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Connacht Tribune

Relishing the challenge of ‘timeless’ Richard III

Judy Murphy

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Siobhán Cullen, who plays Lady Anne and one of the Princes in the Tower with Aaron Monaghan who takes on the lead role in Richard III. PHOTO: BOYD CHALLENGER.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Actress Siobhán Cullen gave a superb performance in Mark O’Rowe’s play, Crestfall, when she appeared in Druid’s production of the searing three-hander during the 2017 Arts Festival.  That was the Dubliner’s first outing with Druid – and now she’s back, but in a very different production, DruidShakespeare’s Richard III.

Siobhán describes Crestfall as “a very intimate and claustrophobic play”, while “with Richard III, everything is blown open”.

Shakespeare’s classic is a dramatic account of the villainous, deformed Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and his short reign as King of England following his devious, murderous plan to take over the throne.

It’s Druid’s latest exploration of Shakespeare following the company’s much-praised 2015 DruidShakespeare, which consisted of Richard II, Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2) and Henry V, as adapted by Mark O’Rowe. That was an exciting re-interpretation of Shakespeare’s historic dramas and one that offered an Irish context.

Siobhán saw the production in Kilkenny, where it was performed in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle. It was helpful in giving her a sense of the atmosphere and style that Druid had adopted when approaching Shakespeare, she says.

“And also, the narrative,” she adds. It’s always helpful to know about the characters and the history.”

Richard III is set in the late 15th century, at the end of England’s Wars of the Roses. But having immersed herself in the text, Siobhán feels its themes are timeless and universal.

“It’s a play that has everything . . .all the drama, people dying like flies and murder. And it has parallels to stuff that’s going on at the moment.”

In the play, Siobhán takes on the role of Lady Anne, who is seduced by the devious Richard and ends up marrying him, despite knowing that he has been involved in the murder of her late husband, Prince Edward of Lancaster. She also plays Prince Edward – one of the two princes in the Tower. These were Richard’s nephews, allegedly killed at his instigation.

For Richard III, as with the 2015 DruidShakespeare, all the cast play multiple characters, moving on and off stage constantly. And it’s some cast, with Aaron Monaghan in the title role being joined by fellow Druid Ensemble members Garett Lombard, Marie Mullen, Marty Rea and Rory Nolan, alongside Seán McGinley, Jane Brennan, Ingrid Craigie, Peter Daly, Zara Devlin and Frank Blake. And, of course, Siobhán, an honours graduate in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, and a rising figure in Irish theatre.

She has worked with companies including the Abbey, the Gate, Rough Magic and London’s National Theatre while, TV-wise, her work includes the BBC drama series Paula as well as RTÉ’s The Clinic and Fair City.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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