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Arts & Culture

West Clare Sparks Love of Acting for ‘Normal People’ Star

TO SAY that actor Paul Mescal has been “slightly busy” lately would be something of an understatement. While he may be under lock-down with his fellow Londoners at the moment, and a long way from Cree, where his father’s family hail from, this week has seen him basking in the glow of critical and popular acclaim for his lead role in the TV adaptation of novel ‘Normal People’. Playing the part of Connell, opposite Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne, Paul portrays a young man struggling with the highs and lows of first love, against a background of social snobbery, peer pressure and the transition to adult life. His powerful performance has earned the twenty-four year-old plaudits from heavy weight critics nationally and internationally, and tipped the Maynooth native for greater things. Paul told The Champion that the last 48 hours have been “absolutely mad”. “It’s been a bit bananas,” he said, of the buzz around the first episodes in the 12-part …

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Young people urged to share a day in their life for writing competition

CLARE’S young people are being urged to show they have the write stuff by getting involved in a new county-wide competition. Clare County Library have launched a creative writing competition for children and teenagers. “With schools currently closed and students working remotely on assignments set by teachers Clare County Library would like to offer a different type of exercise to children and teenagers aged between 7 and 15 who like to write stories,” explained a spokesperson. To enter, all you have to do is write a story up to 700 words based on ‘County Clare 2020: A Day in My Life’. Entries must be in before 12 noon on May 12. All entrants are asked to type their name and age at the end of their story and email their entry to library_mailbox@clarecoco.ie When sending entries include the words Creative Writing Competition as the email subject. The shortlisted and winning entries will be posted on www.clarelibrary.ie on June 3 and …

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Hit TV Show Lead Has West Clare Connections

RAVE reviews are being savoured by a young actor with strong Clare links, after a massively positive response to the series ‘Normal People’, directed by Oscar-nominee Lenny Abrahamson. Twenty-four year-old Paul Mescal, whose dad hails from Cree, plays Connell in the small-screen adaptation of the Booker-prize long-listed novel by Sally Rooney. His performance, alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne, has been receiving critical and popular acclaim since the series opened this week on BBC, RTÉ and streaming service Hulu. Paul’s extended family in Cree have theatre in the blood with a big connection to the vibrant West Clare drama circuit. “My dad Paul grew up in Cree, the son of Michael and Mairéad, and we would have gotten back down to West Clare on lots of holidays over the years,” Paul told The Champion. The young actor, who grew up in Maynooth, County Kildare, lists Spanish Point as one of his favourite destinations and is hoping that once the lock-down eases, …

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Small Clare Parish Produces Special Show On Phones In Defiance Of Covid-19

A tiny Co. Clare community will bring a special and unique performance into its homes on Sunday night in a show of solidarity with parishoners during the Covid-19 lock-down. ‘Ogonnelloe Remembers’, a show commemorating the Easter Rising, will be broadcast on Facebook and Youtube on Sunday night at 8p.m. having been recorded on parishioners’ phones and produced this week. The 40 minute special ‘at home’ production, which is supported by Clare County Council, is a shortened version of the OGonnelloe community’s unique 1916 centenary commemoration that saw it create it’s own piece of theater to celebrate the Easter Rising. The show weaves celebrated songs and poems of the Rising together with a special diary from the time written by local man Tim Lynch that gives a fascinating insight into how word was received and anticipated of events in Dublin, some 200kms away from the picturesque parish on the shores of Lough Derg. The show is knit together brilliantly by a …

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Pat Costello: A Man For All Seasons

BY Bríd Costello THE world of traditional music lost one of its staunchest champions with the passing of Patrick Joseph Costello earlier this month. A well-known broadcaster and musician, Pat went by almost as many names as he had passions. Known as Patrick, Paddy, Packie, P, Daddy or Grandad, depending on who he was speaking to at the time, he was a polymath whose breadth of knowledge touched a vast number of subjects ranging from mechanics and information technology to art, poetry and philosophy. And what he didn’t know, he was eager to learn. Born in 1947, in the parish of Moycarkey, County Tipperary, Pat was the firstborn child of Molly and Jerry Costello. He developed a love for music at a very early age and often reminisced about his first instrument – an upturned biscuit tin and a pair of knives. “There was always rhythm. It was never noise,” says his sister Peggy, adding their mother Molly bought Pat …

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Ogonnello comes together ‘virtually’ to remember 1916

THE community of Ogonnelloe have vowed not to be beaten in their efforts to celebrate the anniversary of the 1916 Rising this weekend. While the ongoing lock-down means that a production of a commemorative show entitled ‘O’Gonnelloe Remembers’ could not be publicly performed, the feast of music, song and poetry will now be released on Facebook next Sunday night at 8pm. The show sees people from around the parish taking on the roles of leading revolutionary figures in what is described as an “emotionally-charged” remembrance of the Rising. All week long, amateur actors have been getting into costume and capturing themselves on camera phone. Their performances are now being edited alongside archival and drone footage by Tubber man Brian Ruane, a professional videographer and editor. Sunday night’s release is eagerly anticipated locally and is set to bring back happy memories of a major commemorative event which took place locally in 2016 to mark the Rising’s centenary. Director Louise Donnellan said …

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Kilkee play Zooms into homes

IN what is believed to be a first, the Kilkee Playwright Festival will be bringing an award winning play directly into people’s homes using the increasingly popular app Zoom. Hot Potato Production’s play Just Guff by Jim Ward has been adapted for audio with script development and direction by Jenny Bassett. It will be broadcast into homes via Zoom this Saturday, April 11, at 8pm. And the good news for people looking for entertainment during the lock-down is the broadcast can be accessed for free. Director Jenny Bassett explains, “I used Zoom prior to Covid-19 and was amazed just how easy it was to use. No downloading, just click on a link just before the scheduled time and a page opened up and I was in a virtual meeting with people from around the world. I was also surprised at the sound quality, I immediately thought how it could be used for broadcasting a performance. “Shortly afterwards we were  restricted …

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Gearing up for Mountshannon Arts Festival with Glór Event

MOUNTSHANNON Arts Festival is getting set to celebrate its 24th year, with an exciting programme for 2020. While the main festival take place from May 23 to June 1, organisers aim to have events running over the course of the year. Next month, for the first time ever, one of the key performances will take place later this month (March) at Glór in Ennis, as renowned pianist Alexander Ardakov makes a welcome return to Clare. Mr Ardakov, who lives in London, hails for the Volga region of Russia and as well as being an acclaimed musician is a Professor of Piano at a leading conservatoire. He played to a capacity audience in Mountshannon in 2019. The hope is that, by collaborating with Glór for a performance on March 28 – which is World Piano Day – people from across the region will get to hear him play. Roxanne Leonard who is a member of the Arts Festival committee had known …

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