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Arts & Culture

Kevin shows no sign of stopping

COMEDIAN Kevin McAleer has been talking nonsense for 30 years and shows little sign of stopping. One of the founding fathers of modern stand-up, he has influenced a whole generation of comedians in Ireland and the UK. On November 8, he comes to Patrick’s Bar in the Market, Ennis after a very long absence from the Clare stand-up scene. “I haven’t been to Ennis for a long time, too long…some hotel back in the mists of the 20th century I think, but the best pint of Guinness I ever had in my life was in Ennis with a friend around 1993. We both cried. “It was a very emotional moment. We still reminisce fondly about it. Maybe I can reconstruct that moment when I am there,” he said. The Tyrone ‘space cadet’ shot to fame back in the 1990s with his regular appearances on RTE’s Nighthawks, leading to sold-out nationwide tours and the best-selling EMI video Turn it On. He …

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Playwrights make tracks for Kilkee

THE third annual Kilkee Playwright Festival takes place from Friday, November 1 to Saturday, November 2 with some new and exciting events being added to this year’s line-up. Organised by Cultúrlann Sweeney and Banner Productions, this year’s programme is more far-reaching and varied than ever with performances from Cork, Galway and West Clare, as well as a one-day playwright workshop. The festival will kick off at 8pm in Cultúrlann Sweeney with The Great Hunger by Cork-based Theatre Makers Ltd. This one-man play is performed and adapted by Jack Healy from Patrick Kavanagh’s epic poem that deals with the trials and tribulations of its central protagonist, Patrick Maguire, a small farmer in post-Treaty Ireland. Maguire fails to seize day-after-passing-day, as he watches in despair as his life edge closer and closer to an unconsummated conclusion. On his “headland of carrots and cabbage” he dreams of an idyll of marriage and children and yet boasts to his friends of his mastery in …

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A Wyrd Tale Retold In Shannon

MUSE Productions in Shannon return to action following their production of Waiting for Godot earlier this year and make a move towards the vaguely ridiculous and spooky with Wyrd Sisters. The production, which will be a special treat for those getting into the Hallowe’en spirit, is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Terry Pratchett. It was adapted for the stage by Stephen Briggs and is a parody of Macbeth. Running for five nights at the Oakwood Arms Hotel, Shannon, Wyrd Sisters is a fun-filled drama for all the family featuring demons and ghosts, ghastly forests and storms. The play is set in the Kingdom of Lancre, but something is rotten in the state. The evil Duke Felmet has murdered the previous king and now newly crowned, he will stop at nothing until the whole kingdom is under his iron fist. The only one who could take the throne away from his grip, however, is the missing …

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Exploring a life of isolation

FOLLOWING The Spinning Heart could have been a monumental task for Donal Ryan but the Tipperary man, who works in Shannon and lives in Limerick, had a novel he made earlier. The Spinning Heart was famously rejected by 47 publishers before it was rescued from a slush pile and has since been critically acclaimed, as well as making the long list for the Booker Prize. That was the first novel Ryan had published but it isn’t the first one he had written as The Thing About December, which hits the shelves later this month, came before it. Like The Spinning Heart, he couldn’t find anyone to take a chance on it but after that novel proved so popular, the problem vanished. While The Spinning Heart brought the stories of more than 20 characters together, this is really the story of one apparently simple and isolated man over the course of a tumultuous year, the author explains. “The book is just …

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Kevin Weathers His Imperfect Storm

KEVIN Haugh hails from Doonaha and was involved with a running club back in Kilkee during the 1980s. Almost 10 years ago, he was asked back by the club to participate in a running event. When he decided to participate, he was on a high and was feeling great after training. “When I came back from the training I said I’m feeling great and I said I think I’ll keep it up,” he said. However, after showering, he noticed there was a little lump on his neck. He thought nothing too much of it at the time. When he went to his GP, he thought it would be a simple procedure, like removing a mole. “I thought this was going to be an ‘I’ll do that next week’ situation. He put his hand on the telephone and made an appointment with a specialist and I heard him say ‘no I want to see him immediately’. He said to me, ‘I …

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Tensions run high as friends reunite

BEYOND The Brooklyn Sky, a play about returned emigrants and the tensions amid a group of old friends, will be performed in Glór on October 18 and 19. The play was written by Kerry man Michael Hilliard Mulcahy and is set in his native town of Brandon. It is directed by Peter Sheridan. A group of friends are reuniting after 20 years but their shared past is a powder keg that can easily explode. They all grew up together in Brandon, before leaving for America in the late ’80s. As sometimes happens, the land of opportunity didn’t live up to their expectations and they returned home, chastened, but wiser. However, things happened between them in America, things of the heart and things of the purse and many of the issues were never resolved. The reunion is because one of their group, Jack Flynn, has flown solo across the Atlantic and the stage is set for a celebration. Peter outlined some …

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Mary’s short story has the write stuff

CLARE woman Mary O’Donoghue was the winner of The Irish Times’ Legends of the Fall short story competition and was thrilled with the honour. “First of all, I was excited to read about the series [The Times also published a number of short stories on the same theme] when it started but I wasn’t always able to read all the stories because only some of them were online, so I didn’t know for a good long time who was in there but I kind of suspected that it would be people like Colum McCann, Colm Tobin and Anne Enright. “Towards the end of the summer, I saw they were looking for open submissions and I saw that Donal Ryan was a judge, as well as someone who wrote in the series. I sent it [her winning entry The Sweet Forbearance in the Streets] in at the last minute and I was very excited when I heard from Fintan O’Toole in …

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North Clare Coastlines Inspiring Ann’s Paintings

CLONLARA artist Ann Daly is currently staging her second solo exhibition in Kilmallock, County Limerick, until the end of September. The exhibition, entitled God’s Country, features a selection of paintings that capture the beautiful landscapes and sceneries of the Liscannor and Doolin coastlines. As well as exhibiting at the Friarsgate Theatre, Kilmallock, Ann will be participating in Culture Night at Contact Studios, the studio space she shares with 14 other artists close to St Joseph’s Hospital on Mulgrave Street in Limerick City. On Culture Night, the studio will be open from 5pm to 10pm to afford members of the public a chance to meet and greet the artists in residence and view their works. Ann is among a number of Clare artists based at Contact Studios. Speaking about her current exhibition, she explains the featured paintings mainly encompass scenes from Liscannor, a place she is all too familiar with. “I paint mainly Clahane, Liscannor, Doolin, which is where I am …

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