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Arts & Culture

Panto time in the ‘Bridge

THE props have been assembled, Noeleen Murphy has been busy with the needles and pins designing the costumes and  cast members have been feverishly learning lines, as the opening night of Sixmilebridge Youth Club’s panto draws near. For the past few months, under the watchful eyes of producer, Frances Downes and co-producer, Suzanne Carmody , the club members have been having the time of their lives as they prepare for Hansel and Gretel. The pantomime follows the story of  the brother and sister, played by David Carroll and Caitriona Gallagher respectively, as they set off on an adventure to find a house of candy owned by Witch Winnie Wonka, a role played by Shauna Kerin. The duo’s father Sonny Day, portrayed by Gerard O’Dea, decides to bring a slice of colour and singing to the household, so he hires a nanny named Mary Poppins, played by Liam Togher, as he takes on the role of the traditional panto dame. Ciara …

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Champion Photographer wins PPAI award

  Clare Champion staff photographer, John Kelly, tonight added to his considerable collection of awards when he was awarded 2nd prize in the Daily Life and People Category of the AIB PPAI Awards. This follows his first prize win in the News category last year. In total, John has garnered 12 PPAI awards in his 20 years entering the competition. John’s monochrome image, Room with a View, depicts the living conditions of Caroline Sherlock, who shares a caravan with her seven children.

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€200,000 fund for local museums

THE Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan has this Wednesday announced details of the 2014 Local and Regional Museums Scheme. The scheme, administered by his department, is designed to support small and medium sized museums across the country. This year, the scheme will allow for the funding of small capital projects on a matched funding basis (75:25) and funding of up to €200,000 is being made available for suitably qualified museum development projects in small and medium regional museums. Projects funded under the Scheme should seek to enhance the cultural offering of museums; to encourage greater access to museums and to promote the use of museums as tourism resources in their locality or region. Minister Deenihan commented, “Our smaller regional museums play a vital role in the life of local communities. They serve not only as tourist attractions, but also as custodians of local history, traditions and customs. They provide all of us with an insight into …

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Gradam Saoil award for Chris Droney

LEGENDARY concertina player, Chris Droney from Bellharbour has been honoured as the recipient of this year’s TG4 Gradam Saoil (Hall of Fame). Chris was born in 1924. His father, James and grandfather Michael (1829-1927) also played concertina and Chris learnt by ear and parental example from the age of eight. He began his musical career by learning two tunes The Wearing of the Green and Clare’s Dragoons. His first public appearance was at the age of 14 in Johnson’s dance hall in Kinvara for which he was paid half a crown. He went on to play in several bands and from 1956 he won ten All-Ireland medals – nine solo and one for a duet with fiddler Gus Tierney. His son, Francis and daughter, Ann have also won All-Ireland titles on concertina. Many of his grandchildren are continuing the family tradition on concertina and some, most notably Daithí, are playing fiddle. In 2004 his contribution to music was honoured by …

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Tom Crean tale comes to Glór stage

TOM Crean is a name that has worked its way into people’s consciousness over the last 15 years. The Kerry explorer’s story is fairly well known now, in part because of Aidan Dooley, who has brought his one-man show, Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer, around the country for the last 10 years. A Galway man, Aidan has lived in England for years and it was there that he discovered the Crean story. “I came across Crean for the first time when I was asked to perform a museum theatre piece in England in about 2001. I had never heard of him before that. I did an awful lot of research on the expeditions themselves because there was very little written about him. This was before Michael Smith’s book, Unsung Hero, was published. He was in the process of writing the book while I was in the process of finding out more about Tom Crean from a theatrical perspective and that’s …

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Mixing food and romance at the library

ROMANCE novels and cookery books were among the top books borrowed from Clare libraries in 2013, according to details released by Clare County Library this week. Almost 545,000 items were borrowed from Clare County Library in 2013 but while there is an increase in demand for electronic resources, 92% of the items borrowed were physical books. In the adult non-fiction section, Rachel Allen’s cookery books claimed four of the spots on the list of the 10 most popular non-fiction books borrowed from the county library in 2013. As further evidence of the increased popularity of home cooking, two other cookery books, Avoca Café Cookbook 2 and Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, also made the top 10 list. As has been a pattern for many years, The Official Driver Theory Test – Questions and Answers topped the most popular list. Memoirs were also popular this year and among the ones most in demand was those by retired politician Mary O’Rourke and author …

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Bluegrass in the ‘Bridge

NATION and Blackwell Bluegrass Band, which features Dolly Parton’s band leader, is heading to Sixmilebridge next week to headline a fundraising concert for the local school development fund. The event takes place in the Mill Bar, this one-off concert will feature the band, which previously played in the village as the Curtis Blackwell Bluegrass Band. The group, from Georgia in the United States, will offer classic, hard-driving bluegrass. Nation and Blackwell is made up of Curtis Blackwell, Chuck Nation, Gary ‘Biscuit’ Davis and Susan Nation on bass and vocals. Curtis is a member of the Atlanta Country and Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and is a former member of the legendary Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, replacing Peter Rowan. During his 40-year career, he has performed on the Grand Ole Opry and travelled extensively throughout the eastern US, performing at many of the historic bluegrass festivals during the 1960s and 1970s. In June 2010, he was honoured by the International Bluegrass Museum …

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Tulla woman leading Irish language study

A TULLA woman, is leading a research study looking at new speakers in a multilingual Europe and one of the focus sites of the study is County Clare. Bernie O’Rourke, who is based in Scotland and is a reader in Sociolinguistics at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh is co-ordinating this EU-funded COST project. Originally from Tulla and a daughter of Tulla Pipe Band honoary president Michael O’Rourke, Bernie said she would classify herself as a new speaker of Irish, she have been intrigued by this growing phenomenon in the case of Irish. “I always had a strong interest in Irish, inspired very much by father’s interest in the language and his encouragement to speak it. I had also often heard my mother talking about her grandparents from West Clare who were Irish speakers. I also had a very inspirational Irish teacher in Tulla, Sr Eileen Callinan,” she said. The project involves researchers from 17 European countries and is aimed at finding out …

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