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Common threads set to entwine in two day Burren festival

THIS OCTOBER the breathtaking surroundings of the Burren will provide the epic backdrop for Common Threads, a two-day trail of musical and cultural discovery featuring performances from John Francis Flynn, Sorcha Richardson, HousePlants, Ailbhe Reddy, Uly, Negro Impacto, Royal Yellow, Mynameisjohn, Eugene Lambe, Sally Cinnamon, b2b, Jimmy Rouge, Fleeting Devotion, Piqué and Common Threads DJs. Now in its second year, Common Threads is curated and programmed by Peter Kelly and Daithí O’Dronaí. With over a decade of experience in Ireland’s music and arts scene. They aim to break the mould on what a traditional music festival events looks like, and explore the common links and threads between a vibrant local community, key cultural spaces and an important natural landscape, while embellishing all of these common threads with art, live music and discovery. “It’s amazing to be back for our second year. We’ve built a beautiful community around Common Threads, and it’s lovely to be part of something new and exciting. …

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Series of ‘Cosy Concerts’ coming to West Clare bookshop

Musicians from Ireland and the USA will be bringing unique sounds to West Clare this month, for the latest in a series of Cosy Concerts at Banner Books. Folk duo, Ru O’Shea and Sarah Szucs, will be performing at Banner Books in Kilrush this coming Friday, July 12. Ru is an Offaly-born, Dublin-based folk musician, who works primarily in arts and healthcare. Meanwhile, Sarah is a Waterford-born, Tipperary-based singer-songwriter with an extensive repertoire of original songs. Both performers are regulars at festivals like Birr Vintage Week and Electric Picnic, and they are very much looking forward to bringing a summer of music to County Clare. Serpentine meanwhile, is a seven-voice women’s choir based in Bulbancha in New Orleans and which is dedicated to healing personal and systemic trauma and re-building human connection with the earth. Their songs are stories of resilience, joy, softness and transformation. The choir believes that songs change the shape of culture, and call forth change and …

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Steve Wall: the makings of a Stunning year

Collaboration can be a challenging experience for any musician. Allowing other artists access to your darlings, giving them the right to change the things that you’ve built with love, sweat and tears over years, it’s not always the most comfortable place to be. In many ways, Ennistymon musician Steve Wall, and the rest of The Stunning, were taking a creative gamble when they invited some of Ireland’s most talented performers to take part in a live recording of their music during the Covid lockdown. But the risk paid off, and with inputs from the likes of Camille O’Sullivan, Niwel Tsumbu, Faye O’Rourke and Zoë Conway, the collaborations were both varied and a little bit special. So special in fact, that the recording has become The Stunning’s latest release, a live album entitled ‘We Come Alive’. “We wanted to mix it up, so that it wouldn’t be predictable. It was exciting, we didn’t do any rehearsals. All the musicians that we …

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Tubber sculptor coaxing life from stone

A North Clare sculptor is taking the art world by storm as part of the 10th annual Ballymaloe House Outdoor Sculptor Exhibition. Tubber sculptor, Tommy Brennan, has two pieces included in this year’s exhibition which is curated by Richie Scott, owner of the RSSculpture gallery. His two pieces entitled ‘Earth’s Sorrow’ and ‘Woman’ are two contrasting figurative pieces made in Burren limestone by the Clare sculptor. ‘Earth’s Sorrow’ aims to highlight mankind’s changed relationship with the earth and depicts a Mother Earth Gaia-like figure in a defensive pose lamenting pollution, loss of habitats and biodiversity in the pursuit of short-term profit. “The harmful impact of human activities on the planet is something that I am both keenly interested in and concerned about, and I wanted to capture this in a piece of art,” said Mr Brennan about this piece. The second piece, which is entitled ‘Woman’, depicts a reclining female figure in a relaxed casual pose. “I’m absolutely delighted to …

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Meltdown of a tour guide

JACK Walsh brings his one man show Welcome to Ireland: Meltdown of an Irish Tour Guide to glór on July 25. Over the years Jack has appeared on hit shows like Killinascully and Kin, but the show tells the story of a stressful time in his life, when he was working but facing homelessness. “It’s basically a dramatised version of part of my own life. I’m an actor and have been for decades. About ten years ago I was happily divorced, so to speak, and like many divorced men I was living in private rented accommodation. “I realised that with the rent going up and up I was going to have to do something to add to my acting income. Acting income, it’s great when it arrives, but you can’t depend on it always. I started tour guiding, I did a Fáilte Ireland training course and everything. “Actors are great at telling stories so it was a natural fit. But …

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Breathing life into a new novel

Marianne Purcell loves using words. Long ones, short ones, unusual ones, forgotten ones, words are grist to her mill. The East Clare author loves the feel of them on her tongue. The way words conjure up a picture, an idea or an emotion. The Caher native believes the whole what, where, how and why of a story depends on the way words are used. Not only that, but pronouncing a word can bring its own form of delight. “I use words as the starting point because they are the seeds that one plants on a blank page to create a story,” she said. “The twists and turns of a word like ostentatious, the innocence of nosegay, the shambling ineptitude of hapless, the instant understanding of a word like whinge. And the picture they paint if you put them together. The hapless hero dropped the ostentatious nosegay. “Can’t you just see him, shabby, bumbling, the fancy flowers he found on the …

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Uncovering the hidden Clare

Clare is a complicated county. A place of tradition and inspiration, of discipline and recklessness, of old habits and new beginnings. Editors Anne Jones and Peadar King set out to explore the dichotomy that resides within the Banner in their book, ‘The Art of Place: People and Landscape of County Clare’. The book features personal accounts of 31 Clare artists, who were either born in Clare or moved to the county. Later this week, this discussion will be brought to a live audience at the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point where two of the featured artists, Ennis painter Mick O’Dea and Miltown Malbay singer-songwriter, Tim Dennehy, will be in conversation with Peadar King. “When we were thinking about that book, I was particularly conscious that a lot of the narrative that has come through [about Clare] over the last few decades has been written by people involved in the GAA or from parishes. If you look at those particular narratives, …

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Sometimes it’s not easy being Green

COMEDIAN and environmentalist Diane O’Connor will bring her show The Accidental Activist to glór on June 28. Diane didn’t grow up expecting to be an activist, it just sort of happened, one minute she was holding a pint in the pub the next it was a placard at a protest. A quick-witted comedy show about a woman trying to find her place in the midst of this mess. The Accidental Activist doesn’t pull any punches but provides a consistent thread of hope and resilience for anyone worried, angry or eager to do more about the climate crisis we’ve been thrown into. “It’s about the climate crisis, but more about my perceptions coming at it as an activist. I didn’t set out to be an activist, it just kind of accidentally happened,” she said. “I was one of those annoying people, talking about the environment, climate, plastic, and I realised that people didn’t want to engage in conversation about the climate …

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