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Connacht Tribune

1916 a dream unrealised

Judy Murphy

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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

Tristan’s Ciúnas nominated for award at Dublin Film Festival

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Tristan Heanue shooting Ciúnas in Connemara.

Connemara filmmaker Tristan Heanue has been nominated for the Discovery Award at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival for his short Irish-language film Ciúnas (Silence) which was shot around Connemara. The winner of the award will be announced at the closing ceremony of the festival on Sunday, March 8.

Previous recipients include Barry Keoghan, Niamh Algar and John Connors.

Ciúnas won the Físín Script Award at the 2018 Dingle Film Festival and that festival came on board as co-executive producer on the finished short, which Tristan wrote, directed and produced,

The plot centres on a couple embarking on a journey in the midst of a family crisis and it stars Gary Lydon (The Guard, Calvary, Pure Mule, The Clinic) Ally Ní Chiaráin (The Drummer and the Keeper, Michael Inside) and rising star Hazel Doupe (Float Like a Butterfly, Michael Inside, Calm with Horses).

“I’m hugely honoured to be nominated for this award among such an incredible list of Irish talent,” says the Letterfrack man. “I am so happy with how people seem to have connected with the film since we screened at the Galway Film Fleadh last July.”

Ciúnas has already won the Grand Prix at the 64th Cork Film Festival in November, which means it’s now on the Academy Awards longlist for 2021.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Eclectics aim for a musical smorgasbord for all tastes

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Eclectics success…Liam Ó Maonlaí and Me Auld Flower.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

There’s a hint in the name as to what you might expect from the night – and it’s that diversity of styles that helps explain how, right through the second half of 2019, Eclectics emerged as one of Galway’s premier nights for original music.

Curated by David Boland, the showcase gained huge support by prioritising quality and putting artists first. In the Black Gate, Eclectics has a venue that matches its own ethos – it is the city’s most intimate venue not just because of its size but because, invariably, its patrons are intent on listening to the act on stage.

The 2019 programme began and ended with Cavan songstress Lisa O’Neill but it featured a long list of talented Irish musicians in between.

On a Galway scale, local artists including Jack Lee, Maija Sofia and Dead Horse Jive all played headline shows in the latter stages of the year. There were performances too from experienced Irish musicians like John Spillane and Hothouse Flowers’ Liam O Maonlaoi.

Eclectics is a place for artists at the start of their careers as well as those that have long established themselves in the industry. There are no set criteria for the acts David books.

While the venue may lend itself to a quieter sound, the Black Gate hosts musicians from all styles and genres.

Invariably, the shared trait among Eclectics performers is originality. As the name suggests, the showcase champions diversity and authenticity.

Galway’s arts community is one of the best and most vibrant in the country. There is something of a disparity, however, between the number of quality artists we have in the city and the number of venues that encourage their work.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Corofin’s history makers return to a heroes’ welcome

Declan Tierney

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Gary Sice with his daughter Sadhbh after Corofin defeated Kilcoo to win the All-Ireland Senior Club Championship final at Croke Park last Sunday.

Bonfires blazed and hundreds lined the route as the classy Corofin champions made their way home to a rapturous reception on Monday evening following their historic All-Ireland success the previous day.

The stage was set in Dr Duggan Park, as supporters of all ages dressed in their saffron and green colours waited patiently for the team bus to arrive in the village – and when they eventually did, they were greeted by one of the most energetic homecomings ever witnessed.

This was their fifth All-Ireland club success and by far the most special – not just because the side achieved three-in-a-row, but because of the manner in which they pulled away in the first period of extra time.

Many of those loyal Corofin supporters were convinced that the reception might not have been as ecstatic, had they snatched victory in normal time.

Indeed, the huge Corofin support witnessed their side doing what they do best in that opening period as sub Conor Cunningham sneaked a goal from a rebound and heroes Ronan Steede, Dylan Canney, Liam Silke and Gary Sice put daylight between the sides.

Monday’s homecoming began as the team bus crossed the Shannon in Athlone around mid-afternoon and were even treated to a warm welcome in Ballinasloe along the route.

But it was when they arrived at around 6pm in Abbeyknockmoy that the celebrations began in earnest, as players disembarked from the bus with the Andy Merrigan Cup to the delight of the local GAA club and well-wishers.

See full coverage of the homecoming and that historic win in Croke Park – all in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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