Saturday, 29 November 2014

SANTA is coming to Muff!

At just under 4 weeks until Christmas Day, it is time to prepare for Santa's arrival in the village of Muff. On 11th December at approximately 6.30pm the big guy will make his presence known. Santa's Grotto will be based at Muff Community Park. Young and old are welcome to come join him.
Santa will be based at his Grotto in Muff until Sunday 21st December when he will leave to return to the North Pole prior to his world travel on Christmas Eve.
Bring the family to see Santa this Christmas at Muff Community Park.

Friday, 21 November 2014

BEDLAM Vintage, Antiques & Crafts Fair

As part of the Fashion Futures and Derry City Council FASHION FEST ,Bedlam Market Derry with a number of visiting stalls & traders will have a two-day BEDLAM Vintage, Antiques & Crafts Fair, Derry on Sat 22nd Nov 10am - 5:30pm and Sun 23 Nov from 11am - 5:30pm. Check out Gladrags & Handbags - Hansel Gretel - Chaos - Milkweed - The Recovery Room -Abbazappa record shop - Little Acorns Bookstore (Derry) - Family Jewels - Michael Harkin Photography - Pretty Betty Treasures - Cowley Cooper Fine Art - Ma's Handcrafts and Snug Cafe - Healing Arts - Sunshine alley / midnight lane - Angel Card Readings, Derry. & many more. Something for everyone! — with Fashionanddesignhub Derry-Londonderry and 10 others at Bedlam Market Derry.
If previous years are anything to go by, this will be prove a very worthwhile visit for everyone. BEDLAM is the main destination in Derry and the North-West for all your vintage antiques and retro requirements - whether it's furniture, clothing, jewellery, art, crafts, books or the finest in kitsch, you're sure to find it in BEDLAM. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014


Having just poured a glass of wine to relax this Thursday night I'm immediately remembering this time last week. I had just left the the Playhouse Derry and gone for a drink with some friends to the Anchor Bar. Mind you my tipple then was a mug of coffee! We had ventured there to analyse our experience of Dave Duggans most recent play Makaronik. It had just showcased it's second and final night in Derry.
Makaronik is Duggan's latest play, set in the futuristic Belfast of 2084. The Empire is in crisis and clearing up dormant stray elements of language that if ignored, may well turn into threats in later times, is the goal of officers from the Imperial Centre. Gráinne and Diarmuid  are the guards sent to the Béal Feirste post to arrange for the remnants of Irish stories, poems and songs to be archived by its last remaining resident, Makaronik. It will then be 'job done job done' with 'loose ends no'.
The mother tongue of Gráinne and Diarmuid is Empirish, but they've picked up loose pieces of English which has been 'dead dead' for many years. They are a little horrified when Makaronik expresses her knowledge of other languages including Latin, English and even Empirish.
Language is paramount to this play. Although primarily in Irish, one doesn't need to be fluent to follow the story/plot. Duggan's writing enables the audience to follow with the use of translation on screen and sheer dynamics on stage.
Makaronik doesn't want to leave the centre in Belfast and Gráinne decides she would like to stay. The  story has many echos of the Irish mythology tale, Diarmuid and Gráinne. And yet I hear echoes of Huxley's 'Brave New World' in there somewhere. There's also strong echoes of Friel's 'Translations' turned on its head, as the play progressed.
There was no evidence of any real affection  between Grainne and Diarmuid until Gráinne decides that she will stay. Then we see Diarmuid touching her arm and the love that's between them becomes clear. Just like the myth in Irish literature when their love is forbidden, they must elope. Here,they must part. What becomes of Gráinne and her baby we must decide for ourselves but one certainly hopes that a follow up will be on the cards at a later date if Duggan decides such.
Can a language really survive, we are constantly asking ourselves throughout this production? And also can we ever really have freedom of our language. Language is a weapon, it is a tool. Duggan showcases this spectacularly in Makaronik.
This a play about language, about problems, about survival. It is about the human condition, the human experience. It is about choices and how we as people choose to deal with them. It is a play filled with integrity and intelligence. And it is a play of brilliance. Just like it's author, Duggan is a survivor....Irish language is such too,
Produced by Aisling Ghéar, written by Dave Duggan, Makaronnik is a piece of contemporary theatre well worth a viewing.

The WRITE STUFF. A new Writing venture.

I am in the process at present of setting up a small business. Basically it will cater for all your writing and English tutoring needs. I have an MA and a BA in English. Being passionate about how the written word is portrayed and how English is prepared for Leaving Cert and Junior Cert, I decided that I can help in many ways with peoples needs when it comes to this area.
I am available to give English grinds (Leaving Cert and Junior Cert) and will travel to the students home. This allows the student to learn in his/her own environment, and have their work to hand.

I am also available to help in the preparation of CV’s, Cover Letter writing, Personal Statement writing, speech writing etc. Proofreading essays and assignments is also part of the service from The WRITE STUFF.
I work as a freelance writer for a number of publications, the current being, Irish Music Magazine and Mummy Pages
Check out my facebook page at The WRITE STUFF.
My description on the Facebook page reads as follows:
The WRITE STUFF will offer a writing service: freelance writing/English tutoring. Leaving Cert and Junior Cert Grinds available. Freelance writing for various publications. CV preparation. Cover Letter writing. Application form filling. Personal Statement writing. Creative Writing skills for essay writing etc. Proof reading for essays and assignments.
Words can tell a lot about a person. When applying for a job, your CV or letter of application is the first meeting between YOU and your prospective employer. Using the right words can help get you to the next stage.
Understanding your English literature can help you engage in better conversation, structure a better argument, and think independently.
Words are more than mere letters strung together on the page.
The WRITE STUFF can help you find and use those right words!
If any Youth Clubs or other community groups wish to avail of this service: perhaps arrange an English revision course or a CV preparation course, just use the contact details below.
For more details or information regarding the service send a wee message via the facebook page, or call Gráinne on 0863148541

Friday, 7 November 2014

WOW Festival 2014 Derry

Do you fancy engaging with an amazing group of women over the coming days? You can at the Playhouse in Derry. This weekend celebrates  everything that women and girls have achieved and also looks at the obstacles they face that are preventing them reaching their full potential. Join the girls for a weekend of keynote speeches, talks, debates, discussions, workshops, performances and speed mentoring. All WOW events are free and tickets are not required.

All are welcome to the WOW Derry-Londonderry Festival from 7 - 9 November, presented by the NWWC North West Women's Collective - Derry/Donegal and the WOW at Southbank Centre in the Playhouse Theatre. Full programme here: WOW Derry
Funded through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City Council's Legacy Fund. Sponsors and partners include Playhouse Derry, Guildhall Press (Derry), Westway Films Productions LTD, City Hotel Derry, Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure, Dog Ears, MPA Recruitment and WOW at Southbank Centre.
WOW celebrates everything that women and girls have achieved and also looks at the obstacles they face that are preventing them reaching their full potential. Join us for a weekend of keynote speeches, talks, debates, discussions, workshops, performances and speed mentoring. All WOW events are free and tickets are not required.

For further information, please email:
Follow us on Twitter @nw_womens Hashtag: #wowderry2014 #


9:15am-4:45pm: First World War Exhibition - St Columb’s Cathedral
10:30am-6pm: WOW Market - Plaza
10:30am-6:30pm WOW Crèche - Community Room
10am-6pm: Coffee/Tea & Little Acorns Bookstore - Bar
11am-1pm: The Creative Path with Ursula McHugh - Art Room
11:30am-12:30pm: Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre - Theatre
11:30am-1pm: Speed Mentoring Gallery
11:30am-12:30pm: Mind Your Head Green Room
12:30pm-2pm: Anne Frank Exhibition Holywell Trust
1pm-2:30pm: Lunchtime Entertainment with Eve Belle, Micaela McGillan & Rachael Parkes - Theatre
1:30pm-2:30pm: Lunching With Literature with Jenni Doherty, Freya McClements, Hilary McCollum, Lynne Edgar & Debbie Caulfield - Gallery
1:45pm-4pm: Philomena (Film Screening) & Discussion with Hannah Poole - Actor’s Studio
2pm-3pm: Feminism and Christianity - an Oxymoron? with Grainne Doherty - Art Room
2pm-3:30pm: Flamenco Dancing - Dance Studio
2pm-5pm: Screenwriting Intensive Course - Holywell Trust
3pm-4pm Women In Politics hosted by Shami Chakrabarti - Theatre
3pm-4pm: Jobs For The Boys - Gallery
3pm-4pm: Tales Of The Sisterhood - Green Room
3:30pm-5:30pm: Jewellery-Making Workshop - Art Room
4:30pm-5:30pm: In Conversation with Martina Devlin - Actor’s Studio
4:30pm-5:30pm: In conversation with Shami Chakrabarti - Gallery
4:30pm-6pm: Lesbian Style by Hillary Collum - Theatre
4:30pm-5:30pm: Womb Politics – The Mammy Wars chaired by Hannah Poole - Dance Studio

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Mary Coughlan woos Culdaff.

As I got out of my car last night in Culdaff I wondered to myself why I didn't just sit at home by the warm fire. The rain was beating down and the wind it was a blowing. As I entered the backroom of McGrory's I forgot about my warm fire and immediately experienced a different kind  of warmth. The warm welcome and the warm atmosphere that is the infamous backroom at McGrory's. I'd forgotten how special and magical this place really is.
Mary Coughlan and her keyboard player James Delaney came on stage at 9pm. Coughlan never fails to deliver great banter as well as amazing vocals. And that is exactly what she delivered last night in Culdaff. From the onset to near 11pm she entertained with music, song, craic and stories. She told us how she'd stopped off yesterday in Carndonagh at 'Doherty's newsagent' (my cousin in-laws shop) and bought lotto tickets; how she and James got lost on way to Donegal, and so many other entertaining tales. There was laughter and there was near tears, especially as Mary told us that this performance was on her mother's 10th anniversary. She dedicated a very special song to her mother and indeed all our dead, last night. Coughlan's naked honesty and her unique voice make every moment of her time on stage special.
The audience never faltered in their attention to Coughlan's singing last night. The power of her voice had a spell-bounding effect on everyone. Complete focus was on the music. And it never disappointed. She sang such classics as 'I'd rather go blind', 'Seduced', 'Poison Words' and so many many more.
Last night was a rewarding two hours of special music. Mary Coughlan must surely be one of the greatest female vocalists within our island of Ireland. This hugely talented, straight talking, authentic vocalist could have been in a New York lounge or a London basement venue last night, but she was in McGrory's backroom in Culdaff. And what an honour it was to be a part of such an intimate, special night.