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‘A Feast of Bones’ makes for tasty Baboró treat



Martin Brundsen, Nico Browne, Lisa Lambe, Louis Lovett and Amelié Metcalfe in A Feast of Bones.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Theatre Lovett, one of Ireland’s most popular theatre companies will return Galway next month, bringing their show A Feast of Bones, to Baboró Arts Festival for Children. It’s a show that’s suitable for people aged nine to 105, according to the company’s Louis Lovett.

Actually, there is no upper age limit, it’s just that the actor’s grandmother, who lives in Galway, is almost 105 so that’s the age that springs to Louis’s mind as he’s describing the audience profile.

There’s a strong Galway connection, he adds. Louis’s father Dermod is originally from Clifden  but moved to Cork, where he ran the highly regarded Lovett’s restaurant in Douglas, along with his wife Margaret, for many years

Louis reckons his own stage career, and that of his actor brother Conor, began in the restaurant where both worked as waiters and “were always on, every night”.

Louis is currently rehearsing with Dublin Company, the Corn Exchange, for a new version of Chekhov’s The Seagull that’s being staged at Gaiety for the Dublin Theatre Festival. He’ll finish that run on October 16, and the following day, will perform A Feast of Bones in Limerick, kicking off a national tour that comes to Galway from October 20-22.

“I like to keep it busy – it’s a good way to be, especially in this business,” says Louis, whose own company, Theatre Lovett, has been staging magical shows for children and adults for almost 20 years.

A Feast of Bones was first staged at the 2013 Dublin Theatre Festival and garnered a host of four- and five-star reviews, with The Sunday Times describing it as “a thoroughly enjoyable cabaret that deserves to reach audiences large and small”.

Written by Frances Kay, and based on Walter de la Mare’s 1939 version of an old folk tale, the 60-minute show tells how Henny Penny exacts revenge after a disastrous journey by her friends and herself to inform their king that the sky is falling in. Their premise is based on false evidence, and the journey ends badly for Henny Penny’s companions, including Chicken Licken, Cocky Lockey, Goosey Lucy and Drakey Lakey

The play, which is set in France in 1918, is a metaphor for the way Europe walked blindly towards World War I and still blindly walks towards war today, observes Louis.

It’s told using song, physical theatre, clowning and dark humour, as Louis Lovett plays Mr Renard, a ravenous diner who goes a French café and gets more than he bargains for from mysterious waitress Henny Penny, played by actress and singer Lisa Lambe.

There original score is written by Nico Brown, who is also musical director and performs alongside bass player, Martin Brundsen, a member of The Hothouse Flowers.

Muireann Ahern, joint artistic director of Lovett Theatre and Louis’s wife, has directed, “shaping the story, working with the actors and creating a wonderful atmosphere”, he says.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest



Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Marathon Man plans to call a halt – but not before he hits 160 races



Loughrea’s Marathon Man Jarlath Fitzgerald.

On the eve of completing his 150th marathon, an odyssey that has taken him across 53 countries, Loughrea’s Marathon Man has announced that he is planning to hang up his running shoes.

But not before Jarlath Fitzgerald completes another ten races, making it 160 marathons on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

“I want to draw the line in 2026. I turn 57 in October and when I reach 60 it’s the finishing line. The longer races are taking it out of me. I did 20 miles there two weeks ago and didn’t feel good. It’s getting harder,” he reveals.

“I’ve arthritis in both hips and there’s wear and tear in the knees.”

We speak as he is about to head out for a run before his shift in Supervalu Loughrea. Despite his physical complaints, he still clocks up 30 miles every second week and generally runs four days a week.

Jarlath receives injections to his left hip to keep the pain at bay while running on the road.

To give his joints a break, during the winter he runs cross country and often does a five-mile trek around Kylebrack Wood.

He is planning on running his 150th marathon in Cork on June 4, where a group of 20 made up of work colleagues, friends and running mates from Loughrea Athletics Club will join him.

Some are doing the 10k, others are doing the half marathon, but all will be there on the finishing line to cheer him on in the phenomenal achievement.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

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