Date Published: 25-May-2011
Cormac Ó Beaglaoich is a busy young man. When he’s not working on his PhD in psychology at NUIG, he can be found playing his concertina at sessions in Galway or further afield. He is also the organiser of Tunes in the Church, a summer series of traditional concerts in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Galway City, now in its second year. The 2011 Tunes in the Church was launched on Sunday evening at St Nicholas’ by renowned traditional fiddle player, Martin Hayes.
Cormac had seen this kind of musical event enjoying success in St James’ Church in Dingle in his native West Kerry, and last summer, with the support of the rector, Gary Hastings – himself a well-known flute player – he organised a series of concerts in St Nicholas’.
“The musicians last year worked off a percentage, and I’m grateful to them because they invested in it,” explains Cormac, whose aim is to see any money made return to the performers “who are at the root of the tradition”.
The 2011 series kicks off next Monday with a strong local flavour. Galway piper Cormac Cannnon and Headford fiddle player and singer Breda Keville will be joined by Clare woman Lorraine O’Brien on concertina and sean-nós dancer Máire Ní Chuaig for the event which begins at 8pm.
The concerts, which will run three times a week until September feature some of the leading names of Irish traditional music.
They include Ringo McDonagh, Brian McGrath, Jacqueline McCarthy, Tommy Keane, Alan Kelly, Johnny Connolly, Lillis Ó Laoire, Dermie Diamond, Seán Tyrrell, Ronan Browne, Charlie Harris, Kathleen Loughnane, Mary Bergin, Tim Dennehy, Len Graham and Breanndán Begley and family – including Cormac.
The concerts will take place in the south transept of the church, in an intimate setting. Most concerts, although not all, will feature a musician or two, as well as a singer and dancer.
Cormac is hoping to expand this series to other churches in Westport and Killarney and has spent recent months – when he’s not working on his PhD or playing music – attending tourism seminar and meeting with tour operators in a bid to increase the profile of Tunes in the Church.
“It’s good for traditional music to have a stage there and to dispel the notion that the home of traditional music is the pub,” says Cormac, adding that the venture, which still in its infancy and is about offering visitors and fans of Irish music an opportunity to enjoy concerts away from the pub environment.
This year the audience will also get a chance to interact and ask questions of the musicians. The performers, meanwhile, are guaranteed an attentive audience, which isn’t always the case in a pub.
“It makes musicians appreciate what they have and they get a lot more out of it,” Cormac feels
He says that he himself didn’t fully appreciate traditional music when he was a youngster, despite being a member of the famous Begley musical family from Kerry – his father is accordion player and singer Breanndán.
Cormac had played concertina since he was a kid but when he was in secondary school in Kerry, “was fairly embarrassed about it” as none of his friends or the people in the years around him at school played. In his late teens, he started play in sessions with his father and siblings and then, when he came to NUIG and got involved in the Trad Society “I started to appreciate what I’d grown up with”.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.