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Harking back to an era of reds under the bed

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TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

The underlying premise – that a quintessentially all-American couple are in fact Soviet-born KGB plants and agents – might seem like quite a stretch on the surface of it, but given the Big Brother monitoring of our emails unearthed in recent weeks, it might not be so farfetched after all.

But suspend your disbelief and get stuck into The Americans – currently topping the ratings Stateside and now showing on RTE2 and ITV – because this is a mini-series that will keep you hooked to the very last second.

It’s not too late to catch up if you’ve missed an episode or two of this 13 part series – and it’s well worth the effort.

The Americans is the story of Elizabeth – actress Keri Russell – and Philip Jennings, played by Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, although you’d never know he was British any more than the neighbours in Washington would think Phil was really Mischa from the old Soviet Union.

To the world at large they own a travel agency in downtown Washington DC and they are parents to the all-American kids, Paige and Henry – but they are really two Soviet KGB officers posing as a married couple in the suburbs in order to spy on the United States.

And then – because that on its own can only provide so much drama – they witness the arrival of their new neighbours, Stan and Sandra Beeman. Stan happens to be a high-ranking FBI counter-intelligence agent who has just completed a couple of years undercover to flush out some white supremacists.

And naturally they all ostensibly become the best of buddies, eating brownies and playing racquetball – the only different being Philip and Elizabeth know who Stan is, but this hot shot FBI man hasn’t a clue.

All of this is set back in the ’80s, during the Cold War era when they Yanks had an actor called Ronald Reagan in the White House. Paranoia was the buzz word, and the Americans saw the Russians in the way that a fox watches the hen house.

As the weeks unfold, you discover where Philip and Elizabeth actually came from; that they’re not married at all, and that they will stop at nothing – absolutely nothing – in pursuit of the intelligence that will help the Soviets keep pace with the Yanks.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Connacht Tribune

Multi-instrumentalist draws inspiration from west coast

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Seamus O’Muineachain... new release.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Seamus O’Muineachain is a minimalist multi-instrumentalist, composer and  producer with a penchant for a sense of place in his work.   Through five albums, he has approached ambient, instrumental soundscapes with piano melodies, gentle guitar, percussion and field recordings – using his music to reflect the calm and space of the areas that inspire it.

Seamus’ latest project is an ode to the Mullet Peninsula in the barony of Erris, Co. Mayo, which lies next to his home in Belmullet. Isthmus is set for release on October 1.

The songwriter was born in the US to an Italian mother and an Irish father, and his travels since his late teens have taken him across the globe. Still, something about home still seeps into his work at every corner.

For this record, it was a peninsula that, for Seamus, acts as a viewing platform for a sizable portion of the western landscape.

“It’s really rugged,” he says of the place.

“It feels like its own kind of world down here – it isn’t actually an island but it’s as close as you can get to one. Once you drive past the Ballycroy National Park, you’re out in the twilight zone where it’s rugged and back in time a little bit, but there’s something really beautiful and peaceful about it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Unique síbín-based show entertains and challenges

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The interior of the síbín that has been installed in Galway Arts Centre's building at Nuns' Island.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

They call it a síbín, but the ‘illegal boozer’ that members of the Belfast arts collective, Array, have created at Nuns’ Island Arts Centre in Galway city centre is as impressive as many legally licensed premises down South – more impressive than some. Síbíns might have gone out of fashion in this part of Ireland, but they remain popular in the North, especially in Belfast, where the 11-strong collective is based, explains artist Stephen Millar of the group.

This one forms part of The Druthaib’s Ball, a major exhibition from Array which won the prestigious 2021 Turner Art Prize – the first time a group from Northern Ireland took Britain’s leading arts award.

The Druthaib’s Ball was conceived by the members as a wake –  celebrating life and death – to mark the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s partition. On one wall of the síbín, a 35-minute film is playing. It was made during the commemoration ‘ball’, in Belfast’s Black Box venue last year.

Meanwhile, a collection of work on the síbín’s shelves and walls represent aspects of life in Northern Ireland – past and present. There’s more than 150 pieces, large and small, including paintings, political banners, a triptych of three stopped clocks, a kettle and a bata scór – a stick with a notch that was used in schools in Ireland during Victorian times to ensure children didn’t speak Irish.  The stopped clocks, meanwhile, with pictures of Belfast City Hall, Stormont and the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, are stopped at 19:21, 20:16 and 20:21 respectively – key years in Northern Ireland’s history.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Work for children of all ages in extended Baboró programme

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Grand Soft Day, a new co-production from Branar is for children aged three to six.

The 26th annual Baboró International Arts Festival for Children will take place from Friday, October 14, to Sunday, October 23, in theatres, galleries, schools and communities in Galway City and County.

This year’s extended 10-day festival will have more than 50 live events, presented by companies from all over Ireland and Europe, including Belgium, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Scotland and England.

These will include a special collection of European work made for children up to six years, as well as residencies in special schools and child-led projects.

Children aged eight and older are invited to join the surreal world of Der Lauf, where nothing is quite as it seems. In this show, two circus performers from Belgian company Le Cirque du Bout du Monde, compete in a series of bizarre challenges as they juggle blindly, spin plates and stack glasses, while wearing boxing gloves. As the glasses rise, so do the stakes. The children are their only guides and will either help lead the clowns to order or towards further chaos.

Ballet Ireland will present The Glasshouse, a dance performance for children aged six and older. It is the story of Fiach, an earnest youngster who is on a mission to repopulate the world with plants and turn it green. This fun, compelling show, by exciting young choreographer Róisín Whelan, is about human courage, friendship and the determination to survive. The Glasshouse promises “moments of suspense and joy, exhilarating dancing, vibrant costumes and magical music”.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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