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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Celebrations to forge new links

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Ester Kiely, Eilís Ní Dhonncha and Gráinne Ní Bhroin from Headford Lace Project at the launch of Corrib Beo’s programme of Heritage Week events, ‘Connecting Corrib Communities’ at Claregalway Castle. Photo: Brian Harding.

Lifestyle – An initiative involving community groups from around the Corrib has been launched for Heritage Week, with events taking place to showcase the area’s many riches, while also creating new connections among organisations. JUDY MURPHY hears from some of the groups involved.

”Ní neart go cur le chéile,” says Eilís Nic Dhonncha of the Headford Lace Project as she quotes the old Irish proverb about strength in togetherness to describe a new initiative which involves 13 communities around the Corrib, lake and river.

Linking Corrib Communities is running as part of Heritage Week and involves people from different communities showcasing their local heritage while also working to develop closer ties with each other.

The initiative, organised by the voluntary umbrella group Corrib Beo, was launched in Claregalway Castle on Tuesday at an event attended by people from all around Lough Corrib, including Fine Gael Senator, Seán Kyne (Moycullen), and Cllr Frank Fahy (Menlo).

But most of all, this was an occasion for people involved in the historic, cultural and leisure life of their local communities, and among the highlights was a demonstration of bobbin lacemaking from members of the Headford Lace Project, in the castle.

The Headford group came into being in 2016 to revive a craft that had been synonymous with the area from the mid-1700s to the early 1900s – census returns from 1911 show it was still alive in that year – but which died out as machines took over the highly-skilled work, practised for so long by local women.

It had almost been forgotten by 2016 when the Headford Lace Project was created as part of the Small Town Big Ideas for Galway 2020. Since then, the group has done extraordinary work to research and revive this unique heritage. So much so that Headford Lace was last year granted UNESCO status, being placed on Ireland’s National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, up there alongside hurling.

Eilís and fellow project member, Ger Henry Hassett explain that people don’t need to be skilled at bobbin-work to get involved in the Headford Lace Project. While it’s a particularly intricate style of lacemaking, many other initiatives have taken place in the town, including one that involved local blacksmiths,  Pat Monaghan and Simon Harte, working with artist Róisín de Butléar to create a sculpture representing the tradition, located in the town’s square. There’s also ongoing research – a huge part of the project.

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

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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Connacht Tribune

Vitamin D and good postural balance may help as we age

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Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

Having just turned 50 aging is particularly on my mind this month. So two recent studies about aging peaked my interest which are worth sharing. The first is a study from the University of South Australia and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It is based on data from 294,514 participants from the UK Biobank, a biomedical database with half a million British participants.

Scientists found that in some populations, up to 17 per cent of dementia cases could be prevented simply by raising people’s vitamin D in the blood to 50 nmol/L, which is considered to be the normal level.

Dementia affects over 55 million people worldwide and every year 10 million new cases are diagnosed so the implications could be huge.

It is the first time the impact of very low levels of vitamin D are examined on the risks of dementia and stroke by using genetic analyses among a large study population.

There is widespread vitamin D deficiency among people worldwide, even in sunny regions where sun awareness campaigns, indoor living and other factors contribute to the low vitamin D levels,

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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Rev Fr Raymond Watters O.P recites a decade of the rosary as the rain begins to pour down during the Blessing of Galway Bay on August 15, 1882.

1922

Dawn surrender

National troops operating from Galway and Athenry at dawn on Wednesday morning surrounded an area about four miles between Liscananaun village and Aucloggeen, on the eastern side of the Corrib, and after a smart movement captured nineteen irregulars, with their officers, twenty-two service and Mauser rifles, a number of service revolvers and automatics, and considerable quantities of ammunition for bombs.

The National troops were under command of Co-Commandant Austin Brennan, O.C., Galway area, and the various battalion and company officers, and the plan to surround these villages, which lie in a marshy waste between the Curragh Line, or Galway-Headford road, and the main road from Galway to Tuam, was evolved after information had been received that a number of irregulars were quartered there, and were commandeering sheep and foodstuffs from people in surrounding districts.

Slowly and silently, accompanied by a Lancia armoured car on which machine guns were mounted, the National troops moved out from Galway shortly before two a.m. on Wednesday. One column took the Galway to Headford road, the other taking the Tuam road.

The column operating on the Headford road swung to the right beyond the Cregg river, taking the road to Drumgriffin. By dawn they had taken up extended formation in the woods around Cregg Castle, and this formed a trap into which the irregulars were subsequently driven.

Trade unions position

Mr. Cathal O’Shannon, T.D., in his presidential address at the Trade Union Congress on Monday, declare that organised Labour was separate from and independent of any political party, and would take no dictation from any quarter outside its own ranks.

He strongly protested against militarism, from whatever quarter it came, and condemned the political censorship of thought and opinion, the ignoring of laws relating to the custody of prisoners, the existence of a semi-military police force, and the propaganda on both sides.

The present conflict or strife, he declared, was unnecessary and counselled the Irish workers to keep aloof from it.

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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