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Connacht Tribune

Thrill and terror as Jane takes key role in Druid’s ‘The Beacon’

Judy Murphy

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Jane Brennan who plays Beiv in Druid's premiere of The Beacon by Nancy Harris.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“I love doing new work, it’s a real treat,” says actress Jane Brennan who plays the lead role in Druid Theatre’s upcoming production, The Beacon, which will open at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre on Tuesday, September 24.

A co-production between Druid and Dublin’s Gate Theatre, The Beacon will transfer to the Gate for the Dublin Theatre Festival, opening there on October 3.

This darkly comic drama about a fraught mother-son relationship is by Dublin playwright and screenwriter Nancy Harris and marks her debut with Druid. But she has been making her mark elsewhere in recent years and another of her plays, Two Ladies, starring Zoë Wannamaker and directed by Nicholas Hytner, will premiere at London’s Bridge Theatre on Wednesday, September 25.

Harris’s debut full-length play, No Romance, won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and the Stewart Parker Award in 2012.

Her modern version of Hans Christian Andersen’s extraordinary and disturbing fairytale of dance, desire and destruction, The Red Shoes, premiered at the Gate in 2017 to full houses and critical success.

As a TV writer, her episodes of Channel 4’s 2014 series, Dates, led to her being nominated for a BAFTA Award as a breakthrough talent.

Nancy Harris had been commissioned to write a play for Druid, but when she handed in The Beacon, it “was quite different to the play they’d originally spoken about,” Jane Brennan explains. “Garry decided to do it anyway and saw me in the role. I thought the play was really interesting, a terrific piece of work. She doesn’t take the easy route,” she says of Harris.

In The Beacon, Jane’s character Beiv, a celebrated artist, has moved from Dublin to her holiday cottage on an island off West Cork. But a shadow from the past hangs over her. When Beiv’s estranged son and his new young wife come to stay, she has to cope with some difficult questions. These involve a mysterious accident and a dead husband as secrets from a different time resurface.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Future of beef industry in doubt

Francis Farragher

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Minister Michael Creed
Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed

STARK warnings have been issued this week that ongoing protests outside meat plants by one splinter farming organisation could jeopardise the whole future of the Irish cattle and beef industry.

Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, in an open letter to farmer protesters, said that over recent weeks their message had been heard loud and clear, leading to the agreement that was hammered out after 36 hours of talks last weekend.

“Over the weekend, huge efforts were made to reach an agreement, to signal to you, that not only have your voices been heard – but that things are going to change. That is why the leaders of the IFA, Macra na Feirme, ICMSA, ICSA, INHFA and the Beef Plan Movement backed the agreement.

“That is why the representatives of the Independent Farmers of Ireland said that they agreed to recommend the deal to those of you at the factory gates who sent them. All of these people who represent the vast majority of farmers in Ireland believed that this was a decent start on a way forward,” said Minister Creed.

He pleaded with farmers still protesting (the Independent Farmers of Ireland) not to be responsible for the destruction of the Irish beef industry. “Those of you who are minded to continue the protest must now be fully aware of your responsibilities. The future of the Irish beef sector is in your hands . . . the futures of your fellow farmers are in your hands,” said Minister Creed.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that the time was right to ‘give the agreement a chance’ as many beef farmers were coming under the most extreme financial pressure. “We need to get cattle moving again. The message has been delivered as regards the plight of beef farmers. An agreement has been reached – we have to give it a chance,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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Connacht Tribune

Portumna seeks slice of Downton Abbey action!

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Portumna connection…Princess Mary (actress Kate Phillips) in Downton Abbey.

The release of its first silver screen drama has seen the spread of Downton Abbey fever all over again – and one local Junior Minister wants to see Galway cash in on its new connection.

Because, according to Ciaran Cannon, the appearance in the movie of Princess Mary – a visitor to the fictional Crawley family seat – creates a direct Downton link to Portumna Castle.

And the Minister for the Diaspora and International Development is urging the tourism sector in Portumna to make use of the town`s connection to boost visitor numbers.

“Fans of ‘Downton Abbey’ will be flocking to movie theatres in droves to see the hit drama revived for the big-screen and interestingly, from the point of view of East Galway`s history, the movie version features the real-life character of Princess Mary,” he said.

Because the real-life character of Princess Mary visited Portumna in 1928; her husband was the last owner of Portumna Castle prior to it being acquired by the State.

The new cinematic outing for Downton Abbey sees the servants and aristocrats of the famous house receive a visit from King George V and his wife Queen Mary, prompting much panic and excitement.

One of the most prominent royals featured in the film is that of Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood – played by Peaky Blinders actress Kate Phillips.

The real Princess Mary was the only daughter of King George V and his wife Queen Mary. She had two older brothers – the future kings Edward VIII and George VI, the latter being the father of Queen Elizabeth II.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway mum on signs of heart valve disease – and how to get back to full life

Denise McNamara

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Una Fahey at home in Kilbeacanty. Photo:Andrew Downes

Una Fahey had spent two days in bed floored by a vicious ‘flu – or so she thought. Her youngest son Enda was to play in the Galway County Minor Hurling Quarter-Final that day in 2017 but she was unable to focus on the match, she so ill with a high temperature and sore bones.

“I wouldn’t be one to go to the doctor with the ‘flu because you could spread germs – I don’t know what made me go but I didn’t want to be in bed anymore and wanted to get better quicker,” she reflects from her home in Kilbeacanty, outside Gort.

She attended her local GP clinic which was staffed by a doctor on call that Saturday. Her condition was so serious that an ambulance was called and she was dispatched to University Hospital Galway.

Tests revealed she had bacterial endocarditis – or heart valve disease. Within 48 hours she had both her mitral and aortic valves replaced with mechanical valves.

Her illness came as a complete shock. She was 57, healthy, and looking forward to some free time as the last of her five boys was leaving home to go to college.

“I had no warning really. I’m still not 100%. I get very tired – tiredness is actually the worst thing about it,” Una reveals.

Croí, the Heart Disease and Stroke Charity, is urging people aged 65 and over not to mistake the symptoms of Heart Valve Disease for old age during European Heart Valve Disease Awareness week.

Read full interview and advice in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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