Ireland.ie website showcasing Irish creativity launched

ie is an initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme, announced by the Government last December with the aim of placing culture and creativity at the centre of public policy. A special video, This Is Ireland, released to accompany the launch of the site, features contributions by Lenny Abrahamson, Ruairí de Blacam, Anne Enright, Easkey Britton, Clare Langan, Aoibheann McNamara, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Fearghus Ó Conchúir, Caomhín Ó Raghallaigh, Niamh Scanlon, Eamonn Sinnott, Enda Walsh and Bill Whelan. ADVERTISEMENT ‘Great place to live’ “Ireland.ie states confidently and proudly that Ireland is a great place to live, to work, to invest in, do business with, and to study,” he said. We believe in culture as a basis for personal and collective wellbeing.” ‘Slow tourism’: New Fáilte Ireland brand to promote lakelands Trips by British tourists to Ireland slow in wake of Brexit vote Number of UK tourists coming to Ireland rises despite Brexit fears Mr Kenny said that through the Creative Ireland Programme, the Government would nurture and invest in the creativity and imagination of our people, strengthen and empower our communities and create the space for ideas and innovation to flourish and grow. “Ireland’s culture and creativity gives us our edge, and Creative Ireland seeks to promote and encourage that both at home and abroad,” said Ms Humphreys. Speaking from Sweden, Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys said it was appropriate the website was being launched by the Taoiseach this week in Washington, at a time when Government ministers were promoting Irish culture around the world. “We are peacekeepers and peace-makers. While the Government’s primary focus with Creative Ireland was facilitating greater cultural participation at home, she said, the global element of the programme was also very important. “Our culture speaks to the essence of who we are, a culture of storytelling and learning, of artistic endeavour, pride in heritage, and a never-satisfied curiosity about the world around us,” he said. www.Ireland. Speaking at an event during his St Patrick’s Day visit to the US capital, the Taoiseach described the new site as “a gateway to discovery of who we are, what we believe and what we do”. A new website showcasing Irish creativity was launched on Wednesday by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington DC.

‘This is everything we love about Dublin in one short film’

The filmmakers say: “We set out to make a film about what we loved about Dublin. The series of video portraits was shot on the streets of Dublin in March 2015 and the full montage of images and moments is soundtracked by David Kitt’s New Jackson. This short film, Wednesday, about Dublin in a day is the work of Al Kennington and Albert Hooi. The song, Having a Coke With You, was performed live with the film in Dublin’s O’Reilly Theatre in 2015, as part of Cities Breathing, in the I Love My City programme in the St Patrick’s Festival. The film was shot and screened at a St Patrick’s Day festival event in 2015, and is now making its way out into the wider world. ‘Wednesday’ describes a day in the life of the city from morning to night told simply, through its finest resource, the Dublin people.”

Girls Rock Dublin: the all-girl music camp taking a stand against sexism

As Boston camp founder Nora Allen-Wiles once put it, ‘Telling a group of girls that they should be confident can feel like an abstract concept, but giving a girl an electric guitar and telling her to turn it up as loud she wants sends a message.” First Dublin Girls Rock Camp in June The first Girls Rock Dublin will take place in June and is open to 20 young women aged between 18 and 24. So, there’s still a lot of work to be done for an entire half of the human population who are more than capable of appreciating music on a creative level and making it too. Once you experience this, you know that the possibilities are endless, and this goes way beyond music. On March 24th, a launch gig will take place in The Grand Social, Dublin, featuring AE Man, Susie Blue, Alien She and Extra Vision. A week on from International Women’s Day, it’s clear that a single day’s acknowledgement of women’s rights is not enough. One of the ways in which it’s been proven to encourage young women to express themselves through music is through girls-only workshops and classes. “A girl who might have never played an instrument up until a week before, will find herself on a stage, playing her own song with her own band. “The Instrument Carousel” on the first day will involve the campers learning a simple popular song on different instruments so as to try out playing a keyboard guitar, bass or drums (even if they are already proficient). It’s an everyday campaign. That idea has seen the establishment of Girls Rock Dublin, inspired by similar non-profit organisations around the world which puts on music camps for girls in more than 100 cities. The programme will include music tuition, collaborative workshops and practical stage experience in a non-competitive encouraging environment. “I was blown away by how the campers opened up and responded to the experience. “Rock is in our name, but the movement supports all the ways girls want to rock out, whatever that means to them,” says Bottine. And if you think Girls Rock Dublin is only for rock musicians, think again. “We encourage applications from people from underrepresented minority groups, those who identify as LGBT, queer and non-binary, as well as women from different ethnic backgrounds, nationalities and physical ability,” says Bottine. “The Instrument Carousel is just one …

Short film features a day in the life of Dublin

This short film, Wednesday, about Dublin in a day is the work of Al Kennington and Albert Hooi. ‘Wednesday’ describes a day in the life of the city from morning to night told simply, through its finest resource, the Dublin people.” The song, Having a Coke With You, was performed live with the film in Dublin’s O’Reilly Theatre in 2015, as part of Cities Breathing, in the I Love My City programme in the St Patrick’s Festival. The film was shot and screened at a St Patrick’s Day festival event in 2015, and is now making its way out into the wider world. The series of video portraits was shot on the streets of Dublin in March 2015 and the full montage of images and moments is soundtracked by David Kitt’s New Jackson. The filmmakers say: “We set out to make a film about what we loved about Dublin.

That’s SO Graham Norton: Belfast man wins Sky Portrait Artist of the Year

But as soon as I start to work I feel weirdly comfortable. I think many artists felt that way.” He had two months to complete Norton’s portrait, with four weeks of fairly intensive work. “There were three earlier incarnations so there were several changes along the way. Belfast-born artist Gareth Reid’s portrait of broadcaster and writer Graham Norton is now on display at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. Commenting on working under the pressure of television cameras, lights and microphones, he said: “The lead-up is very stressful, because you don’t know who the subject is and you’ve no control over the setting, the pose, the angle, anything. Reid won the £10,000 commission by becoming Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2017, emerging from a field of 54 contenders. As part of the competition, he completed portraits of actress Imelda Staunton and television and radio presenter Adrian Chiles. At one point it was a very cropped, close-up view, but it just seemed too overpowering.” After graduating he stayed on. It’s not too big. ADVERTISEMENT Drawing has been at the heart of Reid’s work from the beginning: he teaches life drawing. Their great-grandparents were siblings. “There were several years where I did no painting whatsoever,” he says. The Sky Arts Portrait of the Year series is available to view on Sky’s on demand service. Although he is based in Glasgow, he and his family spend most of each summer in Co Kerry. He never mentioned it while I was working on the portrait.” Reid studied in Belfast before going on to Glasgow School of Art. You feel there is room for artists there, so artists like it.” If there is a downside, he notes, it’s the rain. In fact he was open to whatever way I wanted to do it. Studio space is abundant. “Culturally, it’s a good town. had thrown up the possibility that he and Reid are distantly related, and that proved to be the case. “Drawing was always dominant. “I had the idea of getting Graham out into that kind of setting, and he was agreeable. He shows with the Molesworth Gallery in Dublin and his next exhibition there will be this coming June. “I couldn’t believe how casual my dad was about telling me that. I always thought the painting would catch up with the drawing, but it never quite did, though it’s closer now.” With both …

Want to know about Ireland now? Here are the books to read

I know every one of these characters, every road they walk, every car they hop into, every pub they end up at, every retort they spit at their nemeses. It’s disjointed and repetitive, the subject matter generally deeply disturbing. Diarmaid Ferriter is professor of modern Irish history at UCD Claire Kilroy Solar Bones by Mike McCormack Mike McCormack captured something phenomenal in Solar Bones, a novel about an ordinary, decent guy considering various aspects of his ordinary, decent life. At over 600 pages, it was also initially published as three volumes. Economically and culturally it is extremely open, yet it is full of silences and secrets. All the touchstones of our mythic and mystic past that that still seep like fog through our veins despite our best efforts to cut them out. This is Ireland at its most frustrating and inhibiting but also at its most sincere and brutally real. and if we’re lucky, it may take us to the future. McGahern did mesmerising work on a small canvas; he was an accurate and graceful wordsmith, and apart from his insights about character and what propels people, he was also able to write beautifully about nature and rural Ireland, small and independent communities and local concerns, employing rich dialogue and an acute sense of place. Enright’s gripping novel gets to the heart of this duality. With stories ranging from the intensely lyrical memory of a flashlamp playing on a ditch the night Kennedy was shot to the contraceptive wars of the 1980s, rebellious women in a writing workshop and millennium hype, Conlon is truly modern yet rooted in the history of Irish women. This heartbreaking story will help anyone just landed here to understand why we’re currently in the process of facing up to the fact that our country is cankered with unmarked pits full of little bones. I also really loved what Edna O’Brien did in her novel The Little Red Chairs. I never wanted to read and I wish I’d never started, but that’s like an alcoholic moaning about Christmas pudding, it’s too late now.” Martina Evans is a novelist and poet. After three years of caring for her son at the abbey he was stolen from her and sold, with a little girl, to an American couple. It is written with great humour, erudition, aplomb and a healthy dose of irony on the invention of ourselves, the …

Man Booker International 2017 longlist includes Amos Oz and banned writer

Previously nominated for the Man Booker International in 2015, he is one to watch. Its inclusion in a longlist this good is inexplicable. Westo is a Finn who writes n Swedish and this novel will beguile. This heavy-handed tale of growing up in rural Poland consists of random anecdotes and only very late in what is a small work does it begin to acquire resonance when the narrator re-imagines her dead father as a boy and young man whose life ended prematurely. Meyer, best known to date for his assured second book, All the Lights (2008; 2011, also translated by Derbyshire), confronts the sex trade in Germany from just before the fall of the Berlin Wall until the present day. Man Booker International longlist Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou, translated by Helen Stevenson (Serpents Tail) Compass by Mathias Enard, translated by Charlotte Mandell (Fitzcarraldo) Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer, tanslated by Katy Derbyshire (Fitzcarraldo) The Traitor’s Niche by Ismail Kadare, translated by John Hodgson (Harvill Secker) War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans, translated by David McKay (Harvill Secker) Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell (One World The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen, translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw (MacLehose) Fish Have No Feet by Jon Kalman Stefansson, translated by Philip Roughton (MacLehose) Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg, translated by Eliza Marciniak (Portobello) A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen Judas by Amos Oz, translated by Nicholas de Lange. It is also a family epic and is equally appealing. He is very funny and fearless, as seen in The Four Books and the excellent Dream of Ding Village (2009; 2011), in which he castigated the Chinese government over an Aids epidemic caused when injections of plasma are used to prevent anaemia. ADVERTISEMENT Still, this prize, with a wealth of international fiction in translation from which to draw, certainly makes the Man Booker eligible to writers in English appear very dull indeed. Having travelled widely throughout the Middle East, often in the company of the elusive Sarah, a scholar obsessed with the interaction of East and West in history and art, his thoughts are alive with fact, digression, anecdote and images of composers, writers and archaeologists all struggling for meaning. The 13 nominees now begin the battle for ultimate victory on June 14th via the six places on the shortlist. David Grossman’s …

SXSW Interactive: 10 talking points from the weekend

The new Austin The ability to use SXSW to flex some soft power has not gone unnoticed and various city and country delegations came to town to peacock their credentials. Perhaps the best media-focused session is with CNN host Jake Tapper which sees him talk candidly about how his job is to be “a pain in the ass” to all, regardless of party colours. ADVERTISEMENT The media talks about the media From a conversation about the “failing” New York Times to Gawker founder Nick Denton licking his wounds over his defamation wrestling bout with Hulk Hogan, there is plenty of media omphaloskepsis on the menu. ADVERTISEMENT Post-Trump stress disorder It’s a very rare panel at SXSW 2017 that doesn’t reference the victory of Donald J Trump in passing – he is even mentioned at a panel about the future of breakfast. It refers to the number of TV shows you have saved on your to-watch list and which you may never get around to viewing. This year’s guest list includes a bishop from Navan and a gaggle of museum curators. Entertainment debt Our favourite buzz term at SXSW was “entertainment debt”. Unfortunately, the session on bots replacing bureaucracy is cancelled, so perhaps there is hope for civil servants after all. Poke your head into the Accelerator Pitch room, for example, and you’ll hear from start-ups who are more rounded and realistic with their offerings than was once the case, such as the Thimble electronics training course and the SPLT car-pooling app. Other TV and film shows doing a similar decent job include The Mummy with a fantastic VR exhibit, the Prison Break escape room, and the giant bull plugging Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. The subtle art of branding Brands typically approach SXSW with a sledgehammer in one hand and a megaphone in the other. “It’s making us think again about how to do our business.” For museum operators, SXSW is an opportunity to discuss the place of physical collections in an increasingly digital world and how various communities can and should use museum assets to further their own work. “I’m not a member of the resistance,” he says, “I’m a member of the media and we’re trying to hold this administration accountable. This is the year when you’d be hard-pressed to find a topic that couldn’t find space under the SXSW umbrella. I hope we stay that way now and …

Finghin Collins takes a lap of honour on his 40th birthday

When he was young, that ability to take control of the situation did actually mar some of his ventures into chamber music, when he exercised his assertiveness to the detriment of other players and the music. It’s an unusual honour for the hall to bestow, a kind of official seal on the perception of Collins as the leading Irish musician of his generation. His playing of Bach’s Partita No 1 in B flat, BWV825 was pleasingly clean and clear, with moments of sensitive embellishment in repeats. But he has mellowed in the area of give and take, and has a thriving career as a chamber musician, not just at home – where he is artistic director of both Music for Galway and the New Ross Piano Festival – but also abroad.  Good timing If he had wanted to choose the timing to mark himself out as the player of the moment in early 21st-century Ireland, his timing could not have been better. But that’s not to suggest that he steers clear of contemporary music. Visiting conductor Claus-Peter Flor took a larger-than-life approach that sometimes inflated the music beyond its native expressive range, as if volume of sound had a direct connection with intensity of expression. He simply did what was necessary, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. In the new century, that badge of honour opened up international opportunities – engagements with major orchestras and in major venues on both sides of the Atlantic, including two appearances at the BBC Proms in London – and saw him spend a three-year term as associate artist of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, during which he performed a complete cycle of the Mozart piano concertos. By the end of the 20th century he had won virtually ever prize that was open to him at home, bar ultimate success at the Dublin International Piano Competition. It was good, however, to be reminded of aspects of the RTÉ NSO’s sound potential that other conductors so rarely choose to exploit. And contemporary music is part of the offering in Galway, too. In New Ross he has commissioned and been involved in the first performances of works celebrating the Ros Tapestry. I remember one of his teenage concerto performances in which he effectively wrested control from the conductor whenever he wanted to guarantee that the orchestra would follow exactly where he was …

Ireland now: the books that define a nation

It is about Irish mid-century provincial life, including its darker side, but also raises bigger, national themes. McCormack wrote the book under the influence of totem works such Gravity’s Rainbow, Crash, Riddley Walker and Neuromancer, as well as books by Christopher Priest and Richard Powers. Lisa McInerney’s debut novel, The Glorious Heresies, won the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction and the Desmond Elliott Prize. They are a truthful, accurate and meaningful record of the social class that destroyed Ireland, written from the inside. It’s disjointed and repetitive, the subject matter generally deeply disturbing. The scope of McCormack’s experimentalism and his humanity – two qualities which are rarely found in the same author – indicates that the great 20th century Irish prose innovators, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, are in his DNA, but he captures the confusion and turmoil of Ireland’s recent transition from major to minor with such heart and stylistic agility that he can already be considered one of the great 21st century Irish prose writers. His latest novel is The Thrill of it All Diarmaid Ferriter Amongst Women by John McGahern John McGahern spent a decade writing Amongst Women, which was published in 1990. Marina Carr’s latest play was an adaptation of Anna Karenina at the Abbey Theatre. Sara Baume’s latest novel is A Line Made by Walking Lisa McInerney Young Skins by Colin Barrett There is no truer portrait of post-millennium small-town Irish life than Colin Barrett’s sublime landscape-in-portraits short story collection Young Skins. Inventing Ireland is a must-read for anyone who wants to know who we are, what we were and, with the grace of God, what we might one day become. And impossible contradiction is where contemporary Ireland is at. Indeed, it is hard to imagine Ross ever writing or (indeed reading) a novel, unless it happened to be written by a rugby player. He is a generous writer and the book is filled with light and shade, love and tragedy. Economically and culturally it is extremely open, yet it is full of silences and secrets. For the reader who wants to see and know Ireland’s soul, this is it, this is the book. Her latest collection is The Windows of Graceland ADVERTISEMENT This is risk-taking fiction at its most insightful; what it tells us about the Ireland of today is superbly devoid of rose-tinted spectacles. Joseph O’Connor is Frank McCourt chair of creative writing …