My Poet Dark and Slender

This weekend I’m heading west for the Galway Theatre Festival and in particular to catch Roisin Stack’s new work ‘My Poet Dark and Slender’. If you’re in the Galway area, make sure to check it out but be warned tickets are selling fast. Get yours here

Running at Druid’s Mick Lally Theatre,  My Poet Dark and Slender is based on a story by Padraic O’Conaire, and staged by Mmm Theatre. Set in 1915, it centres on a bored housewife called Eileen who embarks on a brazen affair with a handsome poet. The production features mask, stylised movement, and an original score by Aindrias de Staic.

Roisin chatted with Charlie McBride of the Galway Advertiser earlier this week about the play.

“The story is a memory told from Eileen’s perspective,” explains director Róisín Stack, “and because memories are often patchy and unreliable, we’re taking artistic liberties in how we present her story. We have lights that cast shadows, music that warps out of time, characters played by everyone in the cast, and a lot of stylised movement. It’s not a straight-forward piece of theatre by any means.

“I came across the story in Scoithscealta and was first drawn to it because of its title,” Stack continues. “Then when I read it I was really surprised to find it was quite a passionate story. It has a lot of imagery about the devil, fire, passion, and it is beautifully written with a great twist in it as well. It’s told from the woman’s perspective which is unusual for the time. We’ve used O’Conaire’s story as a springboard, we did a lot of devising and brought in other material; a Dorothy Parker reading, contemporary songs, a re-mixed John McCormack ballad, a speech by Daniel O’Connell, writing from Joan Didion, so we’ve looked beyond the original story in putting together the show.”

The cast for My Poet Dark and Slender includes Daniel Guinnane, Jo Lopez, Lucia Smyth, Muirenn Ní Raghallaigh, and Réidín Ní Thuama, while Conor Kennedy-Burke is movement director. It is at the Mick Lally Theatre from tomorrow up to and including Monday May 2 at 8.30pm.


World Premiere of ‘An Klondike’

Delighted to be heading to Galway today for the world premiere of ‘An Klondike’, the first western film to be shot in Ireland. The film is directed by one of my favourite people in the world, my old housemate and my oldest friend in this crazy of ours, Dathai Keane. I’m thrilled for him that his film is not only screening at the Fleadh but has been chosen as the prestigious closing film for Ireland’s premier Film Festival.

Can’t wait to see it on the big screen and catch up with some old friends.


“Your Mixtape…” now available in Charlie Byrnes

My favourite book, “Your Mixtape Unravels My Heart” by my favourite person, Máire T. Robinson is now available in my favourite bookshop, the wonderful Charlie Byrnes in Galway. This is really cool for her as we loved coming to this shop when we lived in Galway. On my way into work this morning I had to go in and snap some photo’s of it on the shelf. I was super sneaky taking the photo’s, its the white one! Very proud of the missus so I am.
The book is also available from the Winding Stair in Dublin, Kenny’s in Galway and of course directly from Máire herself on her website here

photo 1

photo 2

Big Trad Festival for Milltown*

*Milltown, Co.Galway

So this weekend my hometown, the beautiful little town of Milltown, Co. Galway is hosting a really great line up for the first ever PJ Conlon traditional music festival. The festival celebrates the life and music of one of Milltown’s most famous native sons and brings a wealth of traditional music, workshops and master classes to the village. This is an event well worth going to as it should be a huge amount of fun

PJ Conlon was born in Milltown in 1892. He came from a talented musical family and became an accomplished accordian player before emigrating to Manchester in 1909 and subsequently to New York in 1912, where he sucessfully broke into the recording business in 1917. He was among the first musicians in the USA, or anywhere for that matter, to record traditional rural Irish dance music commercially. In all, he made 52 record sides between November 1917 and March 1929 and his recordings are some of the oldest examples of Irish music in existence.


The whole town is no doubt in a heighted state of excitement as they welcome the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins for the official opening of the festival on Friday August 2nd at 8pm. The president will be accompanied by his wife Sabina, a native of Milltown, although she went to mass in Ballindine as I reliably informed.

Michael D and Sabina securing the Mayo/Galway border from  the Milltown side
Michael D and Sabina securing the Mayo/Galway border from the Milltown side

A host of well known national and local artists will perform at the PJ Conlon Festival in Milltown this year. Don’t miss John Faulkner, John Carty, Andrew McNamara, Una Ni Fhlannagain, Clare Keville of Clare FM and TG4, Charlie Harris, Brid Dooley (RTE), Maigh Seola, Maude Connolly and many more.
The ITMA will be recording proceedings of the weekend for the the Traditional Music Archive

There is a full line of events here

Kara to screen at Galway Film Fleadh

The Galway Film Fleadh is just around the corner and I’m pleased to say that a film I cut is screening as part of the new Irish Shorts Programme on the morning of Thursday 11th July. “Kara” is a dark drama that sees a young woman follow a nightmarish creature to an isolated rural farmhouse where uncovered memories lead to deadly consequences. The film was produced and directed by Traolach O’Murchu and it has already won several awards on the festival circuit, picking up the Jury Prise for Best Short Film at the Hamilton Short FIlm Festival in Canada as well as the Best Actress award for star Laura Erangey at the Bootleg Film Festival in Edinburgh earlier this year. I was very pleased with how the film worked out and indeed working with Traolach was as always a great pleasure.

Kara Vimeo Image

Traolach also has a short documentary screening on Sunday morning as part of the New Irish Short Documentary strand. “Gordie” is an intimate self-authored documentary that tells the story of a man living with the trauma of a horrific childhood event. The film was made as part of a 48-hour make a film festival in the Yukon, where Traolach is currently living. The film went onto not only win the 48 hour challenge but also the festivals overall prise and has since won top prise at another festival in Canada. I had only a tangental input into this film so I have no problem being quite effusive in my praise of it. The film is superb and its astonishing that the film was made in such a short timeframe. I think the film will do very well and it’s a great showcase of just what a talent Traolach is.

I also have to give a shout out to my buddy Eamon Staic who produced Stauma which is screening alongside Kara on Thursday morning

Old Photos of Galway

These photos have been posted elsewhere but I thought I’d throw them up here as well. I saw them on the Galway Museum’s Facebook Page and was blown away by them. Its a collection of shots taken by the late artist and photographer Derek Biddulph in the 80’s and early 90’s that he donated to the museums collection. If you know Galway at all, you’ll find them fascinating

Woodquay looking onto what is now McSwiggans

Bowling Green, where I used to live until last year

View onto Bridge Mills

That is Neachtains on the corner

View of Middle Street. The site in front is now Charlie Byrnes Bookstore

High Street from outside the Front Door, Looking down to Neachtains

View of the Spanish Arch area. Buildings on left hand side now a Jury’s

Maingaurd St. Building on left is now an Evergreen Health Store

Kirwins Lane before redevelopment. building on the right is now Judy Greene Pottery

Cross Street. The wallpaper shop is now Supermacs.

View down Shop Street

Looking up Shop Street from Anthony Ryans

Moons now Brown Thomas off course

Musicians of Galway, you ready for this?

Heres some exciting news for musicians in Galway, my buddy Jamie O’Neill is launching his new business venture, Galway Rehearsal Studios.The facility will be opening soon and he is taking bookings.

It will be primarily be a Music Rehearsal facility where bands can jam using his excellent, brand new and well maintained backline gear in 2 large bright, professionally soundproofed rooms
– Or
become residents in one of 8 other equally big bright shiny empty rooms where their own gear can be left set up and stored in a highly secure, safe warehouse with excellent load-in access (including a lift) and plentiful free parking, insurance and lots of music supplies (leads, sticks, strings, batteries etc) and pinball, fizzy drinks, free tea/coffee etc available. Bands who move into Galway Rehearsal Studios never have to book, and can jam a much as they like from 10am to 2am every day of the year. The rooms are soundproofed to professional standards, bright and comfortable. Based in Ballybane Industrial Estate, the premises is close to all main routes (City, Tuam, Headford and Dublin Roads) and as mentioned, has loads of free parking. All that from 20 euros per person per week!
Jamie has worked towards this for a couple of years now and he’s real excited about opening the doors. Jamie will also be teaching Drums from beginners to advanced, Guitar to intermediate level and will be introducing a new Group Music Learning approach into the school, whereby all new students will be learning together, each student learning the basic chords, scales and theory on guitars and keys, and learning basic drum beats, essential rudiments and rhythm techniques. These classes are 15 Euro per student for hour long group lessons, limited to a max of 6 students per hour.

Theatre and Dance Studio
There is also plenty of affordable extra working and storage space available for any other Arts-related groups such as theatre companies, dance groups, set builders, craftspeople etc
The extra space varies from highly finished, well insulated rooms with floor to ceiling mirrors, lighting and stage curtains to basic warehouse/storage space that can be adjusted to the needs of different projects.
Everyone knows how difficult it can be to get affordable working and/or storage space in Galway so please don’t hesitate to call Jamie on 085 8484 707 to discuss your needs/ideas. Short or long term space is available. Jamie has managed to find a very sound landlord who backs his vision of a music and arts space or hub where complimentary activities take place and like-minded tenants help each other out.

You can keep up to date with this exciting project on facebook here The facility isn’t quite finished yet but it is almost ready to go and they are taking bookings. Get on it you crazy cats…

Look at this hipster dufus musician just hanging out

The Honey Spike Opens Tonight…

For the last number of weeks my friend Róisín Stack has been toiling away as Creative Producer on Mephisto Theatre Company’s production of Bryan McMahon’s “The Honey Spike”. The play opens tonight on the Town Hall Main Stage in Galway where it runs until Saturday. Advance word is that its something special, you can buy tickets here but hurry up as they are fast selling out.


“Here is a tale of the Irish roads, of a tinker and his wife. It’s a tale of trouble and wildness and a child that’s born to life…”

Breda Claffey has set her heart on returning to Kerry. For in Kerry is the Honey Spike, the ‘lucky’ hospital in which her child must be born.

No other spike will do. But she and her husband Martin are far from home, at the northernmost tip of Ireland – and Kerry is a long, wearisome distance by cart.

It’s a journey of endurance lightened by laughter and mischief. The travellers tangle with soldiers at the border, priests in the Midlands and feuding clans in Kerry. Breda rushes towards the future but the past is waiting for her at Puck Fair in the shape of Winifred McQueen, the gypsy girl who wanted Martin for herself. The Honey Spike evokes an Ireland of passion, wildness and beauty. Its people live as they have always lived; putting their faith in God and in magic, in religion and superstition, but their greatest belief of all is in life itself.

Playwright Bryan McMahon comes from the great North Kerry tradition of Irish writers that includes his illustrious contemporary, John B. Keane. The Honey Spike, which was first produced by the Abbey Theatre in 1961, is widely regarded as his best play.

“…There’s mating in it, birth and death and drink to flood a dyke So here’s how they raced the bloody road that led to the Honey Spike”

Cast: Emmet Byrne, Órlagh De Bhaldraithe, Jerry Fitzgerald, Maeve Gormley, Helen Gregg, Daniel Guinnane, Martin Maguire, Zita Monahan, Joseph Moylan, Séamus O’Donnell, Eanna O’Dowd, Emma O’Grady and Brid Treasa Wyndham.

Directed by Caroline Lynch

Set design by Brendan Savage

Lighting design by Mike O’Halloran

Creative Producer & Assistant Director: Róisín Stack

Stage Manager: Craig Flaherty

Image by Bradley McNeill

Graphic Design by Patrick Cuasck

VENUE Town Hall Theatre
DATE Tue 9th to Sat 13th Aug
TICKETS: €18 / €14
Tuesday All Seats €12
Family Ticket (4 People) €55

Young People of Galway, I love you…

It’s that time of year again, the Galway Film Fleadh.
But whats this, I’m remarkably sober and have had a decent amount of sleep. How is that possible, well i’m living in New York this year and I am missing my first fleadh in 8 or so years. I’m certain however that my absence isn’t too keenly felt, safe in the knowledge that there are others to take my drunken place.
My fleadh ritual is a tradition as old as time itself.
Firstly i would loudly enthuse about all the excellent films on at this years fleadh and what an interesting and dynamic programme it is
Secondly I would completely forget to buy any tickets and not see any movies (this reached its nadir several years ago when the only films I saw during the fleadh were “What Women Want” and “Rambo 2” on tv)
Thirdly I would desperately try not to head down to the rowing club every night of the week and inevitably fail. Here I would meet someone whose name I really should remember but can’t, wonder whats going on in the other parts of the bar and answer and ask the same three questions all night.
Lastly I would stumble into bed at an ungodly hour, promising myself I’d make it up for the shorts programme in the morning only to sleep in and end up watching a 1970’s disaster movie on itv instead before beginning at step 3 all over again.

Anyway to the people I’m not seeing this week enjoy the fleadh, see you all again soon, by which i mean next years fleadh…

The Launch of Super 8 Film Festival in Galway

I got sent this press release from my mate Julien about the festival he runs. It launches tonight and it should be great fun, I’m very sorry I’m going to miss it..

The Super8 Shots Programme Launch is on Upstairs at Kelly’s on Wed 15 June at 6pm. Super8 Shots 2011 will run from 23rd June to the 10th of July in Galway City and Inis Oírr.

Super8 Shots is an independent Film Festival, with objectives in promoting film as a small medium format. It is aimed at filmmakers, artists, musicians, enthusiasts as well as the general community. Super8 Shots is a rare festival experience where Super8 film enthusiasts from a wide spectrum intersect.

Galway City (23-26June & 9/10July) and the Aran Islands (Inis Oírr 1-3 July) will set the stage for this year’s unique cinematic festival experience. Super8 Shots audiences will experience contemporary Super8 films while being offered an opportunity to appreciate the format’s legacy. This year there is a collaboration between Super8 Shots and the Galway Film Fleadh during weekend3 of the festival (9th/10th July).

Following on from the success of its inaugural year, Super8 Shots 2011 once again promises to deliver a programme of events which has something for everyone.

Events include 8mm film screenings, master classes, exhibitions, live music and a multitude of super8 visuals. International guests coming as far as Berlin and LA, as well as local film makers and artists will work together to spark the Super8 magic. Highlights of this year’s festival include never before seen footage of Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher and the visit of high profile artists and musicians, such as Steve Stapleton, who will offer you a feast of sound and visuals.

The Programme launch will take place Upstairs at Kelly’s on Wednesday 15th of June from 6 to 8pm.
The programme launch is free and will include refreshments and food kindly sponsored by Kelly’s.
Members of the press will be present to the programme launch as well as guest speakers and DJs.
After the launch, the programme will be distributed throughout Galway and Ireland. It will also be available for download from our site
You may also follow the festival the Facebook Super 8 Shots page or learn more about the launch here