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Arts & Culture

Waves of approval for Cliffs of Insanity

Among the books shortlisted at this year’s Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards is Irish Times sports journalist Keith Duggan’s book Cliffs of Insanity: A Winter on Ireland’s Big Waves.In the book, the award-winning sports writer gives a fascinating insight into the world of surfing in Ireland, and in particular in Clare. Cliffs of Insanity tells the story of a dedicated group of surfers in Clare whose lives revolve around the pursuit of Ireland’s wildest waves, a way of life that flies in the face of everything championed in Ireland over the last decade. The awards ceremony for the Irish Book Awards takes place on Thursday night, and Cliffs of Insanity has been shortlisted in the Sports Book of the Year category where it is up against My Olympic Dream by Katie Taylor, My Journey by Jim Stynes, The Bull by John Hayes, Memory Man by Jimmy Magee and The Great and the Good by John Giles.Surfing in Ireland was …

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Robbie McMahon documentary gets DVD release

A DVD version of the highly acclaimed film Last Night As I Lay Dreaming looks set to bring the legendary Spancilhill composer and singer Robbie McMahon a whole new set of fans from around the world. That’s according to Frank Whelan, the film’s producer, speaking ahead of the launch this Friday at Cois na hAbhna in Ennis.“The audience reaction at the first showing of the film convinced us we had something special. Then it was selected to be shown at the Galway Film Fleadh and the response there was tremendous. “Since then, we have shown it at festivals and events throughout Ireland and abroad and the reaction has always been the same. Everywhere we go we are asked ‘Is it available on DVD and where can I get it?’ We’ve had emails from around the world from people who’ve read about the film on the website, all wanting to know how they can get a copy.”Last Night As I Lay …

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Clare casting flavour for West Side Story

Two Clare talents will be making their debut with the Cecilian Musical Society this week as they take to the Lime Tree Theatre stage in leading roles in the society’s big annual production, West Side Story. Shannon’s Orla Walsh takes on the part of Anita, while Sixmilebridge man Derek McMahon plays Bernardo in the Cecilians’ production of West Side Story. The Cecilian Musical Society will presents West Side Story at the Lime Tree Theatre in Limerick this Wednesday night for a four night run bringing a little bit of New York to the Mid-West. It has been 19 years since the Cecilian’s have staged West Side Story and Paul Donnellan, treasurer of the society, explains why this year sees its return. “The last time we did it was in 1993 and that’s the only time we’ve done it. It is a very difficult show to put on because it involves a huge amount of male singers and dancers. This year, …

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Pipe fest begins with howling wind

The inaugural Tulla Pipe fest was held on Saturday, November 3, and as the wind howled and icy rain lashed down on the Wind Swept Hill, a large gathering was happy to be in the Court house for the first concert of the festival.  The Tulla Pipe Band led the concert with a three-part rendition of The Dawning of the Day which included a young solo singer, Aoibh O’Reilly, a lone piper, Patrick Murphy, which was met by tremendous applause.Guests on the night included members of St Colmcille’s Pipe Band from Tullamore, Tulla Comhaltas branch and performers from Cnoc Na Gaoithe including The O’Rourke School of Dancing.  The harsh weather did not dampen the spirits of, those who attended and Minogues back bar allowed the piping to continue as both pipe bands engaged in a ‘pipe off’. Early on Sunday morning the stove was lit in the old band hall, memorabilia double checked and tables laid out in preparation for …

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Closing the book on Twilight

You know that any artistic endeavour has reached heights of inconceivable popularity when the religious nutjobs start foaming at the mouth. So you didn’t need to be camped out in a mile-long queue at the weekend for a midnight screening to know that Twilight has earned a special place in popular culture. You just needed to read the news. There you would have learned that certain American pastors have been warning their flocks to beware of these Twilight films, that they’re a fierce bad influence on the youngsters, some of whom have been inspired to indulge in a bit of vampirism themselves, sucking each other’s blood for kicks. This is dangerous stuff, they say, clearly of the devil. Any parent who willingly exposes their susceptible teenagers to this sorcery is in danger of the fires of hell. Which suggests a pretty bleak future for some of my friends. (My daughter has seen all the films and read all the books …

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Maura sings at American Wake

The acclaimed Ennis singer Maura O’Connell has been selected to sing the opening track on The 1861 Project – Volume 2: From The Famine To The Front, a new Nashville-produced CD to honour the significant contribution made by Irish combatants on both sides of the American Civil War. The CD features both Irish and American artists, and O’Connell’s track, The American Wake, was, appropriately, co-written by the Nashville-based Thomm Jutz and Waterford singer-songwriter Liam Merriman. In the wake of the potato famine in the late 1840s, Ireland’s young population left for America in droves. The American Wake, performed by O’Connell with dobro legend Jerry Douglas, captures the heartbreak of departure and the stark realisation that those who left would likely never return home.O’Connell has scored several hit singles under her own name as well as with De Danann. The 1861 Project – Volume 2: From The Famine To The Front, also includes tracks by, Liam Merriman, David Olney, Ben Sands, …

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Kick-off the holidays with the Kilfenora Céilí Band

The festive season will get a rousing lift-off in the Mid-West as Shannon Airport hosts a free Christmas Music Celebration headlined by the band that did so much to put traditional Irish music on the global map, the internationally acclaimed Kilfenora Céilí Band. The event – tickets for which are now available for collection at Clare FM, Limerick’s Live 95FM, Tipp FM and Shannon Airport’s Information Desk – takes place on Friday, December 7 and will parade not just the renowned 2009 Irish Music Hall of Famers from North Clare, but some of the best music and comedy talent from across the region. Comedian Karl Spain will fly the Limerick flag as he warms the crowd up with his side-splitting show and there will be a lively act following him as one of the country’s best young trad bands, Socks in the Frying Pan, strengthen the Clare representation on the night. The ticket-only event, which opens at 8pm, will also …

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On the couch

Magic Mike is far less exploitative than you’d expect it to be. Make no mistake, there’s exploitation galore for fans of the gyrating male form, Steven Soderberg’s flick provides a surprisingly interesting, pleasingly open story here as well.Channing Tatum stars as the titular Mike, a stripper on the way out of the business of disrobing as his protegé, Adam (Alex Pettyfer) is just learning the ancient art of getting his groove on.The star dancer Xquisite Strip Club, Mike is an aspiring furniture maker, pastime roofer and all-round entrepreneur looking for a way leave his velcro pants behind and make his money without the risk of catching a cold from an unwanted draught.He takes pity on the hapless but handsome Alex after seeing him at a club one night and the young fella quickly gets press-ganged into service on the Xquisite stage when one of the other performers suffers an abrupt bout of horizontality due to drink and drugs.Despite not having …

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