volunteers in the special education wing and she meets a character called Chris, who has cerebal palsey and cannot talk. It’s basically about how they both develop a voice through their friendship,” Kim said of the book. Writing for young people comes quite easily to her, she says, while her own teens, difficult as they were, have given her a useful insight. “When I started …

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Students given dramatic licence

Students all over Clare are being encouraged to get creative this Christmas and put together a submission for the 2015 Student Theatre Awards writing categories. There are two writing categories in this year’s Bord Gáis Energy organised awards. In the Best Dramatic Critique category, students are invited to submit a critique of any theatrical production they’ve seen. Any performance based production is suitable for this category. So if you go along to a panto, choral evening or variety show over the festive period, be sure to take the time to create a review for the awards. In the Best Short Scene Script category, students are given the freedom to create their own scene and there are no limits except their own imaginations. There are a couple of things to bear in mind; ultimately this is a performance scrip, so think about how it will look and sound, not just how it reads. Open to primary school students from 3rd – …

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Reciting poetry aloud

SCION Flanagan from Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna is the winner of the intermediate category in the annual Poetry Aloud competition, organised by the National Library of Ireland and Poetry Ireland. Poetry Aloud, an annual poetry speaking competition for post-primary school students across the island of Ireland, was launched in 2006. Since then, it has grown enormously from just a few hundred entries to over 1,700 this year alone. The Poetry Aloud competition comprises three stages: the regionals; the semi-finals; and the final. This year, over 118 schools took part in the competition, including Mary Immaculate Secondary School in Clare, at 18 regional heats in venues across the country. Today’s finalists were then chosen at two semi-finals involving 149 participants. Three other Lisdoonvarna students reached the semi-final stage

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Audio walls make oral history accessilble

CUIMHNEAMH an Chláir has launched three new audio walls at Aillwee Caves, the County Museum in Ennis and Bunratty Folk Park Cormac McCarthy of the group said visitors can view footage of people talking about times gone by and explained the installation of the audio walls is part of their work to increase access to oral history. “We were fortunate enough to get funding from Clare Local Development Company. The last bit of funding that we had we put towards the development of these interactive audio-visual displays. A core part of what the group is about is recording the oral history and also trying to get it back out there into the community. This is a project we devised that would get it out there into the public and the locations that we’ve chosen have among the highest footfalls in the county,” said Cormac. The interactive audio-visual displays will showcase 55 clips from the massive Cuimhneamh an Chláir archive and …

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Raising funds for Papal ‘crusaders’

IN 1860, over 1,200 volunteers from Ireland travelled to Italy to fight for the Papal States in the Papal Wars. An appeal was made throughout the country for funds to support the volunteers. Twenty-three Catholic parishes from Clare published lists of subscribers in newspapers of the day and, now, members of Clare Roots Society have undertaken to transcribe the names of these subscribers, resulting in a database of over 4,000 names. This week, members of Clare Roots Society handed over the Papal Army database to county librarian, Helen Walsh. In recent times, staff at the library’s Local Studies Centre came across extensive lists of subscribers names published in The Clare Journal, the local newspaper of the day. The subscriptions were in response to an appeal for funds to support the Irish volunteers to the Papal Army in the summer of 1860. Peter Beirne, Local Studies Centre librarian, immediately saw the value of these lists to genealogy researchers tracing Clare families. …

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A night on the wild side

INTERNATIONALLY renowned wildlife cameraman and TV personality, Gordon Buchanan will give an illustrated talk at Glór on Wednesday next. Perhaps best known for his BBC One series The Bear Family and Me and The Polar Bear Family and Me, he is also a regular contributor to BBC’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch series. In recent years, he has made a name for himself as a filmmaker specialising in big cats. Filming lions and hyenas at night in the Serengeti in 1999 led to him making two films for the BBC’s Natural World series. His Glór appearance will be an evening of exciting personal recollections, inviting the audience into his world of weird and wonderful wildlife, including the footage of his encounter with a hungry polar bear. This terrifying segment of the series has been viewed millions of times on YouTube and will be recounted on the night. Speaking about that incident, he says, “We wanted to have a way of getting close …

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Old scórs to be settled

MEMORIES of cultural contests of years gone by will be rekindled at the West County on November 21. Settling Old Scórs is being organised by Kilkishen’s John Torpey. He said he wanted to revisit the heyday of Scór in Clare. “I’m organising a celebratory concert of Scór from the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s and the millennium. Scór was a huge thing, probably one of the greatest social items that the GAA ever came up with,” he said. In the early days of the competition, there was incredible interest in it, not least in his own part of the county. “Christy Curtin from Miltown Malbay came up with a notion that there should be a social aspect to the GAA. Coming out of that, all of the clubs in the county were contacted, including myself and Robert Frost in O’Callaghan’s Mills. A few of us met in Kilkishen on a Saturday night and we said ‘you sing a song, you do this, …

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Capturing moments of history

THE people of Clare are used to seeing the creative mind of photographer John Kelly jump out of them from the pages of The Clare Champion each week but for the next year, the public will also get an opportunity to view his photography in a new setting. An award-winning photographer, John has worked with The Clare Champion for almost 25 years, displaying his passion for photography and for capturing the unusual of everyday life. In recent weeks, John was invited by Glór in Ennis to exhibit a selection of his favourite photographs from his extensive collection at the café and lobby. Seven of his photographs are on display in the building and take over from an exhibition by Christy McNamara. Sponsored by The Clare Champion, they will showcase until September 2015. “Glór is always looking for ways to support our local artists, photographers, musicians and we see this as an ideal space or opportunity for photographers, in particular, to …

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