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Galway Comedy Carnival has the last laugh

Judy Murphy

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Lifestyle - Judy Murphy hears how Galway comedy festival has overcome obstacles to be major event in the calendar

Lifestyle – Judy Murphy hears how Galway comedy festival has overcome obstacles to be major event in the calendar

The Vodafone Galway Comedy Carnival created plenty of laughs in the City last year, but behind the scenes, things weren’t always so funny. Firstly, the headline act, John Bishop, cancelled despite the fact that the Carnival had extended the event to 12 days to facilitate his busy schedule.

Then, the main venue, the Speigeltent, located by the Claddagh, had to be tied down to prevent it from blowing away as the tail-end of Hurricane Gonzalo hit Ireland’s West coast on its way from Bermuda. The roof nearly blew off and the toilets blew over, while a fence went into the sea.

Despite those logistical difficulties, the event was a major success.

This year, for the 10th Comedy Carnival, which will host some 65 acts between October 20-26, co-organisers Kevin Healy and Gerry Mallon are hoping for no such dramatics. And it should be a more stress-free affair, partly because Galway City Council has agreed to allow the Speigeltent to be located in Eyre Square. That brings the comedy festival into the heart of the city and away from the winds of the Bay.

The beautiful wood and canvas Speigeltent, decorated with mirrors and velvet, and dating from the 1930s will be situated between the Browne Doorway and Eyre Square’s Fountain, where it will host some of comedy’s top names, Irish and international.

“It’s great to see the city opening up public spaces, and the tent will be very picturesque and central,” says Kevin.

The Carnival, sponsored by Vodafone, will host new names, too, alongside more familiar comedians such as Dylan Moran, Nina Conti, Rich Hall and Stewart Lee.

An eye-catching offering is The Simpsons Backstage Tour with The Simpsons long-time writer and producer Mike Reiss, which includes secrets, rarely seen footage and gossip, on some of the 300 celebrities who appeared over the years. This will be an afternoon show in the Town Hall Theatre followed by a Q & A session. And in the way that the Simpsons is a family show, this will be a family event, says Kevin.

US comedian Eddie Brill, who booked the comedy on The Letterman Show, and was the warm-up act there for 20 years, will also be in town, while an upcoming act at this year’s Carnival is a well-known Galway figure.

He is Macnas co-founder and Manager of Galway Arts Centre, Páraic Breathnach who will be performing Stand-up Seanchaí in the Ruby Room of the King’s Head.

Páraic has form on the comedy front, according to Kevin Healy, explaining that the Connemara man participated at Galway’s first Irish language comedy gig in the Róisín Dubh a few months ago and has taken part in events since, including supporting the Rubberbandits, in English, for their May show at the Town Hall Theatre.

“He has plenty of stage presence and has great stories and jokes about growing up miserable in Connemara,” says Kevin with a grin.

A better-known name in Irish comedy who will be gracing the Carnival is Al Porter. Porter, who sold out the Róisín Dubh during the Arts Festival, and who recently signed to top UK agency Off the Kerb which represents comics including Michael McIntyre, Phill Jupitus, Jack Dee and Rich Hall, one of the Carnival’s headline acts.

The Carnival, which is being launched this week, will run from Tuesday, October 20, until Monday, October 26, taking in the October Bank Holiday weekend.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Latest science behind the first meal of the day

Denise McNamara

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One thing that can be enjoyed throughout the week under lockdown is a leisurely breakfast.

Fashion, Health & Beauty by Denise McNamara

How are you finding the whole cooking at home thing night, noon and morning? Have you changed your eating habits? Will you have to go on a post-lockdown detox and diet when finally released from home-prison? Does it feel that your whole world revolves around the next meal?

In our house the kids were demanding a cooked breakfast every day of scrambled eggs, baked beans and toasted potato waffles.

So after going through a truckload of these three basic items in the first few weeks and finding eggs were becoming difficult to source, we had to return to our usual habit of cereal, berries and yoghurt for at least three days.

My daughter would then make breakfast on Thursday with either bagels with cream cheese, bacon or croissants with grilled ham, cheese and tomato or boiled eggs with wholemeal toast.

On Fridays and Saturdays, it’s back to their perennial favourite of the eggs, beans and waffles while on Sunday we go for the grilled sausages, bacon, beans, tomatoes – I sneak in some spinach but am usually the only taker.

When the lockdown first happened, it was reported that sales of eggs, loose tea, teapots and egg cups were booming as people settled into their tables for a more relaxed first meal of the day while working from home or home-schooling or the reality of having no work to go to has kicked in.

New research is giving you the thumbs up if an extended breakfast has been your habit during the pandemic.

A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism by researchers at Lübeck University in Germany studied 16 men. They first ate a 250-calorie breakfast and a 990-calorie dinner, then reversed the calorie count with a large breakfast and a small dinner.

They found that on the days they had a high-calorie breakfast, their metabolism was working 2.5 times better by measuring diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT).

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

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Country Living

A time when we’re learning to appreciate the simpler things

Francis Farragher

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Pacific War 1941 to 1945. A reminder of how awful life could be.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

If our current pandemic has brought one thing to the forefront of our minds, it is that of our own mortality. Of course, there’s no point in dwelling too much on that great certainty of life – in the end, there’s only going to be one winner – but at least we’re all being reminded that the gift of life really does trump everything else.

Like most other humans I know, I make a reasonable effort to live something approaching a healthy way of life . . .  not too much food, not too much ‘rubbish’, keeping an eye on ‘the quantity’ when it comes to the ‘ould drink’, and trying to squeeze in a bit of physical exercise every day.

And yet, if we’re to believe all the health food PR that’s being thrown at us day-after-day, it’s as if doing everything perfectly will bring us the gift of everlasting life, which I’m afraid it won’t. We are finite creatures and if we look after ourselves – and get lucky – then we may be blessed with a lifespan that could stretch for eight decades or so.

It’s only when we face into crisis periods like we’re experiencing now, that we realise that ordinary, normal lives are quite the thing to strive for. There really is a great solace in being able to do – and enjoy – the simple things of life like waking up in the morning, going to work, enjoying your meals, and embarking on an evening walk, cycle or jog.

Normal routines have taken a bit of a battering since the arrival of St Patrick’s Day with not a pint being pulled in a pub across the land. If someone had said to you six months ago that we’d have such a day in Ireland, the old psychiatric examination might be called for.

Anyway, maybe at times it’s good to break some of the old routines and instead of having the evening option of a couple of pints of plain, I’ve been lured into various little distractions such as watching a number of TV series that I couldn’t be bothered with, when there were other things to be at.

Thursday nights since late March have been preoccupied with watching two war series that I’d heard a lot about but never had the patience to watch, and beside I thought my own little curiosities about history had taught me everything I wanted to know about World War II . . . but, but not so, after now completing 20 episodes between Band of Brothers and Pacific.

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

Novel on Aughrim – ‘a labour of love and guilt’

Judy Murphy

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Author Joe formerly worked as a journalist for the Irish Times and the Guardian.

Lifestyle – Joe Joyce grew up in Aughrim, the site of a major battle in 1691 between two English kings, which had a massive impact on Ireland’s future. His schoolteacher father Martin was a fount of knowledge on the battle and set up a museum dedicated to it. Now Joe, a former journalist, has written a fictional account of Ireland’s bloodiest day and the events surrounding it. He tells JUDY MURPHY how it came about.

A labour of love. Or maybe of guilt,” says author and ex-journalist Joe Joyce with a rueful laugh about his latest novel, 1691, which deals with the bloody Battle of Aughrim and the events surrounding it. He’s half-joking but fully serious. Joe was reared in the village of Aughrim, between Ballinasloe and Loughrea, where his late father Martin taught in the local school for 40 years. Martin started by teaching infants and went on to become school principal.

From nearby Kilconnell, Martin was a passionate local historian and Aughrim was teeming with history.

On July 12, 1691, it was the site of the defining conflict in the War of the two Kings – a three-year battle fought in Ireland between two rival claimants for the throne of Britain.

They were James II of England, who had inherited the throne in 1685, and his son-in-law and nephew William of Orange, who had deposed him in 1688.

This was a struggle between the relatively new Protestant religion of William and his wife Mary, and the Catholicism of James. From 1689, Ireland became their battleground, with the Siege of Derry, the Battle of the Boyne, the Siege of Limerick and the 1691 Battle of Aughrim all forming part of the conflict.

Aughrim was the bloodiest battle of that war and of Irish history, with an estimated 7,000 men killed on the East Galway plains.

As well as teaching in Aughrim, Martin Joyce also created a museum in the school to display historic artefacts from the battlefield. It later broadened out to include other traditional rural items such as rush lamps and flails, Joe recalls, and was the foundation for the Aughrim Interpretative Centre, a popular visitor attraction in non-Covid times.

“The battle was the centre-piece of the museum and the centre of his interest and he was always ready to give people tours of the battlefield,” says Joe of his father.

The former journalist with the Irish Times who later went on to become Irish correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, recalls childhood Sundays when he’d be in the car with his two sisters and parents, ready to go for a Sunday drive.

“Then, people who had set off on their Sunday drive earlier than we had would arrive to see the museum,” he says with a smile.

Their mother, Meta, would “sit there quietly furious while we were all decanted from the car”.

It’s easy to understand why the battle wasn’t on Joe’s list of priorities in childhood

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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