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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

Limited go-ahead for marts

Francis Farragher

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Marts: Individual sales to be allowed.

MART managers and staff across the county are busy this week preparing operating protocols for approval by the Dept. of Agriculture that will allow for the limited sale of livestock during the current COVID-19 emergency.

On Tuesday, the Dept. of Agriculture confirmed that they would be allowing marts to handle livestock sales in a limited way – marts will liaise with buyers and sellers; arrange for the weighing of the animals; and process payments.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said that the Dept. had issued guidance to marts for ‘a very limited range of essential services’ that would not require people to assemble: the transactions would include calf sales, the weighing of livestock, and an online or brokerage service.

Ray Doyle of ICOS (Irish Co-operative Organisation Society) this week thanked the Government for their announcement, adding that ‘it was reasonable’ for a form of trading to continue to alleviate the current economic burden on farmers.

He pointed out that only mart staff would handle the animals; the buyer and seller would not have contact with each other; each could observe the weighing data; the buyer could view the animals from a distance; the sale would be completed electronically; no visitors or members of the public would be admitted; full sanitisation protocols would be observed; with the sale to be completed electronically.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

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

Self-isolation success staves off Covid-19 surge – for now

Dara Bradley

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Anaesthetic Registrar Dr Robbie Sparks with Clinical Facilitator Claire Lavelle simulating an intubation of a patient with COVID-19 in the ICU at UHG. (Photo supplied by UHG because of visitor restrictions)

The predicted surge in Covid19-related admissions to Galway’s hospitals has been delayed – for now – giving much-needed breathing space to ramp-up preparations and increase Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity and beds for when it does hit.

But hospital management remains concerned in particular with the ‘significant’ number of staff in the West who have been taken off the frontline because they are ill from coronavirus, or self-isolating as a precaution after coming in close contact with an infected person.

And as the latest figures show 86 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Galway – seven times the figure from a fortnight ago – the HSE has conceded that local testing for the virus was suspended Sunday due to a shortage of testing kits. Limited testing resumed on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, although hospital chiefs in the West insist they have sufficient levels of personal protective equipment (PPE), nursing homes across Galway are facing a shortage of basic equipment such as masks, and many have appealed to the public for donations.

Chief Clinical Director Saolta Group, and consultant cardiologist, Dr Pat Nash, said UHG, the main Covid-19 hospital in the West, has experienced increased activity but ‘not a huge surge in admissions’.

“The hospital still has significant capacity available both on wards and ICU,” he said.

But Dr Nash stressed there was no room for complacency and the public needed to continue to observe social distancing, stay at home and practice hand hygiene.

 

See full story – and 23 pages of coverage on the Covid-19 crisis in Galway – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or available to buy as a digital edition via our website www.connachttribune.ie. The Tribune can also be ordered as part of your shopping delivery from most outlets now.

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Connacht Tribune

Loan sharks prey on families hit by pandemic

Denise McNamara

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Moneylenders have been targeting working class areas in Galway where hundreds of people have lost their jobs in the lockdown, encouraging them to take out loans with exorbitant interest rates.

Deputy for Galway East Sean Canny said he had received several reports of estates in the city where leaflets had been distributed recently by legitimate loan sharks.

“These people are licensed so they are not doing anything illegal but I do think it’s immoral in these times and my advice is to ignore money lenders,” he stressed.

“We have credit unions where people can go to for advice and for loans and we have MABS [Money Advice and Budgeting Service] which can provide advice that maybe they don’t need more money but may need to manage their budget better.

“People don’t make the best decisions when they’re stressed but I would really urge them not to go down this road because they can charge interest rates of 187% which is really fleecing people.”

Paul Bailey, Head of Communications at the Irish League of Credit Unions, said they have also been getting reports of leaflets being dropped by moneylenders in working class areas.

 

See full story – and 23 pages of coverage on the Covid-19 crisis in Galway – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or available to buy as a digital edition via our website www.connachttribune.ie. The Tribune can also be ordered as part of your shopping delivery from most outlets now.

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