Arts Week with Judy Murphy
We are telling a metaphorical story of life in the Gaeltacht over the last hundred years, good and bad, warts and all,” says Connemara man Darach Mac Con Iomaire, as he describes Aisling? a new show, commissioned by Ealáin na Gaeltachta as part of government’s programme to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising.
Aisling?, which will be staged in a factory in Rosmuc this Saturday and Sunday, November26 and 27, at 8pm nightly, consists of music, song, dance, poetry and visual art, most of it new work, says Darach, who curated and is directing the multi-media piece.
Musicians taking part include Donegal’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh on fiddle and vocals; Caoimhín Ó Fearghail from Ring in Waterford on pipes, flute and bouzouki, and Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich from Kerry’s Corca Dhuibhne on vocals and accordion.
The strong Connemara contingent in Aisling? includes composer and accordion player Johnny Óg Connolly, singer and dancer Róisín Seoighe, singer and percussionist Pól Ó Ceannabháin, and actor and performer Úna Ní Fhlatharta and Eoin Geoghegan.
Also taking part are writer and performer Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde from Donegal, and from the same county, Seán Cathal Ó Coileáin who is responsible for graphic art and projections in Aisling?
Underpinning it all is the work of Inis Mór artist and designer Seán Ó Flaithearta who has designed the piece.
“The aim has been to create something that will challenge us all and pull us out of our comfort zone creatively as we mark the centenary of the Rising,” says Darach of Aisling?, which will tour to Gaeltacht areas of Cork, Kerry and Donegal after Rosmuc.
“The brief was to bring on board artists who represent the Gaeltacht,” says Darach of the creative process. And that’s what he has done, with poetry, visual arts, music and design being integral to the piece which he describes “as being more of an art installation” than a concert or theatre show.
“In my experience of working in theatre, you normally go to a designer with a script and you have a particular notion of what you want because the script puts restrictions on you in terms of what’s required,” he observes.
But Aisling? is different because Darach began the process by consulting with designer Seán Ó Flaithearta before the storyline had been developed. That meant “it could be design-led”, he explains.
The two men explored ideas and “five or six months ago, Seán came to my house with a drawing of a currach and this figure on the currach, and waves attached to the oars”, says Darach.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Record crowds pack Ballinasloe to celebrate Fair’s 300th anniversary
RECORD crowds packed into Ballinasloe last weekend for the return of the famous October Fair – but it turned to be a ‘dry day’ for the punters with most of the pubs in the town taking the decision to close their doors on Sunday.
Hotels in the town also adopted either a ‘food only’ or ‘residents only’ policy through Sunday but Gardaí reported a trouble-free weekend in the town.
“There were huge crowds around and especially so on Sunday, but we had no reports of any trouble – it was practically an incident free weekend,” said a Garda spokesperson.
Many visitors to the Fair on Sunday expressed disappointment at the decision of the pubs to close – although a few establishments did open their doors with special security arrangements in place.
The last ‘official fair’ took place in October, 2019, and while there was an unofficial event last year, it was only a small gathering due to the Covid restrictions.
An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the free open-air country music concert with Mike Denver in the Square on Sunday afternoon and Fair organisers also reported a very busy sales day with many horses changing hands.
Trustee of the Ballinasloe Showgrounds, Gerry Stronge, told the Connacht Tribune, that after a three-year break, the crowds had really thronged back into the town on Sunday.
“Most people I know that have been attending the Fair for years said that it was biggest crowd they had ever seen there on the first Sunday of the event.
“It was an incredible day – the streets were absolutely jammed with people – and it was most enjoyable with no trouble whatsoever,” he said.
Get the full story with loads of photos in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.
Compo can keep sex abuse dad out of jail
An estranged father who sexually assaulted his then-ten-year-old daughter seven years ago will escape a two-year jail term – if he pays her €12,000 within the next twelve months.
Counsel for the 51-year-old man, who cannot be identified in order to protect the identity of the victim, indicated at Galway Circuit Criminal Court this week that his client would avail of Judge Brian O’Callaghan’s offer and would sell off some of his assets to raise the €12,000.
Earlier in the sentence hearing, the now-17-year-old victim told the court the seven-year delay in bringing her father to justice had caused her and her mother untold grief and suffering.
“It’s been seven years, dealing with court dates and adjournments and only now, seven years later, have I got the closure I needed,” she said.
The judge apologised to her and everyone else involved for the delay in finalising the case.
“Even allowing for Covid, it is without question that the judicial, legal, criminal system has failed all parties in this case and it’s appropriate I should give that apology,” Judge O’Callaghan said.
Prosecuting state counsel, Conall MacCarthy, said the man maintained his innocence when arrested and interviewed in April 2016.
He had been due to stand trial on two occasions in the last few years but each time his trial was adjourned for various reasons, including Covid.
He then pleaded guilty, moments before his trial was eventually due to get underway last November, to a charge of sexually assaulting the girl on August 15, 2015, at the family home near a Co. Galway village.
Sentence was adjourned on four occasions since to await the results of a probation report before it was finalised this week.
Resd the full court report in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.
Hero’s welcome for king of the high seas
“I just had a deep belief I was going to complete it – and nothing was going to stop me.”
Those were the words of former Connacht rugby player and now transatlantic rower Damian Browne who returned to a hero’s welcome at Galway Docks on Tuesday, just hours after his mammoth journey came to an end on the rocks at Furbo.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, 42-year-old Browne’s vessel, the Cushlamachree, came ashore just down from Pádraicín’s – not the ending the Renmore man wanted for his epic trip from New York to Galway.
The journey was due to end at the Docks at 11am on Tuesday morning, but as it turned out, Browne had a few hours at home before being met by huge crowds who, despite the rain, came out in their hundreds to welcome the extreme adventurer back.
Children from schools across the city were among the hoards of people who lined the Harbour, including those from his alma mater, St Joseph’s (The Bish) who formed a guard of honour with oars to greet Browne.
His arrival to the Docks, escorted by Galway Harbourmaster Brian Sheridan, was met with endless cheers as drumbeat and flares signalled the end of his four months at sea.
“The winds coming from the south were blowing me up through the Aran Islands and it was great to get me through the islands, but then they kept pushing me towards the north coast of Galway and nothing I could do would stop them,” says Browne of the final hours of his journey.
“Before I knew it, I was at Pádraicín’s and heading for Barna, trying to get into Barna Pier to anchor down . . . it was very tense. I saw two rocks that I knew were there, but I thought I was further out, and then I had to whip the boat around.
“I had about two seconds to whip it around, 270 degrees, and head straight out to sea, but as I did, I got hit by a massive wave.”
The boat capsized, one of his oars broke and it was at that moment he knew it was time to get up on the rocks and call for assistance.
Get the full dramatic story – and full coverage of the welcome home – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.