Fingal County Council is delighted to announce a fantastic new traditional music series “TradFest - the Fingal Sessions”, which is set to air on RTÉ for six weeks which began (Friday 23rd February). It will showcase the spectacular Malahide Castle venue in Fingal. The series was filmed during TradFest 2023 and has already showcased Fingal to an international audience in the United States.The series where you can take a journey through the sounds and stories of Ireland, can be viewed on the primetime RTÉ1 slot of 8.30pm on Friday evenings, and will be available on the RTE Player. Hosted by Fiachna Ó Braonáin and featuring legendary guests Judy Collins, Moya Brennan from Clannad, Eddi Reader, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh from Altan, Ralph McTell, Gemma Hayes, Liam Ó Maonlaí from Hothouse Flowers, Actor Stephen Rea reading the words of Seamus Heaney, Cathy Jordan from Dervish, De Danann founder Frankie Gavin, Niamh Regan and many more come there is certainly a treat in store for traditional music fans with this series. The series was filmed as part of TradFest 2023 when the Ireland’s largest traditional and folk music festival expanded to Fingal for the first time. The TradFest Fingal programme was expanded greatly in 2024 with many sold out events in our historic sites and picturesque locations in the Fingal region as we celebrated and experienced extraordinary live Irish music and culture as well as the new FingalFringe. The pinnacle of the festival was the premiere of “Ocean Child” a newly commissioned musical narrative, composed by Neil Martin based on the tragic tale of the RMS Tayleur and featuring Stephen Rea, Neil and his West Ocean String Quartet, and Louise and Michelle Mulcahy. The wonderful Mulcahy sisters and acclaimed actor Stephen Rea will also feature in the Fingal Sessions series.

The musical narrative of ‘OCEAN CHILD’, is composed by Neil Martin, and is wrought from the tragic sinking of the RMS Tayleur off Lambay Island on January 21st, 1854. This is the world premiere of this newly commissioned work and it will be performed in St Patrick’s Church Donabate for the very first time ever on Sunday 28th January 2024. In this suite, a spoken narrative, drawn from contemporaneous newspaper reports and witness accounts, marries with an original score embracing string quartet, uilleann pipes, harp, flute and concertina. The performers include the world-famous actor Stephen Rea, The West Ocean String Quartet, Louise and Michelle Mulcahy. It was Commissioned by Templebar Trad Fest and made possible through the generosity of Fingal County Council. Remember the time and date: The Concert is at 6pm on the Sunday January 28th in St Patrick’s Church Donabate, tickets on sale Thursday November 16th on tradfest.com

(Q) What were you like as a kid?
(A) As a kid I was very lucky that my parents let me try many things. I was always trying something new, whether it was guitar, drums, piano, singing or dancing. I played the fiddle from a young age and played in the local Irish centre in Liverpool. We would compete every year in the fleadhs and travel to Ireland. As I got a little bit older, I decided I wanted to play guitar and have done so ever since the age of 10. My brother Nathan was a huge influence on me growing up. When he started gigging, I was always with him, this is how I first became interested in performing - the rest is history.
(Q) Are you looking forward to starring in the new Beauty and The Beast Panto at The Lark
Balbriggan throughout December?

(A) I can’t wait to be playing the Beast in The Lark’s first ever pantomime. It’s such an honour for me to be included in the cast for this production in such an amazing, brand new, state of the art venue. I love the story and grew up watching Beauty and the Beast, I’m very happy to be doing my first production of this amazing story.
(Q) What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
(A) In my spare time when I’m not in the studio, performing or song writing, I love chilling with Lenny my dog and travelling around with him. I try to get back to Liverpool every chance I can get to see friends and family and often take Lenny with me.
(Q) What’s your favourite food?
(A) Favourite food has to be a Christmas dinner! Can’t be beaten!
(Q) What’s one of your happiest memories?
(A) One of my happiest memories has to be winning Dancing with the Stars in 2018. This was a huge achievement for me as I’d only moved over to Ireland in 2017 and it was a huge boost for everything in my career. Another huge achievement for me was playing a headline show in Dublin’s Vicar Street.
(Q) What’s your favourite film and why?
(A) Favourite films are the Harry Potter movies and my favourite one is probably Goblet of Fire. I watch all of the films at least once, every year.
(Q) If you had to swap places with anyone for one day, who would it be and why?
(A) Completely random, but I would swap places with someone out of the Liverpool football team, probably Trent Alexander Arnold. Always been a big Liverpool supporter and would love to see what life is like on match day.
(Q) You can invite four people (dead or alive) to your dinner party, who would they be and why?
(A) Paul McCartney, John Lennon - both grew up around the corner from me and I would love to hear stories about their life growing up. Juergen Klopp - would love to chat to him about Liverpool and football in general. Peter Kay - loved watching his DVDs growing up. He’s one of my favourite comedians and I imagine he’d be great craic at a dinner party.
(Q) What else is happening in Jake Carter’s world in the coming months?
(A) I have a brand-new single coming out called Milk &; Honey which I can’t wait to release. I also have a 5 track EP which I’ll be releasing at the start of next year. I am also announcing some brand-new live shows with my band in the coming weeks including a Dublin date which I can’t for!

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Peninsula Art would like to say a big Thank you for the support and positive feedback received for our exhibition at the Hand on 26th & 27th August. It was most encouraging and heartening to see so many people viewing and enjoying our Art, and an even bigger thank you to those who purchased! We would also like to thank those in Fingal County Council who looked after us up to and over the two days - Rafe Cossigan, Senior Community Officer for Fingal County Council, Dean Mulligan, Fingal Councillor,, Corina Johnston, Local Labour Representative, and Duncan Smith, Labour TD, and last but not least Ùisce Eireann for use of their railings.

Donabate Village Open Air Art Exhibition is happening in August! Come take a walk down our open air Art Gallery on Uisce Eireann’s railings at The Hand from 11am to 5pm, Saturday & Sunday. If you are interested in showing your work, there are a few places available. Make contact with Peninsula Art Group by email to mareseart@eircom.net.

Many thanks for the help, advice and support from Corina Johnston, Labour Party local Area Representative. Duncan Smith, TD, Labour Party. Rafe Costigan, Senior Community Officer, Fingal County Council and Cllr Dean Mulligan,Independent4Change.

An inspirational young Balbriggan man has produced a fascinating anthology shining a spotlight on the town’s creative talent. Motivated by a desire to connect with other creative people, illustrator, designer and writer Matthew Kelly, 21, from Clonard Court, received funding from Fingal County Council’s Our Balbriggan Placemaking Fund for the publication ‘Dear Balbriggan.’ The anthology was launched at the Our Balbriggan Hub at Georges Square on Thursday, December 15, and is set to further boost Balbriggan’s growing reputation as a centre for the arts. The launch was attended by many of the artists and creatives featured in the anthology which will be available free to those in attendance. ‘Dear Balbriggan’ is a 144-page love letter to the creative heart of Balbriggan, featuring creative and feature writing, as well as poetry, art and illustration, photography, recipes and crafts. Matthew, who is deeply passionate about his home place and anxious to promote it in the best possible light, works with Thérapie Clinic, one of Europe’s leading medical aesthetic clinics, and has been commissioned for projects by Fingal County Council and the Mansion House. He has seen his work showcased several times in national print and digital publications, as well as at the Fingal Poetry Festival and in Mental Health Ireland’s Thrive campaign. He is currently working on his first book, ‘Porter Loves Cleo.’ Matthew, a past-pupil of Ardgillan College and former student at the National College of Art and Design, set out to create an anthology in the style of one of the world’s great magazines. “I wanted to produce something in the style of the New Yorker magazine with essays, fiction, illustrations, and poetry,” said Matthew. “And I know I am very lucky to do the work I do. So if I can do the right thing for my home place, why would I not do it? “I felt it could be a vehicle to connect with creative people in the area and highlight the artistic side of Balbriggan. “There is a lot of creative talent here, it is important to shine a spotlight on it and ‘Dear Balbriggan’ allowed me connect further with it.”

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A Malahide artist who has reimagined still-life from dark, cluttered and old fashioned to bright, vibrant and eye-catching will showcase at Ireland’s top art fair, Art Source, at the RDS. Over 15,000 people are expected to attend the year’s biggest and most exciting art show from November 11-13, featuring 160 of the best contemporary Irish and international artists and galleries. The move by Malahide based Susan Cairns, a former watercolourist, to still life and oils, was a major turning point in her journey as a painter.“Taking old, broken, unwanted and often forgotten everyday objects, my ambition through painting is to capture character and beauty, transforming the usual into something unique and wonderful,” said Susan, who has exhibited across Ireland and the UK. With many years spent drawing and watercolour painting, her current work in oil has evolved and developed into a style that is very identifiable, clear and detailed.“I studied Interior Design in college, but the bit I loved most was the drawing aspect of the course.“I knew at that stage my heart lay in fine art, so I took art lessons just as a hobby like many people do. From there, I just could not see myself doing anything else.“I took art lessons in my 20s. My teacher, Mairead Doyle, was fantastic. She allowed me develop and explore, allowing my style of painting to emerge. The idea of it being dark, cluttered and old fashioned was replaced with it being bright, vibrant and eye-catching. An exhibition of works by Damien Hirst, the English artist who recently burned hundreds of his artworks, will be the centrepiece of Art Source. The fair will also play host to a unique sculpture garden featuring over 40 top Irish and international artists, including works by renowned sculptors such as Patrick O’Reilly, Salvador Dali, Giacinto Bosco, Ian Pollock, Eamonn Ceannt, Bob Quinn, Anthony Scott and Sandra Bell. Irish art lovers also have the unique chance to get their hands on 100 pieces of original artwork for €100 each on a first-come, first-served basis on the opening morning of the show - Friday, November 11.The show will also feature Source Your Own Art, a free children’s pop-up art workshop where youngsters are invited to express themselves creatively in response to the art they see at the fair.

The award winning writer Cecil Allen is the grandson of the famous actor and writer Ir Allen. Cecil is the author of the hugely popular novels ‘The Actor’ and ‘Constructing Alice.’ He is a retired college lecturer from the Dublin Institute of Technology and holds a BA from Indiana University and an MFA from the University of Minnesota. He was a broadcaster with RTE for over twenty years and represented Ireland twice at International Toastmasters Competitions. He is the father of two sons and lives in Malahide with his wife Julie. Cecil writings centres on our common humanity and ability to function in times of stress. His writings explore our vulnerabilities and the often forgotten reserves of strength and intelligence we can marshal when required. One of the short stories from ‘The Avenue,’ Mr Dunnock’s Day was featured in a new anthology of short stories which was published in September 2022. About the book - The Avenue - The year is 1950, World War II is over, food rationing is nearly finished and the word teenager has just been invented. There are nineteen identical yellow-brick terraced houses on one side of the Avenue and twenty on the other yet each house is a world of its own and as different from the next as the people who live in them. The people of the Avenue include a woman who defies convention, a man who confronts a despotic clergyman, an inquisitive woman who never leaves her bed, a long-lost father, a woman with a disturbing secret and a man with an empty box of chocolates. Told with insight and humour these tales of growing up, religion, marriage, emigration, mental health, widowhood and old age reminds us of the small but important moments of everyday living. ‘The Avenue’ will be published and launched in the Malahide Library on the 5th October. Admission is free and open to all.

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By Jack Shanley

As we approach the 55th anniversary of ‘Nights Of Cabiria’, I felt it was an opportunity to reflect on the great Federico Fellini’s Italian classic. The 1957 film is a wo-hour long conversation with the heart, soul and spirit of the audience. ‘Nights of Cabiria’ is a deep, heartbreaking and sorrowful, yet eloquent story that follows the main character, Cabiria, a street walker who dreams of a better life. Unfortunately, life isn’t particularly too kind to her but nevertheless, she looks for meaning through romantic love.This happy-go-lucky character, the embodiment of sadness, pain and bad luck, deals with the unfortunate natures of life as she smiles through the tears. The film is the transcendence of the truth of life reflected through the magic of the projector straight onto the splendid screen for our eyes to witness life instead of living it. It is very much character driven and although it’s a sad film, it’s also quite funny, poignant and enjoyable to watch. Not only is the true essence of life represented in the material but it also provides two hours’ entertainment.Fellini, the Italian maestro, left his imprint in all thefilms he directed for us to enjoy forever. ‘Nights OfCabiria’ is one of his best films and stands out because of the character of Cabiria at the helm of the story. Cabiria, an invincible woman with an unbreakable human spirit, is someone we can all identify with.Though she has deflating experiences like being pushed into the Tiber River and being led-on, she repeatedly opens her heart, hoping to find love and stability. ‘Nights Of Cabiria’ has also been a hugely influential Film, going on to influence the musical ‘Sweet Charity’ (1967).It also won many awards including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1957. Like good wine, it gets better with age and I give it a score of Five Stars.You can buy ‘Nights of Cabiria’ at Tower Records for €16.99. Director: Federico Fellini – Rating: PG - Genre: Drama/Romance - Run Time: 1h 58m Language: Italian. •For more film content please follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram. Nights of Cabiria (1957) – IMDb

“The sea, that blue end of the world”…- Elizabeth Barrett Browning - Now in its third year, the Fingal Poetry Festival weekend will run from the 15-18th September following its launch at the Illumination of Floraville on Thursday, September 1st. The Festival celebrates the light that poetry brings to our lives and the sea, which is precious to all and in peril.The full programme is available on our website www.fingalpoetryfestival.comExpect to find poetry in unexpected places — on shop windows, pavements — and, colourfully illuminated and projected at Floraville, our lovely little park right in the heart of town beside the Library. The Festival weekend will have something for everyone — from an aerial dance spectacle to poetry walks through the High Woods of Ardgillan Castle and Red Island, lunchtime poetry readings, glittering evenings filled with live music and an especially commissioned film poem by Pat Boran. We hope to welcome the next generation of poets through exhibitions of local pupils’ poems in Fingal Libraries, a visit by Laureate na nÓg Áine Ní Ghlinn, a Family Poetry Fest, and other fun family-friendly events. If you would prefer to participate online, come along to our virtual ‘Night Sky’ or ‘An Dán ar Ardán’ poetry workshops! In a unique event on Saturday, the Deaf Poets’ Society will share their work, voiced by an interpreter — have a look at our website programme for a full list of ISL interpreted events. As ever, the Irish language is a pillar of the Festival. We would love to see you at our bilingual poetry readings, Comhrá & Craic, the Clinic Leaghair (Book Clinic),or the Seomra Open Mic on Sunday. Reaching out into the wider Fingal community, we will have three workshops in Fingal schools.Enda Coyle-Greene, Artistic Director, said “At our previous ‘live’ events, I’ve loved the reactions of our audiences, especially perhaps those people who mightn’t normally have considered poetry to be ‘their thing‘ (or could just be nursing a hangover from school and exams!) Our programme this year features a broad range of poets from Ireland and elsewhere, including Leontia Flynn, Michael O’Loughlin, Aifric Mac Aodha, Kate Miller, Dermot Bolger, and many more, so there should be a reading to suit everyone.”Fingal Poetry Festival is supported by the Arts Council Ireland, Foras na Gaeilge, Fingal CountyCouncil, Fingal Libraries, Leabhair Pháistí Éireann, Laureate na nÓg, Poetry Ireland, and RTÉ Supporting the Arts. Our international poetry competitions, The Fingal Poetry Prize and An Fiach Dubh – the Irish language prize, are sponsored by DHL International Forwrding and Progressive Credit Union, respectively. If you would like to volunteer at the Festival, send us an email at fingalpoetryfestival@gmail.com!