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Arts & Culture

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Gregory and Cusack to feature in Fire in the Blood

FIRE in The Blood, a series of four programmes on the Celtic Revival begins on RTE One tonight (February 29) at 8.30pm. It focuses on four areas of the revival: drama; the Irish language; art; and, sports. Each episode will focus on one individual who played a central role in the Revival, including Lady Gregory and Michael Cusack, and will be presented by a contemporary figure who can speak with credibility about that individual – assessing their lives, and the influence of their work. The Celtic Revival was a broad-based cultural movement whose stated purpose was to address many diverse areas of Irish life – literary, linguistic, visual and sporting. The purpose of this four-part series is to give a real sense of the breath of those ambitions and the scale of their impact on Irish society.  The Celtic Revival contained a number of outstanding and colourful individuals, but producers selected four who they believe will provide insights to some …

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Ennis Players pay tribute to Friel

Ennis Players celebrate the life of world-acclaimed playwright, Brian Friel, with a production of The Loves of Cass Maguire on its 50th anniversary. It is poignant that the Players are performing this play in the year of Brian Friel’s death and the Players believe they were the last amateur drama group in Ireland to receive a written license from Friel to perform the play, just two months before his passing. Glór Theatre – from Wednesday, next to Saturday, February 27 – will be the venue for the latest production of the award-winning Ennis Players. Allen Flynn, director, explained, “This is a very powerful play, both humorous and sad, but ultimately uplifting. Friel’s play deals with identity, the notion of truth and communication and how memories, both public and private, enable us to ride the highs and lows of life. “Throughout the play, images from the past flood into Cass’s head and the story unfolds when, after 51 years in America, …

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Mary Dolling up for big fundraiser

MARY Conroy has so many dolls she won’t be able to bring all 20,000 of them to her fundraiser for Crumlin Children’s Hospital on the first weekend in April. Out of action for a few years due to back trouble – not, she insists, caused by lugging dolls about – the upcoming fundraiser in Sandyford, Dublin, will be her first for a few years. The Kilrush woman, who is originally from Pound Street, has been collecting dolls since she was a child and has two houses teeming with them in her back garden. “I have two big dolls houses in the garden and I have another shed full of prams. Unfortunately, they’re getting packed out now at the minute. They need to be somewhere to be displayed properly,” she mused. “I have a fair amount of them,” Mary conceded, when it was put to her that 20,000 dolls is a lot. “It’s a lot of work packing them up in …

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Heritage Council offering grants

The Heritage Council has announced it will allocate €700,000 to projects under its 2016 Heritage Management Grant Scheme. The grants are aimed at supporting projects that apply good heritage practice to the management of places, collections or objects, including buildings. Grant applications must be submitted on the Heritage Council’s online application system before 5pm on Monday, March 7. Heritage Council chief executive, Michael Starrett said, “The past number of years has brought many challenges to those working hard to preserve and promote Ireland’s heritage and to highlight its significance to people and their places. In that context, the Heritage Council is delighted to be able to offer some financial assistance to community-based heritage projects. These local projects are very important in protecting our heritage, as well as creating jobs and promoting local tourism. “The Heritage Council is only in a position to make these grants because of additional financial support given by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Heather …

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Built heritage funds for Clare

MINISTER for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys  has confirmed 10  Clare heritage projects will benefit under the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme 2016. Overall, 340 heritage projects nationwide will share in a €2 million investment package as part of the Built Heritage Investment Scheme for 2016. The funding will allow for the conservation and repair of heritage buildings across the country, and the scheme follows a similar model to the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme, which proved to be very successful in 2014. It is expected this new scheme will leverage an additional €8 million in private funds and will generate significant employment in the conservation and construction industries. The Clare allocation has been given a broad welcome by Fine Gael Deputy Pat Breen. “The work to be undertaken ranges from structural and roof repairs to window conservation/protection and masonary stabilisation. I would also like to compliment Clare County Council who has responsibility for administrating this scheme for …

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War experience inspires Margaretta’s activism

People always ask Margaretta D’Arcy how did she become an anti-war activist? In her new book, Ireland’s Guantanamo Granny, the Galway-based activist answers the question by showing how her early experiences of war motivated her to campaign for peace. “I’m nearly 82 and not many people will remember the effect of World War II. My family had been living in Dublin but when I was about four or five, my father was transferred. He was a civil servant with the Department of Agriculture and we were to go and live in England,” she says. “A couple of days later came the news about the beginning of the war. The whole of London was like a war zone, with all these barrage balloons and sirens going off. It was an extremely frightening experience.” Ms D’Arcy says what followed was “panic” to get the family back to Ireland. “I think when a child has that trauma and the effect of the war …

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Martin Hayes first recipient of UL award

The musical genius of Clare fiddler Martin Hayes has been acknowledged in his selection as the first recipient of a prestigious new award at the University of Limerick. UL has announced a new three-year arts patronage award through the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. The Irish World Academy Artist, will facilitate the creative process of selected artists across a three-year period through a budget of €60,000. Martin Hayes, the first recipient, has been internationally acclaimed for bringing his local East Clare traditional fiddle style to a global audience through his many performances and recording. The Irish World Academy Artist at the University of Limerick will undertake a series of creative projects across the three-year span. Students of the academy will have access to open workshops in the building on the banks of the river Shannon on the University Campus. Professor Don Barry, president of UL, said, “It is fitting that an artist of the stature of Martin Hayes should …

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Council commissions 1916 artwork

THE centenary of the 1916 Rising will be commemorated with the installation of a €20,000 permanent artwork in Ennis, it has been confirmed. Clare County Council have begun the process of commissioning the artwork, with a proposed location of Abbey Street. It is planned to place the new artwork adjacent to the 1916 memorial stone currently in place, which was installed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rising in 1966. According to Clare County Council, it is envisaged that the artwork will “be inclusive of the Ireland 2016 themes: remembering, reconciling, presenting, imagining and celebrating”. The local authority has explained that the artwork is being commissioned in response to the “great interest” in this period of history and the desire for Clare to play its part in the national commemoration. “Taking into consideration the community’s response to the commemoration of 1916 Easter Rising through the consultation process undertaken by Clare County Council in 2015, it is evident that there …

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