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Tuamgraney link for Dragons Den tour

PRESIDENTIAL candidate, renowned Joycean scholar and civil rights campaigner, Senator David Norris has been confirmed to open the 16th annual Iniscealtra Festival of Arts.
The annual festival, held in Mountshannon from May 28 to June 6, has a host of events lined up, not least the visit of Senator Norris and this year it is themed on The Voice.
Among the special guests to attend the festival will be an unusual character that stands 30 foot tall.
In a magnificent afternoon event at Mountshannon Harbour, Small World Theatre from Wales will bring Bran the Blessed, a 30ft puppet, the biggest ever human powered giant in the world, to the festival.
Bran is an ancient Welsh hero, as well as a mythological god of bards and poetry and is said to have brought Christianity to Britain following his captivity in Rome. There are many tales of Bran’s links with Ireland, where he met his death fighting alongside Irish princes and his body scattered far and wide across the land.
Artist Nigel Rolfe will present a new performance entitled Follow Voice Keen, which relates to the festival theme. Nigel’s work encompasses many media, including sound and audio production, video and photography. Internationally renowned musical director and community choir coordinator, Sian Croose has been travelling from her base in Norwich to work with a large group of singers, drawn from the local East Clare community and beyond, in preparation for the unique event.
The culmination of this will be a performance by Big Sky, Sian’s 20-strong choir, who will travel from Norwich to be in Mountshannon Church. In the second part of the concert, Big Sky will be joined by the Irish participants to form a chorus of around 60 voices. They will sing a variety of pieces from different countries and in different styles in multi-part harmony.
Meanwhile, Ennis barbershop quartet Chill will be performing at the 2011 festival.
The book Wise Ways, which documents a collection of local handmade artworks in clay and personal memories or stories, will also be launched at the festival. It records the extraordinary wealth of knowledge and the sustainable ways in which people lived in County Clare in the past. The collection was created during two artists’ residencies; the first at Raheen Community Hospital and Day Care Centre and the second at X-PO, a community-led cultural exchange in the former local post office in Kilnaboy.
In addition to a host of exhibitions, workshops and a festival walk, there will also be an emphasis on theatre this year with The College Players from Limerick presenting The Seafarer by Olivier Award-winning playwright, Conor McPherson.
Furthermore, a selection from the National Self Portrait Collection of Ireland will be on exhibition at Scariff Library throughout the festival. This selection from over 400 works will include portraits by some of Ireland’s most prestigious fine artists, including Louis Le Brocquy, John Shinnors, Gwen O’Dowd, Michael Mulcahy, Brian Maguire, Dorothy Cross and Hughie O’Donoghue.

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