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Gearing up for Mountshannon Arts Festival with Glór Event

MOUNTSHANNON Arts Festival is getting set to celebrate its 24th year, with an exciting programme for 2020. While the main festival take place from May 23 to June 1, organisers aim to have events running over the course of the year. Next month, for the first time ever, one of the key performances will take place later this month (March) at Glór in Ennis, as renowned pianist Alexander Ardakov makes a welcome return to Clare. Mr Ardakov, who lives in London, hails for the Volga region of Russia and as well as being an acclaimed musician is a Professor of Piano at a leading conservatoire. He played to a capacity audience in Mountshannon in 2019. The hope is that, by collaborating with Glór for a performance on March 28 – which is World Piano Day – people from across the region will get to hear him play. Roxanne Leonard who is a member of the Arts Festival committee had known …

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Finding humour as Alzheimer’s moves in

WHEN Wicklow playwright and actor Rose Henderson’s father was stricken by Alzheimer’s in his latter years, it meant a lot of challenges for her family, particularly her also ageing mother. She has mined the experience of her father’s last 15 years for the play Take Off Your Cornflakes, which she co-wrote with Fair City star Pat Nolan, and the two will also star in it at glór on February 21. An undeniably serious and sad theme, she says the play is also quite funny, and that humour is one of the best coping strategies for coping with something so devastating. “It as a horrendous thing to hit our family, the repercussions were just exhausting. He was a great Dad, very bright, he was an engineer and his memory had been his friend really. He just didn’t get it, that he wasn’t remembering things, even sequences. He’d look at the kettle and wondering how do you turn that on, is there …

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“We didn’t get to live in our own country during our twenties”

JUST outside Ennis on a dark and stormy night three 30-somethings,Barry, Cusack and Pa, gather again for the anniversary of their childhood friend Liam, who was killed in a road accident when they were 17. This is the premise for Clarecastle playwright John O’Donovan’s Flights and one of its major themes is the ongoing impact of the recession on men in their 30s. Like thousands of others, John left Ireland in 2009, with his hopes of teaching here ruined by the crippled economy. Speaking about Flights, he says, “They get together every year on the anniversary of their friend, who died when they were 17. He’s been 17 years dead this year, so it’s at that weird point when someone you know is dead as long as they were alive. They’re in their mid-30s and it’s usually a bigger party but as people have moved away and drifted away, it’s gotten very small. They have their own issues as well. …

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Brave Father’s Memory Lives On

WHEN Caroline Lynch from Quin married lively Dubliner Chris Byrne on June 28, 2013, building a dream home in the Banner County was always part of their plan. The Ringsend native was “larger than life”, says Caroline, and made a big impression on her native village. He found common ground with everyone he met and always had a friendly word. When we’d go out to the pub in Quin, everyone was like: ‘There’s Chris,’ whereas they hardly noticed me and I’m the native!” she smiles. While this year, Caroline is fulfilling the dream of raising her family in Clare, she’ll be doing it without her soul-mate, after losing Chris to an aggressive form of brain cancer in the Spring of 2016. Now, her rocks of support are her parents Ann and Des, her five-year-old son Harry, and a wide circle of relatives and friends. But she admits that the void left by Chris’s death has left her feeling “robbed” of …

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Orange Alert weather warning for Clare

  CLARE is bracing itself for the arrival of Storm Lorenzo on Thursday with Met Éireann issuing a status orange weather warning for the county. Winds up up to 130km/h, and even higher in coastal regions, are expected with storm surges producing coastal flooding and damage. The orange weather warning, for Clare, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Mayo and Kerry comes into effect from 6pm Thursday until Friday at 3am. There is also a status yellow rainfall alert for the entire country from 9am on Thursday until 6am on Friday. According to Met Éireann south-westerly winds veering westerly will reach mean speeds 65 to 80km/h with gusts generally of 100 to 130km/h, higher in coastal regions. Storm surges will produce coastal flooding and damage. The main impacts will include disruptive winds, falling trees and flooding. The public are advised not to plan any unnecessary journeys for the duration of the status Orange warning. Clare County Council is urging motorists to drive with caution …

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Creepy and Kooky Antics from The Addams Family

ENNIS Musical Society is setting the scene for a musical with a difference this month as it stages The Addams Family A New Musical. Featuring an original story this show has all the spooky characters audiences will know and love from the two films. Based on an original story and score the show sees the head of the Addams clan, Gomez, played by Galwegian Alan Greaney, placed in every father’s nightmare, when his only daughter, Wednesday, played by Aoibheann Malone, has grown up and fallen in love. This musical comedy sees Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness form an unlikely bond with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met, Lucas Beineke, played by Ennis’ Daniel Lynch. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from …

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Don Baker and Rob Strong Celebrate 50 Years on the Road

DON Baker and Rob Strong celebrate 50 years on the road this year and are bringing their recently recorded album, Brothers In Arms to an Ennis audience this weekend. Ahead of the gig, Don, a prolific singer or songwriter, whose songs have been recorded by Sinead O’Connor, Eleanor McEvoy, Brian Kennedy, Declan O’Rourke, Finbar Furey, and Liam Ó’Maonlaí discussed his music career. Described by Bono as “the best harmonica player in the world”, Don says he is “just a normal bloke that happens to play instruments, I’m very ordinary”. Although his real passion is for music, his career has had many interesting turns, many of them “accidental”. He has played alongside Daniel Day Lewis in ‘In the Name of the Father’ as well as playing gangster Thomas Flynn in Fair City. He is an accomplished song writer with several published books in various languages on how to play the harmonica. So how did this “ordinary bloke” end up with so …

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Exhibition finds a ‘Home’ in glór

Visual art works and sculpture pieces responding to the theme ‘Home’ will be exhibited at glór in Ennis from May 18 to June 16 at the annual Embrace for Arts and People with Disabilities exhibition. Each year up to 300 participants with different abilities engage with local professional artists who teach a wide range of visual art and performance forms including environmental art, film, animation, textiles, mosaic, music, dance and drama. This year’s Embrace exhibition and performance event presents a culmination of their unique, colourful, bold and sensitive works. Established in 2001 and funded by the Arts Council, the Embrace programme works with up to 20 organisations and 30 professional artists on its Arts & Disability Programme to provide art and performance workshops for up to 300 participants per year . For 17 years local and national organisations such as the HSE, Enable Ireland, The Dulick Centre, West Clare Mental Health and the Brothers of Charity have partnered with the …

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