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Coastal & Minority Language & Music Celebrated in Galway 2020 Production in Connemara

14th September 2020
Multi-instrumentalist, Liam Ó Maonlaí, in fine tune during rehearsals for Óró Multi-instrumentalist, Liam Ó Maonlaí, in fine tune during rehearsals for Óró Credit: Martin Maguire

The fragility of coastal languages, music and poetry will be celebrated by ten artists from five countries with minority languages at a Galway 2020 show opening in south Connemara next week.

Musician Liam Ó Maonlaí, who participated in the last voyage on the currach Naomh Gobnait with late poet Danny Sheehy in 2017, is one of ten artists from five countries involved in the musical production for Galway 2020 named “Óró..”

The musicians, actors, dancers and poets from Ireland, Scotland, the Basque Country, Cornwall and Friesland in the Netherlands are working in a closed set during rehearsals in Gailearaí an Tismeáin in An Cheathrú Rua.

Cast members have been Covid-19 tested, and those who travelled over have all quarantined, according to production manager Alana MacInnes.

The industrial space owned by Údaras na Gaeltachta is so large that it is “ideal” for socially distancing, MacInnes explains.

“We have a total of 17 crew and cast, and so the audience is limited to 33 for each show, but we are trying to be as creative as we can with the space,”she says.

“Thankfully we have managed to keep transnational art-making alive in Europe as we face this Covid-19 challenge together,” she says.

“Óro...” is directed and produced by award-winning actor, writer and director Darach Mac Con Iomaire, who is best known for his productions of Baoite and Corp agus Anam.

The production for Ealaín na Gaeltachta, which was commissioned by Galway
2020 European Capital of Culture, promises a story of “language, survival and identity”, with all performers using their native languages.

On the set with Ó Maonlaí are fellow musician and composer Maitiú Ó Casaide; actors Diarmuid de Faoite and Síle Nic Chonaonaigh; contemporary dancer Sibeal Davitt; visual artist Sean Ó Flaithearta; Basque dancer Amaia Elizaran; Scottish singer Josie Duncan; Frisian painter and poet Anne Feddema; and Cornish poet Taran Spalding-Jenkin.

It will have its premiere on Monday, September 21st and will run for eight performances only, with matinees the following weekend.

Published in Galway Harbour
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020