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Arts & Culture

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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Hanrahan unveils JFK paintings

Monday, May 29 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of assinnated US President John JF Kennedy. To coincide with this, Clare artist Michael Hanrahan unveils the final four paintings from a series of nine paintings he painted in 2013. They will be on view at 6pm at his gallery on Main Street, Ennistymon. Michael wrote to Caroline Kennedy back in 2013 requesting images of the historic visit of the President to Ireland in 1963. The Kennedy Library sent him archival photos of the visit and he was able to base the paintings from these images. The Kennedy Library selected the painting of ‘JFK in Cork’ and Aer Lingus flew Michael and the painting to Boston where the painting was presented to Tom McNaught Chief Executive of the Kennedy Foundation in the private Kennedy room. In 2013 the painting of JFK speaking in New Ross was presented to Caroline Kennedy in New Ross during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the …

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Musical society enters the Little Shop of Horrors

ENNIS Musical Society will present its 60th production, the dark and hilarious comedy Little Shop of Horrors this month, opening this Wednesday night in Glór. The story is told from the perspective of a downtrodden florist shop assistant Seymour Krelborn, played by Eoghan Rice from Quin, whose interest in weird and exotic plants leads him to find a rather unusual plant of the fly-trap variety. The plant – with the right food – promises to drag this former street kid out of the gutter and into the arms of a loving woman, bringing him fame and fortune along the way. Seymour has to struggle between his conscience and his desire for wealth and notoriety. This year’s musical is being staged slightly earlier, with performances from March 8 to Saturday, March 11 in Glór. Typically, the society has a six-show run so with just four performances, Ennis Musical Society chairperson Anne-Marie Hassett said demand will be high. “This year is a …

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60 shows from Ennis Musical Society

FOUNDED in 1953, Ennis Musical Society has been responsible for bringing the most popular Broadway and West End shows to a County Clare audience and this year is no different, as it embarks on a milestone performance. Ennis Musical Society’s 60th show is the dark comedy, Little Shop of Horror. The Franciscan Order is the foundation on which the Ennis Muscial Society breathed its first life and, in 1953, the society, then known as the Friary Choral, took its first steps onto the amateur stage. Under the dedicated direction of its founder, the late Fr Eunan OFM, it held its début performance of The Country Girl at the New Hall, which was known locally as Paddy Con’s/The Jet Club and is now home to Madden’s Furniture. It took six years before it staged its next production, Wild Violets, in May 1959. The revived society was by then known as the Franciscan Musical Society. Someone who has been involved since the …

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