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Lifestyle

Castle set to come alive to the sounds of summer music

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Lifestyle – Judy Murphy finds a school where the teachers are classical performers from all over the world

The sound of music will echo through every nook and cranny of Claregalway Castle from August 5 to 10 when leading classical performers from orchestras all over the world come to Ireland to share their knowledge and talent with students and amateur musicians.

The Summer Music in Galway/Summer Music on the Shannon programme, which is now in its 20th year, set up home in Claregalway Castle last year, when invited to do so by its owner Eamonn O’Donohue.

The relationship has proved so successful that the event is returning next month and it’s hard to imagine a more suitable setting for a music school and festival than this restored 15th century de Burgo building.

Canadian-born musician and teacher Robert Creech, who is the driving force behind Summer Music School and Festival, has “been involved in this sort of thing for a half a century”, he explains.

Bob taught at the University of British Columbia and was music director (1970-1985) of the Comox Valley Youth Music Camp on Vancouver Island, which his now in its 40th year.

As a horn player, he performed in orchestras across Canada including Victoria, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Toronto, and the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra. He was principal horn with the Vancouver Symphony and performed and recorded widely as a soloist in Canada and the US.

In 1991 Bob became chief executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society in England in 1991, overseeing the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Choir, Philharmonic Hall and Merseyside Youth Orchestra. Since moving to Ireland in the 1980s, he has founded and steered this summer school, fuelled by a desire to let music students and amateur performers experience the best classical music the world can offer – and in a way that allows them to perform.

“I believe in the value of music as an active rather than a passive occupation – for young people to learn how to play and be involved, to give them the passion and to get them to be performers,” he explains.

With this in mind, Bob annually invites performers from the world’s top orchestras to come to Ireland where they teach music to young people and also perform with them. 

“The idea is to bring professionals, students and amateurs together so that young people have an idea of the standard that can be delivered,” Bob explains.

The Summer Music School welcomes musicians of all ages and ability and  has two remits. One is to cater for students who play orchestral instruments, including piano, the other is to nurture those who want to get involved in youth opera theatre.

Events at the annual school include a series of performances “where beginners will sit right beside professionals and there are parts for everybody”, he says.

“We’ve had musicians from 18 of the top orchestras in the world including Berlin, London, Oslo, Montreal and Chicago, because they believe in the ethos of this school.”

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

Country Living

A day when Tuam Races put paid to the innocence of a young punter

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The date was Friday, July 31, 1970, and the race was the Carling Black Label Maiden Plate with Lucky in Love, ridden by P. Sullivan just edging it from None Better with M. Kennedy on the saddle. The Tuam Races drew large crowds for their one big day of the year before the reins were pulled in 1973. Photo researched by Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I couldn’t even remotely claim to have any knowledge of the gee-gees although here and there I’d have the odd little flutter on a horse, and of late, Pateen has been kind enough to me with a couple of good wins across the water. Pateen of course is called after Galway three-in-a-row start, Pat or ‘Pateen’ Donellan, with his original owner, the late Michael Corcoran of solid Dunmore stock.

My childhood memory of horses probably relates to that of many people of a certain generation where the horse – and indeed the donkey as well – were the mainstays of farming life and especially for ageing farmers who just had no interest whatsoever in the purchase of a second-hand or a rebuilt Massey Ferguson. (Ruanes of Athenry were the great specialists of the time in rebuilt Masseys).

We owned the most imperious of a black gelding, his only concession to colour contrast being a white face, and whose pulling power was lauded across the village. But he was never an animal to be taken for granted and especially during the later summer season when the quills or horse flies could provoke him into a sudden and sometimes violent enough tantrum. Only my father could handle him with a mixture of firmness and platitudes but our equine warrior still managed to overturn a load or two of oats or hay when negotiating dodgy gaps that bit too impatiently.

His ageing demise and subsequent sale coincided with my journey into teenage years and that loss of childhood innocence when the realisation strikes that life is transient, made all the more poignant by the fact that it coincided with the gradual decline of my father as he slipped into the 70s and the sunset years of life.

The Galway Races though were always special even if we didn’t venture into Ballybrit that much as a family, as invariably there was always hay to be saved, although a ‘concession’ would often be made in terms of calling into a neighbour’s house with a television to watch The Hurdle or The Plate.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Happy days for writer Micheál

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President Michael D Higgins with Micheál Ó Conghaile in Áras an Uachtarain earlier this month as the President congratulated him on his retirment from Cló Iar-Chonnacht after 35 years as a director.

Lifestyle  – In the 36 years since Micheál Ó Conghaile set up the publishing house Cló Iar-Chonnacht, it has given a platform to people writing in the Irish language, especially Gaeltacht writers, as well as championing Irish music and song. As the awardwinning author passes on the baton, he tells  BERNIE NÍ FHLATHARTA about his own work and plans.

A Conamara writer who is not only prolific in his personal creative output but who has also translated English plays into Irish, is currently putting the finishing touches to his translation of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days.

The play, which was first staged in 1961, will be performed on Inis Oírr  as Laethanta Sona during this year’s Galway International Arts Festival in August/September.

The translator of Laethanta Sona, Micheál Ó Conghaile, admits it wasn’t an easy task but thanks to a read-through with actors, Bríd Ní Neachtain and Raymond Keane, and director, Sarah Jane Scaife, the musical style of Beckett’s prose came to life.

Micheál, a native Irish speaker who remembers as a child not understanding his English-speaking cousins when they visited his home on the now depopulated island of Inis Treabhair, always strives to be true to the original work.

When he was translating Martin McDonagh’s plays, The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Cripple of Inishmaan, he regularly communicated with the playwright to ensure McDonagh was happy with the Irish interpretations — and, thankfully, he was most of the time.

The Beauty Queen had already been translated into 33 languages and Micheál, who was a fan, believed that McDonagh’s Hiberno-English style would translate easily into Conamara Irish. He was right and the Irish-language productions of the plays been well received by audiences and critics alike.

It’s obvious from listening to Micheál that he really enjoyed the McDonagh translation process and was more than happy with the results.

“I hadn’t even written a play at that stage myself,” he laughs, although he has since written three dramas, all of which have been produced.

His productivity is phenomenal, although he doesn’t really have a routine and admits to being easily distracted during the writing process, often needing to sequester himself somewhere away from home, usually abroad and preferably in the sun.

As well as his own creations – which include novels, plays and poetry – he translates other writers into Irish, and since 1985, he has been a director of Cló Iar-Chonnacht (CIC). It was in that year he set up the Irish-language publishing company which, to date has published 800 books.

However, this summer he sold Cló Iar-Chonnacht to Deirdre Ní Thuatháil, who has been a manager there for years. Micheál is confident she will be “a good pair of hands to bring it even further

“Deirdre has worked there for 20 years and I knew this was a good time for me to step back and concentrate on my own writing”, he explains.

“I’m working on a memoir about my island Christmas childhood experiences. We moved onto the mainland [from Inis Treabhair] when I was 15 and, of course, after that it would have been very hard to return to island life, though we loved it when we were there because we didn’t know any better. I remember reading books by candlelight. The family was self-sufficient, up to a point and we learned how to row a boat from an early age.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Three boys catching up on their reading at the Galway Races in Ballybrit on July 28, 1988. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

1921

Impure milk

Impure and dirty milk supplies do a serious injury to our population. Milk is, perhaps, the most important part of the diet of our infants, who will some day have to take their part in the work of the nation.

It is our duty to see that all forms of disease, which are likely to weaken the race by sapping its vitality, should be vigorously battled with. No form of food is so susceptible to contamination as milk, for it is a natural and complete food substance which is eminently suited to the growth of all kinds of disease germs, especially the dreaded germ which is the cause of consumption.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of our milch cows suffer from tuberculosis. The disease may not be apparent to the eye but can be easily detected by the veterinary surgeon by means of the “tuberculin test”. Milk from these cows often contains germs of the consumption which is causing such havoc and misery in Ireland.

Something must be done by public bodies to insist on the testing of suspected cows, and the frequent sampling and testing of public milk supplies. Educational authorities should urge farmers to take a personal interest in the matter and stamp out disease by keeping cowsheds sanitary and paying strict attention to cleanliness of milking.

It must be brought home to the farmer that it is his duty to produce an article which is acceptable to the public by being pure, of high quality, and free from the germs of infectious disease. It is only by working on these lines that the farmer can hope to gain the confidence of the consumer.

Races weather

Nothing is more necessary to the complete success of the Galway meeting next Wednesday and Thursday than the rainfall which is pretty general all over Ireland at present.

I learn from a reliable source that Galway is getting its quota and that the course is in good condition. This is all necessary to induce owners and trainers to send on horses, and I have no fear that runners will be plentiful on both days.

Writing as a metropolitan, I can safely predict a great attendance – one can only wish he could predict other things so surely. On all sides one hears the questions, “Are you going to Galway? Have you booked your room” and a reference to “the fun of the fair,” otherwise the Bazaar, nearly always follows.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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