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Connacht Tribune

Late developer Amy has key role in ‘Hansel and Gretel’

Judy Murphy

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Amy Ní Fhearraigh as Gretel and Raphaela Mangan as Hansel in the opera co-production between Theatre Lovett, Irish National Opera and the Abbey Theatre which comes to the Town Hall Theatre on March 3.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Amy Ní Fhearraigh was studying for a degree in architecture at Griffith College when the young Dubliner became friends with the god-daughter of a well-known Irish soprano.

Amy told her new friend how much she loved singing opera – even though at the time, she had almost no experience of performing.

“At that stage I was a shower singer,” she says with a laugh. However, her friend arranged a meeting with the soprano, who’s renowned in opera circles.

Amy doesn’t name the woman as she’s not sure if it’d be appropriate, but the singer’s advice was that the architecture student should follow her dream.

“I think she saw I had potential; she saw what I could become if was passionate enough to pursue it,” explains Amy. “I was rough around the edges,” she adds wryly.

Even if Amy’s edges were rough back then, that’s no longer the case for this young soprano who will be performing as Gretel in a new production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel at the city’s Town Hall Theatre on Tuesday, March 3. It’s a collaboration between the renowned Theatre Lovett (which produces theatre shows for all ages), Irish National Opera and the Abbey Theatre.   Instead of architecture, Amy studied music DIT Conservatory of Music, graduating with first class honours. In 2018 she was singled out by the highly regarded Golden Plectrum Music Magazine as a name to watch for.

Her first big breakthrough when she performed the principal role of Susanna in the Conservatory’s production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in 2016. A few weeks later she won the Dramatic Cup at the Feis Ceoil and a few months after that, she was singing Frasquita in the Lyric Opera production of Bizet’s Carmen. She’s also performed with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in a live broadcast on Lorcan Murray’s Classic Drive on Lyric FM. Amy has been a regular with Irish National Opera (INO), the company set up in 2017 by conductor Fergus Shiel, who previously headed up Opera Theatre Company and Wide Open Opera.  One of INO’s aims is to give everyone in Ireland a chance to experience the power of this art form. It’s doing that with its current co-production, Hansel and Gretel.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

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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