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.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.