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Rising to occasion for 1916 celebration

Judy Murphy

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Lifestyle – Judy Murphy goes behind the scenes in Woodford of ‘Eipic’ a major new television production

A massive John Deere tractor is proceeding at a stately pace down the street of Woodford in South Galway on a sunny Friday morning. No surprises on that score – it’s the height of silage-wrapping season in this hilly, scenic area.

What is unusual in this quiet place is the cluster of young people and vans assembled on the street outside the former Waldorf dance hall. The upstairs area of this once-buzzing venue has been transformed into an abandoned post office, where posters from 40 years ago warn people not to be TV Licence dodgers and extol the virtues of holidaying in Ireland.

The group are members of the cast and crew working on Eipic, a six-part series, costing about a million euros that’s being made for TG4. Eipic will be broadcast early next year as part of the commemorations for the 1916 Rising.

But Eipic is a commemorative story with a difference, one that’s designed for a young generation. This musical/comedy series tells the story of five teenagers in a fictional town called Dobhar, who take over a derelict post office to create their own revolution. Theirs is a musical rebellion, says Ciara Nic Chormaic, who is producing the series for Magmamedia, an established film company based in Furbo, west of Galway City.

Magamedia decided to shoot the series in Woodford because it had none of the problems that make Galway City and its environs such a nightmare in summer, says executive producer Paddy Hayes. Last year, when Magamedia was shooting the award-winning series Corp + Anam around Galway and Oranmore, cast and crew spent hours stuck in traffic every day, hours when they could have been filming.

Woodford, which has an air of dignified neglect, also has other resources that are rare in the suburban areas of Spiddal and Furbo – it has masses of old, unused buildings that provide perfect sets and backdrops for Eipic’s various scenes. Its hilly, wooded hinterland makes it ideal for exterior shots, while the peace and quiet are a soundman’s dream.

In addition, because film shoots are rarer here than they are in South Connemara, people are glad to see them, Paddy feels.

The Woodford location is impractical on just one level. Being 40 miles from Galway City makes a daily commute problematic. So the cast of 35 and 42-strong crew have settled locally for the duration of the shoot. Renting private houses from Ballinakill to Whitegate, they enjoy an occasional pint in the village pub, although a schedule that runs from 8am to 7.30pm doesn’t leave much time for socialising during the week. Some people have been here for four weeks; the preparatory crew came over two months ago.

Magamedia’s Woodford headquarters is the Mercy College. A Maths room has been turned into production offices; there’s a props department in the gym, and a science lab is the dining area, where a catering company supplies all meals for cast and crew. It’s perfect, says Paddy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Country Living

Trying to eke out some of the positives from a wearying year

Francis Farragher

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Seeking out little shafts of light at the end of the tunnel.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s not been an easy task, and maybe it’s case of the ‘whistling past the graveyard’ syndrome, but over recent days, I’ve been desperately scratching my head to come up with just 10 positive things that have arisen since ‘the plague’ descended upon us.                                            Maybe it has been the number of times over recent weeks that I’ve experienced spontaneous confessions from normally very stable colleagues that in the throes of what I could only describe as mild depression. Some aren’t sleeping properly . . . others are mildly hallucinating about just a few pints with friends in the locals . . . and others just want to go somewhere – anywhere.

So, my list of 10 positives out of Covid, is predicated on something of a myth. Like the rest of the population, I’m at my wits end to keep my conscious mind above the sanity survival level, but over the course of five or six hundred words, the aim is to somehow pretend, or even trick ourselves into believing, that there are some good things to be extracted from the pit of Covid despair. I’ll even try to ignore any mention of recent AstraZeneca problems.

  1. We are tending to have money in our pockets

Yes, the reality has hit home for most of us who enjoy a couple of pints in the local, that it is quite an expensive little pastime even if we can’t put a price on its therapeutic value. The overdraft limit in the days before pay-day now hasn’t been threatened with a breach for the best part of a year, but again I feel that I may be tempting fate. New furniture is arriving and a tractor clutch has decided to pack up as if to say to me, ‘that it you don’t spend the lucre one way, then you’ll spend it another’. But yes, there’s a lot less been spent on items like booze, diesel, the odd restaurant sojourn, shoes and clothes. As for the need for cash in your pocket, it seems to be a thing of the past.

  1. Less traffic and shorter journey times to work

I’m still one of those commuters making the daily trip into the city for work but instead of the normal 40 to 50 minutes, to complete the journey, this has now slipped down to almost half. This doesn’t mean I’m driving any faster – in fact the opposite – I’ve slowed down a lot. But the traffic snarl-ups are now few and far between, and there’s also a realisation that the ‘old road option’ – as distinct from the motorway – is a lot shorter and far more efficient as far as fuel consumption is concerned.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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A section of Persse's Distillery captured in the early 1900s. The distillery, which operated throughout the second part of the 19th Century, was one of the city's biggest employers before it closed its doors in the early years of the 20th Century. It was one of Galway's most successful industries, producing around 400,000 gallons of whiskey per year in the 1880s.

1921

Losing hope

Since Mr. Lloyd George’s Coalition Government came to power in 1916, the state of Ireland has gone from bad to worse. Successive efforts towards peace were strangled at the outset. The most Rev. Dr. Clune, Archbishop of Perth, approached nearer to the establishment of a truce than any other intermediary.

Yet in the free atmosphere of Australia, his Grace is to-day constrained to confess that his efforts were thwarted by some power behind the English Prime Minister. Men who had long experience in politics, and of Mr. Lloyd George and his followers in particular, prophesises two years ago that “soon deputations would cease to go from Ireland to Westminster to plead a cause to those who did not want to hear.”

And so it has come to pass. Men of good-will abandoned hope. The continued talk of peace in Ireland probably arises from the will to peace, and has little foundation in fact. Recently, we were informed that a representative deputation had waited on His Eminence Cardinal Logue. Much significance was attached to this visit. We have seen no evidence that anything is likely to come of it.

In these circumstances, Mr. Lloyd George, in his three-column letter to the Bishop of Chelmsford and other Protestant leaders in Great Britain on Tuesday last, had an exceedingly bad case; for while the talked vaguely of peace, he offered only the sword.

“The Morning Post”, the new-found champion of the ex-Liberal, describes his letter as “an important State paper”. As such, it is a singularly sterile document that offers no hope for the future peace of Ireland.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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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

Nuala lets Nora shine in new novel

Judy Murphy

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Novelist and short story writer Nuala O'Connor. Since turning 50, she has devoted more time to family and friends and cut back on non-creative work. PHOTO: ÚNA O'CONNOR.

Lifestyle – Novelist Nuala O’Connor digs deep into the life of Nora Barnacle for her latest book, an intimate exploration of the Galway woman’s relationship with novelist James Joyce, her bravery in eloping with him to Europe and the ups and downs of their extraordinary life together.  She tells JUDY MURPHY how it evolved and about her own writing life.

“What I love most about Nora is her courage,” says author Nuala O’Connor of Galway’s Nora Barnacle.

Renowned as James Joyce’s muse and the inspiration for Molly Bloom in his ground-breaking novel, Ulysses, Nora has centre stage in Nuala’s latest novel, which has just been published in Ireland by New Island Books.

Nora was published in the States in January and a great review in the New York Times has been followed by similar this side of the pond. Nora is an arresting read which explores all aspects of their relationship as Joyce’s restless nature brought them to cities including Trieste, Zurich, Rome and Paris, where lack of money was an almost constant worry, especially once they had two children and he remained determined to make a success of his writing, despite all obstacles – some of them self-imposed.

“I have a very understanding editor. Someone who lets you get on with it,” Nuala says.  “The opening scene is very frank and she said ‘go for it’.”

Nuala didn’t set out to create ‘shock value’ with the novel’s first page – in fact, she’d never even intended writing a novel about Nora. It evolved from a short story she wrote about the young Galway woman’s early days with Joyce, from their first meeting in Dublin to when they eloped four months later.

“I was enjoying her company so much, I decided to continue,” she explains.

Nuala won a competition with that short story, Gooseen. Then the literary magazine, Granta, published it for Bloomsday 2018, “which was lovely”.

Two of Nuala’s previous novels also focused on the internal lives of extraordinary women – poet Emily Dickinson and 19th century English-born actress Belle Bilton who married Viscount Dunlo of Ballinasloe. Her next work of fiction will be different, she says with a laugh before returning to chat about this one.

“Nora and women like her were seen as marginalia in the life of a man. I wanted to put her at the centre of the page and let her strut her stuff.”

She’s done that. Her fictional Nora is a warm, sympathetic, flawed woman whose sense of adventure and relationship with Joyce took her far from her native Galway and who supported him throughout his writing life, something that wasn’t always easy.

“When I moved to Galway in the mid-1990s, the Nora Barnacle House was there,” Dublin-born Nuala recalls of the tiny house in the city’s Bowling Green where Nora was born and which was open to the public at that stage.

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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