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Fighting the Church in cause of justice – Joe’s book casts new light on Fanore School Case



The Fanore School Case costs €17.50 paperback, including packaging and posting, and €27.50 for hardback including packaging and posting.

Women, drink, fighting, land-grabbing and interfering clergy are just some of the ingredients in Joe Queally’s fascinating book, The Fanore School Case 1914-22.

Based on the true story of a battle royal between parishioners and clergy in a rural outpost of the Diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh, the book was originally published in 2004. Since then, the author has uncovered new material which he has included in the second edition of The Fanore School Case which is being launched in Ennis this Friday night, December 9.

Joe’s book covers one of the most extraordinary and troubling episodes in the history of Irish education.

At the centre of the case was Kerry-born Michael O’Shea, the principal teacher at Fanore National School in North Clare. O’Shea was dismissed from his post in 1914 by the school manager and parish priest, Fr Patrick Keran. According to local lore, the reason for O’Shea’s dismissal was his refusal to marry the assistant teacher in his school, Delia Leonard from Kilbeacanty outside Gort.

At the time, O’Shea was engaged to a local girl, whom he subsequently married. This outraged Fr Keran and the Bishop of Galway, Dr Tom O’Dea, and an all-out war broke out locally.

Although that’s not the full story, what is beyond doubt is that most people in Fanore sided with the sacked teacher. They built a hut-school for O’Shea and sent their children to him for education. However, when O’Shea presented his pupils to Bishop O’Dea for the Sacrament of Confirmation the Bishop would not confirm them. One affected father squared up O’Dea at the altar with a horse whip and removed his children, telling the Bishop to “keep your Commandments”.

The community was divided and there were regular battles between the children who attended the established, priest-controlled school and those who attended O’Shea’s school.

Rows broke out in the local pub, and even at Sunday Mass, when some parishioners walked out during the priest’s sermon.

Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh, Dr Thomas O’Dea, sided with Fr Keran, and advised O’Shea to take the temperance pledge – rumours abounded that the sacked teacher drank and kept ‘low company’.

Bishop O’Dea’s shabby behaviour included offering O’Shea another teaching position if he agreed to leave Fanore. O’Shea did agree, only to be offered a job in Rosmuc, in a school with very few pupils, which would have meant less money, as his income was based on capitation.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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