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Glor’s Director Orla Flanagan.Pic Arthur Ellis.

glór celebrates 20 years at the heart of Clare arts and entertainment

Following the official opening on Friday 30th November 2001 by Minister Síle de Valera before a specially invited audience, over 60 great Clare performers – three generations of the best players of Clare music took to the glór stage, including Tony McMahon, Paddy Canny, James Cullinan, Tony Linnane, Noel Hill, Siobhan Peoples, Martin Hayes, Josephine Marsh, Maura O’Connell, the Tulla Ceili Band, and the Kilfenora Ceili Band, to present a night of music such as has never been heard before. With Martin Hayes and the Sawdoctors performing over the next two nights, without doubt the opening weekend of glór was one of the best three nights of music ever staged in County Clare. The opening night concert was broadcast in full by Clare FM, and RTÉ Radio One transmitted the second half.
Built at a cost of €8.5m, glór was the largest investment in the Arts in County Clare. With two auditoria, seating 485 and 65 people respectively, glór hosts local, national, and international music, theatre, talks, dance, comedy, and visual arts events throughout the year, and since 2015 has initiated a number of Artists in residence and Artist mentoring programmes for Clare artists, as well as programmes tailored for children and young people such as the GASP partnership with Clare Schools, enabling access to the arts for younger audiences. The venue has firmly established itself as an integral part of the Irish cultural landscape and houses a theatre bar, box office, vibrant in-house café, and an exhibition space.
glór kicked off its first year of operation with a series of glór Gigs, a special series of Irish music events, which were recognised locally and nationally for the quality of the music and musicians.
glór has hosted many residencies since its opening including the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Residency with Clare Arts Office, which included school’s performances and workshops, along with performances at Ennis and Kilkee Cathedrals, (October 2007); In 2016, Traditional Musician in Residence Eoin O’Neil hosted the hugely popular weekly fun trad sessions and in 2017 Dr. Dave Flynn was appointed glór’s first Associate Artist, later joined by theatre makers Catherine Ireton, and Jacinta Sheerin in 2018. In 2019, glór appointed a Curator in Residence, Dr. Moran Been-noon who has curated both digital and physical exhibitions for the venue since her appointment. Most recently Clare Sands was appointed RESONATE Music Network Artist in Residence, culminating in a performance of new work with collaborators Steve Cooney and visual artist Liadain Ní Bhraonáin this November.
The venue has been busy commissioning major new work, most recently with Clare Arts Office glór commissioned Dial a Seanchaí, a unique audio experience celebrating Irish folklore, storytelling, and song which was available throughout October this year. In two other glór commissions, Storyteller and performer Niall de Búrca travelled along the western seaboard researching the lives of traditional storytellers, before creating The Wild Atlantic Tales, an interactive show for children and young people which premiered in glór in September before embarking on a 9-county coastal tour of the Wild Atlantic Way, whilst Nuala Kennedy wrote and performed Shorelines, a suite of music for quartet reflecting on our beautiful bilingual song traditions which premiered in October 2021. In Visual Arts, glór commissioned Clare Artists Mark Cronin to create a 3D mural. Entitled The Studio, the mural offers a window that enables viewers to escape into an artist’s studio and can be viewed in the foyer of glór.
glór has co-produced theatre with some of the country’s most respected theatre makers. Sweet About Me by Jacinta Sheerin premiered in glór in March 2019, and in June 2019 co-produced Cleft by Rough Magic, in association with Galway International Arts Festival and Kilkenny Arts Festival. Cleft was a major theatre production, written by Fergal McElherron, directed by Lynne Parker, and starring Ennis’ own Simone Kirby. Most recently in 2020 glór co-produced and premiered Flights by Clarecastle playwright John O’Donovan.
There have been many highlights over the past twenty years including memorable gigs with The Frames (2002); Planxty; Kíla; (2004); Finbar Furey with Paddy Keenan; (May 2003); John Prine; Christy Moore; Dara O’Briain (2003); Lisa Hannigan; Maura O’Connell; The Coronas; The Chieftains (2009); The Gloaming (2011); Nanci Griffith (2012); Panti Bliss (2016); John Bishop (2017) and Deirdre O’Kane (2019).
The MÓRglór concert continues to be a much-loved event in glór’s calendar since the first tribute concert to Muiris Ó Rochain in 2013 and has featured so many deserving winners who have been outstanding ambassadors for the traditional arts in Clare. MÓRglór recipients are Corofin Traditional Music Festival (2014); Eoin O’Neill (2015); Frank Custy (2016); Geraldine Cotter (2017); Chris Droney, (2018); Mary MacNamara (2019) and The Shannon Family in 2021.
The COVID pandemic has thrown many challenges at glór and closed the doors for almost 18 months. Despite these challenges glór continued to work behind the scenes supporting Clare artists with successful mentoring schemes, pairing an established national mentor with an emerging Clare artist, and through the 2020 digital programmes – glór sa Bhaile, Folk Nights at glór curated by Paula Carroll, and The 12 Acts of Christmas, which premiered performances digitally from artists from Clare and beyond including Steo Wall; Katie Theasby; Aodán Coyne & Lee Worrell; Síomha; pianist Sean Shannon; the Kilfenora Céilí Band, Susan O’Neill & Tara Howley; Clare Youth Theatre; The Speks; Nóta Stóta and Clare Youth Trad Orchestra; Steve Cooney, Dermot Byrne, Aisling Lyons. Dermot Sheedy and Sean Lyons.
In June 2021, glór along with the NASC network of venues presented Lasta: A national arts programme for young people by young people. In a new innovative approach to programming, twenty-one young curators were engaged by the Nasc venues to programme a festival of work for children and young people from 11th to 20th June 2021, delivering for the first time, a national arts programme curated entirely by young people. Following an open call for young curators, glór selected two curators – Doug Reddan, a movement artist, choreographer, and director from Quin, Co. Clare and Mary Nagle, a classical musician and journalist from Corofin, Co. Clare to create an ambitious programme for Lasta which took place almost entirely online.
glór Gallery has exhibited works by Mick O’Dea RHA, Lorraine Wall, Walter Verling RHA, Dympna Bonfield, Sean MacSweeney, John Shinnors, Barrie Cooke, Jean Regan, and Sam Walsh, along with collections form the Graphic Studio Gallery; IMMA; The National Gallery and from Children’s Books Ireland, to name but a few. And with Curator in Residence Moran Been-noon has presented Sinterella with accompanying children’s workshops, and currently Eggs and Butter featuring a formidable line up of artists focusing on women’s strength.
The venue is lucky to continue to work with a wealth of programming partners including Fishamble, The Abbey, Ballet Ireland, Druid Theatre Company, Music Network, Branar Teatár do Phaistí, Access Cinema, Ennis Book Club Festival, Ennis Players, The Pantaloons, Clare Youth Theatre and Clare Youth Trad Orchestra as well as a wealth of community groups all of whom have taken to the glór stage since 2001.
Many distinguished guests have visited glór over the years including former president Mary McAleese, President Michael D. Higgins, Sonia O’Sullivan, David Norris, Gerry Adams, Special Olympics participants, Paddy Moloney, Elif Shafak, John O’ Donoghue, Blindboy, Roddy Doyle, Joanne Harris, Kate Adi, Mary Harney, Douglas Stuart, Edna O’Brien and John O’Conor. All of them have commented on the good fortune of Ennis and Clare to have such a wonderful facility providing a wealth of diverse programming to the county.
This November, glór celebrated a milestone 20 years in business. Since opening its doors in 2001, over 200,000 people have booked in excess of 900,000 tickets for over 8000 ticketed performances.
glór gives employment to 5.5 full time staff, and over 30 part time staff, and the venue has become one of the leading arts and performance venues on the Irish circuit, a venue actively sought out by top Irish performers and artists.
glór looks forward to the next decade and Director Orla Flanagan says ‘glór has so much to be proud of as we reflect on the first twenty years as a centre of excellence for the arts in Clare – above all the commitment of the many staff and the Board, the passion of the artists and the support of our partners has enabled so many memorable arts experiences and events at glór. I want to particularly pay tribute to the support of our voluntary Board and our brilliant staff team who have navigated the last two challenging years of the pandemic, and we look forward to many more artistic endeavours and exciting exhibitions and performances in our third decade’.
This year glór will celebrate its 20th birthday quietly with a small gathering of friends but looks forward to celebrating its 21st birthday in style in 2022. To celebrate the 20th milestone, glór is running a fantastic giveaway with a prize of a pair of tickets to every event in the programme in 2022.

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