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Arts & Culture

Help make a child’s wish come true

Twenty-five local volunteers are needed on Wish Day, which takes place on Friday, March 9 to support Make-A-Wish Ireland’s flagship fundraising day. Volunteers are asked to give just a few hours of their time to sell wristbands in order to raise much-needed funds for the charity. Last year, in Clare alone, the charity made wishes come true for four children living with life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer, cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Another teenager to benefit from Make-A-Wish is self-taught Ennis musician, Stephen Price. He had his wish granted a few years ago when he received a custom-made Pearl drum kit. Stephen was very patient while waiting for his kit to be built and spray painted to his specifications. His family and friends were invited to join him for the reveal and not only did Stephen receive his fantastic drum kit, but he was also invited to join one of his favourite bands, The Coronas for a sound check …

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IFTA nomintion for Ennis actress

ENNIS actress Denise Gough has been nominated for an IFTA Film and Drama Award. She has been named in the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role (Drama) for her performance in the BBC’s revenge thriller Paula. She is up against such names as Ruth Negga, Amy Huberman, Caitriona Balfe and Elaine Cassidy for the coveted award, which will be announced on February 15. Speaking during the announcement of the nominees, the academy CEO, Áine Moriarty commented, “What a fantastic kickstart to the academy’s 15th anniversary year, with this superb line-up of Irish nominees showcasing the very best of Ireland’s creative talent, delivering world-class film and drama across the globe. “The academy looks forward to acknowledging their achievements and rewarding excellence at the IFTA awards ceremony next month.” Denise played the title role in the BBC drama by Dublin playwright and filmmaker Conor McPherson. She was joined in the three-part drama by Tom Hughes, who is known for his …

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Wexford Opera Festival features three little known operas every year.

A night at the opera

The Wexford Opera Festival is a bit of an unusual proposition but it works and has done for years. Take three obscure operas, some of which haven’t seen the light of day since their début performance, and stage them again over the course of a few weeks. Of course, some operas are obscure for a reason and maybe they should be left mouldering but for every duffer there are several gems. This year was promising, with all three operas sung in Italian. It’s a general rule of mine not to go near German language opera. I find it dark and depressing. Surprisingly, opera in English is often woefully bad. There’s the advantage of being able to fully understand what’s going on without resorting to subtitles but there’s just something wrong about English language opera. You’re generally safer sticking with Italian or at a pinch, French. We travelled down in the aftermath of Ophelia and just before storm Brian made itself …

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Clare to shine on Culture Night

Clare’s cultural community will come together on Friday, September 22 to showcase the creativity that exists within the county. Culture Night Clare 2017 will see 40 free cultural events for all ages being held throughout Clare over a 10-hour period from 1pm to 11pm. This year’s programme, which is organised by the Clare Arts Office and funded by Clare County Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is filled with free events. Arts and cultural bodies throughout Clare will throw open their doors offering members of the public a chance to enjoy unique performances and catch a glimpse inside some of the most beautiful buildings and cultural institutions in their area. A poetry trail, classical music, a ceramics and jewellery showcase and a family art workshop are just some of the ways that people around the county can enjoy this year’s Culture Night. Culture Night in Ennis will culminate with ‘Firestorm’ – a show of light and …

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Gathering from far and wide

THE tentacles of Irish music reach very far from its strongholds and people from around the world have made it to the narrow streets of Ennis for this week’s festivities. Many have strong roots in this county, such as Graham Killoughery, who grew up in London, the son of Mary and Tom Killoughery, who hail from Lissycasey and Ballyea respectively. Graham was in Lord of the Dance for six and a half years, while his sister, Shona, was also part of the show for several years. On Tuesday, he was really enjoying the sounds around the streets. “I’m a big fan of the music. Shona and myself danced when we were younger. Feis music would be a little bit different to trad but I’m actually a bigger fan of the trad music. It’s good to go around the pubs, meet up with some old friends from the dancing and listen to some more enjoyable tunes. Some of the dance music …

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Ennis hits high note for Minnesota mothers

AMONG the throng of overseas visitors to the Fleadh in Ennis this week were Laura Coleman and Alisa Mee from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Eleven of the group are staying in a house in Spanish Point for the duration of the Fleadh, while their children are among 18 musicians representing the Centre for Irish Music in the Mid-West US city. Laura’s son Finn plays the harp, much to the bemusement of his mother. She has yet to work out why but is going with the flow. “Our kids have been involved at the Centre for Irish Music for about three and a half years. It all started because our youngest son Finn woke up one day and decided that he had to play the harp. We don’t know why. The harp? It’s not our national instrument. There’s nothing iconic about the harp in Minnesota,” Laura explained. “It’s not a scene,” confirmed Alisa, whose son Cathal plays the button accordion. “We signed …

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Michael Flatley Opens Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann

  The crowds came out in force again this year as Michael Flatley opened Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis for 2017. Ahead of playing a tune on flute, accompanied by his friend Ger Fahy, Michael Flatley told of his love for music and dance and commended the organisers for putting on another wonderful festival this year. He paid tribute to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for all the work they do and for bringing music into his life. “Labhras Ó Murchú who was dear friends with my father, God rest his soul, brought music to Chicago when I was a young man and I can never say thank you enough. Thank you to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann because they brought that little ray of sunshine into our lives, they are the ones who got me started playing music. I’m sure most of you here would have benefitted in some way from that wonderful organisation,” he said.  Reflecting on his family, who encouraged …

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Michael Flatley opens Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann this weekend

Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley will officially launch Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the largest Irish Traditional Music Festival in the world, in Ennis tomorrow, Sunday August 6 at 2.30pm in the Abbey Street Car Park in Ennis town centre. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is delighted that the man who revolutionised Irish dance, and who previously took to the stage at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis in 1977 as a competitor, will now return to the Clare county town 40 years later to declare the Fleadh open to a new generation of competitors. For many, the Fleadh is the culmination of months of hard work and practice as they compete against fellow musicians, singers and dancers to achieve the recognition of being an All-Ireland champion. For others it is a unique and welcoming festival of the best of traditional arts that offers a wide range of activities to be enjoyed by all. Shannon Airport has come on board once again as the …

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