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It’s child’s play for Aislinn as she takes the Babóro helm

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Outgoing Artistic Director of Baboró, Lali Morris (left), and Aislinn Ó hEocha who has been appointed Executive Artistic Director. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle – Jessica Thompson meets the old and new faces behind flagship family arts festival

Kids are the best critics when it comes to children’s shows, as the board of Babóro International Arts Festival for Children knows all too well. And with their biggest critics giving them increasingly good feedback, one thing is for certain: Babóro is not standing still.

Now entering its 19th year and recognised as one of the stellar examples of an inclusive, energetic, exciting festival, Galway’s Babóro is showing no signs of slowing down as Galway native Aislinn Ó hEocha steps up to the newly-created position of Executive Artistic Director.

Previous Artistic Director Lali Morris has passed on the baton to Aislinn after steering Babóro from a six-day festival, primarily for schools, to what has become one of Ireland’s flagship family arts festivals.

Leading the organisation for 14 years as Artistic Director, Lali and her dedicated team have developed international partnerships with 17 organisations in 15 countries across Europe, as well as attracting visitors from all around the world to the annual Galway festival.

“Galway is a unique festival town. The people love a festival. But it’s also built for a festival. You can make it very inclusive, with short distances between the theatre spaces, and you can really fill the city centre with a festival vibe very easily,” said Lali, listing the city itself as one of the main reasons for the success of Babóro.

It was the summer of 1995 that Lali first got involved with Babóro. She moved to Galway in 1996 when her husband, Ted Turton, became the Artistic Director of the Galway Arts Festival. At that time, Babóro was part of the Galway Arts Festival, but there was talk of it breaking away to become a completely separate festival – something which came to pass in 1996 and has been happening annually ever since.

“So, I was on the Board of Directors from the moment it started and until I took the position of Artistic Director in 2001,” Lali explained.

Since she first got involved with Babóro, Lali has seen the festival grow at an incredible rate and has enjoyed every minute of it. “There’s the thrill of bringing a programme to Galway because you get the opening night jitters for every single show that you start. You’re saying ‘Oh my God, will people look at me like I’m crazy for bringing this show? Will they laugh, will they like it, will they throw things at them?

“It’s funny but it’s kind of a real buzz. The adrenaline buzz of ‘Yes, it worked!’ It’s a real high. Festival week is a brilliant high, because you see the festival going nice and smoothly and then behind the scenes, everybody is like mad little ants running around and that’s a real buzz. I’ll miss that buzz.”

But Lali feels like the festival will be in good hands with Aislinn, saying that the newly-created position of Executive Artistic Director goes “hand in hand with the growth of the festival”, which she feels has spread its wings into different areas.

“It really needed to have someone overseeing the whole thing – not doing everything, but with at least one eye on handling the overall thing, because it was growing so much that it really needed to have a top person,” she said.

Aislinn herself is more than qualified to take over as Executive Artistic Director. Her own journey with Babóro began in 2001 when she worked as a venue manager for Lali’s first festival in the Town Hall.

“I was working there for a week and I just loved it. I loved every minute of it. And I remember being really struck by Lali’s passion for work with children and her way with children. And it never left me, so I began my passion for children’s work as well,” said Aislinn, naming her predecessor as her inspiration.

“And seeing children’s reactions to work on stage was just phenomenal. They were just completely sucked into everything that was happening. And what’s really unique about children as an audience is, in terms of their critique, they don’t hold back.

“Children verbalise everything and they stand up and they clap and laugh, unlike an adult audience who sit there, waiting to the end to finally clap. It’s fantastic, so I remember really being struck by that and the fact that we’ve worked together in the past and we’ve just come full circle.”

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

Connacht Tribune

A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

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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Connacht Tribune

Beat the leaks with reusable Nixx

Denise McNamara

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Ellie Loftus creator of Nixx.

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

Ellie Loftus is one of those super high achievers who makes you feel totally inadequate.  A registered nurse with two postgraduates, one in paediatrics and the other in intensive care, she also has a Masters of Science in Health from UCD. She was Regional Child and Adolescent Health Development Officer for the HSE from 2003 to 2008.

The native of Crossmolina who lives in Barna then decided to go and get herself a law degree and was later called to the Bar. She is currently working as a barrister.

In her spare time, Ellie is a sprinter. She runs for Ireland as a master athlete and competed before lockdown at the European Athletics Championships.

And it wasn’t just running that she excelled at. She represented Ireland on the first female Irish Olympic bobsleigh team, taking part in four World Cups. She was sought out by Prince Albert of Monaco for a chat because she was from Mayo, the home of his beloved late mother Grace Kelly.

Now, at the age of 49, this dynamo has pivoted again, this time setting up her own business. She has drawn on her experience of working with adolescents in the HSE, being a mom of two girls and her years as an athlete.

Nixx.ie is a period and bladder leak range of underwear that could revolutionise sanitary care.

The underwear is reusable by throwing it in the washing machine and can be worn without a tampon or pad.

Each pair consists of four layers of specialised fabrics. Because they can be worn without sanitary products, they are a much more sustainable solution. The first sanitary pads invented are still in a landfill somewhere as they take between 500 and 800 years to decompose.

They also turn up everywhere you don’t want to see them. Sanitary products are the fifth most common item found on Europe’s beaches, more widespread than single-use coffee cups, cutlery or straws.

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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Connacht Tribune

Stepping out of time in Burren Lands

Judy Murphy

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Lifestyle – Sacred sites and traditional crafts and placenames are among the wonders that unfold on a walking tour of the Burren led by Anna Casey Donohue. It all takes place on the lowlands and hills of the family farm south of Kinvara, where her husband John is the seventh generation of his family to work the land. JUDY MURPHY goes on a voyage of discovery, led by this retired teacher of Irish and Geography.

Driving towards the Burren from the village of Kinvara, its majestic limestone mountains are a source of wonder, no matter how many times you see them. From a distance, they’re amazing. But it’s only when you get up close, you realise how this seemingly inhospitable landscape teems with wildlife and history.

That wealth of nature, heritage and also spirituality is what Anna Casey Donohue wants people to experience when they take to the hills behind her house on the Clare-Galway border. And there’s no doubt, once you go off the road and start walking towards a field known locally as Páirc na Liadhas, the outside world seems to melt away.

Páirc na Liadhas translates into English as ‘the Field of the Grey Habits’, Anna explains. Located across the hill from Oughtmama, which was an important monastic site in the early Middle Ages, and close to the 13th Century Corcomroe Abbey, this place is steeped in folk history, much of which has long passed into the mists of time. But previous generations remembered Páirc na Liadhas as an area which was home to an order of grey-robed nuns. And as we make the gentle ascent towards the field – a green oasis on the mountain’s lower slopes with hawthorn and hazel copses all around – Anna informs the small group of walkers that it contains the ruins of a convent, which, it’s believed, was connected to the monastic community of Corcomroe.

Anna, a retired secondary school teacher who runs Burren Explore, is a mine of knowledge when it comes to the Burren’s geography, folklore and placenames – and the joy she gets from sharing that knowledge is palpable.

She’s originally from Kilbeacanty in the foothills of the Sliabh Aughty Mountains on the other side of Gort and this farm on which we are walking was inherited by her husband Johnny,  the seventh generation of his family to work this land – doing so in line with the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme.

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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