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Macnas summon restless spirits

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Macnas in full creative flight. PHOTO:COLM HOGAN.

Macnas Theatre Company will take to the streets of Galway on Sunday, October 26, summoning fire and fury into being with their parade Symphony for the Restless.

Everyone is invited to come out and play, to dress up in costume and celebrate Samhain, the time of the year where the worlds of the living and the dead meet, where characters dissolve and creatures are remade.

Symphony for the Restless, which will be both a wedding and a funeral, will offer audiences disobedience, smoke, fire, music, boundless energy, movement and dance. The parade will leave Fisheries Field, between NUIG and the Cathedral at 4.45pm on October 26 and full details on the route will be announced on macnas.com in the coming weeks.

Macnas are renowned for energising audiences at festivals and celebrations, staging stunning large-scale performances at home and around the globe. Supported by Galway City Council, The Arts Council, Latin Quarter, Fáilte Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way, the group will be staging one of its biggest productions of the year in its home town, when Symphony for the Restless hits the streets.

People can donate to the Macnas parade campaign until this Friday, October 10, or apply to volunteer on the day of the parade by visiting macnas.com

Connacht Tribune

Novelist Lisa set for next chapter

Stephen Glennon

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Writer Lisa McInerney picturedi n Coole Park. From Gort, she spent much of her youth in Cork and attended UCC after leaving school. She credits the southern city with being a formative influence in her life and work. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Lifestyle – Lisa McInerney was hailed as a powerful new voice in Irish fiction when her debut novel The Glorious Heresies was published six years ago. Bleak, humorous and filled with humanity, it explored the complexities of growing up in working-class Ireland and struck a chord with readers and critics alike. As the third novel in the cycle is published, Lisa is ready to move on to her next project but isn’t ruling out a return to this rich universe in the future as she tells STEPHEN GLENNON.

People following the adventures of young Cork City drug dealer Ryan Cusack and his fellow Leesiders in Lisa McInerney’s stylish novel cycle, are in for yet another literary feast with her third book, The Rules of Revelation.

When it comes to fine writing, the Gort author and winner of the 2016 Women’s Prize for Fiction, is both architect and interior designer in her craft.

In The Rules of Revelation, Lisa delves deeper into the characters that readers have become invested in over the last six years, most notably her protagonist Ryan Cusack, who is determined to reinvent himself as a musician and leave his murky past behind.

This is the third and, for the moment, final book in the cycle, which began with The Glorious Heresies in 2015 and continued with The Blood Miracles two years later. Interestingly, Lisa notes that her second novel, which won an Encore Award, was the one that came to her first. But to tell the story, she felt she had to go back further in the characters’ lives.

“So, that is how The Glorious Heresies came together,” she says. “Then, when I brought it to the publisher, I said ‘I know what the sequel is to this and I am pretty sure there is going to be a third as well. I am going to have it around sex, drugs and roll ’n’ roll’. You see, you need a business plan,” she laughs.

While there are three books, Lisa prefers if they are referred to as a set or cycle rather than a trilogy, believing each book can be read independently of the others.

“I often think that you can read The Rules of Revelation and then go back to find the answers to a lot of the mysteries in it in The Glorious Heresies. So, I was hoping they would work out of order.”

Certainly, the characters and stories are strong enough to do this. She says all good books – whatever the genre – should start with character.

“Off the top of my head, the only book I can think where plot mattered more (than character) was The Da Vinci Code, where it didn’t matter who the characters were. The plot was almost asking you to solve the mystery.

“So, for me, it always starts with characters; it starts with people. That might be having the shape of a person, maybe the physical shape of them moving through the world or it could be a line of dialogue or it could be some sort of quirk. Some little nugget that you can build a person around.”

No doubt, Lisa’s books are rich with intriguing individuals of varying morals, with pensioner Maureen being one who stands out.  The mother of mobster Jimmy Phelan, she has a unique view of the world. She’s also not one to stand on ceremony, grabbing Ryan by the earlobe and dragging him in front of her to explain himself in one scene. This is Maureen in full flight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

Benjy’s passing breaks a link with far more innocent times

Francis Farragher

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Moira Deady (Mary Riordan), Tom Hickey (son Benjy) and Biddy White Lennon (Maggie, wife of Benjy) at a Riordans' reunion in 2009. All three are now deceased.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

For those of us of a certain generation the news earlier this month wasn’t of actor Tom Hickey having passed away, rather it was ‘that Benjy was dead’.

A most accomplished thespian he was acclaimed on all of the theatrical platforms – television, stage and film – but for those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, Tom Hickey would always be the young, ambitious and sometimes amorous farmer from the village of Leestown in The Riordans.

It all started out in the era of black-and-white television in the mid-1960s, that’s if your house was lucky enough to have an old Philips, Bush or Pye set in the corner of the kitchen, whether it be bought or rented. (Remember the jingle – ‘oldies only’: “RTV have the sets and the service, so rent from RTV.”

If not, of course, there was always the option of the visit to a house down the road, where people of a friendly disposition, didn’t mind, regular weekly gatherings of young and old to watch a match or their favourite programme on ‘the box’.

Benjy Riordan’s travails ranged from trying to establish some kind of influence in the running of the family farm which was firmly under the control of his father Tom, aka John Cowley, to seducing his long-time romantic interest, namely Maggie Nael, played by Biddy White Lennon.

It goes without saying that it was a very different Ireland back then with Benjy’s often clumsy moves at ‘stealing a kiss’ from Maggie likely to be the subject of an outcry from Church, State or even local councillors.

I remember one particular episode – if memory serves me right, it involved a ‘bit of kissing’ between Benjy and Maggie in the bushes – where the incident took up a major chunk of time at a meeting of Tuam Town Commissioners.

This was still an era of so-called high morals when even the remotest hint of any sexual advances towards a female of the species from a bubbly male on Irish TV was quite certain to spark off an outcry from the usual suspects.

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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Connacht Tribune

Mervue Organic a tonic for skin and conscience

Denise McNamara

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Mervue Organic creator Yvonne Daly.

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

Organic is a word bandied about now by so many companies, but few have gone to the lengths of a new cosmetic brand born in the heart of one of Galway City’s oldest neighbourhoods to really deserve it.

Achieving proper certification for all aspects of ingredients and packaging for Mervue Organic was extremely important for creator Yvonne Daly.

“Using real organic products is way more beneficial to the skin compared to a product full of chemicals. I’d be very aware of raw ingredients – that would be my passion,” she enthuses.

But it is a very rigorous process to get accredited and it has taken two years to bring the impressive range of products to the market.

“When they inspect your premises, they check every single aspect of the business – down to the dishwasher tablets. If you are organic, you can only manufacture organic products so it’s very strict.”

They have won approval from the Vegan Society Trademark, Leaping Bunny Cruelty Free International – international gold standard for cruelty free products, Cosmos Organic – international standard for the certification of organic and natural cosmetic products by the Soil Association, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – International gold standard for forests that are responsibly managed.

The company uses glass bottles as well as HDPE containers and packaging that is recyclable through the household recycling bin.

“Mervue Organic supports people and the planet by buying raw materials that are farmed to the highest standards. We work closely with our raw material suppliers who work with organic growers using fair trade and traditional farming practices.”

So, they are better for the planet and for your conscience, but do they work?

There was a blind-testing by human guinea pigs of the best-selling products currently on the market and Mervue Organic came out in the top two. A promising result for a newbie.

The main thing which separates the skincare range from competitors is its superfruit blend.

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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