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Arts & Culture

Pop up art shop creates a buzz in Mountshannon

A POP up shop will return to Main Street, Mountshannon this weekend, as a vacant building is transformed into a colourful hub showcasing the artistic richness of East Clare. Thanks to the generosity of the cottage owner, John Tuohy, the Mountshannon Arts Shop will open its doors on October 9 and 10, bringing a buzz of life and vibrancy to the harbour town. The popular venue did very well over the Mountshannon Arts Festival weekend and the artists and crafters involved were delighted with the response, as were locals and visitors alike.  The artists involved in this unique collaboration include Ailish McElroy of Ailish McElroy Millinery in Bodyke; Scariff-based visual artist Nathalie El Baba; Rachel Maloney, a Fine Art graduate from Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD); Mel White aka Maximillist Art, a self taught Pop Art influenced artist; and Deirdre Carr, an artist and poet.  “Mel White played an integral part in securing the premises and setting up …

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West Clare musician appointed to UCC 

LISSYCASEY native and virtuoso concertina player, Dr Jack Talty has been appointed to the staff of University College Cork (UCC). The multi award winning performer, composer, producer and educator has a diverse range of academic interest and will join the staff of The Department of Music, as a Lecturer in Irish Traditional Music. Dr Talty is the founder of the traditional music label, Raelach Records, and, as a performer has travelled extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Australia, and Asia. To-date, he has contributed to over 80 albums to date as a musician, producer, composer, arranger, and engineer, most notably with Ensemble Eriu. A Licentiate of the London College of Music, and a BA and BMus graduate of University College Cork, Dr Talty has been awarded the Mary V Hart Memorial Award; The Seán Ó Riada Memorial Award; a UCC Societies Guild Bene Merenti award, and a UCC Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann award.  He holds an MA in Music Technology from …

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Strong showing by Doolin hotelier in short story contest

A DOOLIN hotelier has been honoured in a prestigious short story competition organised by RTÉ. Dónal Minihane, General Manager of Hotel Doolin, was named on Monday night as joint runner-up in the competition which honours the memory of the late writer, Francis MacManus. “It’s absolutely amazing to be recognised like this,” Dónal told The Champion. “It’s really great that people will read and hear the story. When writers sit down to write, we don’t expect many people to read our work, but still we do it. This is something that’ll help me to keep going when I’m up early on the dark winter mornings while everyone else is in bed.” ‘Windsea’ was unveiled on RTÉ Radio’s Arena on Monday night as joint runner-up and Dónal said he was delighted to get the call from producers to give him the good news. The piece was read on RTÉ by actor Aaron Monaghan on Wednesday night last, and the story is available …

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‘Slatted Shed Sessions’ in tune with children’s charity

A WEST Clare slatted house will double as a recording studio next week, when a group of musicians and singers come together to produce an album to raise funds for research into children’s cancers. The idea is the brainchild of Miltown Malbay native George Benn, who has recently received the all clear after being diagnosed, in recent years, with cancer. Now a long-time resident of Ruan, George is a member of the choir in Ballyea. Over the last few weeks, he and his fellow members, musicians and friends have been busy rehearsing for the 14-track album. The slatted shed, which is owned by choir member Martin Casey, has been centrally important as a venue which facilitates social distancing for the group of around 20. “But for Martin, this wouldn’t have been possible,” George said. Originally, George planned to hold a church concert. “Covid got in the way,” he outlined. “Then I thought, ‘Why not make an album?’ Everyone got behind …

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Sinead channels ‘Positive Vibes’ to benefit Clarecare

AN ARTIST who works for Clarecare is putting her talents to use for the greater good, by donating most of the proceeds of her forthcoming exhibition to the agency.  Sinead Slattery has been working in the popular Clarecare Thrift Show for over 15 years and next month she will exhibit a selection of her paintings at The Clare Museum. Her aim is to donate 60% of all sales to Clarecare.  “I grew up in love with nature and art and crafts from a young age,” she said. “I was lucky to have learned many skills in the Holy Family Primary School, from crochet to embroidery. In Coláiste Mhuire I had a fantastic art teacher who used to call my love of red skies ‘Slattery Pink’. My dad taught me how to paint in a ‘domestic’ way from a very young age. “Don’t be afraid of it” he used to say. “Paint don’t tickle,” as I enjoyed painting walls back then. …

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Creativity unlocked as restrictions ease

A GERMAN artist and photographer has traded life in the fast lane for the more relaxed rhythms of East Clare and is now holding his first Irish exhibition in Scariff. Claus-Eckhard Kraemer, a native of South West Germany, arrived in the county just days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus pandemic. Confined, under Covid-19 regulations to a radius of between 2km and 5km, the former Formula 1 media delegate, turned his artistic interest and his camera lens to the spectacular landscape around the shores of Lough Derg. He compiled a calendar inspired by the area and is in the process of producing a second one for 2022. The easing of pandemic restrictions now means that Claus can show his work to a wider audience with an exhibition entitled, ‘Time Lapse’, running at the gallery at Scariff Library until mid-October. “I always carry a camera,” Claus told The Champion. “Even with a smartphone, it’s possible to take fantastic …

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Doolin hotelier in short story prize contention

A DOOLIN hotelier is one of ten writers to make the shortlist for a highly prestigious short story competition organised by RTÉ in memory of the late author, Francis MacManus. Dónal Minihane is General Manager of Hotel Doolin and the organiser of a number of popular local cultural festivals, including Doolin Writers’ Weekend. His short story ‘Windsea’ impressed a judging panel of accomplished writers and secured a place on the shortlist, which was whittled down from almost 2,800 entries. The story will be among those read on RTÉ on week nights from next Monday, September 27 to October 8. Dónal, who is a PhD student of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick (UL), described ‘Windsea’ as the monologue of a misjudged teenager as he holds his landlord, who has shot his dog, at gunpoint.  “I’d the lad and his mum in my head for a few years,” he explained. “I got the story down one morning. It came out …

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Exhibition at Kinvara explores the psychological impact of social media

SOCIAL media and its psychological impact are the themes of an exciting new exhibition which will run at the Courthouse in Kinvara until early next month. The show by Mark Keaveney is entitled ‘My Social Bubble’ and contains a number of innovative digital art pieces. The young Roscommon native’s work was spotted during the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) end-of-year show by Pam Fleming, chairperson of Kinvara Area Visual Arts (KAVA). After Mark accepted the invitation to exhibit, KAVA came together with Kinvara Alive, a local organisation promoting mental health, to respond to the themes raised in the artwork. “Because of the effects of too much social media on mental health, Kinvara Alive (a local group promoting well-being and mental health) is going to collaborate with KAVA on the exhibition,” Pam outlined. Kinvara Alive will have literature available on training and a range of mental health supports for the duration of the exhibition. “The exploration of the psychological effects …

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