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Connacht Tribune

Brothers hit right note at home and in the US

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Lifestyle – Award winning folk and bluegrass group We Banjo 3 are making waves on both sides of the Atlantic with their unique sound and high-energy shows. Back from a five-week American tour, Enda Scahill of the group tells LAURA VARLEY about life on the  road, being home and giving back to society.

Galway trad and bluegrass group, We Banjo 3, who have just landed home from a five-week US tour will barely have a chance to let the dust settle from that trip before they’re heading Stateside again.  The band, made up of brothers Enda and Fergal Scahill from Corofin and Martin and David Howley from Ardrahan, are hugely popular across the Atlantic, having worked hard at honing their considerable talent here and abroad.

The four play a mix of traditional Irish and bluegrass music, colloquially called ‘Celtgrass’, as We Banjo 3 founding member Enda Scahill explains.

And, as one of the biggest Irish folk bands in the US, the four have played to more than 150,000 people in the last five weeks on their US tour, which started in New York and finished in Milwaukee.

“We headline at Milwaukee Irish Festival and we have between 10,000 and 15,000 people each night,” says Enda. “We’ve been doing that for eight years so we have built up a huge US following.”

Enda’s earliest musical influences include banjo and fiddle player Gerry O’ Connor and accordion player Máirtín O’ Connor of De Dannan and Riverdance fame. He can recall them playing sessions in his family home in Corofin when he was a child.

He began learning music at school, taking up and loving the banjo at the age of eight.

While working as an Environmental Health Officer with the HSE, Enda gathered together fellow banjo-players Martin and David Howley – who have engineering backgrounds – and they gigged when they had time, playing a blend of Irish, old-time and bluegrass music.  Enda’s brother, multi-instrumentalist Fergal joined them for their first ever Milwaukee performance.

Since then, success for the band has included five critically-acclaimed albums. Their first, The Roots of the Banjo Tree, was one of the most praised albums of 2012, winning the Irish Times Trad Album of the Year award, while their most recent, Haven, enjoyed top billing on the bluegrass Billboard charts in US. At home, it won the Best Folk album in RTÉ Radio 1’s inaugural Folk Awards last year, as voted by listeners to the station.

While the banjo was and remains central to the group, other musical layers have been added, with fiddle, mandolin, guitar, percussion all featuring while David Howley’s talent as a singer and songwriter has also revealed itself.

The group tour for five months of the year, but Enda and the lads show no signs of slowing down. And they won’t be resting on their laurels while at home.

“We have an Irish tour which will include a night in Dublin, two nights in Cork, a night in Galway and a night in Derry. Then we will have a few weeks off and it is back to the US,” he explains.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Security provides the solid foundation for life well lived

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

 

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Money can’t buy you love, according to the Beatles – but it can at least sort out your future security…and it’s that absence of security, in all of its aspects and guises, that lies so firmly at the core of so many people’s stress.

Most obviously, a lack of money means you cannot guarantee a roof over your head – and as a recent EU report on Ireland admitted, this has now become a source of ‘permanent insecurity’ for so many.

The point of the European Social Policy Network report was to lay the blame for this at the feet of successive Irish Governments for over-relying on the private sector to provide housing – therefore leaving those who cannot afford that option in the lurch.

But security, or the lack of it, goes much deeper than having a place to live – even if it still revolves around materialism. Workers, for example, wonder if their job is safe in these uncertain economic times.

And perhaps it’s always been this way – and there have obviously been deeper recessions and massive closures in the past – but that job security that other generations took for granted is now so rarely the reality.

Every parents’ hope for their children was to see them into a permanent and pensionable job; a place to work for life, secure in the knowledge that the odds were stacked in your favour of making it through to the other end.

Nobody talks about that anymore; those seeking employment now would not alone fail to recognise the notion of permanent and pensionable; they would positively recoil from the idea of starting a job today and retiring from the same place in around 40 years’ time.

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

Luxurious family residence boasts contemporary design and stunning views

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This luxurious A-rated family home in Barna provides the homeowner with a contemporary design emphasising the scintillating views over the hills of Clare and the Burren.

In an enviable location just one kilometre from the village –which offers amenities such as excellent schools, crèche facilities, restaurants, cafes, shopping facilities and The Twelve Hotel – the property at Dreasla is also just a five-minute drive from Salthill Prom.

Spanning 3,700 square feet, this home has been thoughtfully designed for the family, with lots of light-filled space, incredible views and uncompromising finishes with an A-rated energy certification.

Standing on a commanding elevated site of a half-acre, the grounds are professionally landscaped and manicured with magnificent mature trees bordering the site, complementing the uninterrupted views from the family rooms, bedrooms and verandas.

There are three separate south-facing outside terraces/verandas and a large garage.

The architecturally designed accommodation comprises feature entrance foyer, lounge with stunning sea views, playroom/downstairs bedroom, large open plan kitchen/dining/living area, utility and downstairs bathroom.

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

Shining a light on bygone days at UCG

Judy Murphy

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Historian Jackie Uí Chionna at the NUI Galway Quad. Many former students recalled picking their subjects based on the length of queues for registration. That took place in the Aula Maxima, which is behind her.

Lifestyle – A new oral history of Galway’s university from 1930-1980, with contributions from students and staff from that era, offers a refreshing insight into Ireland’s social and economic history as well as charting the development of UCG from a small university to the institution it has become today. Its author Jackie Uí Chionna tells JUDY MURPHY how it came about.

When Waterford student Bobby Curran entered UCG on a scholarship in 1955, having achieved one of the top five Leaving Cert results in Ireland, he intended taking up medicine.

But his dream came to an end on registration day, following a discussion with the college registrar and secretary, Professor James Mitchell.

Professor Mitchell asked the young Bobby about his background. Bobby explained that his mother, a widow, was a farmer while one of his brothers worked at home and the other was in England.

Professor Mitchell told Bobby there was a problem. If the young man were to qualify as a doctor, he would then have to buy a medical practice. The registrar asked Bobby if his mother could afford that expense and Bobby quickly realised medicine wasn’t an option.

Instead, he studied maths and maths physics and did brilliantly. Bobby graduated in 1958, going on to become Director of Computer Services at UCG.

That story, about how his background dictated Bobby’s choice of course and career, is one of many fascinating memories from former students and employees of UCG included in a new history of the college.

An Oral History of University College Galway, 1930-1980: A University in Living Memory, offers an insight into life in UCG during that a 50-year period. It also shines a light on the broader social and economic landscape of the newly independent Ireland.

Its stories capture the struggles faced by people whose families couldn’t afford to send them to university and the transformation that began in the early 1970s as government’s Free Education scheme began to have an impact. It also details how women began to have greater access to third-level education – among them Budge Clissmann (formerly Elizabeth Mulcahy), who graduated in the 1930s, and quickly learned that women (even those highly qualified in French) were unofficially prohibited from employment in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

An Oral History of University College Galway, 1930-80 is the work of historian Jacki Uí Chionna, who feels “it will add enormously to the understanding of the history of education in Ireland”.

It will and the real pleasure of this book is how accessibly the information is presented.

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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