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Arts & Culture

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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Virtual St Patrick’s Day celebrations planned for Kilrush

ST PATRICK’S Day festivities will go virtual this year in Kilrush, with the community determined to look ahead to brighter days, while celebrating the local parades tradition that is so dear to local hearts. A 12-strong committee involving business and community leaders has been working hard to ensure people still have the chance to celebrate, despite the Level 5 lockdown restrictions. Taking the theme of ‘Sending Grá’ to family and friends who are away from home on March 17, the virtual celebration aims to engage people of all ages. The streets and shops have been decorated in the town and organisers are inviting people of all ages to submit entries to art and photography competitions and to send in photos of vintage vehicles that would normally be getting polished and ready to take to the streets for the parade. There’s also a Jerusalema Challenge for family bubbles and socially-distanced groups. “The Kilrush St Patrick’s Day Parade has always been a …

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Susan shares message of hope and inner strength

LAHINCH-based singer-songwriter Susan Quirke has shared a new single ‘To the Bone’, which features on her eagerly-anticipated debut album Into the Sea, due out next month. The single is described as “a timely, soothing, and uplifting song” about drawing on our personal reserves of strength in times of trouble. “Many people are experiencing deep pain, grief, loneliness and isolation as a result of the pandemic,” Susan said. “In many ways suffering is part of the human journey, as is the tremendous courage, resilience and strength people can often demonstrate during tough times.” Susan’s reasons for writing the song are deeply personal, but speak to the universal struggles created by Covid-19. “I wrote this song for someone in my life who was going through a difficult time,” she said. “It was written as an invocation for them, calling on them to remember their power and strength. It’s also written as a balm to soothe people’s hearts and minds. It starts off …

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Drama shot in North Clare to air from Sunday night

NORTH Clare is to feature prominently in one of the year’s most eagerly awaited home-grown drama series, Smother, which will air on RTÉ One next Sunday night. Shot on location in Lahinch, Liscannor, Spanish Point, Fanore, Ennistymon and Lisdoonvarna, the six-part drama is described as a “domestic noir thriller,” and is a co-production with BBC. It was filmed last year in adherence with pandemic guidelines. The high-end production featured a number of locals as crew members and extras. Writer Kate O’Riordan, who worked on the hit series Mr Selfridge, created the family thriller which sees her tight-knit family of characters gradually unearth deeply buried secrets and live with their unintended consequences. The all-star cast is headed up by Dervla Kirwan who plays matriarch Val – a devoted mother who is determined to protect her family and particularly her three daughters Jenny, Anna, and Grace, at any cost. Jenny (played by Niamh Walsh of Good Omens and Jamestown is a doctor, facing …

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Lou finds fresh inspiration from folklore

SIXMILEBRIDGE singer-songwriter, Lou McMahon continues to find inspiration in folklore with the release of her remixed and remastered single ‘Pockets of Change’, produced by Terry Woods of The Pogues. The track, which had its first Irish air play on The Blue of the Night with Bernard Clarke on Lyric FM last week, tells the story of a girl who loses the will to live, until she is saved by love. It was originally written and recorded in 2008 for the EP Delicate Dancer, and is a follow up to ‘Wide Eyed Lady’, a single which was also remixed and re-released last November. The gothic-themed video for that track clocked up more than 40,000 views on social media platforms and achieved both airplay across Ireland, the UK, Slovakia and Italy. Lou is also fresh from guesting with an international collective of 56 musicians calling themselves The PoguestrA. Using remote technology to record together over the course of the 2020 lockdowns, The …

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