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Rita Ann on a creative roll with Tongulish

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Poet Rita Ann Higgins: 'Because I didn’t know the rules of poetry-writing I was breaking them unconsciously and it worked.' PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

By marrying the words ‘tongue’ and ‘ghoulish’, poet Rita Ann Higgins has created a new term which has become the title of her latest poetry collection, published by Bloodaxe Press.

Tongulish is Rita Ann’s first collection in five years and she’ll be reading from it at the Town Hall Theatre on Saturday , April 23, during the Cúirt Festival of Literature.

“The word tongue takes in so much; language and sound and it’s sensual as well,” says the popular Galway poet of her new compound word. Language can also be harsh, she adds, so the ghoulish element is relevant. “I like the sound of ghoulish, I really like it,” she muses.

“Tongulish works for me,” she says of her creation, immediately adding the caveat that “it’s a nothing word, but it can go between words”.

The book, Tongulish is broad in scope, with everything from shingles to sex abuse to suicide coming under her acerbic, honest gaze.

“Everything can be a subject, but it’s how you deal with it that matters. You have to treat a subject with respect,” she states.

That takes time.

“Although it might look like I just sat down and wrote it, I’m not that lucky with getting poems very quickly. I have to do drafts,” she explains.

Rita Ann is scrupulous about words and this precise approach gives her poems their immediacy.

“You draw in words and you may not have the right one. You’ll always get a better word if you try. Words don’t get tired, you do. If you use jaded language people will get tired of you. I like to keep it fresh, for me as well as for the reader.”

Freshness and a fierce wit have always marked her poetry. Rita Ann, who is now 61, began writing in her late 20s, after a severe bout of TB. During her recovery, she decided to embrace either flower-arranging or creative writing.

Writing won, although when she joined a creative writing group, which included the founder of Salmon Press, Jessie Lendennie, Rita Ann couldn’t have imagined where this creativity would take her. Since then, she has had 10 poetry collections and seven plays published, featuring regularly on radio and travelling worldwide to read from her work. Her droll, dry delivery makes her an excellent interpreter of her own poetry – not always the case with writers.

Salmon has given many Irish writers a platform and from the beginning Jessie Lendennie saw something special about this young woman.

“Jessie did say to me, ‘you know, you are going to end up a famous poet’. She spotted something different in me. I thought she was mad!”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Development hailed as major boost in tackling local housing demand

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Artist’s impression...the proposed Claregalway housing development.

The green light has been given to a sizeable residential development in Claregalway, which was the subject both of strenuous opposition and support in the area.

An Bord Pleanála have granted planning permission for 111 houses and apartments in Claregalway following a strategic housing development application by K King Construction for the development at Lakeview, Claregalway.

Local councillor David Collins (FG) welcomed the decision saying that there was an urgent need for new housing in Claregalway given the demand.

And he also paid tribute to developer Walter King for offering land for the development of community facilities to the local area.

“We need the houses and we need the land so this decision satisfies Claregalway on both fronts,” Cllr Collins added.

The Athenry Oranmore area councillor also said that requirement that a certain number of houses be reserved for Irish speakers was also a boost to developing the language in the area – Claregalway is part of the Gaeltacht.

The higher planning authority ruled that the proposed development would constitute an acceptable residential density at this location and was also acceptable in terms of traffic and pedestrian safety.

They also said that the site could be drained satisfactorily and that surface water would not be an issue.

The site for the development measures over twelve acres in size and is located at the junction of the Lydican Road about three quarters of a mile from the village off the main Oranmore road.

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Carna’s Community Café raises a cuppa – and funds – for new Ukrainian arrivals

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Carna Community Café volunteers presenting a cheque to Irish Red Cross Conamara Area Director Niall O'Meachair (third from right); pictured are (from left) Máirín Ní Churraion, Kate Mulkerrins, Siobhán Kennedy, Tom Lane and Máire Ní Domhnaill.

Carna’s new Community Cafe has donated €1,000 to the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal – thanks to the village’s love of tea, cake, and a good old chat.

The brainchild of a group of sea-swimming enthusiasts living in the area, the weekly café started just before Easter as a way to help people begin socialising again after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Looking to simply cover costs – with the café’s bakers and servers all volunteering and charging just a euro for a cup of tea or a piece of cake – the team decided any excess income would be donated to charity.

Little did they know that just five weeks later they would be passing on €1,000 to the Red Cross.

“The aim initially wasn’t to raise money at all, we just wanted to provide a friendly, welcoming and affordable place where people could come and have a chat and see each other again,” said Máirín Ní Churraoin, who runs the local Post Office.

“But it’s been proving more popular than we could have imagined, so we decided that any income generated has to go to a good cause – for this first donation we all felt the Red Cross Ukraine appeal was an obvious choice.”

The Ukraine appeal is even more fitting given the location of the Café: the dining room of the Carna Bay Hotel, which is currently providing accommodation to people who have fled the conflict.

“We’re delighted to be able to support this fantastic initiative, it’s just brilliant to see people coming out and socialising over a bit of cake again,” said Karl Rogers from the Carna Bay Hotel.

“And with the tea, musicians and chat, it’s a great way for our guests from Ukraine to meet local people and experience Irish culture first-hand.”

At the most recent event on Saturday May 7th, Irish Red Cross Conamara Area Director, Niall O’Meachair was on hand to collect a cheque for €1,000.

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive this money from the Community Café in Carna, and through the work of the Red Cross we’ll make sure it goes to helping people affected by this awful, awful conflict.”

The Community Café is held every Saturday in the Carna Bay Hotel, 10am to 12:30pm.

 

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Old stone-carved bank sign to be retained after community lobby

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Deputy Sean Canney outside the old Bank of Ireland building at Shop Street in Tuam.

An old stone carved sign on the front of a former bank building in the heart of Tuam is to be retained, following intense representations from the local business community.

The building is currently being renovated by the Department of Social Protection which is moving into the property over the coming months

Galway East TD Sean Canney received confirmation from the Department that the red brick building on Shop Street will retain the old Bank of Ireland name.

The Bank of Ireland was originally located at Shop Street in Tuam before moving to its current location at Dublin Road several decades ago.

The building on Shop Street was then occupied by the town library, which has since moved to the local Council offices, and now it is being renovated so that it can be occupied by the Department of Social Protection.

During the renovations of the old library building on Shop Street to make way for the new Intreo Centre, which brings together various social welfare services, the old stone carved sign was revealed.

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.

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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