REVIEW BY BERNIE Ní FHLATHARTA
Wáltsáil Abhaile: Fíbín sa Taibhdhearc
It’s taken 95 years for An Taibhdhearc to feature their first artistic director in any of their productions in any meaningful way. . . until now.
It’s not surprising that Fíbín, the current guardians of our national Irish language theatre, were the ones to do so by staging a one-act play by Antoine Ó Flatharta about Micheál Mac Liammóir, Wáltsáil Abhaile.
The play slowly draws you in to the sleaziness of Mac Liammóir’s sexual proclivities while opening your eyes (and heart) to the shame and shadows surrounding a gay lifestyle in Ireland. This wasn’t just during Mac Liammóir’s lifetime – he died in 1978 – but up to recently. And, sad to say, that’s still true in some communities.
This play could be regarded as a capsule of the great man’s life and possibly a taster for those wanting to know more about the Englishman who became ‘ níos Gaelaí ná na Gaeil iad fhéin’.
Ó Flatharta uses a time-machine to transport Mac Liammóir to scenes from his past. These scenes include nights hanging around public toilets in Dublin city before heading home to his partner, Hilton Edwards; flirtations with musicians and historic figures; and an interview with Gay Byrne on The Late Late Show.
A young Garda, who is more like a guardian angel, acts as Mac Liammóir’s guide, as he chastises the older man for failing to ‘come out’ that night on the Late Late in 1969, something that would have given young men of Ireland solace and courage.
And while Mac Liammóir – played brilliantly by Caitríona Ní Mhurchú despite her sweet voice – comes across as self-absorbed, he reminds the Garda that it would have been impossible to have done so, given that homosexuality was a crime up until 1993, years after his death.
The Garda, played by Daithí O’Donnell, brings his icon into the future where, much to Mac Liammóir’s delight, he meets Oscar Wilde’s statue.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App
Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.
Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.
Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises
“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.
Official opening of Galway’s new pedestrian and cycle bridge
The new Salmon Weir pedestrian and cycle bridge will be officially opened to the public next Friday, May 26.
Work on the €10 million bridge got underway in April 2022, before the main structure was hoisted into place in early December.
A lunchtime tape-cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, as the first pedestrians and cyclists traverse the as-yet-unnamed bridge.
The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, previously said the bridge, once opened, would remove existing conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and traffic “as well as facilitating the Cross-City Link public transport corridor over the existing 200-year-old bridge”.
The naming of the new bridge has been under discussion by the Council’s Civic Commemorations Committee since late last year.
One name that has been in the mix for some time is that of the first woman in Europe to graduate with an engineering degree – Alice Perry.
Ms Perry, who was from Wellpark, graduated from Queen’s College Galway (now University of Galway) in 1906. The university’s engineering building is named in her honour.
The bridge was built by Jons Civil Engineering firm in County Meath and was assembled off-site before being transported to Galway. Funding for the project was provided in full by the National Transport Authority and the European Regional Development Fund.
(Photo: Sheila Gallagher captured the city’s new pedestrian footbridge being raised on the south side of the Salmon Weir Bridge in December. It will officially open next Friday, May 26).
Minister branded ‘a disgrace’ for reversing land rezoning in Galway City
From the Galway City Tribune – Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell was labelled a “disgrace” for overturning councillors’ decisions to rezone land in the new City Development Plan.
Minister O’Donnell (pictured) confirmed in a letter to Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath last week that he was reversing 25 material alternations made by councillors to the CDP 2023-29. He made the decision on the advice of Office of Planning Regulator (OPR).
Minister O’Donnell directed that 14 land parcels that were subject to land-use zoning changes by councillors as part of the Material Alterations to the Draft CDP should be reversed.
He directed that a further 11 land parcels in the city should become “unzoned”.
The Minister found that the CDP had not been made in a manner consistent with recommendations of the OPR, which required specific changes to the plan to ensure consistency with the national planning laws and guidelines.
At last week’s Council meeting Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) asked for clarity on the process by which councillors could rezone the lands that had been changed by the Minister’s direction.
Cllr Declan McDonnell said, “What he [Minister O’Donnell] has done is an absolute disgrace”.
And he asked: “Do we have to have another development plan meeting to deal with it?”
Both Cllrs Hoare and McDonnell wondered what would become of the lands that were rezoned or unzoned by the ministerial direction.
Mr McGrath said the Council had put forward an argument in favour of retaining the material alterations in the plan, but ultimately the Minister sided with OPR.
He said if councillors want to make alterations to the new plan, they could go through the process of making a material alteration but this was lengthy.
The Save Roscam Peninsula campaign welcomed the Minister’s decision.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, it said the direction would mean the Roscam village area on the Roscam Peninsula will be unzoned and a number of land parcels would revert back to agriculture/high amenity.
A spokesperson for the campaign said: “the material alterations made by city councillors following lobbying by developers continued the long-standing practice of councillors facilitating a developer-led plan rather than an evidence- and policy-based plan that meets the needs of the city.
“The Minister’s direction is an important step in restoring confidence in the planning system. It is clear from the City Council’s own evidence on future housing projections that there was no requirement to zone these lands for residential purposes in order to meet the needs of the targeted population increase up to 2029,” the spokesperson added.