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Head over heels in love with the art of cheerleading

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Lifestyle – Jessica Thompson meets members of the Irish Cheerleading Team and finds a determination to banish pom-pom image

When we think about cheerleading, we think long legs, short skirts and pom-poms, thanks to the clichés that are American high school movies which often place cheerleaders on the sidelines of major sports events.

But the reality is that cheerleading is an official sport, with major sports events of its own, and is possibly far more thrilling, dangerous and energetic than football or basketball.

In fact, there are even World Championships in Cheerleading and the Irish Cheerleading Team is travelling to Florida to compete this month.

“You have to be incredibly fit and strong to do the tumbles and stunts,” said Fiona Collumb, manager of Team Ireland, who founded Ace High Cheer in Tuam a few years ago.

“We don’t use poms; there’s choreography but we’re trying to break through the barrier,” she added, stressing that cheerleading is far from the cliché we see in the movies.

The Irish Cheerleading Team travelled to Florida on Tuesday to compete in the International Cheer Union (ICU) World Cheerleading Championships this weekend at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Team Ireland formed in May 2013 with the intention of travelling to Florida to represent Ireland in the world championships and to build and develop the sport of cheerleading within Ireland. The team will compete against the likes of Team USA and Team England who have been training for years.

“Cheerleading is underestimated. It’s overlooked as more of a playful pastime than a serious sport. Cheer is very physically and mentally challenging and is a lot more difficult than it looks,” said 15-year-old Galway City native Anna Clarke, who will be competing in Florida this month.

“When stunts and tumbles are attempted without proper training, you are most definitely at risk. It involves a lot of personality, attitude, fitness and endurance.”

Anyone can get involved with cheerleading and the Galway organisations currently facilitate people of all shapes and sizes.

“There are men and women, aged as young as three and a half to cheerleaders in their forties and fifties. It doesn’t matter about shape or size. Everyone has a place in cheerleading. Shape, size and weight are not an issue,” said Miss Collumb.

There are currently around 15,000 cheerleaders in the various cheerleading groups in Ireland, with each squad training regularly to move from level one to level six in skill, with the latter being the most difficult.

The World Championships in Florida are level five and Team Ireland has been training hard to meet the incredibly high standards they will face at the end of the month. Training currently takes place in Galway every Saturday and Sunday and the team members travel from across the country to practice.

There are numerous cheerleading organisations in Galway at the moment, according to Fiona. The Galway City Cougars are based in the city; Ace High Cheer is based in Tuam. There are also teams in Headford and Claremorris.

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

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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

A feast of Butlers at the Kenny Gallery

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The Butler family, from left: Liam, Ronan, Lisa and Davin.

Sculptor Liam Butler will return to the City’s Kenny Gallery this Friday night, August 12, for his first exhibition in more than 10 years. The new show, Copper Roots, is an even more special occasion for Liam as it will be his first time exhibiting alongside his children, Davin, Lisa and Ronan.

Liam is a self-taught sculptor who has been creating and exhibiting work for almost 30 years. He has passed on his craft to Davin, Lisa and Ronan, teaching them the techniques he developed throughout his career, as well as his love for copper and its artistic possibilities.

In 2020, during Covid, the Butlers were all together, back home in Galway for the first time in many years. They rekindled their passion for sculpture, spending time in Liam’s workshop, creating   new work, alongside each another.

There was learning, creativity and experimentation, they say. The resulting exhibition at Kennys’ celebrates reconnecting with family roots, and passions passed on from generation to generation.

A welder by training, Liam grew up on a small farm in Kilkenny. He worked in Germany and America for years before returning to Ireland, settling in An Spidéal where he began experimenting, using the skills he learned as an industrial welder to create simple sculptures from steel.

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.

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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

Sisters in perfect tune for unique musical snapshot

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Breda and Claire Keville, photographed by Nutan. (Inset) The sisters, as depicted by artist Isabel Alegria, on the cover of the album.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“A snapshot in time,” is how musician and composer Claire Keville from Claran, near Headford, describes Music from Galway, the new CD which she and her sister Breda have just released.

With Breda on fiddle and Claire on concertina, it’s a gorgeous collection of music from all parts of Galway and beyond, a mix of slow airs, gigs, reels and marches. The sisters are accompanied by guitarist and longtime musical friend Terence O’Reilly on several tracks, which they recorded in the studio of his East Clare home in April of this year.

Claire, a French and Music teacher in Coláiste Iognáid (the Jes) in the city for the past decade, and Breda, who works as a radiation therapist in UHG, have previously released solo albums. Breda’s, The Hop Down, was released in 2006 and The Daisy Field, from Clare came out in 2009. Each guested on the other’s album, but this is their first joint recording, a project they’d been discussing for years.

When it did finally happen, it came together a lot more quickly than either of them had anticipated.

“I didn’t think we’d have it done this year,” says Breda, as Claire recalls that they discussed its timeframe in April, while driving from Galway to Terence’s home in Clare.

After that first day, when they recorded 10 tracks and realised that most of them would make the album, they reckoned it was achievable. Another session in An Spidéal with musician, ‘talented engineer and general all-rounder’,  Ronan Browne, convinced them it was and Music from Galway was launched at the Willie Clancy Festival in Miltown Malbay in July.

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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