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New novel marks Nuala’s debut in the UK and US

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Nuala Ni Conchuir.

Ballinasloe author Nuala Ní Chonchuir, who has gained a reputation in Ireland for her award-winning contemporary fiction, has taken a new direction with her latest novel, Miss Emily.

Writing under the name Nuala O’Connor, she has travelled to 19th century Amherst, Massachusetts, to the family home of Emily Dickinson. The arrival of Irish maid Ada Concannon into the household in 1866 saves the Dickinsons from domestic disarray and more importantly, sees the two women form a strong friendship.

The reclusive American poet and the outgoing Irish teenager discover they were born on the same day and that seals their bond, despite the difference in their ages and social class. Ada provides ‘Miss Emily’ with company during her melancholy spells, while Dickinson steps outside of her comfort zone to support Ada when the maid’s reputation is violated and people turn against her.

Told in alternating chapters by Dickinson and Ada Concannon – the plot is somewhat predictable, but the writing is beautiful and engaging and Ní Chonchuir’s attention to domestic detail and the rhythm of small-town life is superb.

Miss Emily, which is being published this side of the Atlantic by Scotland’s Sandstone Press, marks the first time that Ní Chonchuir has been represented in the UK, hence the Anglicisation of her name.

Here at home, the Dublin-born Ní Chonchuir has had two novels published – You and The Closet of Savage Mementos – as well as five short-story collections and four books of poetry. Her awards for fiction awards include RTÉ radio’s Francis MacManus Award, the Cúirt New Writing Prize, the Jane Geske Award (USA), the inaugural Jonathan Swift Award and the Cecil Day Lewis Award. She was also shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature.

Miss Emily also sees Ní Chonchuir make her American and Canadian debut. She is being published there by Penguin-Random House and already the Washington Post has described Miss Emily as a “quietly soaring” novel.

It’s available in bookshops and online priced at €12.99.

 

Connacht Tribune

Light touch as Felicity explores dark legacy

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Author Felicity Hayes McCoy, whose late father Gerard was Professor of History at UCG, now NUIG,

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

A conversation with President Michael D Higgins during a visit to the Áras a couple of years ago, helped inform the latest novel by writer Felicity Hayes McCoy. Felicity, who has a keen interest in history, was chatting with the President about the Decade of Commemorations, specifically in relation to the Civil War, which was a looming event in that particular calendar.

They were discussing how to have a national conversation about the devastating civil strife that followed Ireland’s War of Independence and how such a conversation could be contained – or indeed if it should be contained.

Felicity’s latest novel, The Year of Lost and Found, is based on the life of Hanna Casey, an ordinary librarian in a rural Irish town who is faced with a major problem as she discovers a long-forgotten story linking her family and other local families to the Civil War.

The county librarian, a man for the grand gesture and self-promotion, has decided to call upon people countywide to bring in artefacts relating to this period in history to their local libraries. Staff must follow his orders.  But, when Hanna coincidently discovers an important document written by her dead grandaunt, she has a dilemma – how can she leave her family’s past buried while other people are being asked to share their family stories?

“This is a book about ordinary people who happen to get caught in the crossfire of history,” its author explains.

Although Felicity was born and reared in Dublin, she has strong links with Galway. Her father, Gerard, was reared in Eyre Square and later went on to become Professor of History at the then-UCG. Gerard, who died in 1975, was also deeply involved in the campaign to save Galway’s medieval heritage, one of the few people back then to recognise its importance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway band use lockdown to redefine sound with an edge

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Bannered Mare... expanded sound in new release.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Bannered Mare has evolved significantly since the project began in 2018; back then, the act was the sole responsibility of frontman and principal songwriter Joseph Padfield who offered a delicate debut by way of a five-track, indie-folk EP Gizzards.  The sound has grown richer and heavier since, aided by a growing importance placed on Joseph’s bandmates Dylan Murphy, Paul Higgins, Derek Ellard and Kyle Dee.

That change in style is evidenced by Bannered Mare’s latest offering. Due for release on June 25, Flutter is an anthemic rock track in the mould of Biffy Clyro or Queens of the Stone Age.

The Galway group describe it as a song about finding strength and staying focused – a concept that carries weight given the strangeness of the eighteen months that have passed since their last EP, Fear of Missing Out.

“The core feeling is still there from that previous release,” Joseph explains.

“We generally write for it to feel a certain way live. That’s the thing we look for. It’s definitely a more streamlined approach to it this time – it’s not quite as busy and I think it’s a little more mature.

“I wrote this song right after we finished recording the last EP so it’s been a long process trying to get everyone together to record it. We had booked into a studio when lockdown happened so we had to record in bursts guerrilla-style when we could.

“We did the drums in the Claremorris Town Hall Theatre. The guitars and bass we recorded in Croghery Studios in Galway, a small little studio back the way and the rest I recorded at home. We have a DIY approach to things and it keeps the cost down.”

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

Reeling in the years to celebrate iconic album

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Pearse Doherty, John ‘Turps’ Burke, Johnny Donnelly, Davy Carton and Leo Moran on stage at the Warwick, for the album’s back cover. PHOTOS: FRANK MILLER.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s Galway City was on a creative roll, with the Arts Festival and theatre groups such as Druid, Punchbag, Na Fánaithe and Macnas expanding our creative horizons in all directions.

Down in the Quays Bar – then very much a local pub renowned for the calibre of its music sessions – a group from Tuam was creating waves and attracting fans, including Mike Scott of the Waterboys.

That group was the Saw Doctors, “all the way from Tuam”, and Mike Scott had encountered the lads when his band was in Spiddal, making the album Fisherman’s Blues.

They ended up supporting the Waterboys on a tour of Ireland and the UK and, in 1989, Mike Scott produced their debut single, N17, in Dublin’s Windmill Lane. Leo and Davy’s song about youth and emigration captured the experience of so many young people at that time – but it didn’t capture the public imagination. After a few radio plays, it faded away quietly.

“As a teenager, you’d have a dream of having a hit single,” recalls Leo Moran of that debut release. “But when you are writing songs, you become a bit more practical. And we were older and were gone beyond pop-star dreams.”

Their aim was simple.

“Our ambition was to put out a single.”

The group, then made up of Davy, Leo, John ‘Turps’ Burke, Pearse Doherty and Johnny Donnelly, had to earn a living too, and that wasn’t always easy.

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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