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Arts & Culture

Acclaimed poet for Doolin performance

DOOLIN is the destination for a unique poetry performance on Saturday night next (March 25). Fiddle and Bow Collection will host Leitrim’s Stephen Murphy, whose exciting and authentic work is attracting huge attention.  A reading as part of Listowel Writer’s Week went viral, capturing the hearts and minds of thousands who saw video clips. John O’Connor, who has organised a Wild Atlantic Way tour for Stephen described the live performances as “incredible”. “I’ve never seen anyone to establish such a strong connection with an audience and he does everything straight out of his head,” he said. “It is quite something to witness.” Originally from rural Leitrim, Stephen is a bard in the truest sense of the term. His live performances have seen him previously called “the highlight” of the Electric Picnic by Kitty Holland in The Irish Times. He was hailed as a “poet of our age” by Irish Independent columnist Billy Keane, and “a splendid, gifted and courageous young …

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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.

Stage set for feast of drama in Scariff

IT’S CURTAIN up in Scariff for the 74th Clare Drama Festival which begins on Friday, March 24 in the Community College hall.  Chairman, Eamon Moroney, has promised a feast of entertainment for nine nights. The festival will be officially opened by Coman Keaveny, Chair of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland. (ADCI) The adjudicator Tom Byrne ADA is no stranger to Scariff audiences, but in a different capacity, having directed Bradán Players for many years. The first performance will be Brideview Drama Group from Waterford with ‘The Father’ by Florian Zeller. This play is a thrilling exploration of who we are to ourselves when our signposts disappear with age. Saturday, March 25 sees Kilmeen Drama Group from West Cork with ‘Blithe Spirit’ by Noel Coward. This comedy will resonate with Clare Drama festival audiences, who have fond memories of Scariff’s 1993 All Ireland winning performance of the play. On Sunday, March 26, Ray Leonard Players from Claremorris bring Jimmy Murphy’s …

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Ennis Players return to the stage with ‘Glorious’ production

AFTER a three year wait the Ennis Players are back in their new show ‘Glorious!’ by Peter Quilter, with rehearsals are well underway for this four night production. Directed by Bernie Harten, this play is based on the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins. Known as ‘the first lady of the sliding scale’, she warbled and screeched her way through the evening to an audience who mostly fell about with laughter. The play details Florence’s charity recitals, her bizarre recording sessions and an ultimate triumph at Carnegie Hall in this heart-warming comedy. This production features Maeve Plunkett as Florence Foster Jenkins, Jackie Scanlan as her suffering accompanist and John Lillis as St. Clair Byfield, her boyfriend. Patricia Clune plays the sharp-tongued truth-speaking Mrs. Verrinder Gedge, Geraldine Greene is Florence’s non-English speaking Mexican maid while Emer O’Flaherty plays Dorothy, Florence’s close friend. Ricky the loyal but sleeping poodle plays himself! Director Bernie Harten says she is, “thrilled to introduce Ennis audiences …

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The Fogues to raise the roof at Cnoc na Gaoithe

A LIVELY night of music, song and dance is promised within the beautifully-restored walls of Cnoc na Gaoithe, Tulla, on Saturday, March 25. Since the state-of-the-art auditorium was opened last October, it has hosted packed shows featuring PJ Murrihy and Séamus Shannon, and a well-attended céilí mór to test out the new dance floor. Saturday week will see fresh, upcoming four-piece folk, ballad and trad band, The Fogues, take to the stage in a show that is set to attract an audience from across Clare and beyond. Hailed for a repertoire that covers everything “from the Dubliners to Cascada”, the band even have a bus coming from their own native Mitchelstown, such is their unique appeal. The band is made up of three Fogartys, who are first cousins, and their close friend Ted O’Brien. A champion Irish dancer, Micheál Fogarty is no stranger to Clare and has travelled overseas with Cnoc na Gaoithe, under the auspices of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. …

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Secrets aired in Scariff weekend of drama

A WEEKEND of theatre is in store in Scariff as Sliabh Aughty Drama Group treads the boards at the local GAA club.   From Friday, March 10 to Sunday, March 12, the group will perform two one-act plays. Audiences will be treated to Last of the Last of The Mohicans, directed by Shane Kelly, and Losers, directed by Noel Hogan.  Last of the Last of The Mohicans tells the story of Dominick, who, having packed his wife off on retreat to an obscure saint’s shrine, is poised to enjoy an evening of passion with Grace. Grace arrives, but is soon followed by Dominick’s wife; then Grace’s husband – a formidable Aer Lingus pilot. Eventually, the situation is resolved amicably, although quite in the way that Dominick intended. Losers promises to be a spectacular show swinging from the crazy, to the incredulous and back to the mundane. It is safe to say that both plays will involve many of life’s secrets …

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Carpe Diem finale to remember Eimear and Eli

A GRAND finale to a musical initiative to honour to young musicians will be held on March 11 in Gort.  The Eimear Noonan Music Bursary Award was established five years ago by the family of the inspirational young musician, who died in France in 2017. A Carpe Diem concert was also held annually in Eimear’s memory. That event was originally conceived by Katharina Baker and Fiona Buckley of Coole Music to honour Eimear’s memory and celebrate her participation in the School of Music, particularly in her role as leader of the Youth Orchestra. On the night of Saturday, March 11 at 7.30pm in O’Sullivan’s Hotel, Carpe Diem Forever, will offer an opportunity to celebrate Eimear’s memory and legacy, the music she made, and the many emerging young players that she supporter and inspired.  “The initiative was originally conceived of to remember our Eimear, but later included another young musician friend, Eli Murray, who died suddenly from Juvenile diabetes in 2019,” …

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Clare writer on extraordinary life of debutante turned bomber

Rose Dugdale, who spurned a life of privilege to join the IRA, is the subject of a book by writer Sean O’Driscoll A DÉBUTANTE presented to Queen Elizabeth in 1958, young Rose Dugdale had a life of privilege among England’s upper class at her feet, but instead she turned her back on her upbringing, joined the IRA and spent most of the 1970s in prison. Her extraordinary life story has now been told by Ennis journalist Sean O’Driscoll in his second book, Heiress, Rebel, Vigilante, Bomber: The Extraordinary Life of Rose Dugdale. Dugdale co-operated with the book and Sean spoke frequently to her during his research, while he says he was aware of the privileged revolutionary from his youth. “We used to visit cousins in Dublin and we’d pass Portlaoise prison and my mother or father  would say that’s where Eddie Gallagher (the father of Dugdale’s child, whom she married while in prison) is. On the way back down passing …

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New concert schedule from Sixmilebridge Folk Club

CONCERTS are back on the musical menu in Sixmilebridge, with the unveiling of a new schedule by the Sixmilebridge Folk Club. Renowned for organising the very successful annual Shannonside Winter Music Festival and a calendar of eclectic concerts throughout the year, the activities of the folk club were adversely affected by the pandemic and the sound of music in the village was temporarily silenced. All that is set to change as the committee has regrouped, and while it is not currently feasible to resurrect the festival in its past form, priority is being given to organising a series of concerts in Gleeson’s Bar in Sixmilebridge over the coming months. The first of these will take place on Friday, February 10 at 8pm. This concert will feature Brian Donnellan and Michael Landers and will be led by fiddle player Mark Donnellan from Kilmurry, who picked up his music from his father Francie, one of the original members of the Tulla Céilí Band. Mark has played …

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