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Arts & Culture

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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Arts Council goes Into the Light

Clare people are being invited to celebrate the Arts Council’s 60th anniversary by attending a series of exhibitions organised to mark the event, entitled Into the Light, from the end of this month. The exhibition taking place in the Mid-West region goes on display at Limerick City Gallery of Art from November 30 and has been curated by Helen Carey. The Arts Council has cited a recently published Indecon economic report saying that the arts are now more important than ever for Ireland in terms of the employment and revenue generated by the sector and the positive impact that Irish artists are having on our reputation abroad. The report shows the arts provide significant direct and indirect employment in Ireland, with the Arts Council’s annual funding supporting some 2,270 jobs. The wider arts sector supports 20,755 jobs and contributes €336m in taxes. The exhibitions will include over 150 works and many have been recalled from loan locations across the country. …

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Oscar nominee calls on creative kids

Two-time Academy Award nominee and co-founder of Brown Bag Films, Darragh O’Connell, is calling on Clare pupils to embrace their artistic side and enter the 2012 Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards. The annual painting competition invites primary school pupils from Clare to unleash their talent by engaging with the competition, using only their imagination to create an individual artwork. The Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards gives youngsters the opportunity to engage with the value of their sight and learn about those children who live without it in the developing world. The winning pupil will receive prizes from the Art and Hobby Store. In addition, for the first time ever, the winning pupil’s school will also win a cash prize. Speaking about his involvement in the Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards, the two-time Oscar-nominated animator and filmmaker said, “The only way to get better at something is to keep doing it and that’s the same for drawing and painting. Practise, practise, practise. Look at …

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