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Arts & Culture

Doireann Scoops Book of the Year Award

KILNAMONA’s Doireann Ní Ghríofa has taken the prestigious An Post Book of the Year 2020 award. A Ghost in the Throat her first prose work, was described as “a strikingly original combination of essay and auto-fiction”. Poet Doireann was unveiled as the winner during part of a special television show aired on RTÉ One, hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan, last night (December 10). The award winning book has received widespread acclaim for weaving together two complementary stories, that of the narrator and the life of eighteenth-century poet Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill. Read our full profile with Doireann here. Doireann is a native of Galway. She was raised in Kilnamona and now lives in Cork.

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Book-binder Eilís crafts ‘Words About Words’

COROFIN-based artists and book binder, Éilís Murphy continues to fly the flag for an age-old and fascinating craft, with her latest handcrafted book Words about Words. The beautifully handmade, limited-edition work of art is a kind of illustrated dictionary of rare words, many of which have fallen out of use. It explores the language of lexicography, using 26 collages to bring to life esoteric terms, from ‘abecedarian’ to ‘zeugma’. “I love resurrecting obscure words, giving them a new life through illustration,” Éilís said, describing Words about Words as “an ABC picture book for adults”. Earlier this year, Éilís’s expertise and creativity were rewarded with a €10,000 RDS Craft Awards bursary. She was one of five emerging Irish craftspeople awarded a bursary for the development of their craft. “Each book is unique by virtue of hand-painted paste paper, which gives the cover the chalky texture of a painted canvas. This paper decoration technique has been used by bookbinders since the middle …

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Major award for Lahinch-based videographer

A TALENTED Lahinch-based film-maker has scooped a top national award from the Irish Professional Photographers and Videographers Association (IPPVA). Gavin Gallagher, from Barefield, and the founder of Dreamcatcher Films, had the honour of taking the title of Wedding Videographer of the Year, fighting off stiff competition from all over the country. “We won the award for a six-minute film and another for a 60-second Instagram edit,” Gavin told The Champion. “We have an amazing team here and we just can’t believe it, we’re delighted with the win.” The honours are all the sweeter because they come at the end of a very difficult year for everyone who provides wedding services. “We lost 70 weddings this year,” Gavin said. “It has been a crazy year and the award means so much with everything that’s happened. It’s really rejuvenated us and we’re looking forward to 2021. Couples who had have to defer their weddings and cope with so much uncertainty have been …

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Mountshannon woman makes creative use of lockdown

LOCKDOWN has been put to good use by Mounthsannon musician and researcher Cliodhna Donnellan, who took advantage of the period to record a debut album and to revisit a CD released in memory of her late father. “For everybody involved in the arts, this has been a very different year,” said Cliodhna. “The slow down gave me an opportunity to just go for it in terms of the album and I recorded it in six weeks. It was probably at the back of my mind for two years though.” Finding time for a solo project was all the more important, given Cliodhna’s recent PhD studies at the University of Limerick (UL) and her long stint with the Mountshannon Trad Festival. “I was working part-time and studying at UL, looking at how traditional musicians can enhance their own performance experience,” she explained. “In terms of the festival, I had established that and coordinated it for ten years and it was winding …

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Traveller’s tales inspire Anthony’s new crime fiction series

A KILLER stalking the world famous Camino de Santiago, and picking off pilgrims for who-knows-what gruesome purposes, is the central character in a new novel penned by Ennis man Anthony Galvin. An author, actor and children’s entertainer, Anthony has a rich and varied life experience to drawn on for a series of crime novels set in far-flung and glamorous locations. Already well-known for his appearances, which bring joy to children across the country, the Cork resident has also clocked up more than 20 winters in Arctic Finland, working closely with none other than Santa Claus. While crime writing might seem to be something of a departure from his ‘day job,’ Anthony sees it as an exploration of other aspects of his creative impulses. And, it is certainly not his first foray into publishing. The gregarious Banner man has clocked up a string of factual books, many of which focus on crime and history. “Around eight to ten years ago, I …

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Whitegate commemorates The Scariff Martyrs

WHITEGATE marked the legacy of the Scariff Martyrs on the 100th anniversary of their capture at Williamstown House on the shores of Lough Derg. A wreath was laid last Sunday at the house of Michael Egan, the caretaker of the stately home who, despite being tortured by British forces, steadfastly refused to give away the hiding place of Brud McMahon, Alphie Rodgers and Martin Gildea. The three has been on the run since an attack on the Scariff RIC Barracks that September and sought shelter at the secluded house. Another wreath was laid on the grounds of the house itself, which now stands in ruins, with short orations from local historian Tommy Holland and from Dr Tomás Mac Conmara. On Monday, the centenary of the martyr’s capture, the church bell rang out in Whitegate at 9.30am, the exact time the men were discovered and taken to Killaloe for questioning. Children from Lakyle National School were present for a socially-distanced ceremony …

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Viral success as musicians ‘seize the day’ for Eimear

A MUSICAL challenge in memory of the late Caher woman, Eimear Noonan, has gone viral, attracting over 400 online performances, across all genres and styles. Carpe Diem Sing and Play: Remembering Eimear has also raised thousands of Euro for a bursary for music students, which is taking applications up until this Saturday. The online challenge was the brainchild of Eimear’s brother Michael and driven by a dedicated team involving family and friends, who have marked, in an extra special way, the third anniversary of the young musician’s untimely passing. “The response across the globe has been phenomenal,” said Eimear’s mother, Mary. “The purpose of Carpe Diem is to support music education and performance and was given a whole new audience as talented young players, together with seasoned musicians and household names, shared their gift of art and music-making for two wonderful lockdown weeks, this November. The music continues to roll in as over 150 performances have yet to be shared. …

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Drama on air as Scariff Bay gets set for feast of radio plays

WITH the normally vibrant amateur drama circuit among the casualties of pandemic restrictions, a new creative initiative aims to bring some of the best local acting, writing and directing talent to the airwaves early next year. Scariff Bay Community Radio together with The Clare Drama Festival have launched the inaugural Clare Drama Radio Play Festival, which will be broadcast on the community station in the spring. The station will also work with local national schools to bring short plays, written by pupils, to the airwaves. The Clare Drama Festival is one of the most popular and longest-running in Ireland and its loss, along with the cancellation of all other theatrical events, has been a huge loss to East Clare. “The amateur drama circuit like so many other cultural activities has been in hibernation since March this year,” said Eoin O’Hagan, PRO of Scariff Bay Community Radio. “Several festivals had been up and running and with the lockdown were forced to …

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