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The Ascent of Manford



Comedian Jason Manford plays two shows at the Galway Comedy Carnival

by Olaf Tyaransen

Jason Manford has more than 200,000 Twitter followers, but they haven’t heard anything from him in a while. As we speak, the 34-year-old Salford comedian has just finished a month-long social media fast in aid of his chosen charity, the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust (raising a total of 16,000 euro).

“Yeah, I did a Twitter and Facebook fast,” he says. “It went marvellously. It was tough, actually, tougher than I thought it was going to be. I didn’t realise quite how much news and current affairs that I actually got from social media, which was quite interesting. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think many people read newspapers anymore. I tend to get my stuff from people posting links to it, the things that everyone is talking about. So, yeah, quite interesting, but I don’t know what’s going on [now] at all!”

Presumably he’s binging now?

“Ha, no, not really,” he laughs. “I’ve done a bit but nothing major, just sort of said that I was back. I feel like I went cold turkey. It was really tough for a few days, but then it got easier.”

Given his Irish roots, the award-winning comedian and TV presenter is looking forward to appearing at the Vodafone Comedy Carnival in Galway.

“I love Ireland,” he enthuses. “My grandparents are from Dublin and a couple of uncles from Limerick. So there’s a bit of Irish floating about. I love playing there.

I’m there most years in Dublin for the Vodafone Comedy Festival and I often holiday in the west of Ireland, in Galway. Good times.”

The last time Manford played Galway, at the Comedy Club in the Roisin Dubh, he apparently distinguished himself by being the first comedian to not swear once on stage during his act.

“No, I don’t think I did actually,” he concedes. “I might do this time!”

So it’s not a policy, then?

“No, it’s not. Well, it depends, really. What I always do with swearing is [only] if it adds something. You don’t swear for no reason.”

Perhaps the cleanliness of his mouth to the fact that he does so much TV. show regular and has presented such ITV’s Show me The Funny and A Does he prefer TV to live performance?

“Oh no, no, the other way around,” “With live, it’s just you. You wrote it, you edit it, you direct it, you produce it. There’s no Ofcom telling you what to say or what to do. It means that when it goes really well, it’s all you, it goes badly, well then it’s also all you – live.”

When was the last time he died on stage?

“Oh, god… I’d say about 10 or 11 years ago. It was a corporate awards show for Mercedes or someone – midnight and they’d been drinking since ten o’clock that morning I think they were looking for someone a bit more Bernard  Manning and they get my gentle brand of humour.

What kind of show will Manford be bringing to Galway?

“I think it’ll be a version of my last tour which finished in December which I never brought to Galway. I did a show called First World Problems and performed to about 400,000 people across 280 dates, so I think  it’ll be a version of that, really. I’m on with some other comics, as well. What’s good about the Galway festival, what I’ve heard from people who have played before, is that it’s kind of like a comedian’s holiday, so you come over, have a nice time, meet up with a load of mates who you haven’t seen for ages because you’re always touring separately and play a couple of gigs while you’re there, so I’m looking forward to just being around and getting involved.”

Do comedians tend to hang out together generally?

“We do at festivals and stuff, yeah. Obviously you’ll bump into one another at various events and what-not. John Bishop is one of my best friends, I had dinner with Sarah Millican and her husband last week… you hang out with your work friends, don’t you?”

What has been the highpoint of his career?

“I was nominated for the Perrier award in Edinburgh many years ago now, about 10 years ago. That was a big thing. I don’t know. I guess, as you grow older, you find new things to be excited about. Doing the Royal Variety Show was a big deal for someone who works in the entertainment industry in Britain. Playing to 12,000 people in the arena in Manchester, my hometown, was a big deal. Having a TV show with your own name on it is always good. There’s been lots of things, really. I did a show called Ordinary Lies, a drama for BBC One that aired last year which was very exciting. Touring with The Producers in Dublin and Belfast and various other places, saying the words that Mel Brooks wrote, was quite a thing, also.”

Does Jason Manford have a motto in life?

“I have various ones, really,” he muses. “I have proper ones like sage advice, I like to say that your horizons should become your middle ground so that each time you hit the thing you’re aiming for, aim for something else. I always say to new comics, don’t compare yourself to other comics. ‘Why’s he or she doing that? I’m funnier than that…’. There’s always going to be a Michael McIntyre and a Peter Kay and a Lee Evans.

“There’s always going to be someone more successful than you, so don’t worry about it. Just crack on and enjoy yourself and if you’re doing better now than you were doing six months ago, then you’re doing alright.”

Jason plays The Roisin Dubh Wed 21st Oct and The Spiegeltent,Eyre Square on Thurs 22nd Oct. for more details and for tickets see 


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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