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Connacht Tribune

1916 a dream unrealised

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Writer and performer Eoghan MacGiolla Bhríde.

Lifestyle – A multi-media show celebrating the role played by Gaeltacht regions in inspiring the Rising opens in Galway’s Town Hall Theatre next week. Judy Murphy delves into its background.

Altan’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Connemara musician Johnny Óg Connolly have joined forces with award-winning director Darach Mac Con Iomaire, artist Seán Ó Flaithearta and a host of other performers for a multi-media show celebrating the role played by Gaeltacht regions in inspiring the 1916 Rising.

Aisling? also explores how these peripheral regions were largely neglected by the State in the years since independence.

First staged in the former Arramara Seaweed Factory in Rosmuc in November 2016 as part of the centenary celebrations of the Easter Rising, Aisling? is now being revived, with funding from the Arts Council and Creative Ireland.

The piece which translates as Dream? will be staged at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre next Friday and Saturday, August 31 and September 1, before transferring to Dublin’s Olympia Theatre and from there to Waterford, Belfast, Derry and Ráth Chairn in Meath.

Musicians, poets, writers, visual artists and composers from Ireland’s Gaeltacht regions have collaborated to create Aisling?, where original music and song feature alongside poetry and theatrical elements, with design by Aran artist Seán Ó Flaithearta.

“Music links the piece,” Darach explains, adding that the main ‘character’ is a currach created by Seán, “that is a metaphor for us (Ireland and the Gaeltacht) in its many different manifestations”.

The idea for Aisling? was first mooted in early 2016 as part of the Easter Rising commemorations, when Mícheál Ó Fearraigh of Ealaín na Gaeltachta approached Darach. He wanted the writer, director and actor to create a show featuring the work of artists who were born or who lived in Gaeltacht regions; a piece that would have 1916 as its starting point.

“We agreed that different artists would be commissioned to create new work; music poetry, dance, design,” says Darach.

Given that broad brief, the director contacted some of Ireland’s finest musicians, poets, dancers and visual artists, all from Gaeltacht regions, and they began the creative process by exploring what the 1916 centenary meant to them.

Realising that this was a unique, if scary opportunity for all involved, “the first thing was the process of elimination, discussing what we didn’t want to do”.

They didn’t want a straightforward narrative, partly because their show was being staged in November of 2016, “when a lot of people would have had their fill of 1916 events. We wanted to challenge ourselves and our audience”, says Darach,

Having shared their thoughts on 1916, the writers, musicians, dancers and designers went away and formulated their individual responses to the Rising.

“And it was my job to shape it so that everything would fit together,” Darach explains.

The idea was to create a “metaphorical, subtle production that worked and would engage the audience at several levels, where the audience would have to work with us”.

The resulting piece was a narrative in four movements, with Seán Ó Flaithearta currach creations being central to all four.

Aisling? opens by exploring the influence of Ireland’s Gaeltacht regions on the leaders of 1916. Those behind the Rising felt that these peripheral places, where the Irish language and culture remained so strong, could offer a vision for the country’s future once independence from England had been achieved.

But these people knew that taking on the might of the British Empire was an impossible task, Darach states, so their vision also included the notion of a glorious failure, which they’d accepted as being necessary for independence.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k

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Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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