One of Ireland’s best short-story writers, the award-winning Danielle McLaughlin, embarks on the next chapter of her career by launching her debut novel, The Art of Falling, online through the West Cork Literary Festival this Thursday evening.
Given the quality of Danielle’s work to date, which saw her win the Windham-Campbell Prize (€146,000) for her collection Dinosaurs on Other Planets and the Sunday Times Audible Short Story award for A Partial List of the Saved, the release of her first novel is keenly anticipated. The early indications from critics are that it doesn’t disappoint.
The central character of The Art of Falling is Nessa McCormack, whose marriage is on the mend following her husband’s affair. At work, she has taken charge of a retrospective art exhibition for an enigmatic sculptor, the late Robert Locke. Nessa appears to have attained an equilibrium of sorts in her life.
Yet, when an old friend threatens to expose a betrayal Nessa had hoped she’d long put behind her, and a peculiar woman claims to be the true creator of Locke’s most famous piece, Nessa must make tough decisions, personally and professionally.
If Danielle’s previous short stories are anything to go by – including her edgy Night of the Silver Fox – the former lawyer will take her characters into places emotionally and mentally where others would never dare to tread.
The “first spark” for The Art of Falling came to her at a workshop given by Ballinasloe-based author Nuala O’Connor in 2012. “It was from a writing prompt that we got that day,” explains Danielle over a Zoom call last week.
“I tried to write it as a short story for the best part of two years, but it just wasn’t right. There was always something missing from it. And over time, it became a novel and other things fed into it. The first bit of it, though, I can trace back to 2012. So, a long time (in the writing of it).”
With so much happening in the novel – between marital issues, betrayal, the exhibition and a claim of fraudulence – Danielle admits that, while all these strands grew around each other, it took a while for the layers to fully develop.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Motorcyclist killed in Galway crash
A motorcyclist has died following a crash in Renmore this morning.
Shortly after 10am, the motorcyclist – aged in his 40s – was seriously injured when his motorbike collided with a car on the R338 Old Dublin Road at Renmore Park. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.
The crash site was fully examined by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators and the road has now reopened to traffic.
The deceased was removed to the mortuary at University Hospital Galway and the Coroner has been notified.
Investigating Gardaí are appealing witnesses to come forward and have asked anyone who was travelling in the area at the time and has dashcam footage to contact them.
Wrecking ball for once-great social hub, the Corrib Great Southern Hotel
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It was the summer of ’69, and the landmark Great Southern Hotel in Eyre Square was booming.
Every evening, 180 guests – mostly American tourists – thronged its dining room for dinner. Similar numbers were served breakfast, with about 150 for lunch.
It was so busy, the semi-state company planned another 160-bedroom sister hotel, the Corrib Great Southern, on the Dublin Road.
Then the Troubles in Northern Ireland started, and “business fell off a cliff”, recalled Richard Lyons, who worked in both hotels, including 35 years as maître d in the newer one.
“They were building the Corrib when the Troubles started and they decided they had to cut back the rooms by 40. That’s how they finished with 120 bedrooms,” he said.
The hotel was opened on May 27, 1971, by Brian Lenihan Snr, the then Minister for Transport and Power, and Bishop of Galway, Michael Browne.
But the legacy of the Troubles lingered for years after, according to Renmore resident Richard – debt from State borrowing to build a new hotel up North, which was twice bombed by the IRA, threatened the very existence of the semi-state hotel group owned by CIÉ.
In the early 1980s, hotel group debt grew to nearly £8 million, and the Fine Gael and Labour Coalition Government headed by Garret Fitzgerald decided to liquidate it.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story of the hotel, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Galway City Council extends outdoor dining into October
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The summer of alfresco dining looks set to be extended into the late autumn, with Galway City Council confirming this week their plans to extend the outdoor arrangements to October 22.
Local councillors, hospitality representatives and the City Council have said this week that the extension of outdoor dining at five city locations from September 30 to October 22 next, reflects public satisfaction with the current set-up.
This week the City Council published statutory public notices to clear the way for a continuation of the existing road closures required to facilitate outdoor dining on William Street West, Raven Terrace, Dominick Street Upper, Woodquay and the Small Crane.
Johnny Duggan, Chairman of the city branch of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland and proprietor of Taylor’s Bar on Dominick Street, told the Galway City Tribune that the outdoor dining initiative during the summer had been a ‘huge success’ both from a viability and operational viewpoint.
“It has brought a life and vibrancy back into these areas in a very safe and controlled environment – the move makes sense in terms of the October 22 deadline set for the return of normal business,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and for a proposal to bring an ice rink back to Leisureland, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.