Arts Week with Judy Murphy
Kathleen Loughnane was 12 years old and had just started secondary school in Limerick when her mother asked her if she’d like a harp. Tipperary-born Kathleen, who was one of 12 children, laughs as she recalls the moment.
“I’d always been used to hand-me-downs and didn’t know what a harp was.”
Her mother made the suggestion because the harp was taught at the school Kathleen was attending. The 12-year-old accepted, marking the beginning of a lifelong relationship with Ireland’s national instrument.
Music was central to Kathleen’s family but in her youth, it was a social pastime, not something you could make a living from, she says. She went to college and trained as a social worker, which was her job for years.
But times have changed and in the past few decades, the woman now regarded as ‘the matriarch’ of the harp by the next generation of players, has travelled the world with her music. She is in demand both as solo player and a member of the all-woman group, Dordán, of which she was a co-founder.
Kathleen has recorded four albums with Dordán as well as five solo albums of harp music. The Meteor Award nominee is especially regarded for her musical arrangements of old, sometimes overlooked, tunes.
Kathleen’s latest project is Patrick O’Neill’s Manuscripts, a CD and book of tunes arranged for harp, from the manuscripts of Kilkenny-born collector Patrick O’Neill (1765-1832). His vast musical records were bought by the National Library of Ireland in 2008.
Of the hundreds of tunes in O’Neill’s collection, Kathleen focused on 11 which especially resonated with her. Playing with her on the CD are her daughter Caitriona, also on harp, her son Cormac on uilleann pipes, baroque flute and whistles, and her friend, the bouzouki player Alec Finn.
Even if you never wanted to learn the tunes, the CD is glorious, offering an insight into the range of music that was popular in Kilkenny and South Tipperary in the late 18th and early 19th centuries – tunes from Scotland, England and Central Europe as well as from Ireland.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.
While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.
“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.
“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”
Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!
Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.
But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.
The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.
She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.
The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.
“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.
“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”
Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery
Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.
But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.
The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.
To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.
But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.
Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie