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Arts & Culture

Harsh realities inspire jailers’ tales

PRISON might seem an unlikely environment to inspire a creative career. For Lisdoonvarna’s Bill Bradshaw, however, working in that tense, high-pressure environment did exactly that. The Rathkeale native is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist, and credits a long career as a prison officer with his unique writing style, as well as some of his subject matter. Bill has just published his third book, Delphine, which draws on influences such as horror writer Stephen King and explores moral taboos and family dynamics. Two more novels are in the pipeline and Bill is actively fundraising to turn Delphine into a six-part Netflix series. He is also part of a Clare-based publishing initiative, backed by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and bringing together a number of other creative minds. While his work in the Irish Prison Service is partly responsible for Bill’s approach to his writing, it is a career that has taken a heavy toll. “There is a raw reality in a …

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First live performance in months for glór a sell-out

THE first live performance to be held in glór since lock-down began back in March has sold out, the Ennis venue has confirmed. The venue will be fully re-open from September 1, however ahead of this date a special live show will take place this Friday (August, 14) with The Albiez Trio, presented by Music Network with a line-up featuring Tóla Custy, Laoise Kelly and Cormac Breatnach. The very limited capacity gig will be the first in a range of events planned by glór for the coming months, with the venue adapting to meet the challenges of Covid-19. A spokesperson for glór told us they were delighted that this week’s live performance, with a very limited audience, has sold out. And they are looking forward to returning with a new season of events from September. “We have re-shaped our autumn programme to offer a range of experiences from theatre, to music, comedy and film and visual arts, presenting each experience in …

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‘We need more dissenting voices,’ says emerging Ennis poet

AT 74-years of age Ennis man Martin Knox admits he left it rather late to start publishing poetry, but the trained chemist is certainly making up for lost time. After a fruitful working life, which took in stints at Syntex, later Roche; as well as teaching at some of the country’s most prestigious educational institutions, Martin made the leap into poetry and has just published his first book. Entitled, Words Without Song: Vignettes of Reflective Dissent and Childhood Reflections, the volume is a collection of over 100 poems which “go against the establishment” and give voice to Martin’s long-standing belief that the purpose of literature is to highlight uncomfortable truths. “Racism, poverty, mental health, corruption, environmental damage, the unequal distribution of wealth, suffering, those are some the main themes of my poems,” he said. “Writers should ask serious questions. For a long time, I didn’t have the time to write. When I retired, I found that time. So many questionable …

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The show goes on for musical society

IN true show-biz style the future of Ennis Musical Society has been secured with a fantastic response to a GoFundMe appeal. Society chairperson Rachel Culligan said is it phenomenal that their €7,000 target had been reached within just eight days of the fundraising launch. In addition, the society has received financial support from organisations and individuals with an interest in the arts. “Now we can pay off our debts and look forward to getting back on track for next year’s production in Glór,” she said. Continuing, Rachel said, “Maeve Fox of Pantaloons Ennis came forward, as well as Allen Flynn of Ennis Players. He’s also decided to come on board as our main sponsor for next year – that’s fantastic. Allen went through his contacts and then came back to say that a Clare man living outside the county wanted to make an anonymous donation of €6,000. Our society president Pat Buckley contributed too. All this helped to get us …

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Éilís binding the stories of people’s lives

  BOOKBINDING is an intriguing age-old craft, which is being nurtured by artist Éilís Murphy at her Corofin studio. Her expertise and creativity have recently been rewarded with a €10,000 RDS Craft Awards bursary. Éilís was one of five emerging Irish craftspeople awarded a bursary for the development for their burgeoning craft and business skills under the programme. A judging panel of five craft and design professionals chaired by Irish artist, Róisín de Buitléar, shortlisted 12 candidates to interview in the RDS. Physical examples of their work were shown to the panel and five winners were selected following two days of discussions. In addition to the €10,000 bursary, the 2020 RDS Craft Awards winners are provided with a free stand at Gifted – The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair held in the RDS in December. To be eligible to apply for the craft awards, emerging craft makers must have won a Design & Crafts Council Ireland, Future Makers Award or …

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Clare library services reopen to the public

Several libraries across the county reopened this morning in accordance with Phase 3 of the revised Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. They include De Valera Library in, Ennis and those in Kilrush, Kilkee, Miltown Malbay, Ennistymon and Shannon. Other libraries will be opening shortly once the necessary preparatory work has been completed with update on the Clare County Library website and social media pages. Libraries will provide limited services initially, including limits on the numbers accessing the facility at any one time. Libraries will operate in compliance with current physical distancing guidelines and the public are encouraged to use hand sanitisers upon entry to library buildings. Library visits will be of a maximum 15 minutes’ duration and services will include borrow and return of books, printing facilities, delivery service for those cocooning, online services and children’s services including the 2020 Summer Stars programme. The contact and collect service will continue in the other branches and will commence in a …

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Clare Community Hospitals Benefit from Niall Horan Donation

CLARE’S four community hospitals are among the beneficiaries of a donation of mobile devices from singer Niall Horan. The star pledged €100,000 specifically to support older people and staff in public long term residential care to help them stay in touch with their families. The tablets purchased with the funding will be available to residents at HSE-run facilities in Ennistymon, Kilrush, Ennis and Raheen, Scariff. Niall was inspired to do so when his cousins Patricia and Caroline sent him a photo of them talking on the phone to their granny outside her window and then decided to teach her how to use FaceTime. Seeing the positive impact it’s had on his granny inspired him to do the same for other older people. “So many elderly people are feeling vulnerable and isolated now more than ever,” said Niall. “Thousands of families have needed to be pulled apart, including my own. Not only does this initiative bring them back together, face to …

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New Artistic Director announced for Ennis Book Club Festival

A NEW artistic director has been announced for the Ennis Book Club Festival. Dani Gill’s appointment follows on from Paul Perry who was the artistic director with the festival for the last four years. Dani and the committee will now begin work on programming for the 15th Ennis Book Club Festival which will take place on the first weekend of March in 2021. Dani has a wealth of experience in delivering festivals and is passionate about making literature accessible to all. She is a curator, producer, writer and educator, based in the west of Ireland. She is also the national Audience Development Officer for Words Ireland and was the Director of Cúirt International Festival of Literature from 2010-2016. She is very keen on developing outreach, access to the arts and community development projects. Dani’s first collection of poems was published by Salmon Poetry in 2017 and she has just completed a novel. Her literary hybrid show ‘Mirrors’, was part of the International Literature Festival Dublin, 2019. …

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