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Connacht Tribune

Johnny Duhan – a life of songs and stories

Dave O'Connell

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When an artist has a body of work that stretches over half a century, coming up with his Finest Collection can be a job in itself – but Johnny Duhan’s latest album can truly be described as his definitive voice.

The Irishman’s Finest Collection will also form the backdrop to his Galway show next week, when he takes to the stage in the intimate surrounds of the Town Hall Studio, next Thursday, May 3, for one night only.

Johnny Duhan has been making music since the sixties, when he was a mere teenager and the frontman of Granny’s Intentions – and he is instantly recognised through his classics like the Voyage and Don’t Give Up Till It’s Over.

But it is through the intensely personal lyrics of songs like Your Sure Hand, To the Light, In Our Father’s Name and the River Returning that you discover the real heart and soul of a man who draws his inspiration from the world around him.

The Irishman’s Finest Collection features 17 songs, drawn from a host of his previous albums and featuring a stellar cast of musicians from Davy Spillane and Mairtin O’Connor to Tony Maher, James Blennerhasset, Carl Hession and the late Eugene Kelly.

By his own admission, Johnny – born in Limerick but long domiciled in Barna – has always ploughed his own furrow.

“I’ve never followed trends or fashions since I started out as a folkie,” he says.

Instead, he draws on personal experience – growing up in Limerick, the world of nature, his spirituality; his observations on the bigger questions – to craft a body of work that truly stands the test of time.

Promoter and novelist Paul Charles – head of Asgard Promotions – is one music business veteran who recognises Johnny’s talent, and particularly his new Finest Collection.

“A work of real beauty. Sympathetic arrangements, perfect instrumentation, and all topped off with a perfect, story-telling, soulful voice,” he says.

“The songs, as a set of classic short stories, seem as though written for this collection even though they span John’s career….I really love the album,” he adds.

And those stories that he refers to cover everything from Song of the Bird – a childhood memory of a wounded bird nursed back to flight – to the River Returning, his ode to the Shannon that has been such a touchstone all his life.

And because he is a storyteller – in song and in between songs – the intimate surrounds of his Town Hall Studio gig next Thursday will allow those tales to pour forth.

It starts around 8.15pm and tickets are on sale on the night or in advance from www.tht.ie

Connacht Tribune

Cherish every moment; hug and kiss your loved ones every night

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Happier days…Geraldine Mullan with her husband John and their children Tomas and Amelia.

Last August, GERALDINE MULLAN (née Connaughton) endured an unfathomable nightmare, losing her husband and two children in a crash that she herself was lucky to survive. Here the Williamstown native writes of life since – and how the support of so many has helped her over the last three months.

My husband John was a fan of Bruce Springsteen. In normal circumstances he would be currently enjoying Bruce’s latest album “Letter to You” and taking particular interest in the songs, especially the one entitled “House of a Thousand Guitars” (given John’s love of that instrument).

But these are not normal days and instead it is me appraising the new offering from The Boss and taking poignant note of some of the other lyrical melodies on the album, particularly those entitled “One Minute You’re Here” and “I’ll See You in my Dreams”.

These two songs in particular speak to my situation and have become musical reminders of my beloved departed, my husband John and our children Tomas and Amelia, who were cruelly taken from this world in late August of this year.

Since the tragedy unfolded, I have been surrounded by many wonderful people and wrapped up in their familial and communal embraces, all united in offering me solace, comfort, assistance and no end of love, understanding and compassion.

I stand each day and get through it, in no small part, due to the continuous support you provide to me.

Such is the outpouring and swell of sympathy and empathy alike, and many are the calls, messages, cards, letters, flowers, gifts, acts of service and human kindness which have reached my Moville doorstep, that I am truly overwhelmed, very much humbled and ever-grateful.

I am genuinely appreciative of it all and your love and caring has taken root in my heart and in my head. That being said, I am unable to respond to everyone individually, therefore this is my “Letter to You”, my simple way of acknowledgement and sincere thanks.

You can read Geraldine’s full, heart-breaking letter in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Early Christmas box for 13,500 Galway farmers

Francis Farragher

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CLOSE on 13,500 Galway farmers should be getting an early ‘Christmas Box’ this week with the final tranche of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) monies being paid out – ‘bang on schedule’, according to Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue.

Back in October, farmers got the 70% advance payment in BPS with a commitment given at the time that the balance would be paid out in early December – balancing payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme are scheduled to commence next week.

Total BPS payments to Galway’s 13,500 farmers come to just over €82 million, according to figures released by local TDs this week, with the average individual payment per farmer working out at just over €6,000.

East Galway TD and Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte, said that the final tranche of the BPS payments was a most welcome one for thousands of farmers across the county after a most difficult year.

“The really important thing about these payments is that they are being made on schedule and they will help a lot of farmers to ‘balance the books’ for 2020,” said Minister of State, Rabbitte.

The Minister for Agriculture also confirmed this week that payments under the 2020 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme will also commence alongside payment of the 2020 BPS balancing payment – this will also benefit a significant number of Galway farmers.

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.

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

Baby born in a hurry outside Ford garage – and he’s called Henry!

Denise McNamara

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Baby Henry Dyar with proud parents Lisa and Robert, and big brother Darragh.

There was only one choice of name for a new arrival born in a hurry outside a Ford garage, almost in the passenger seat of a Ford Mondeo – he was always going to be Henry after that.

And after his speedy arrival in the middle of a nationwide go-slow, little Henry Dyar is thriving – despite arriving three weeks ahead of schedule.

Mum Lisa McCauley was thankfully on alert as she had been caught out before; her first born son Darragh had arrived a month early two years ago.

So when she began to feel the first twinges of labour at 6.30am on November 17 – and after contacting the maternity ward in University Hospital Galway – she and husband Robert Dyar organised a babysitter for Darragh and headed out on the motorway from their home in Loughrea.

As they were approaching Oranmore and the traffic was beginning to build, Lisa was hit with the realisation that she would not make it as far as the hospital.

So the quick-thinking Garda called Mill Street Station requesting an escort to bring her the rest of the way.

She was met at the top of Bothar na Treabh by a patrol car, who had pulled in off the Kirwan roundabout beside Sheil’s Motorpark garage.

But by then things had progressed beyond the point of no return.

Read the full happy ending in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. 

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.

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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