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Leonie King pays artistic homage to father’s rich history

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Leonie King; 'Maybe I needed to discover where my father came from.' PHOTO JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

When English born Commander Bill King settled in Oranmore in 1949 following his marriage to Anglo-Irish woman Anita Leslie, whom he had met during World War II, he never knew of his own family connections with the county.

Bill’s great-grandfather, William King, (1809-1886) had been a professor at UCG in the 1860s and was the scientist who classified Neanderthal Man, the first extinct human species to be classified. Professor King died in Galway and was buried in Bohermore Cemetery.

But in 1949, his great-grandson didn’t know that. Bill had been a seven-year-old child when his own father, also William, was killed in 1917 during the Great War. As a result, he knew little about the history of his paternal family.

Some of it came to light in subsequent decades, but it really developed a life of its own after his death in September 2012, when his daughter Leonie, discovered a photo in the bottom of his drawer and it started her on a quest which has resulted in an exhibition at this year’s Galway International Arts Festival.

Inextricably Linked is Leonie’s way of telling the story of her father’s family and it is beautifully done.

“When he died I wanted to do an exhibition on him, but it was too poignant, so I went backward in time,” she says. “Maybe I needed to discover where he came from.”

The first three images in the haunting show are of her great-great grandfather, and are entitled simply The Professor I, II and III.

Professor William King is buried in grave 18 in the New Cemetery in Bohermore, something Leonie didn’t know until a few years ago.

She and Bill had discovered his connection with the Galway university nearly two decades ago, thanks to staff at NUIG, but they didn’t know where he was buried.

A Spanish researcher contacted them with the information that his grave was in Bohermore and they started looking. They were joined in their quest by Japanese man Akira Tsurukame, who was visiting them in their home at Oranmore Castle to celebrate Bill’s 102nd birthday.  Akira’s father had been killed during the war when the submarine he was in was torpedoed by the British submarine Telemachus, which was under the command of Leonie’s father, Bill King.  A total of 89 men died in the attack, which occurred near Malaysia.  Akira had first made contact with Bill 10 years previously in a bid to understand what had happened during that attack.

As a result of Akira, Bill’s own family learned a great deal more about his efforts during the war.

“Akira is the most beautiful thing that ever happened to us,” says Leonie. “He is like an extra family member.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Immortal, a musical exploration of history, family and immortality

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Ellen Greally who plays Oisín's daughter Plur in Immortal.

An original musical, Immortal, from local theatre company, Morgan Creative is running at the city’s Town Hall Theatre until this Friday night, September 24, starting at 8pm nightly.

Billed by its creators Luke and Jake Morgan as “the next chapter of Irish folklore”, the story is set between the mythological land of Tír na nÓg, rural Galway during the Irish Civil War and modern-day Galway. It features 12 new original songs that strive to bring the area’s rich local history and traditions to a modern audience.

An era after her father, Oisín has left Tír na nÓg, Plur sets off on a perilous journey to find him. With the help of Choppy, a grouchy swan, Plur crosses the sea to a magical land she has heard about only in stories: Ireland. However, when she arrives, she learns that trouble is brewing.

The year is 1921 and the struggle for Irish independence is about to take a bitter turn. As Plur encounters a group of young rebels intent on storming Renmore Barracks, there is only one question on her mind: Will she manage to find her father and bring him home before it is too late?

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway back in festive swing

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Festival highlight…John Gerrard (centre) in front of his Mirror Pavilion in Derrigimlagh Bog, pictured in with Galway International Arts Festival’s Chief Executive John Crumlish (left) and Artistic Director Paul Fahy. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

The programme may have been amended because of Covid-19 restrictions – but this year’s Galway International Arts Festival still conjured up a whole set of indoor and outdoor experiences to deliver three weeks of spectacular success.

The pandemic resulted in GIAF’s biggest ever digital programme, including the first festival theatre livestream, making the work accessible to a much wider audience – and a star-studded concert from St Nicholas’ Church.

Festival highlights included Medicine, a theatrical tour-de-force by Enda Walsh with a cast featuring Domhnall Gleeson – and the acclaimed Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work, the second part of John Gerrard’s visual art project set in the heart of Derrygimlagh bog. That also attracted a global audience because it included a 24/7 live stream of the virtual performance that was being shown on the LED screen.

The first ever Other Voices collaboration with the festival delivered an unforgettable concert from St Nicholas’ Church, as part of the Courage series, featuring NewDad, Tolü Makay, Susan O’Neill and Mick Flannery, and Anna Mullarkey.

Audiences can still experience again the First Thought Talks series by checking them out  the Festival website.  Guests such as Misha Glenny; Bonnie Greer; Mike Ryan, Noelle Browne; Siobhan Burke, Sinéad Burke, Fintan O Toole, Peter Lunn and Teresa Lambe amongst others, discussed everything from cyber-hacking to the impact of remote working on rural Ireland to vaccine development.

The 2021 Vinyl Hours series saw guests Philip King, Sinéad Burke, Niamh Regan and Brian Kerr, reveal their most treasured songs in special in-conversation events. Fans can catch up with these conversations when they are released next month as part of the First Thought podcast series.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Kinvara exhibition focuses on ups and downs of social media

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The Kinvara Area Visual Artists group, KAVA is hosting, My Social Bubble, an exhibition of work by arts graduate Mark Keaveney, in which the Roscommon native focuses on the use social media

“My current practice is about the psychological effects of social media,” he explains. “I am exploring people’s engagement with these online platforms, mostly through digital media, along with other platforms such as painting, drawing, and photography.  Modern technology has proven to be a huge phenomenon and an extremely helpful tool in the contemporary art world.

“It provides many benefits as well as potentially harmful results. There is a significant grey area to be found when approaching peoples’ mental health and these handheld devices.”

This exhibition in cooperation with KAVA, will be supported by Kinvara Alive, a local group that promotes well-being and mental health.

The spokesperson for Kinvara Alive, Sean Glynn, says the show offers plenty food for thought.

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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