‘It surpassed my expectations in all kinds of ways’

Thu, Jun 12, 2014

GALWAY PLAYWRIGHT Christian O’Reilly and actor John Mahoney have lit up previous Galway International Arts Festivals with their contributions, but 2014 sees them joining forces in O’Reilly’s acclaimed new play Chapatti.

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We Banjo Three - a band of brothers

Thu, Jun 12, 2014

THE FIRST six months of 2014 have been pretty good for Galway roots, trad, and bluegrass band We Banjo Three, and they are set to cap it all with the release of their new album.

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‘A physical embodiment of the big bang theory’

Thu, Jun 12, 2014

THE GENIUS cartoonist Gary Larson, of Far Side fame, has a memorable two-tiered cartoon in which the top half depicts an angel welcoming new arrivals to Heaven with the phrase “Here’s your harp”, while the bottom half features a devil saying “Welcome to Hell, here’s your accordion”.

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Dancing with the devil – in Cavan

Thu, Jun 05, 2014

SMASH-HIT play The Devil’s Céilí comes to the Black Box Theatre next weekend, fresh from a sell-out run at Dublin’s Peacock Theatre, and from winning the 2014 RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival in Athlone.

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Boys keep swinging

Thu, Jun 05, 2014

BEFORE THERE was Conchita Wurst, there was Steven Sharpe. Before the Austrian singer’s ‘bearded lady’ drag persona stole the show at Eurovision, Steven was already rocking the ‘dude in a dress’ look.

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The amazing story of The Tailor Of Inverness

Thu, Jun 05, 2014

THE TAILOR Of Inverness, by Matthew Zajac, tells the extraordinary story of Zajac’s father who grew up on a farm in Galicia - then eastern Poland, now western Ukraine - and worked as a tailor in Inverness after surviving the terrors and upheavals of WWII.

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Daithí - Setting off on full flight

Thu, May 29, 2014

IT HAS been a long time coming, even Daithí admits that, but he had his reasons. “You only get one chance at a debut album,” he explains. Now the album is here, and Daithí’s music, career, indeed life, may be about to go full flight to the next level.

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Eileen Keane - Epic voyages, broken hearts, beautiful music

Thu, May 29, 2014

CONNEMARA SINGER-songwriter Eileen Keane has just released her debut EP Spaces and the life experiences that went into its six exquisite songs are quite something.

“Seven years ago my life changed dramatically when I met ‘the man of my dreams’,” Keane tells me. “He asked me to sail with him to Brazil. We sailed from Dingle under a full moon on September 16 2008, just before the banking crisis hit. With Fungi, Dingle’s famous dolphin, playing in our bow wave, it was a surreal beginning to the adventure of a lifetime.

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Ballyturk - Just where are we?

Thu, May 22, 2014

THE REALISATION that one day we die, and that this existence is over, never to be re-experienced, hits two men one night as they sit at home, sending them on a journey, not into misery, but outrageousness and laughter, and a route whose end, ironically, they cannot even begin to guess.

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Jim Rooney’s ‘long run’ through music

Thu, May 15, 2014

ONE EVENING in 1951, in the Massachusetts town of Dedham, a young Irish-American teenager happened to tune in to the local radio station as a country band called The Confederate Mountaineers were playing.

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Watch Galway short film Don’t You Know Who I Am?

Wed, May 14, 2014

RICK ROSSI needs to get away. It is a bad time and his future is uncertain. He was living the rock’n’roll high-life, until it all came crashing to a tragic halt when Pete, his friend and band member, died.

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Pleased to see the folk queen

Thu, May 08, 2014

SHE USED to think folk music was “old and boring”, but a little persistence and some tough advice from an American duo she once roadied for, set Maddy Prior on her way to becoming one of Britain’s greatest post-war folk singers.

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Dimitra Xidous - keeping bees and meeting Leonard Cohen

Thu, May 08, 2014

THERE WAS a fine turnout The Crane Bar last Saturday afternoon for the launch of Dimitra Xidous’s debut poetry collection, Keeping Bees, published by Doire Press.

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Russell Kane and comedy as a social survival mechanism

Thu, May 01, 2014

THE IRISH and the British - in some ways so similar, in others so completely different. One commonality is a strange uneasiness with success. In Ireland it manifests as ‘the begrudger mentality’. In Britain, it’s the ‘mustn’t grumble’ belief that failure and being inadequate is your deserved lot. The other great common factor is drinking, or rather drinking too much.

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Dreams, the dark side, and the Dum Dum Girls

Thu, Apr 24, 2014

FROM THE lo-fi, buzzy, pop-punk of the debut album, I Will Be, to five years later, the lush, sophisticated indie-rock/dream pop of their latest album Too True, the evolution of the Dum Dum Girls has been one of contemporary Indie rock’s most rewarding journies.

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Kevin Higgins - taking on Left and Right with poetry and humour

Thu, Apr 03, 2014

THERE WAS a time when a photograph of Mick Wallace must have marked the bull’s eye of the dartboard in Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s office. That dartboard must be overcrowded these days with pictures of political foes and the Minister running out of enough darts to throw at them all.

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Craig Davidson - bare knuckle tales of a Canadian writer

Thu, Mar 27, 2014

BARE KNUCKLE boxing and dog fighting in small Canadian cities; the activities are cruel, often barbaric, but the people taking part in them have their reasons, however misguided, however tragic. It’s just not black and white.

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Foil, Arms & Hog - the dynamic trio

Thu, Mar 27, 2014

THEY SURVIVED freezing temperatures in America, killer snails ‘down under’, tropical gangsters, and ‘too cool for school’ Californians. Intact and unbowed, they now take on Ireland.

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Mark Thomas - a dissenter’s challenge to the status quo

Thu, Mar 20, 2014

HE IS taking the British police to court over data collection; held a flash mob in Apple’s London store in protest against multi-nationals and tax avoidance; ran a pro-choice rally in Belfast; and is determined to get banned from every Tesco store.

He is Mark Thomas, the British comedian, commentator, and journalist, and these acts of rebellion are at the heart of his latest stand-up show 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent, which he is bringing to the Róisín Dubh.

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‘The Irish public’s interest in fiction perks me right up’

Thu, Mar 20, 2014

ONE OF the most praised novels of recent years was Patrick deWitt’s highly original western tale The Sisters Brothers, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won a number of prestigious awards in deWitt’s native Canada.

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