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Eamon’s show puts Maeve in spotlight



Eamon Morrisey

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Eamon Morrissey has been writing and performing in one-man shows for years, but the actor who is best known these days for playing Cass in RTÉ’s soap Fair City, says it doesn’t get any easier, despite practice.

Eamon will visit Galway’s Town Hall Theatre next Monday, May 25, with Maeve’s House, a touring production from the Abbey Theatre.

The one-man show features extracts from the writings of Dublin-born Maeve Brennan, a leading figure in New York’s literary scene for much of the last century before mental illness and alcoholism saw her become a bag lady. When she died in 1993, in a New York nursing home, she was an almost-forgotten figure.

Eamon Morrissey, now aged 72, grew up in the village of Ranelagh, in the south side of Dublin City. His parents had bought their house from Robert and Una Brennan, both of whom were involved in the struggle for Irish independence. Eamon’s father had fought alongside Robert Brennan in 1916 and later,during the War of Independence and Civil War.

Robert Brennan was appointed Irish Ambassador to Washington in the 1930s and moved his family to the American capital.

Growing up, Eamon knew of the connections between the families. He knew of Maeve Brennan’s short stories too, as these appeared in The New Yorker magazine, which was renowned for the quality of its writing.  His mother, also called Maeve, was a great fan of the magazine, he recalls. These days you can buy it freely – in the 1950s it was “an extravagance”.

In 1966, as a 23-year-old actor with the Abbey Theatre, Eamon was in New York appearing in the Broadway premiere of Philadelphia, Here I Come! He recalls being in the subway, reading a short story in The New Yorker which made the hairs on his neck stand up, because it described perfectly the wooden stairs up to the bedrooms of his childhood home.

The author’s name wasn’t at the top of the article, so he turned to the end to check the author. It was Maeve Brennan. He was so intrigued, he contacted her via The New Yorker. She arranged to meet him in the renowned Russian Tea Rooms – Eamon reckons Brennan, who was a hard drinker for most of her life, was trying to stay off alcohol.

“She had a fearsome reputation in New York at the time, but she was very nice to me and loved that I was enjoying New York,” says Eamon. Back at home, “the more I read her, the more I came to appreciate her. She wrote wonderful prose”.

Brennan’s short stories were mostly set in Dublin and many dealt with people who were stuck in cul-de-sac lives and marriages. These were melancholy, but she also contributed factual pieces to The New Yorker under the guise of The Long-Winded Lady, and for these, “she was a merry writer”, says Eamon.

Brennan lived in New York, but her stories revealed a woman who knew an awful lot about the Ireland of the 1950s and 60s, he adds. She had stayed in touch with other writers here, especially other women, who advised her not to return as it was no country for women.

“She wasn’t political, but the cul-de-sac stories were about the dying of a dream, and the relationships between the sad couples reflected the disappointment at what had happened to the Irish dream, post-Independence,” says Eamon. Her end, as “almost a bag lady” was terrible, he adds, “but she was a great writer, who belonged everywhere”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.



Folk duo launch What Will Be Will Be



Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce.

Folk duo Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce are launching their new album What Will We Be, a  blend of folk, Americana and acoustic music, this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in An Taibhdhearc.

The success of their well-received 2020 release Taobh le Taobh, as well as recent successes at the Pan Celtic and Oireachtas Song Contests, spurred the duo on to record this new album which represents many years of collaboration and musical development.

It features Niall and Pádraic on vocals, harmonies, and acoustic guitars, Maidhc Ó hÉanaigh on double bass and Neil Fitzgibbon on fiddle. The catchy title track, What Will We Be, features contributions from percussionist Jim Higgins (The Stunning, Christy Moore, Paul Brady) and haunting, driving melodies on vocals, guitar, and fiddle.

Themes of love and hope are woven through Come Away with Me which features interplay between piano and fiddle as well as rich vocal harmonies.

People, places, and broken dreams are celebrated and lamented on Martin and Tom, Guitar Gold, Memories of You and Achill Island. The influence of David Henry Thoreau’s novel Walden features on the tracks Simple and Wise and Walden, with the beauty of nature, escape and simple pleasures at their core.

The album moves from minimalistic folk ballads such as Galway Ghost to swirling, string-laden arrangements on the song Neptune, both of which are influenced by maritime tales from Galway. Much of the work on this album was supported by the Arts Council, including work with musical arranger Eoin Corcoran and the string ensemble Treo.

The album will be launched this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in an Taibhdhearc. Tickets €22, plus booking fee at

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All roads lead to Dunmore as town tunes up County Fleadh



Most of the competitions for young musicians will take place this Saturday in Dunmore Community School. All the competitions are open to the public.

Dunmore is the place to be this weekend for lovers of traditional music, as the Galway County Fleadh will take place there from this Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 23.

It is 10 years since Dunmore last hosted a fleadh and the local Comhaltas branch, which has re-formed since Covid, is looking forward to facilitating this gathering of music, song, dance and craic.

The official Opening Concert will take place in Dunmore Town Hall this Friday at 8pm with the acclaimed Mulcahy family from Limerick. Mick, Louise and Michelle are well known throughout the country, thanks to their live performances, television appearances and numerous CDs. They were the winners of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Grúpa Ceoil Award for 2023.  Tickets for their concert can be purchased on the door and a great night of music is promised.

Two days of competitions will kick off this Saturday at the town’s Community School, with more than 1,500 competitors taking part. Participants will be hoping to qualify for the Connacht Fleadh 2023, which will be held in Ballina, County Mayo, from June 23 to July 2.

Competitions for those aged Under 10, Under 12 and Under 15 will be held in a large variety of instruments on Saturday, as well as in singing and Comhrá Gaeilge. Sunday’s competitions will be for the Under 18 and Over 18 ages groups, as well as in dancing.

On both days a large entry is expected for Grúpaí Cheoil and Céilí Band competitions across all age groups.

Seventeen Comhaltas branches from across Galway will have participants in this weekend’s competitions, which will result in a large number of visitors to the Dunmore area.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the competitions, which offer a great opportunity to hear and see the talent on display. There will be sessions in local pubs over the weekend as well and everybody is welcome to attend these.

For more information on the County Fleadh, go to


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Piano concert rescheduled for Tuesday



Pianist Cédric Pescia.

Music for Galway’s concert with renowned Swiss pianist Cédric Pescia which had been due to take place on April 27 but which had to be deferred, will now take place next Tuesday, May 23, at 8pm, in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall at the University of Galway.

This concert of German classics with Bach at its core, will brings the Bach element of Music for Galway’s 41st season to an end.

This world-class pianist who won the famous Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, has a repertoire that spans many eras from baroque to contemporary and he is widely known for his elaborate programmes. Cédric Pescia describes music as  ‘language and movement at the same time’.

Audiences will have a chance to experience his soft, clear touch as he performs a programme for solo piano that will include classics such as Schumann’s popular Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), a suite of nine short pieces, and the penultimate of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, No. 31.  These pieces will be interspersed with French Suites by Bach.

■ Ticket for Cédric Pescia’s concert are available at, or by phone 091 705962 and on the door on the night. They cost €20/€18. The price for fulltime students of all ages is €6 while MfG Friends can avail of the friends’ rate of €16.

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