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Arts & Culture

Kinvara art show celebrates natural connections

FUNGI are the inspiration for a new exhibition which celebrates our connections to each other and to the natural world.  Entitled ‘Mycorrhizal Connections’, the show, curated by Kinvara Area Visual Artists (KAVA) member Hugh Murphy, will present works by 18 artists. Mycorrhizal fungi form mutualistic symbiotic relationships with plants and trees, without which this network would not survive. Not only do we share almost half of our  DNA with these fungi, our future is entirely dependent on their contribution to a healthy planet. Artists Helen Roberts Greene, Louise O’Boyle, Heather Watson, Roisin Doherty, Deirdre Crowley, Anne Greene, Caoilfhionn Ní Cheallaigh, Maria Donegan, Tonita O’Dwyer, Katie Burke, Toireasa Ward, Emer MacDermott, Megan Lucy, Beatrice Stapleton, Áine Doherty,  Hugh Murphy, Herminia Ayala Reyes, Laura Angell all reflect on the connections these phenomenal fungi create, as they draw together all the elements in the natural world. They also explore how we, through our own personal connections, depend on and support those around us. …

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John’s journey in sound leads to Papal visit to glór

MUSIC has always been a part of John Hennessy’s life, and the soundtrack to his childhood was an eclectic one. No surprise, because the Drumcliffe native’s dad is the legendary Michael, a music teacher and an inspiration to generations of budding performers.  Now based between Berlin, Cork and Ennis, John is fast making his own name in music. Credited by none other than Mojo magazine with developing a “neo rock ’n’ roll” style, John’s on stage persona is Black Pope. Blending darkly beautiful lyrics with impeccably smooth guitar riffs and a flavour of fizzling glam rock, Black Pope’s sound defies easy comparisons. A multi-instrumentalist and song writer, John is modest about the waves he has been making since bursting onto the music scene. Ahead of a hometown gig at Glór later this month, he is reflective about his musical influences.  “The piano was a constant when we were growing up,” he tells The Champion. “I played violin for a while, …

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Fabric of Clare life set to raise €20k for charities

WHAT started as a pastime reviving old craft skills has helped to weave a unique Clare Quilt, which could raise up to €20,000 for three charitable causes. Before the onset of Covid-19, Valerie Larkin enjoyed visiting places of interest throughout the county that she had only read about. Ms Larkin thought it would be an interesting project to try to make a quilt that showed places of historical interest, lessor known sites, Irish dancers, musicians, fiddles and harps. “I felt wouldn’t it be great to have a tapestry for Clare,” she recalled. Measuring ten feet by six feet, this beautiful quilt, which was featured on RTE’s Nationwide, was created by women living in the four corners of Clare during lockdown last year. It consists of individual handmade squares, created using many different mediums including appliqué, embroidery, felting and quilting. Depicting some of Clare’s historical sites, lesser-known places, music, dance and sports culture, it is a unique record for what locals …

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Hunger striker: ‘no option of doing things differently’

FORMER hunger striker Laurence McKeown will hold the Clare launch of his new book at the West County Hotel at 7.30pm on Thursday, June 30. The book, Time Shadows: A Prison Memoir details McKeown’s time in the Maze Prison from his arrival in 1976 to the aftermath of the 1981 hunger strike in which Bobby Sands and nine other republican prisoners died.  In all the author spent 1,621 days on the blanket protest, in which IRA prisoners refused to wear uniforms, 1,079 days on the no wash protest and finally 70 days on hunger strike. His life was spared when his family intervened to authorise medical attention when he was in a coma on the point of death. He has gone on to be a successful poet, playwright and author, and co-wrote the 2001 film about the Hunger Strike, H3, directed by Les Blair. In 1998 he was awarded a Doctorate in Sociology by Queens University Belfast, having completed a …

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Shannon summer music festival to spread the joy

THE Shannon Summer Music Festival will take place on this Saturday, June 11, in the Town Park.  It is being organised by Chris Walshe and he said there will be something for all age groups on the day. “It starts at 2pm and from 2-6pm we’ll have children’s entertainment. We’ll have face painting, balloon modellers, kiddies disco and we’ll have a DJ. From 6pm on it’ll be live music on the main stage in the Park.” All of the acts during the evening are local. “First up we have the Kirby brothers, then we have Adam Moloney, then we have a band called North of Fortitude, then we’ve a band called the Mangled Badgers. “The last band then, the headliners, is a band called Sticky September. You might know the bands One September and Sticky Fingers. The two of those are joining forces for the evening.” It is the first major outdoor event in the town for several years and …

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Aerial magic in Scariff for Cruinniú na nÓg

HIGHLY acclaimed aerial dance troupe Fidget Feet are coming to Scariff Harbour this weekend, as part of Crinniú na nÓg.  The national festival of youth creativity, which takes place on Saturday next (June 11), is supported by Clare County Library, the Council and Creative Ireland. This year’s event will see the spectacular ‘Flutterby 2’ performed on the shores of Lough Derg. A magical show for children aged four to 12 and their families, there are two sessions per day, each lasting 90 minutes. The sessions are hands-on and will be made up of three parts.  The first part is called ‘Make’. This is an active arts and crafts session. Families can join in the fun to make caterpillars, moths and butterflies together with the Fidget Feet team.  Then, it’s time to ‘Walk’. This part of the session involves meeting Bláithín. Bláithín loves caterpillars, moths and butterflies and you are invited to follow her on her adventurous journey with Uncle Rusty …

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Robert looks to open up Joyce’s classic at glór

ONE hundred years after its publication Ulysses is still one of the most revered novels ever written in English, but it’s also seen as inaccessible by many readers. ‘Strolling through Ulysses’, a one-man show by Robert Gogan will be in Glór on June 9 and it offers both a celebration of the novel and a gentle introduction for the uninitiated. It brings the audience through the curious events and quirky characters of the novel, in a humorous, entertaining and informative manner, with extracts from the novel which best illustrate the various aspects of Joyce’s writing – the comical, the descriptive and the complex – without compromising the integrity of the book. Asked about his love for the novel, Robert said he was an early starter. “When I was about 17 years of age, still going to school, I was very interested in English literature. I’d heard of Ulysses and I said I’ll have a go at this now and I …

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Killaloe set for the beautiful live experience

KATHERINE Hunka can’t wait to play music in front of a live audience again during the eagerly-awaited SCS Killaloe Music Festival. Last year, the artistic director found it very difficult playing in front of an empty Killaloe Cathedral when the festival had to be live-streamed during to Covid-19 restrictions. However, the tenth annual festival will be able to showcase the best of musical talent from Ireland and abroad in front of an audience again from June 3 to 5, much to Katherine’s delight. Keenly anticipating playing in front of people for the first time in two years, Katherine said, “The impact of Covid-19 was terrible for musicians. I know we had to focus on tackling this serious illness but our livelihood’s stopped completely. Concerts were one of the first events to be cancelled and one of the last to return. “This means there is a heady excitement for musicians who are meeting each other again. It is great for musicians …

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