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Arts & Culture

O’Malley has plenty to say in autobiography

A MINISTER for Justice who slept with a gun under his pillow, the very nemesis of Charles Haughey and the founder of a political party that exercised influence way beyond its size throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Des O’Malley wasn’t struggling for material for his book Conduct Unbecoming: A Memoir. Much of O’Malley’s career was defined by his enmity with a certain former taoiseach, an era that was revisited in the recent RTÉ mini-series, Haughey. O’Malley feels it was a relatively fair exploration of the time. “You have to take it as a drama, rather than a factual documentary, but a great deal of it is factual. It is of course based on fact but, for dramatic purposes, certain things are written into it and the chronology of some of the things changes, they happened in a different order. But I thought it was a fair enough representation of the atmosphere at the time, the atmosphere of fear and intimidation.” …

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Corofin’s top young artists

Corofin boys, Ronan Cahill and Conor Farrell have been chosen as two of the best young artists in Ireland at Sightsavers Junior Painter of the Year Awards 2015. Ronan and Conor, both aged 10, attend Scoil Mhuire National School. Ronan’s painting entitled ‘I want you to see my portable house’ and Conor’s painting entitled ‘I want you to see Morgan, my crazy elephant’ were inspired by this year’s competition theme, ‘I want you to see…’ and were regional winners in the special needs and 3rd and 4th class categories respectively. With thousands of entries from over 200 primary schools nationwide, Ronan and Conor are two of the 15 finalists that will have their paintings displayed at an awards ceremony in Dublin in March where the overall national winners will be selected. They will receive a special regional prize in recognition of their amazing achievement. The Sightsavers Junior Painter of the Year Awards is designed to inspire Irish children to express …

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Pinocchio noses his way around the ‘Bridge

FEBRUARY ushers in pantomime season in Sixmilebridge and this year members of the youth club hope to enthral audiences with their spin on the timeless classic, Pinocchio. Produced  by retired school teacher Frances Downes and co-produced by Suzanne Carmody and Ray Maxwell, audiences will be highly entertained as the cast put their own inimitable imprint on the show. There will be plenty of colourful costumes, singing, dancing and a great deal of audience participation. The show is choreographed by Lauren Kelly, with assistance from Tara Maxwell. The pantomime follows the story of Pinocchio, who is played by Tara Maxwell, and one of Pinocchio’s best-known characteristics is his nose. The wooden puppet is the creation of toymaker Antonio Gepetto, humorously portrayed by Stephen O’Dea, who is proud of his puppet but longs for a son to call his own. He is attracted to the devious circus owner Gypsy Angelina, who will be played by Caitriona Gallagher. However, she faces competition from …

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Clare influence at Limerick Literary Festival

East Clare writer, Edna O’Brien and Kilmihil-based Man Booker Prize nominee, Niall Williams are among the line up for the 2015 Limerick Literary Festival. Taking place from February 20 to 22, at 69 O’Connell St (formerly The Belltable) and The Lime Tree Theatre at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick City, the festival honours Limcerick-born novelist and playwright, Kate O’Brien. Meanwhile, this year’s festival has been extended to include an all-day conference in Mary Immaculate College on the theme of “Loss in Irish writing”, which is open and free to the public. The inaugural Kate O’Brien Award will also be presented to the most popular Irish author. “The Festival began in 1984 to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Kate O’Brien. The event continues to celebrate the life and works of the Limerick writer, while attracting prominent participants from all over the world,” commented Sheila Deegan, Limerick arts officer and festival committee member. The festival will be opened on Friday …

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Michael Harding coming to Ennis

THERE is a widespread spiritual longing in Irish life, Michael Harding believes, and he feels that may account for the popularity of his own search for meaning. That is the theme that brought him fame, through his book, Staring at Lakes, and his Irish Times columns, while his latest book and show, Hanging With The Elephant, takes another good look at life and death. Harding said the decline of Irish Catholicism has led to a void around the topics he goes after. “The whole religious thing collapsed suddenly and people are still trying to figure that out. What do they do with their own isolation? What do they do with their own anxiety? As an individual, as you get older, you start thinking about what is the meaning of life, is there another life – all those deep questions. Irish people have powerful faith and I don’t think it’s gone away. I think it’s just in a process of transformation. …

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Nine million hear Clare woman’s voice

A North Clare woman wowed judges on the hit television programme, The Voice UK at the weekend. More than nine million people tuned in as Burren resident, Sharon Murphy sang Bob Dylan’s Forever Young in the show’s blind auditions broadcast on BBC 1 on Saturday. “To be honest, I have done gigs here and done gigs in other countries but I was not prepared for my nerves. It is very surreal because you are dealing with cameras. I normally play the guitar but this time I decided to focus on my voice because that is the show,” she explained. “I got on the stage and there were two Xs on the ground. You do the rehearsal and there is one X and then, when I went out, there were two so I didn’t know which one to stand on and then, on the very last note, I thought, this might not happen for me,” she added. Throughout the performance it …

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The Quiet Man sculptures for auction

AN iconic movie that helped put the West of Ireland on the tourism trail for millions of visitors will be recalled at an auction in County Mayo at the weekend. Two pieces of bronze sculpture by Mark Rode of legendary actor, John Wayne are to be sold on Sunday, as part of the auction of furniture and memorabilia from Ashford Castle. In one, Wayne’s image is that of the character of Sean Thornton in The Quiet Man, along with his co-star, Maureen O’Hara, who played the fiery Mary Kate Danaher. The 1952 John Ford classic movie was filmed around Cong in County Mayo and it is at the Old Sawmills that the auction will be conducted on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 10.30am on both days. There will be viewing on Friday. In 2013, a bronze statue of Sean Thornton and Mary Kate Danaher, created by Mark Rode, was erected in the village of Cong to celebrate the enduring appeal …

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Des O’Malley for book festival

Former Progressive Democrats leader and government minister, Des O’Malley will participate in a special political debate as part of the Ennis Book Club Festival in March. The Limerick politician will join a panel of experts for this year’s Sunday Symposium, entitled The Naked Politician on Sunday March 8. The panel discussion about life as a politician in Ireland today also features Professor Gary Murphy, political scientist at DCU; Mick Clifford, correspondent for The Irish Examiner; and Katie Hannon; political correspondent for RTE. Supported by Clare County Council, Clare County Library and The Arts Council, the three-day programme of festival events is expected to attract an estimated 3,000 book club members and literary enthusiasts from all over Ireland, Europe and North America.

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