Sunday, 25 May 2014

Nuala McKeever at The Playhouse, Derry!

Yesterday I was both honoured and privileged to take part in a workshop organised by The Creative Path at Derry's Playhouse. The workshop was hosted by Nuala McKeever. McKeever titled the workshop, 'Get Your Act Together'. Throughout the afternoon it became apparent that we all need to begin to trust in who we are and believe in who we are, and quite simply live life 'our' way!
'We are all in a drama' said McKeever. How true her words are. We are indeed all in a drama, our life is one big scene! But unfortunately as was pointed out, we sometimes forget that it is we ourselves who write the script. We get caught up in our act and go along with what other people dictate. We forget to write it for ourselves.
One of the most important attributes that we all possess is communication McKeever told us. It's how we communicate that's important. Communication is not just about speaking, it's about getting what we want and it takes many forms. We each must decide what form is right for us at any given time.
Whilst explaining how to get what we want an exercise was carried out within the group. McKeever had a set of keys and she was a toddler. A member of the group had to work out how to get the keys from the
toddler. A few moments of mayhem and madness ensued. But the keys were returned from the unruly toddler, thanks to a slight bribe!! It clearly showed just how important the different modes of communication are. Trust, observation and spontaneity are active at all times.
To understand the trust and observation skills required for good communication an invisible ball was thrown into the group. Each member had to pass the invisible ball to another group member and make a sound. The person in turn made another sound whilst passing to the next person. This exercise brought much giggling to everyone but it also showed that in a game with no jeopardy you really do lack trust. 'We all walk around like a bunch of adults, but we're just a bunch of kids' McKeever said. Our censors come down and we don't want to make a fool of ourselves.  This censor stifles our
creativity and what we're not aware of controls us. It's important to learn to be aware. And be confident to lose the censors.
Most of the afternoon was about finding out 'Who am I?' Who is each and everyone of us? Why are we who we are? We must learn to ask ourselves who we want to be. There are so many characters within us and it's important to be 'me'. Again to explain this, McKeever set another exercise. Half the group were to be people of 'high status' and the other half, people of 'low status'. Everyone mingled as these new statuses and then switched after a few moments. The end result was that some people were happier and more comfortable being a certain 'status'. It proved that we take on these behaviours as they make us feel 'safe'.
McKeever spoke a lot about her own personal experiences during the day. Perhaps it was her honesty and frankness that made her so warm and appealing to us all. She welcomed us into her world, and in turn we welcomed her into ours. Such was the comfort that Philomena, one of the group read a personal piece of writing from her blog. Nuala said about this that it 'was like a wee warm bath', having someone read to us. It really did explain the tone of the day. Relaxing, comfortable and very interesting.
A lot of discussion surrounded how we all feel the need to question things, and the negative attitude to trying something new. It comes from the fear of failing or just not knowing. But how will we ever know if we don't try? We think we know how something will feel, taste or look. We think we won't like something new. But how can we prove it without trying.
I sat thinking a lot during the afternoon session with Nuala McKeever. Everything she said was simply common sense. We just need to stop every now and again and take stock. If we want to continue going through life being someone we're not, then so be it. But if we truly want to be 'ourselves' then it's paramount that we take time to believe in that self, and to express it in our own ways. It doesn't matter what other people think of us, it matters what we think of ourselves. In McKeevers own words, 'Trust that your own voice is worth something and just do it'. What wise words of inspiration.
A huge thank you to Ursula McHugh and The Creative Path for organising the afternoon with Nuala.


Friday, 23 May 2014

North West Words May 29th

The next meeting of North West Words will be held in Cafe Blend, Letterkenny on Thursday May 29th. This night will showcase the poetry book launch by Ted Deppe of the collection 'Beautiful Wheel' by Arlen House.
 There will be a poetry reading by Anne Deppe. Music on the night will be provided by singer/songwriter James Coyle and Audrey Coyle. The night will also feature an 'open mic'. Admission on the night is free and everyone is welcome.
The event is sponsored by Eason and Click. Do go along for a great nights 'arts' entertainment.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Get On Your Bike to the Gateway Hotel, Rás 2014

All tracks led to the Inishowen Gateway Hotel on Sunday as the Donegal Rás team cycled into Buncrana. They were in town to announce the Inishowen Gateway Hotel as the team’s official sponsor for 2014.
With the Giro D'italia now finished up in Ireland it’s time to look ahead to An Post Rás, the annual, eight-day, stage race around Ireland. The race is Ireland's number one cycling event and will take place from May 18 - 25, 2014.
The epic race began in 1953 and has been held every year since. It is one of Ireland’s top sporting events bringing world class sporting action and a significant economic boost to towns and villages nationwide.
The Rás has a worldwide reputation of being a gruelling challenge in the elite, international calendar. The open racing style allows amateur county and club riders to pit themselves against domestic and international professionals.
Hoping to win big at this year’s Rás will be the all new Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel, made up of 5 talented Donegal cyclists – former Irish Hillclimb Champion Ronan Mc Laughlin, former Donegal Time Trial Champion Conor Mc Ilwaine, reigning Donegal Time Trial Champion Rory Devlin, Donegal Veterans Champion Damian Lagan and first time national competitor Mark McClure. The team are managed by Chris McElhinney.
Rena Doherty from the Inishowen Gateway says “We are delighted to be sponsoring Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel and we would like to wish the team the best of luck and hopefully victory will be brought back to Donegal.
The team will be joined by the Gateway Girls, Aine Gleeson and Shareen Doherty, who will Tweet and Facebook live from the road to provide realtime information from the race to keep Donegal supporters up to date with the efforts of Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel, the official Donegal team. To stay connected with the team, the Inishowen Gateway Hotel invite you to like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. These pages will feature competitions and provide followers the chance of win exclusive race merchandise. 
This year’s Rás covers 1260 kilometres over eight stages with 36 categorised climbs, beginning in Dunboyne, Co. Meath with stage finishes in Roscommon, Lisdoonvarna, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Clonakilty, Carrick on Suir, Baltinglass and finally Skerries.  
The launch of Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel comes as the hotel reveals its latest summer promotion - Cycling Weekends. These dedicated weekend packages will offer a unique and tailor made cycling experience to suit both the amateur and professional cyclist. Ronan Mc Laughlin, former professional cyclist and the hotel’s resident cycling specialist, has designed the programme and can be on hand to discuss the rides and give advice to participants. Ronan can also lead groups out on the road subject to availability. Safe bike storage and post training care are available and a warm Donegal welcome is guaranteed. This is the perfect option for a training camp with specific training plans, challenging roads and healthy menu options. 


Can Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel win big at this year’s An Post Rás? It’s looking positive if the team motto is anything to go by - “AYE WE CAN”!!

Ronan Mc Laughlin
Former professional Ronan cycled for 6 years with the Sean Kelly Team and has represented Ireland at the European and World Championships. He is also an Irish Hillclimb Champion and has finished within the top 10 at the All Ireland’s four times.
Conor McIlwaine
Conor is a full time amateur cyclist living in Belguim and is part of the Irish Development setup. In 2013 he raced to victory in the Donegal Time Trial Championship and came 4th in the Belgian Elite Race. In 2012 he was the Donegal Road Champion.
Rory Devlin
No stranger to the RAS, Rory has finished the race twice and is the reigning Donegal Road Champion and Donegal Time Trial Champion.
Damian hails from Clonmany and is a member of the North Pole Cycling Club. Damian competed in the RAS in 2011 and 2012, and finished the 2012 event with a broken collar bone-showing great character and determination.   Currently he is the Donegal Veterans Champion, and recently rode well in the tour of the North and the Tour of Ulster.
Mark McClure

Damian Lagan
2014 sees McClure step up to national level having won local club leagues including four Masters Cycling Championships and the Donegal Bay Cycling Championship in recent years.
Aine Gleeson is currently studying Psychiatric Nursing at the NUI Galway and works part time in her Family Business – Hegarty’s in Buncrana.
Shareen Doherty hails from Carndonagh and will begin her degree in Dental Nursing at Trinity in September.
The An Post Rás is an annual, eight-day, stage race around Ireland. The race is Ireland's number one cycling event and will take place from May 18 - 25, 2014.

This is the fourth year of An Post's sponsorship of the celebrated Rás Tailteann, which is more commonly known as The Rás. The epic race began in 1953 and has been held every year since. It is one of Ireland’s top sporting events bringing world class sporting action and a significant economic boost to towns and villages nationwide.

The Rás has a worldwide reputation of being a gruelling challenge in the elite, international calendar. The open racing style allows amateur county and club riders to pit themselves against domestic and international pr The 2014 An Post Rás route was revealed at the GPO on January 29 and looks certain to provide a challenging test. This year’s Rás covers 1260 kilometres over eight stages with 36 categorised climbs, including five category one climbs, Doonagore, Coomanaspic, Seskin Hill, Corabutt Gap and Mount Leinster.

The 2014 Rás is the 62nd edition of the race, and this year's route is designed by cyclist, Stephen O'Sullivan. Stephen is a former stage winner and nineteen year veteran of the event.

The action gets underway on Sunday May 18 in Dunboyne, Co. Meath with stage finishes in Roscommon, Lisdoonvarna, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Clonakilty, Carrick on Suir, Baltinglass and finishing in Skerries.  

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Movie and Meal night at Cafe del Mondo!

The next MOVIE & MEAL night at Cafe Del Mondo is this coming Thursday 15 MAY from 6:30pm - 7pm with the film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  This movie features Jane Powell & Howard Keel showing at 8pm. Booking for the night is essential and can be done by phoning Cafe Del Mondo on 02871 366877 as places are limited. 
For £20 per person, this night includes a two course meal, glass of wine/beer & the showing of the movie. Audience participation is always greatly encouraged in true Club Cabaret - Derry Jazz fashion.

Adam, the eldest of seven brothers, goes to town to get a wife. He convinces Milly to marry him that same day. They return to his backwoods home. Only then does she discover he has six brothers - all living in his cabin. Milly sets out to reform the uncouth siblings, who are anxious to get wives of their own. Then, after reading about the Roman capture of the Sabine women, Adam develops an inspired solution to his brothers' loneliness. 

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers belongs to the western musical genre of Oklahoma! (1943 Annie Get Your Gun (1946) and Calamity Jane (1953) and its success was due to Michael Kidd’s brilliant choreography, the Oscar-winning score by Gene Barry De Paul and Johnny Mercer and the casting of the brothers with professional dancers. The songs include "Bless Your Beautiful Hide", "Sobbin’ Women" and "Goin’ Courtin’". Club Cabaret - Derry Jazz in conjunction with Cafe del Mondo has been hosting the movie and meal night for a few months now, and is growing in interest. Book your seat and see for yourself what a great night's fun it really is!




Monday, 12 May 2014

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me!


Shindig Theatre Company's adaptation of Frank McGuiness's play is inspired by actual events in a Lebanese jail. The Tony Award-nominated play, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me explores the difficult relationships between an Irishman, an American and an Englishman taken hostage in Lebanon during the early 1990's. The three hostages have nowhere to hide and have only each other to turn to. The three ultimately find support in each other and depend on this support to survive.

I sat among a group of young people at the production on Friday night at Derry's Waterside Theatre. We were strangers at the beginning of the night, and acquaintances by the end! During the interval, we all talked and discussed the first half of the drama. I was fortunate to be familiar with the play but the young man next to me was not. He was in his first year of teaching English and Drama and told me he had never heard of this play. But he was most impressed and looking forward to the second half. 
At times we were all smiling inwardly; at others we were laughing out loud; and at others, we were silenced with sadness. Such was the emotions running throughout this work. It was sometimes hilarious, often moving, always compelling!
The stage setting was rather barren. This showed just how difficult it was to survive in these harsh conditions. I
This play showed the strive for survival against personal and national differences among the men. THe outside world and it's politics have no real place in the hostages environment. Dialogue is at times absurd, but always intriguing!  The three men are caught between rational thinking and insanity! At all times the characters are however focused on their survival.
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me is clearly inspired by events surrounding Brian Keenan's abduction and it brings home the reality of how alienated and isolated the hostages were. It shows how they depended on each other. And it celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Cove: Echo Echo



The Cove

A dance theatre performance inspired by memories of
a hidden cove on the Donegal coast
at Echo Echo Dance & Movement Studios, Magazine Street, Derry- Londonderry
Performances 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th May at 8pm
Matinee performance Saturday 17th May at 2pm
Tickets £8 / £5 concessions
Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company remount their production of The Cove, the result of a creative collaboration between Echo Echo Artistic Director Steve Batts and acclaimed Belfast-based artist Dan Shipsides. This original piece of dance-theatre was inspired by the hidden Port-a-Doris Cove, near Shrove, on the North Donegal coast. It evokes the landscape, the crags with sea below, the feeling of rock underneath fingertips and the smelling and tasting of sea air. The effort…the challenge…the pleasure…the fear and sense of mortality. This is a chance to see the original work again, with audience seated 'in the round', in Echo Echo’s beautiful home studios on Magazine Street.
Tickets are limited so please contact Echo Echo to book.
  
email: info@echoechodance.com  
 or call: 028 7130 8883 

Free Wee Library, Poetry Competition 2014

Poetry Competition for adults and children – English and Irish Language Categories
Entries are now being accepted for the Free Wee Library Poetry competition 2014. The competition is open to everyone provided the work is the original work of the author submitting it. Entries must NOT have been previously published in any media, self published, broadcast, and or/won any competition.
Prizes will be awarded for 1st 2nd English and 1st 2nd Irish Language for each Category as follows:
  • Adults:
    • 1st Prize €150 + 250 copies of winning poem printed in bookmark format for distribution throughout the FWLP
    • 2nd Prize €75 + 100 copies of winning poem printed in bookmark format for distribution throughout the FWLP.
  • Children Over 10:
    • 1st Prize €30+ 100 copies of winning poem printed in bookmark format for distribution throughout the FWLP
    • 2nd Prize €15 + two book vouchers
  • Children Under 10:
    • 1st Prize €20 + 100 copies of winning poem printed in bookmark format for distribution throughout the FWLP
    • 2nd Prize €10 + two book vouchers
The competition is open to everyone as long as the poem is the original work of the author submitting it.
Entries must not have been previously published in any media, self published, broadcast, and/or won any competition. Both English and Irish poems are being accepted.
Entry Fee
There will be an entry fee for the adult sections of €5 (for a maximum of 3 poems) Fee made payable by cheque or postal order to Free Wee Library Project C/O The Exchange, Castle Ave, Buncrana, Co Donegal
No entry fee for children’s section.
The entrant’s name should NOT be written on the poem but should be written on a separate sheet with full contact details (name, address, telephone numbers, email address) To ensure fairness writers’ names will not be revealed to the judging panel until winners have been selected.
Poems can be on any subject with a maximum limit of 15 lines per poem. Early entries will be much appreciated.
Closing date 5pm on 30th May 2014.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Cycle Against Suicide: 'It's OK not to feel OK'!

‘It’s OK not to feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help!’ The slogan endorsed by ‘Cycle Against Suicide 2014′ in Ireland.
Suicide is currently claiming the lives of approximately 800+ people annually in Ireland. These figures include mothers, fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, best friends and colleagues. Unfortunately we all know someone, young or old, have have taken their own life by suicide. Sadly our children also nearly all know someone who has done so as well. The statistics are shocking. The aftermath, a pool of sadness.

Cycle Against Suicide is a voluntary organisation that aims to: ‘Raise awareness of this prevalent issue: Offer reassurance that it’s OK not to feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help: Direct people in need to where this critical help is available both locally and nationally’.
Cycle Against Suicide is an initiative under the direction of Irish entrepreneur, Jim Breen. Following Breen’s appearance on RTE’s The Secret Millionaire Programme, this initiative came about. The principle objective of the cycle is to raise awareness of the help and support networks that are available in Ireland for anyone fighting depression, self harm, at risk of suicide or those bereaved by suicide.
The cycle got underway last Monday, April 28th and will finish this coming Sunday on May 11th. It will have covered 1400k when it finishes in Dublin on Sunday.
Sadly yesterday brought devastation to this years Cycle. A motorcycle marshal, Brenawn O’Connell, died during a collision in Donegal yesterday morning. The 69 year old’s family today asked the Cycle to continue and promote the much needed awareness about suicide. Sincere condolences to the O’Connell family, and in particular to Brenawn’s wife Kerry and his children Sadhbh, Kerry Óg and Tim.

Today our local secondary school in Moville welcomed a number of the Cycle team to the college. The cycle was broken for 24 hours so the group walked together up the school avenue, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, wearing black ribbons on their arms. It was only a short walk, but possibly one of the toughest parts of their two week journey. The community, students and staff of Moville Community College welcomed the group with much heartfelt compassion. A guard of honour clapped this contingent of the Cycle Against Suicide and everyone felt the great surge of emotion that the occasion experienced. Emotions were running high for everyone.
A number of the group spoke to the College students, staff and parents and expressed their deep grief at losing their friend yesterday. They also talked openly about depression and suicide. The motto of ‘it’s ok not to feel ok’ was greatly emphasised. Young and old related to the spoken words. The written words will remain on the school ‘Cycle Against Suicide’ wall for some time to come. Jim Breen’s written words will surely inspire many, ‘I’ve heard its ok not to feel ok: thank god for that today’. A very tough and heartrending experience is surging through the entire Cycle Against Suicide camp at the present time. But this group are doing amazing work.


‘We believe that the best way to help fight the Battle Against Suicide in Ireland is to do it together. Our Mental Health is just like our physical health – it is something we have to be mindful of – and from time to time we have to ask for help – and that is OK. Exercise helps…Talking helps…So together let’s Cycle Against Suicide. We believe that by cycling, together, around Ireland that this powerful message will be delivered.’
Everyone has some connection with suicide, self harm or depression. So surely we must all learn to encourage ‘talk’ and to work together to break this cycle of suicide which is permeating our country at present.
Together, shoulder to shoulder, we can Break the Cycle of Suicide on the island of Ireland!