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Arts & Culture

Hospital Choir Sings Out for Staff Wellbeing

THE Healthy Harmony Choir was formed by a group of medical practitioners at Ennis Hospital as a way to unwind and de-stress after a busy day’s work and now two years on, the 30-strong group are singing its praises in terms of its impact on their well-being. Brenda Bleach, a registered advanced nurse practitioner at Ennis Hospital, is one of the choir members and has been involved with the choir since it began. She explained how it got off the ground and why it has become such a popular outlet for staff across the entire UL Hospitals Group. “We started off as staff from Ennis Hospital and we are two years old now. The first year one of the nurses was interested in singing and always wanted a choir, so I ran it by health and wellbeing and asked if it was something we could look at. We started the choir and we didn’t initially have funding. We had paid …

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Dog Friendly Day

My friends at the Dogs Trust charity have come up with a wonderful idea I want to tell you about. Next Friday week, June 21, is Dog Friendly Ireland Day, a day when all business owners are encouraged to open up their premises to us canines. We’ve a lot of work to do in this area. Despite 40% of all households in Ireland taking the enlightened decision to have a dog about the place, we lag far behind the rest of Europe when it comes to dog-friendly facilities. When I went on holidays to Devon and Cornwall a few years ago – come to think of it, it’s high time I went back – everywhere I went I was welcomed with open arms. Nearly every pub, café or restaurant had a sign that said ‘Well behaved dogs welcome’. I’m always well behaved and it was lovely to sit under a chair while my humans enjoyed a drink or meal and …

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Kenny Brings Crowman to Glor

Jon Kenny takes to the Glór stage next week where he brings a new one man play, Crowman, by rising Irish writer Katie Holly. First performed as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival in 2018 to nightly standing ovations Jon Kenny, (D’Unbelievables) will bring it to Ennis on Friday April 5. Crowman is a new darkly comic play, which is littered with surreal and humorous characters, all expertly juggled by Jon, and tinged with tragedy. Set in a sparsely decorated kitchen, this intimate one-man show, is a window into the soul of a lonely bachelor, Dan. Dan is a man with a mission; to scatter, maim or kill every crow that has blighted his land and his life. Discussing the central character and the play, Jon outlines how interesting and funny a character Dan is. “In the course of the piece, we are introduced to Dan and he is living on his own, and we see an awful lot through Dan’s eyes. Quite early in the play he …

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Creepy and Kooky Antics from The Addams Family

ENNIS Musical Society is setting the scene for a musical with a difference this month as it stages The Addams Family A New Musical. Featuring an original story this show has all the spooky characters audiences will know and love from the two films. Based on an original story and score the show sees the head of the Addams clan, Gomez, played by Galwegian Alan Greaney, placed in every father’s nightmare, when his only daughter, Wednesday, played by Aoibheann Malone, has grown up and fallen in love. This musical comedy sees Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness form an unlikely bond with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met, Lucas Beineke, played by Ennis’ Daniel Lynch. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from …

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Mountshannon Couple’s Creativity Shines Through Dark Times

Sam Gaines and his partner, Sadhbh O’Neill, have experienced first-hand how creativity has healed and given purpose to their lives, following a life-changing diagnosis. TWENTY years ago life changed for East Clare based couple Sam Gaines and Sadhbh O’Neill, when Sam was diagnosed with MS. Both working artists, Sam and Sadhbh have journeyed along a tough road adapting to their changing circumstances. They had no idea what MS was or how it would effect Sam but they never let the illness define Sam or stop them from doing anything. “MS is very personal and effects everyone in different ways. Two years ago Sam’s health plummeted and everything changed again. MS now stopped us in our tracks. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would end up where we are today. We had plans and dreams for our future, this wasn’t one of them. We have absolutely no idea what tomorrow will bring or how Sam will be. It …

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Don Baker and Rob Strong Celebrate 50 Years on the Road

DON Baker and Rob Strong celebrate 50 years on the road this year and are bringing their recently recorded album, Brothers In Arms to an Ennis audience this weekend. Ahead of the gig, Don, a prolific singer or songwriter, whose songs have been recorded by Sinead O’Connor, Eleanor McEvoy, Brian Kennedy, Declan O’Rourke, Finbar Furey, and Liam Ó’Maonlaí discussed his music career. Described by Bono as “the best harmonica player in the world”, Don says he is “just a normal bloke that happens to play instruments, I’m very ordinary”. Although his real passion is for music, his career has had many interesting turns, many of them “accidental”. He has played alongside Daniel Day Lewis in ‘In the Name of the Father’ as well as playing gangster Thomas Flynn in Fair City. He is an accomplished song writer with several published books in various languages on how to play the harmonica. So how did this “ordinary bloke” end up with so …

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Film on Burren offers a European dimension

IN celebration of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, Galway Film Centre, in partnership with Clare and Galway county councils, with support from the Heritage Council of Ireland, have announced the commissioning of a documentary series with filmmaker Paul Murphy. Entitled Stories from the Landscape: The European Dimension, the project will involve the production of two short documentaries on the theme of landscape and will record aspects of our built and natural heritage across Europe, in both Ireland and Austria. The first film will look at the tradition of dry stone wall building and will visit two festivals that celebrate this; Féile na gCloch on Inis Oírr on the Aran Islands and Stein Und Wein, which takes place in Langenlois in the north-east of Austria. Though many miles apart, both Inis Oírr and Langenlois celebrate the tradition of dry stone walling with festivals that are both regional and local development strategies towards sustainable tourism. The second film will focus on …

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Shannon novelist on the scene of the crime

CERTAIN unsolved crimes echo in Ireland’s consciousness over decades, with names like Philip Cairns, Raonaid Murray and Trevor Deely still recognisable long after their deaths or disappearances. What happens when a crime goes unsolved for far too long is the theme of Rachael English’s new novel, The Night of the Party, set in Clare during the heavy snow of 1982. In her fictional village of Kilmitten, parish priest Fr Galvin is killed, and the crime remains still unsolved a generation later. “Even though it starts with a crime, I wouldn’t really call it a crime novel. You could probably call it a mystery in the old-fashioned way. It’s not a modern thriller, with fingerprints and DNA and serial killers,” says the author and RTÉ presenter, who hails from Shannon. The story shows how being close to a terrible event, but not talking about it, can reverberate through a life, with one of the main characters carrying a dark secret from …

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