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Murder most foul: contrasting treatments on two channels

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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True crime has always attracted great interest whether in book form or in documentaries and there appears to be a glut of these programmes on our screens these days.

So because of a local connection, I tuned in to two such programmes during the week.

The first was Crimes that Shook Ireland on TV3 which dealt with the murders of Mayo girl, Mary Duffy and Dubliner, Elizabeth Plunkett, by the Englishmen, John Shaw and Geoffrey Evans, who were captured by Salthill Gardaí on the Prom in 1976.

This was a repeat but my first time seeing it and only for it had a local interest, the slow pace of it almost put me off.

The programme makers could surely have fitted it all in a one-hour slot but chose to build it around two episodes.

The narration was painfully slow and the contributors to the programme, including the now retired Garda Jim Boland whose quick wit and observant eye led to their capture, must surely have been coached to speak s-l-o-w-l-y.

There was archive footage of Gardaí doing door-to-door calls in Castlebar, where Mary Duffy was abducted and of the search for Elizabeth Plunkett in Brittas Bay.

These evil men had a string of convictions and had purposefully come to Ireland to rape and kill one girl a week. Considering this was before the Internet and mobile phones, the Gardaí did well to catch the pair who had vowed to kill one woman a week in Ireland.

Though the case of these two men and their horrendous crimes is well known, the TV3 programme lacked pace to keep viewers gripped. It basically lacked the style of the much pacier true crime programmes made for US TV.

And while the programme lacked pace, it certainly looked like something from the seventies with its reconstruction appearing like old footage, complete with the styling of the actors and the cars.

TV3 dragged it into a second programme the following week, which really doesn’t work in this fast paced world.

It should have piqued our interest with hints of what was to come in programme two but it didn’t so in all likelihood, most viewers wouldn’t have bothered to tune in the following week.

However, Cracking Crime – Cold Cases on RTE One is a highly polished series and last week looked at the death of 23 years old GMIT art student, Emer O’Loughlin in Tubber.

Her body was found in April 2005 in a burnt out mobile home, not far from her own one, which she shared with her boyfriend.

It is believed that she went to John Griffin’s mobile home to charge her phone – hours later her badly charred remains were found with no sign of the neighbour.

He was later found in Galway city but days later it appears he staged a fake drowning on Inis Mór and he is still at large.

Granted, this is a more recent crime and it is an open file, but contributions from Emer’s family made it a much more poignant programme.

The parents and her siblings were bravely open on camera. They talked about the heartbreak, the frustration of not knowing what really happened and how it had caused a wedge in the O’Loughlin family.

It was also a much shorter programme, a half hour, but it was, as a programme much more satisfying because it had a focus – it tried to refresh people’s memory to help solve a crime.

The TV3 programme obviously didn’t need to solve a crime but it should have thrown a light on what made these two evil men tick.

Connacht Tribune

Long-awaited debut album proves well worth the wait

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Bitch Falcon....debut album now released.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

It’s been a strong decade for Irish bands – a noisy, unfiltered path paved by Girl Band emboldened a series of experimental rock groups, each looking to break away from the folk-pop mould that dominated the 2000s in charts and on radio.  Vibrant local scenes have emerged in the likes of Limerick, Galway and Cork – all individual, all looking to champion identity and eclecticism.

And despite releasing their debut album just earlier this month, Dublin trio Bitch Falcon have overseen almost all of the changes and milestones that have led Irish rock to this point. That is because the band technically formed in 2014.

Several acclaimed EPs and hundreds of storied gigs later, Bitch Falcon, made up of frontwoman Lizzie Fitzpatrick, drummer and Galway native Nigel Kenny from Dunmore, and bass player Barry O’Sullivan, have released their first full-length LP.

Staring at Clocks hit shelves and streaming sites on November 6, full of atmosphere, intensity and, crucially, brand new material. Lizzie’s insistence on avoiding an amalgamation-of-EPs type record has resulted in an impressively cohesive debut. After six years of adjustments to sound, style and line-up, the project has officially matured.

“I think the album really captured what we were saying at that point in time,” Lizzie insists. “We wrote it about a year and a half ago and I think it was the first time we were really excited about what we were writing.

“Before, we were happy with it but not really completely there and I think that aspect of it has improved now. We didn’t want to have any of the old stuff in it at all. We wanted to have it be exactly what we were feeling at that moment rather than a collection of songs to get us through a debut album.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

David offers a fresh take on Percy French’s songs

Judy Murphy

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David's album contains 12 of Percy French's much-loved songs.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“He’s the kind of fella you’d love to have met,” says singer David Larkin of the multi-talented Percy French, a songwriter, artist, showman and engineer who bequeathed a vast legacy of songs and paintings to the world when he died in 1920 at the age of 66.

His songs which captured Irish life with a fine dash of humour and a great deal of affection, have been widely recorded through the years, most notably by the late Irish tenor Brendan O’Dowda.

David has now given a new interpretation to 12 of French’s compositions on his album, David Larkin sings Percy French: With a Toot on the Flute and a Twiddle on the Fiddle!!!

“I loved his songs and I’d have known quite a few of them from hearing them on the radio and at sing-songs,” says David who works as a Housing Support Assistant with the Simon Community and presents Larkin About on Galway’s Flirt FM in his spare time. An early memory of hearing one of them is when American folk singer, Don McLean recorded The Mountains of Mourne in 1973.

David’s family moved to Galway City from Athleague in Roscommon when he was six, but “I always consider myself a Roscommon man”, he says with a smile.

He’s been part of the Galway singing scene for decades, co-hosting the I’m Singing in the Crane sessions in the popular city pub since 2013. He’s a regular participant in singing sessions and festivals countrywide, including the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, County Clare, where he contributes to the daily singing workshops.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Sunday evening concert offers All the Pleasures

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Sunday evening’s concert will be performed by the Resurgam Choir and Irish Baroque Orchestra (pictured), under director Peter Whelan.

Music by George Frederic Handel and Henry Purcell as well as a world premiere by Irish composer Rhona Clarke will feature in Resounding Landscapes, a concert being presented by Music for Galway in association with Galway 2020 this Sunday, November 22. It will be live-streamed from the city’s St Nicholas’ Church, starting at 7pm.

It’s the second concert in the Abendmusik (Evening Music) series of vocal and choral performances, which forms part of Music for Galway’s programme for the European Capital of Culture project.

Sunday’s event will feature Welcome to all the Pleasures by the 17th century composer, Henry Purcell with text by Cristopher Fishburn; the world premiere of Rhona Clarke’s O Vis Aeternitatis – based on writings by the 12th century mystic, Hildegard of Bingen; and Handel’s Dixit Dominus.

The programme will be performed by the Resurgam Choir and Irish Baroque Orchestra (IBO), under director Peter Whelan, who is director of the IBO.

Creator of the Abendmusik Sunday evening concert series, Mark Duley feels that “in our current circumstance, it is good to be reminded by Fishburn in his text that ‘in music, we find relief from sorrow and grief’. And we can salute the venerable building of St Nicholas’ Church where for 700 years music has resounded and prayer has been valid.”

Meanwhile, a scheduled online production of the community opera, Paper Boat, which Music for Galway commissioned to celebrate the 700th anniversary of St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, has been postponed.

Paper Boat is central to Music for Galway’s programme for Galway 2020 and before Covid-19 restrictions, there had been plans for a major live production of the site-specific composition in St Nicholas’ last June.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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