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Arts & Culture

Marissa Carter, founder of Cocoa Brown, wearing one of Bríd’s beaded collars.

Collars up for Brid

By Carol Byrne CLARE milliner, Brid O’Driscoll, who is now based in Kinvara, with a further studio just opened in Ballyalla, has been working on a new craft of late, which has managed to catch the eyes of Hollywood celebrities. Beaded collars and headpieces she designed were worn by Cocoa Brown tanning range founder, Marissa Carter, to this year’s Oscars, and were also seen by a number of Hollywood talents at a pre-Oscars event held in Beverly Hills. Meanwhile, in a separate development, she has been the inspiration for a new novel based on two milliners which has been released by Irish bestselling author, Colette Caddle. Speaking about how this new craft has developed in a few short years, Bríd said she has only been making these new beaded bespoke headpiece and collar designs in the last year. Her millinery work began in October 2011 but her passion for art and design has always been there. “I’ve always had a …

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Arts Projects in jeopardy

by Carol Byrne THE future of nine arts projects in Clare, worth €343,500, are in limbo after Irish Water indicated it is going to discontinue the Per Cent for Art Scheme. Clare County Council applied for grants following the construction of nine water schemes in the county. Three applications for arts funding of €51,000 were sought in relation to the construction of the Newmarket-on-Fergus Water, Ennis Water Treatment Plant and West Clare Contract Six Water Schemes. A further three applications for €38,000 in arts funding were made following the development of the Ennis Augmentation Water Scheme, Corofin Sewerage Scheme and Lisdoonvarna Water Supply Scheme extension to Ballyvaughan. Two applications for funding of €25,500 were sought under the Per Cent for Art Scheme following the construction of the Tulla Serviced Land Initiative (SLI) and the Clonlara SLI Sewerage Scheme, while one application for funding of €25,000 was made in respect of works at the Clarecastle SLI. The information emerged in a …

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Concertina convention comes to town

by Peter O’Connell THE first staging of the National Concertina Convention (Consairtín) will be held in Ennis this weekend.  The festival directors are concertina player and teacher Tim Collins along with Áine Hensey, who is also very involved in the traditional arts in Clare. “It’s a new music festival on the music landscape of Clare,” Tim said. “It’s about capturing the colossal interest in the instrument, not just in Clare anymore. In the last 20 or 30 years the concertina has become a very popular instrument right across the country and beyond. “Áine Hensey and I felt that the time was right to bring an international festival to Ennis that would capture the interest in the instrument. We have a broad weekend planned including a mixture of teaching and a lot of performances,” he added. The festival will be officially opened by Jurgen Suttner on Friday at 7.30pm in the Old Ground Hotel. “There are lectures as well each day …

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Another award for renowed Killaloe accordion player

By Dan Danaher RENOWNED Killaloe accordion player, Martin Connolly was presented with an award during the Kincora Music Weekend recently. Martin accepted the award on behalf of his family as the accolade was an official recognition of the huge contribution made by the Connolly family to Irish music, song and dance. Martin received a piece of glass crystal with an inscription the “Fort of Kincora”, which is a reference to some of his previous work. He will also be honoured in his own home town by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE) during the Clare Fleadh. CCE Ard Sturthoir, Labharas O’Murchu will present Gradam an Chomhaltais to the Killaloe native. Clare CCE public relations officer, Councillor Joe Arkins said it was fitting that Mr Connolly should be feted in his own home place following his “immense” contribution to Irish traditional music, in particular accordeon playing. In addition to winning several All-Ireland titles as a performer, Clare’s first citizen noted he had repeated this …

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Showband airs in the Áras

AS HEAD of the students’ union in UCG, Michael D Higgins was not too far removed from the showband scene and a town closely associated with that famous era. More recently, and now as President of Ireland, he was brought down memory lane and reminded of what the showbands meant to places like Tuam. Names of famous showbands and musicians were recalled when he visited the Galway town, at the invitation of a local committee, to honour a person who, more than anybody else in the town, was responsible for sending hundreds of musicians on the road. All were well capable of playing with the best, whether it was with  showbands, garda or army bands from the late 1950s. President Higgins also attended the launch of a new CD, featuring the best of local showbands. Since receiving a copy, the precints of his residence, Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, echo to the sounds of some of the famous  …

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Chris scores a Gradam award

CLARE concertina-player, Chris Droney is to be honoured with the TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award at TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2014, which takes place a the University Concert Hall on Saturday, April 12. This year’s Gradam recipients range over a wide spectrum of talents. As well as the venerable North Clare concertina-player Chris Droney, they include the Limerick-born doyen of Irish musicology in North America, Mick Moloney; one of Connemara’s most versatile sean-nós singers; a member of the latest generation in a Sliabh Luachra musical dynasty; and a trio of musicians whose musical collaboration has brought to life again a unique musical manuscript trove from Munster that had lain dormant for 130 years. Chris Droney has been selected for this year’s TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award. Born in 1924, Chris is a noted concertina stylist from Belharbour, who has followed in the footsteps of his father, James, and grandfather, Michael (1829-1927), who also played concertina. Chris learned to play by ear and parental …

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Shane Kelly as Wan Word and Noel Hogan as PJ, during Sliabh Aughty Drama Group's rehearsal of Unforgiven in Mountshannon on Saturday.

Results are in from Clare Drama Festival

TOPPING the play bill at this year’s Clare Drama Festival in the confined section was Skibbereen Theatre Society’s production of No Romance, while Bradán Players performance of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf took first place in the open section. The results at the 67th annual Clare Drama Festival were revealed when the adjudicator, Tony Rushforth gave his views on the performances held in Scariff over the past two weeks. There were two Clare award winners in the confined section with second place going to the East Clare based Sliabh Aughty Drama Group for their production of Unforgiven by John McDwyer. Meanwhile Doonbeg Drama Group took the third spot with their performance of Cavalcaders by Billy Roche. Second place in the open competition went to Nenagh Players for their staging of The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham, while Kilmeen Drama Group took third place with the Enda Walsh play The Walworth Farce.

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Darragh drummer coming to Glór

By Owen Ryan HERMITAGE Green are about to tour a number of Irish venues and they will be coming to Glór in Ennis on next Saturday night. While often referred to as a Limerick group, percussionist Dermot Sheedy is from Darragh and he spoke to the Champion last week from Nashville, where the group were working. “We were in Vancouver for a week, we played two gigs there for Celtic Fest and we came to Nashville the other day. We’re working with loads of loads of different producers and labels over here to see what we can do. We’re writing a lot of songs and laying them down, it’s basically music heaven over here, two of the lads were at Music Row yesterday which is like a big housing estate where every house is a studio. We’re having great craic over here, there’s a lot of work but hopefully it’ll bear fruit.” Most people associate Nashville with country, but he …

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