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Arts & Culture

Clare Museum visitors up

A TOTAL of 28,947 people visited Clare Museum in Ennis during 2013, making the year the busiest  since 2008.  More than 3,000 extra visitors came to the museum during the year representing 12.5% increase on 2012 and continued an upward trend that began in 2011. While both the The Gathering and increased traffic into Shannon, particularly from the United States, were important factors in this increase, a number of museum initiatives were hugely successful during the year also. Among these initiatives were public talks on the Hidden History of Clare that attracted great interest locally during the winter and spring.  Another was the Festival of Poland, a project designed to build a bridge between the museum and the largest ethnic minority in the county.

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Hail to the High King

THE night skies over Lough Derg were illuminated with fireworks, as the new year dawned, marking the start of the Brian Boru Millennium Celebrations – Killaloe Ballina 2014. It’s a year-long festival, built around the famous High King of Ireland, who was killed after victory in the Battle of Clontarf  in 1014. The aim of the organising committee is to “reclaim” during 2014 Killaloe’s place as capital of Ireland, as it was during the Clare king’s reign. On New Year’s Eve, people from near and far descended on the twin towns to witness a ceremonial march from four locations to meet at Kincora, the spot where Brian’s palace once stood. In addition to the launch, the festival will include four other key anchor events: Killaloe Ballina St. Patrick’s Festival April Millennium Commemorations Féile Brian Boru 2014, leading a packed summer programme including the Killaloe Pink Ribbon Walk October 10.14 Celebrations The festival will also see the launch of the new National Brian …

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Early 20th century Clare in photos

LIMERICK  City Museum and Archives (LCMA) is to host a major photographic exhibition featuring rare images of South East Clare and Limerick City, dating back to the early 20th century. “The Street” exhibition, comprising of photographs from The Haselbeck Collection, will be launched at Limerick City Hall on Monday, January 13 by Mayor of Limerick Kathleen Leddin and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan. Franz S. Haselbeck worked as a professional photographer in the Mid-West from 1912 until his death in 1973. He cycled all over Limerick City and throughout South East  Clare to photograph the important events of his time, including the War of Independence and major construction projects, as well as everyday events. Today, The Haselbeck Collection is regarded as one of the most important collections of 20th century Ireland. Some of the earliest photographs featured in the exhibition relate to the Irish Volunteers and the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1913 and 1914 at a time …

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Protecting our built heritage

  AN allocation of  €121,000 has been provided to Clare County Council under a newly announced Government scheme aimed at the repair and conservation of protected structures and generating employment in the local construction sector. The funding is being provided by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme, the closing date for which is Friday, February 7. Eligible structures include those listed in Clare County Council’s Records of Protected Structures (RPS), those proposed for inclusion in the RPS but have not yet been formally approved for inclusion, and those within Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs). Risteárd Ua Cróinín, the council’s architectural conservation officer, explained that the scheme seeks to leverage private capital for investment in a significant number of labour-intensive, small-scale conservation projects across Clare and to support the employment of skilled and experienced conservation professionals, craftspeople and tradespersons in the repair of the historic built environment.

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A personal take on the Troubles

MANY of us associate The 4 of Us with the late ’80s and early ’90s but the Northern rockers have never gone away and are about to release a new album, which explores growing up in the Newry of the Troubles. They perform in Glór on December 7 and speaking to The Champion, vocalist and songwriter Brendan Murphy said they will be playing material from the new record along with some of their older songs. “We’ve an album coming out next spring and it’s also our 25th anniversary next year, so we’re gearing up for that. We decided to do a number of shows before Christmas; we’re in Vicar Street in March and we wanted to test out the new record. It’s nearly done and we’re doing maybe half the new album. It’s a longer show because we still play the songs people would expect us to play. Bruce Springsteen is never out of the country now, so you have …

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Orla enjoys dream RTE news job

IT’S a tough time for young people in the workplace, with high unemployment and an internship culture keeping many out of full-time employment or nudging them towards emigration. However, Shannon’s Orla Walsh isn’t having that experience, having landed something of a dream job presenting RTÉ’s News2Day programme. She applied in May and has been on TV screens since September, having graduated with a BA in Journalism and New Media from UL in 2012. Speaking to The Clare Champion, she said she has settled well at Montrose and wants to carve out more of a niche for herself with the national broadcaster. She is always pleased when her work gets bumped up and used for the main news. “I absolutely love it. Since I was young, I always wanted to be on RTÉ and I always wanted to present the news. To get the chance to come in, do the children’s news and get such fantastic training is amazing. Every time …

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Gray sounding out intimate venues

A HUGE star in this country since the success of the White Ladder album more than a decade ago, David Gray is on his way to Glór as part of his Irish tour. In October, announcing he would be coming to Ireland for a tour entitled Sounding Out in early December, he came up with a unique method of deciding where he would visit. People were asked to register on his website for tickets and to indicate what county they’d like him to visit. He said the decision on venue would be made either by the strength of numbers or the “compelling eloquence” of the arguments. When the venues were announced, Clare had made the cut on December 10. Speaking about the tour on his website, he said he wanted to play in some of Ireland’s smaller venues. “When you get venues over a certain size, it’s sort of incumbent on me to make more of a show of it …

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Thomas captures the face of Richard

A PAINTING of Richard Harris by Clare artist Thomas Delohery is to be used as the promotional image for the inaugural International Richard Harris Film Festival, which runs from December 4-6. Originally from O’ Callaghan’s Mills, Delohery now lives in Melbourne, Australia. He said he was very honoured to be asked to do the art work for the festival. “I think this is the perfect way to honour the late and great Richard Harris, who was a very proud Limerick man but who saw Kilkee as his spiritual home, so much so he named his house in the Bahamas, Kilkee House,” he said. His image was projected onto King John’s Castle last week when the programme for the film festival was launched. “As Richard was a local man and had gone to such heights in his career, for that reason I saw him as an inspiration. I have been very fortunate that I have got to know the Harris family …

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