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Arts & Culture

Exploring a life of isolation

FOLLOWING The Spinning Heart could have been a monumental task for Donal Ryan but the Tipperary man, who works in Shannon and lives in Limerick, had a novel he made earlier. The Spinning Heart was famously rejected by 47 publishers before it was rescued from a slush pile and has since been critically acclaimed, as well as making the long list for the Booker Prize. That was the first novel Ryan had published but it isn’t the first one he had written as The Thing About December, which hits the shelves later this month, came before it. Like The Spinning Heart, he couldn’t find anyone to take a chance on it but after that novel proved so popular, the problem vanished. While The Spinning Heart brought the stories of more than 20 characters together, this is really the story of one apparently simple and isolated man over the course of a tumultuous year, the author explains. “The book is just …

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Kevin Weathers His Imperfect Storm

KEVIN Haugh hails from Doonaha and was involved with a running club back in Kilkee during the 1980s. Almost 10 years ago, he was asked back by the club to participate in a running event. When he decided to participate, he was on a high and was feeling great after training. “When I came back from the training I said I’m feeling great and I said I think I’ll keep it up,” he said. However, after showering, he noticed there was a little lump on his neck. He thought nothing too much of it at the time. When he went to his GP, he thought it would be a simple procedure, like removing a mole. “I thought this was going to be an ‘I’ll do that next week’ situation. He put his hand on the telephone and made an appointment with a specialist and I heard him say ‘no I want to see him immediately’. He said to me, ‘I …

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Tensions run high as friends reunite

BEYOND The Brooklyn Sky, a play about returned emigrants and the tensions amid a group of old friends, will be performed in Glór on October 18 and 19. The play was written by Kerry man Michael Hilliard Mulcahy and is set in his native town of Brandon. It is directed by Peter Sheridan. A group of friends are reuniting after 20 years but their shared past is a powder keg that can easily explode. They all grew up together in Brandon, before leaving for America in the late ’80s. As sometimes happens, the land of opportunity didn’t live up to their expectations and they returned home, chastened, but wiser. However, things happened between them in America, things of the heart and things of the purse and many of the issues were never resolved. The reunion is because one of their group, Jack Flynn, has flown solo across the Atlantic and the stage is set for a celebration. Peter outlined some …

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Mary’s short story has the write stuff

CLARE woman Mary O’Donoghue was the winner of The Irish Times’ Legends of the Fall short story competition and was thrilled with the honour. “First of all, I was excited to read about the series [The Times also published a number of short stories on the same theme] when it started but I wasn’t always able to read all the stories because only some of them were online, so I didn’t know for a good long time who was in there but I kind of suspected that it would be people like Colum McCann, Colm Tobin and Anne Enright. “Towards the end of the summer, I saw they were looking for open submissions and I saw that Donal Ryan was a judge, as well as someone who wrote in the series. I sent it [her winning entry The Sweet Forbearance in the Streets] in at the last minute and I was very excited when I heard from Fintan O’Toole in …

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North Clare Coastlines Inspiring Ann’s Paintings

CLONLARA artist Ann Daly is currently staging her second solo exhibition in Kilmallock, County Limerick, until the end of September. The exhibition, entitled God’s Country, features a selection of paintings that capture the beautiful landscapes and sceneries of the Liscannor and Doolin coastlines. As well as exhibiting at the Friarsgate Theatre, Kilmallock, Ann will be participating in Culture Night at Contact Studios, the studio space she shares with 14 other artists close to St Joseph’s Hospital on Mulgrave Street in Limerick City. On Culture Night, the studio will be open from 5pm to 10pm to afford members of the public a chance to meet and greet the artists in residence and view their works. Ann is among a number of Clare artists based at Contact Studios. Speaking about her current exhibition, she explains the featured paintings mainly encompass scenes from Liscannor, a place she is all too familiar with. “I paint mainly Clahane, Liscannor, Doolin, which is where I am …

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Life at the Poles

THE wilds of the Antarctic and Arctic will be all too real for an audience in Glór in Ennis on Thursday, as wildlife film maker and photographer Doug Allan invites them to join him in an exploration of his life in these Polar opposites. Speaking to The Clare Champion, Doug explains Clare is his first stop on a whirlwind 10-date tour of Ireland and he is looking forward to sharing his experiences. “I began as a marine biologist and I worked a bit as a scientist but more as an assistant diver – this was way back in the early ’70s, and then I got this fantastic job in the Antarctic working as a diver. Between 1976 and 1986, I had spent a lot of time in the Antarctic; at one stage up to two and a half years without coming back. Really it was in that time that I gained a lot of experience about snow, ice and cold …

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Belfast comedy flies into Ennis

A NORTHERN theatre company, GBL Productions, will bring their production Fly Me To The Moon to Glór, Ennis on September 21. The story is about Francis and Loretta, two community care visitors. Davy, one of their elderly charges, has had a big win on the horses, although he isn’t even aware of it. When the two cash-stripped women learn that Davy won’t be around for very much longer, they are faced with a major dilemma. Marie Jones is the author of a number of major plays, including Stones In His Pockets and Women On The Verge Of HRT. She wrote Fly Me To The Moon specifically for its stars, Tara Lynne O’Neill and Katie Tumelty. Tara Lynne O’Neill told The Clare Champion that the two main characters might not be the best care workers in the world but their story is interesting and they face issues that most people can relate to. “These two characters, I don’t know how happy …

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Tulla Trad Festival kicks off this Friday

The Tulla Trad Festival will kick off this Friday  with a parade through the East Clare village by the Chapel Gate Wrenboys. Dressed in traditional costumes, the wrenboys will lead the torch lit procession at 8pm, which will ensure that music resounds across the village signalling the start of the festival’s programme of events. The procession concludes at Tulla Courthouse where the group will give a performance following the official opening by musicians and Clare FM presenter, Eoin O’Neill. According to the organisers,interest for this year’s festival workshops is coming from not alone all the four provinces and across the UK but across Europe. “A group of musicians are boarding a train south of Paris for Cherbourg then by ferry to Rosslare and on by bus to Ennis especially for Zoe Conway’s workshop. Zoe, who will be amongst the tutors at the workshops, is among the most sought after fiddle tutor worldwide.  Her list of achievements belies her youthful age …

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Artist Dympna Bonfield preparing for her forthcoming exhibition "Soul Space" which will run in Glor, Ennis as part of Culture night. Photograph by John Kelly.

West inspires Dympna’s Soul Space

SOUL Space, an exhibition by Ennis-based artist Dympna Bonfield is going on show at Glór on Saturday, September 7 and will be there until October 26. Dympna was born and raised in West Clare but was away for many years before returning to her native county. Much of her work has reflected this move and it is the people and landscape of West Clare that largely inspired her paintings. She began her career as a primary school teacher but later attended the National College of Art in Dublin and qualified as an art teacher. This led to teaching art in secondary schools and much of her early work during this time took the form of murals painted in some of the places she worked and can still be seen today. Whilst teaching in the capital, she began exhibiting work in a couple of Dublin galleries and as her reputation grew, she began to exhibit further afield. Her work has now …

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