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Arts & Culture

From Broadway to the Banner

PEMBERLEY Productions and the Lime Tree Theatre are bringing the one man off-Broadway production of In Acting Shakespeare on an Irish tour this month, with dates in Clare, Limerick and Galway. The tour gives Irish audiences a rare chance to see an off-Broadway production on their doorsteps and it comes off the back of a two-month, sold-out run in New York City. In Acting Shakespeare is a funny, touching and uplifting story of one man’s discovery of Shakespeare, acting and language. Freely adapted, with permission, from Sir Ian McKellen’s Acting Shakespeare, James De Vita tells his own story of a young fisherman searching for a new career. This fun, fervent tribute to one man’s personal journey, deftly weaves some of Shakespeare’s most famous monologues with James’ days as a Long Island fisherman and his nights as a classical actor. Speaking to The Clare Champion, Tim Smith, who is producing the play, which is written by and stars Wisconsin native De Vita, …

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Nóirín’s generous gift of art

CLARE-based artist, Nóirín Williams Mooney has recently gifted a collection of 14 batik paintings on the life of Christ to Mary Immaculate College (MIC) in Limerick. Professor Michael A Hayes, president of Mary Immaculate College (MIC), accepted the collection of paintings, entitled Story of a Life, on behalf of the college. Nóirín Williams Mooney was born in County Galway but has spent most of her growing and working life in County Clare. Having graduated from Galway University, she went on to take her ATC degree under McEvoy and Mannering at the College of Art in Limerick. She taught in Scoil Carmel, before becoming lecturer of art in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. During these years, she held two joint exhibitions with Eileen Egan and participated individually in several Irish Winter Artists’ Exhibitions. In 1969, she married the poet, Brian Mooney, and together they moved to the Burren in County Clare, where they ran the Vincent Perfumery. The poet, John O’Donohue …

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An insight into Clare in 680 stories

THE  first volume of The Other Clare was published  by the Shannon Archaeological & Historical Society in 1977 and contained 34 pages  dealing with historical aspects of south Clare. After it was produced, the hope was that there would be a second volume, and possibly some more. However, in the intervening 37 years, over 2,500 pages containing over 680 articles on the historical heritage of County Clare  have been published within its covers. Volume 38 of The Other Clare was launched recently and this year’s journal follows the format of its predecessors containing a variety of articles by seasoned and new authors alike on a wide range of topics relating to the county’s heritage. Risteard UaCroinin and Martin Breen continue their invaluable study of the county’s towerhouses, this time focusing on the restored Ballyhannon Castle, near Quin. Martin Barry continues the study of Drinagh townland that he begun last year, this time focussing on the history of its landownership from …

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Getting set for that Friday cultural feeling

Friday marks the annual Culture Night throughout Ireland and once again Clare is very much to the fore with over 25 free events around the county. The organisers of Culture Night, the Department of Arts, have kept last year’s theme Explore – Experience – Enjoy due to it’s phenomenal success. Ennis sees the largest array of Culture Night activities. The phenomenally successful Riches of Clare concert series will provide a free concert in Glór featuring Mike Butler, Damien O’Reilly and Blackie O’Connell, to name but a few musicians. Music will also be provided by the Jaskane Café Trio in the Clare Museum and there will be a piping recital by renowned uilleann piper David Power in the Friary on Abbey Street, Ennis. There will also be music on the streets of Ennis provided by the Ennis Gospel Choir, Comhaltas and by a members of the international community in Ennis. Music dominates throughout the county also with traditional music happening in …

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Back to Buckingham

NORTH Clare artist, Michael Hanrahan has been invited again to Buckingham Palace to deliver his painting, entitled The Horse-Drawn Carriage At Windsor. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth gave Michael permission to paint various scenes from the historic visit of Irish President, Michael D Higgins to the United Kingdom last April. She also said she wished to see the work on completion. She has now written to the artist, accepting Michael’s gift of this painting. The painting depicts the Australian State carriage as it made its way to Windsor Castle, carrying the Queen and President Higgins. Michael will deliver the painting to Buckingham Palace at 12.30pm on Monday, October 6. This is the artist’s second visit to the palace, having presented a further painting, entitled The Queen at the Garden of Remembrance. This painting followed Queen Elizabeth’s historic visit to Ireland in 2011. Michael was the only artist accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs to capture this visit on canvas. The …

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Rachael’s novel adventures

Shannon author and broadcaster, Rachael English’s second novel, Each and Every One, has just hit the bookshops. Rachael’s voice is among the most well-known in the country, as she presents Morning Ireland, and has more than 20 years’ experience on RTÉ Radio, after starting out on Clare FM, when Irish local radio was launched in 1989. Her first novel, Going Back, was quite well received on its release last year, but her nerves were still jangling last week, as she prepares to see how readers and critics react to the latest novel. Even presenting a radio show to hundreds of thousands of listeners isn’t adequate preparation, she said. “I’d love to be one of those people who doesn’t get nervous about these things but I do get far more nervous about book things than I have ever done about anything to do with broadcasting. It’s mad.” She said she feels like people will almost be passing judgement on a part …

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Clare author misses out on Man Booker shortlist

CLARE-based writer Niall Williams has missed out on being shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. The Kilmihil resident was named on the longlist for the prestigious prize in July but was ruled out of the running when the final six were announced this week. Mr Willians’ book History of the Rain is set in the village of Faha in West Clare, where young Ruth Swain lies bedridden in an attic room piled high with 3,958 books. The character tells the story of herself, her father and the family of English clergymen from which he came. For the first time in its 46-year history, the £50,000 prize has been opened up to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Unfortunately the prize will not be coming to Ireland as Cork-born author Joseph O’Neill also missed out on the short list. Chair of the 2014 judges, AC Grayling, stated that reducing the 13 books on the …

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Desperately seeking talented canines

THE 70TH annual Scariff Show took place last weekend and the competition was as fierce as ever for this milestone year. Among the events was a special dog category event, helping East Clare Musical Society select a suitable dog actor for their forthcoming production of Annie. Four candidates were selected to play the role of Sandy and, after a trial period working with these dogs, one lucky canine will be selected to perform in December. The shortlisted entries included Jessie, owned by Paul Brooks; Monty, owned by Eleanor Walsh; Sammy, owned by Caroline Ford; and Muffy, owned by Holly Sturton, who will play the role of Annie for the production. The top four dogs will work with a trainer, once rehearsals begin. Chorus rehearsals begin on Tuesday at 8pm in the music room at Scariff Community College. Anyone interested in getting involved are asked to come along, new members are always welcome.   Carol Byrne

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