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Arts & Culture

Clare children encouraged to get creative at home for Cruinniú na nÓg

CLARE County Council and Creative Ireland are encouraging children and young people to get creative at home to celebrate Cruinniú na nÓg, which takes place on June 12. This ‘Gathering of Young People’ encourages artistic expression and creativity for everyone aged 0 to 18 years, and is also supported by RTÉ. The one-day event is designed to empower, to develop creative potential and to foster the expression of creativity. The Creative Ireland Clare Culture Team is inviting children and young people to create a piece of art with the theme ‘My Happy Place’. This can be a painting, poem, anything creative. This will give all young people a chance to showcase their creativity. Art work will then be posted on the Creative Ireland Clare Facebook page and Clare Cruinniú Instagram Page. The office will also feature the art work on the Cruinniú na nÓg’s National Day Programme in June. Those who would like to take part are asked to like …

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Michael D at 80: shaped by Clare

THIS Sunday is the 80th birthday of Uachtaráin na hÉireann, Michael D Higgins. Now well into the second term of his presidency, he has generally enjoyed very high levels of public approval. Michael D grew up in Ballycar, Newmarket-on-Fergus and went to the local school there before going on to St Flannan’s. This week his brother John, who still lives in Ballycar, said he couldn’t have envisaged the success he would enjoy in public life. “That’s true, that’s true. Politics is a funny game and a good game.” As a boy the future president was a voracious reader, he recalls. “He’d read a lot of books, whatever books were available in the library at the time.” In 1993 Michael D became the country’s first ever Minister for Arts, and John says that helped bring him to greater prominence, although he had already been a TD for several years. “Eventually Labour got into Government with Fine Gael and that was the …

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Tales of long ago and close to home

AN APPRECIATION of what is local is one of the (few) upsides of lockdown. Being restricted last year to a 2km, and later a 5km radius for exercise, certainly proved productive for Newmarket-on-Fergus author, Colm Liddy. As a self-confessed “stroller,” Colm, a pharmacist by profession, began to see his native place in a new light. Fascinated by traces of past hidden in ruins and monuments dotted around the area, his inquiring mind led him to research colourful characters, locations and incidents dating from the 1600s to the 1980s. The result is a treasure trove of history in Colm’s latest book, Long Ago in Newmarket-on-Fergus. “I suppose it was the total collapse in sporting activities that forced me to find something to occupy the time,” Colm told The Champion. “I’m fairly obsessed with sport and would normally be playing it and training kids. Covid put an end to all of that. So, my wife and I did a lot of walking …

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Lyrical new Burren documentary to air on RTÉ

HEART of Stone is the title of a visually stunning two-part series to air on RTÉ One at 6.30pm next Sunday. The Burren is a place full of intrigue and mystery to Lahinch-based film-maker Katrina Costello, who has been working there for over 13 years. “It is not a landscape that gives up her secrets easily, but in every fold of rock and around every corner there is always a new surprise,” she remarked. Heart of Stone captures the raw and complicated beauty of the Burren using intimate natural history photography and the spontaneous insights of a cast of local contributors. Narrated by Brendan Gleeson, the piece takes audiences on a journey through the ages, tracing the genetic story of the Irish people. It tells the story of the Irish hunter-gatherers and reveals what became of them. It asks if prehistoric farmers irreversibly altered this landscape and if modern Irish society is descended from those who first lived here over …

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Honours list revealed for outstanding radio plays

AWARD winners have been revealed in the very first Clare Drama Radio Play Festival which concluded its hugely successful run on Easter Sunday night. The initiative involved groups from around the country sending their pre-recorded short dramas to Scariff Bay Community Radio (SBCR) who broadcast a feast of radio plays in collaboration with Clare Drama Festival. Ranked in first place for their production of When I Was God was the Kilmeen Drama Group, who received the The Alan Sparling Perpetual Trophy. The Clonakilty-based group beat off stiff competition from six other short-listed companies, including the Doonbeg Drama Group and the Sliabh Aughty Drama Group. The award for direction also went to Kilmeen with Denis O’Sullivan taking that prize. The title of Best Actress went to Muriel Caslin O’Hagan from Balally Players, for her role as Marion in Pizzazz, while Best Supporting Actress went to Lasairfhíona Kennedy for her role as Tríona in Manic Monday with the Sliabh Aughty Drama Group. …

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Virtual folk club returns to Glór

FOLK music fans have a treat in store over the coming weeks, with the launch of a news series of online folk club sessions hosted by broadcaster Paula Carroll in collaboration with Glór, Ennis. The acclaimed presenter of The West Wind on Clare FM will host both emerging and established artists who will chat and perform as part of the Folk Nights at Glór series. “Glór’s auditorium is mostly empty these days,” said Paula, “but it’s still an atmospheric place, maybe even more so. I wanted to fill that auditorium with music – even if the only audience were the crew, and then present that music to the world. It felt absolutely magical to have these great musicians perform for us. We hope you’ll feel the magic too. After the performance we took to the armchairs to chat about how music-making has changed in today’s world and what it might now mean for musicians and for us the audiences. I …

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Thriller stars share love of North Clare landscape

STARS of RTÉ’s hit drama Smother have shared their impressions of the rugged North Clare coastline, and its role in creating the atmosphere for what has been described as a ‘Celtic Noir’ thriller. Thomas Levin and Hazel Doupe, who play father and daughter Carl and Ingrid Jensen, were among the stellar cast involved in RTÉ’S Smother which was shot last year in the Lahinch area. The six-part series follows the fortunes of the Ahern family in the aftermath of the suspicious death of patriarch Denis. His wife Val (Dervla Kirwan) is in a new relationship with Carl, but Denis seems to be able to keep his grudge against them going from beyond the grave. After being cast as Carl, Thomas, whose TV credits include the Danish hit Borgen and Channel 4’s Norskov, travelled to Ireland to join the cast. “It was my first time in Ireland and North Clare and it was fantastic waking up and going to work there …

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Radio play festival commended for boost to local drama circuit

A FESTIVAL of radio plays, hosted by Scariff Bay Community Radio (SBCR), has been lauded by one of the national amateur drama umbrella groups for finding keeping the flag flying for local theatre, in the teeth of the Level 5 lockdown. Joanne Keane, Chairperson of The Drama League of Ireland (DLI), described The Clare Drama Radio Play Festival, which runs at weekends until Easter Sunday night, April 4, as “hugely successful and innovative”. Ms Keane opened the festival earlier this month and will make a virtual presentation to the overall winners of the Alan Sparling Perpetual Trophy. While thousands of people across the country would normally be involved in the national festival circuit at this time of year, the pandemic put paid to that and caused deep disappointment across the amateur drama community. As a response to the restrictions, SBCR teamed up with the long-established Clare Drama Festival to provide an outlet for the drama groups and audiences who would …

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