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IRISH NEWS PUB MAGAZINE Irish Culture, Travel, Music, Sport & Much More!

Nº 01 2010

y p o c e e fr

TRAPATTONI ’S BOYS IN GREEN MARIAN KEYES CECELIA AHERN COUSIN BILL

ARTHUR GUINNESS LIMERICK ADARE: THE THATCHED HEAVEN RIVERDANCE

SHARON CORR

“DREAM OF YOU”


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IRISH NEWS PUB MAGAZINE

Produced by: Ace Publications Kvarnbacksvägen 116 168 74 Bromma Stockholm Sweden e-mail: irishnews@hotmail.com Editor: Noel Sheehy Contributors: Micil Glennon, Grace Fitzgerald Layout & Design: Corina Bermúdez Casas

INDEX Nº1 2010

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4 Travel: Limerick & Adare. The Thatched Heaven 8 Music: Sharon Corr, Cousin Bill 13 Arthur Guinness

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14 Football: Trapattoni 16 Rugby: A Nation Awaits. 18 Riverdance: The Final Leap 20 Irish Writers: Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern. P.S. I Love You

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22 Irish Movies 24 Irish Cooking: Beef & Guinness Stew 26 Comedy: Laughs at the Liffey What Are You Laughing At? Editor: Noel Sheehy

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27 Dylan Moran

Fáilte Readers, Welcome to the first issue of the Irish News Pub Magazine. Here we offer you a flavour of Ireland. Whether it’s travel, music, culture or sports we hope you will enjoy reading this publication. Over the years one thing has become clear regarding the Scandinavians visiting Irish pubs and that is their curiosity about Ireland, so we hope to tell you a little more about it. After eight years in Gothenburg I moved north to Stockholm to discover an abundance of quality Irish pubs. Apparently there are 1,600 Irish born people living here. In this issue we will look at the following Irish topics and more: Travel -Adare in county Limerick arguably Ireland’s finest Town; Music, cover story - Sharon Corr; Football - a right balls up; Rugby - review of 2009 and a look forward to 2010; Movies- the best ones; Riverdance - legends of the step, and Writers- talented Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern; a quick look at Arthur, the king of Guinness! If the dark nights are getting to you, and the French nightmares continue, lookout for a comedy club. Irish man Pete Taggart has his bold stand-up show, hosting raw talent weekly in Stockholm. I trust that you will enjoy your read and remember where to keep in tune with Irish developments. We will cover as many key areas as possible. If there are any topics you would like to see covered or if you know of an Irish pub without this magazine, mail us at : irishnews@hotmail.com

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That’s all for now, make sure to have a nice beverage to accompany you while you flick through this magazine! IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010 3


Limerick City

The City of limerick is the third largest city in Ireland and possibly the oldest, it dates from a 9th century Viking settlement along the river Shannon. And Shannon Airport is located just a few kilometres outside the city, which is perfect for one of the country’s main tourist destinations. Limerick city gets its name from the Gaelic language, Luimneach, which means grass of the horses which grew along the banks of the Shannon Estuary. The earliest settlement in the city, The King’s Island during the pre-Viking and Viking eras was called Inis an Ghaill Duibh, The Dark(haired) Foreigner’s Island. The name is recorded in Viking sources as Hlymrekr. The city dates from at least the Viking settlement in 812. The Normans redesigned the city in the 12th century and added much of the most notable architecture, such as King John’s Castle and St Mary’s Cathedral. The city was a fortress of the region - the first wall was built around the medieval city that became known as English Town or King’s Island. The native Irish were moved across the Abbey river to Irishtown where the wall was extended in the 14th century. It became a battleground in the 1650s when the invasion of Cromwell and his New Model Army led to the first siege of the city. The walls protected it for 12 months and helped the fight against two more sieges – the first in 1690 when supporters of William of Orange headed to Limerick, which was under the command of Patrick Sarsfield, after defeating King James II in the Battle of the Boyne. King johns Castle was erected between 1200 and 1210. It is well worth a visit as it’s an interesting tourist attraction. Its imaginative historical exhibition tells the story of Limerick and the story of the castle. Visitors can view a specially made film where actors play the key characters in the 1691 siege that ended with the Treaty of Limerick. King John, Lord of Limerick, minted his own coins. The Treaty Stone. This ended the Williamite war between the Jacobites and the supporters of William of Orange. It concluded the Siege of Limerick. The treaty was signed on 3rd October 1691. The Hunt Museum is one of Ireland’s greatest private collections of art and antiquities, dating from the Neolithic to the 20th Century, including works by Renoir, Picasso and Yeats. Works from medieval times, weapons and tools from the Celtic period. View the Mary Queen of Scots Cross, and see the Greek coin reputed to be “one of the 30 pieces of silver” paid to Judas for the betrayal of Christ. Dolores O ´Riordan, the voice of Limerick 4 IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010


Sports capital of Ireland Today Limerick is a trading city not that it has strayed The population of limerick is around 90,000 and it is the far from its roots. It is logistically well placed, linking sports capital of Ireland. Limerick is home to Ireland’s finCork and Galway. This commercial city has a strong est rugby clubs such as Garryowen, Young Munster and background in education reinforced by the University of Shannon. Thomond Park is centrally located and home Limerick. Until recently it was home to Dell computers, of the Munster Rugby team. In 2009 the Republic of Irethe largest IT Company in Ireland. Luckily the tourism land football team played two internatrade is still alive and kicking there. In tional games Australia and South Africa modern times it has lost none of its cre- A wonderful bird is the pelican, at Thomond Park. In soccer Limerick ativity - The Cranberries, and media His bill will hold more than his belican, FC have regrouped and will return to stalwart Terry Wogan, the late author He can take in his beak their spiritual home, the Markets field, Frank McCourt, and the late actor Rich- Enough food for a week ard Harris all come from Limerick. But I’m damned if I see how the helican! where hopefully they’ll get promoted. In the 70’s and 80’s they were one of Ireland’s main teams and met Real MaThe Limerick poem is famous worlddrid and Torino. Sam Allardyce was a player manager wide. This is normally five-lines, which intends to be for them in 1991-92. Ireland’s national sport of hurling witty or humorous, and is sometimes obscene with humorous intent. It is said to have its roots in the 18th is widely played in the city and its surrounding suburbs. century Maigue Poets of Ireland. Dixon Lanier Merritt Limerick reached the finals in 1974, 1980, 1994, 1996 was a poet who wrote the above well-known limerick and 2007 and is considered one of the top teams in the in 1910: game.

Tourist attractions in the city centre include: King John’s Castle (1212), St Mary’s Cathedral (1168), Hunt Museum, several seasonal tours (Angela’s Ashes walking tour of Limerick City, Georgian architecture, the historic Treaty Stone. The Jim Kemmy Municipal Museum/ Limerick Museum, is next to King John’s Castle. Adare village and the Foynes Flying Boat Museum on the outskirts of the city are also popular attractions.

IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010 5


Adare

The Thatched Heaven.

Surrounded in a wooden and lush countryside setting, Adare is widely regarded as being Ireland’s prettiest and most picturesque village. Situated on the river Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon river, Adare (Gaelic name: “Ath Dara” - the “ford of the oak” - from the combination of water and woodland) dates back, at least, to the early 13th century. During its long history, Adare, as a strategic location, has been the subject of many conquests, wars and rebellions. The old town of Adare, which stood on the northern bank of the river Maigue, near the Desmond castle, was destroyed during the 16th century wars. Almost all of the present village was built in the 19th century. The early developments were very haphazard but from about 1820, streets and buildings were laid out according to the then Earl of Dunraven’s design. He built houses and rented them, under various agreements, to his tenants, working on his estate lands. Today, Adare village has a rich wealth of heritage, as well as architectural and scenic beauty. Two groups of world famous ornate thatched cottages line part off the village’s broad main street, punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins. Thatched houses are an indispensable feature of Adare. One storey high buildings, of a rectangular plan. They have strong thick walls of stone and lime mortar, or stone and clay mortar, which support the roof. Each room usually occupy the full width of the house. The thatched roof is made of reed, which is cultivated especially along the rivers.

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The Trinitarian Abbey Situated next to the Heritage Centre, this is the only recorded Trinitarian monastery in Ireland. It was originally built by the Fitzgerald Clan for the Trinitarian order of monks in the early 13th century. This order of friars was founded in France, following the Holy-Land Crusades, with the main purpose of raising ransom money in order to rescue Christian captive taken, by the Moors, during the crusade wars. It is believed that the Trinitarian monks who came to Adare may have come from Scotland. The monastery was suppressed and badly damaged during the reign of King Henry VIII. Repaired and enlarged in the mid 19th century, the building is, today, called the “Holy Trinity Abbey” and is used as the local Roman Catholic Church. A visit to this historical and beautiful building is highly recommended Adare Manor Hotel The former family seat of the Earls of Dunraven, this magnificent Tudor, gothic-style, building stands along the meandering river Maigue, amid 1000 acres of lush parklands. In recent years, the Manor has been transformed into a world-class luxury hotel and now resembles a museum of architecture with wonderful assorted woodwork and stone carvings. Entering the grounds through the ornamental gates, long stretches of emerald green turf, ancient ruins and majestic trees are the settings that will be found for a unique, peaceful, atmosphere, where one can enjoy a stroll or a refreshing brisk walk, at anytime of day. The Augustinian Priory Situated within a short walk from the village centre (at the Limerick City end), the priory was founded

by the Earls of Kildare in the early 14th century. It became and remained the home of the Augustinian. Order until they were driven out, in the mid 15th century. The Priory was suppressed and badly damaged during the reign of King Henry VIII. Repaired and renovated during the early part of the 19th century, the building is regarded as a fine example of what a mediaeval Irish church looked like. The Franciscan Friary Located in the grounds of the Adare Manor Golf Club, the friary is a characteristic example of the monasteries erected in Ireland during the 14th and 15th centuries. It was founded in 1464 by Thomas the 7th Earl of Kildare, for the “Franciscan Friars of the Strict Observance”. Although now in ruins, the remaining walls show a remarkable outline of its former elegance. Many of its excellent proportioned gables remain in a good state, as does it’s graceful and beautiful seventy two foot central tower, soaring over a roofless nave and transepts, with gable ends gaunt against the skyline. The Desmond Castle The time-worn remains of this Anglo-Norman fortress stands on the bank of the Maigue river and viewable from the bridge. This castle was erected, within an ancient ring-fort, around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years. It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the Silken Thomas’s rebellion of 1536, when it was forfeited and granted to the Earls of Desmond. IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010 7


Sharon Corr Goes Sharon Corr is probably best known as being one quarter of the multi-platinum, internationally renowned family band ‘The Corrs’. A band that sold in excess of 35 million albums worldwide and counting. Text: Noel Sheehy Photo: Martin Richards Sharon was born in Dundalk, Ireland and began playing violin at the tender age of six. The band’s traditional Irish signature sound that she helped produce on fiddle certainly made ‘The Corrs’ an instantly recognizable and truly unique act but what is perhaps less well known is that Sharon not only added beautiful harmonies and soaring backing vocals but personally wrote or co-wrote many of the band’s hits. In her glittering career to date she has also been nominated for a Grammy in the US for her instrumental piece, ‘Rebel Heart’, which was commissioned by the BBC for a television drama. The band have also collected a Brit award and a host of other musical accolades. Global chart success and extensive touring has also meant Sharon and her family have performed for Pope John Paul II, The Queen, two US Presidents and Nelson Mandela to name but a few. After taking a few years out to have children she is back in the studio, writing and recording. Sharon has kept her stage and studio legs by taking part in many projects with friends including artists Bryn Terfel, Zucchero, Jean Michel-Jarre and Bill Whelan. In the few years these artists had Sharon either in the studio or on stage to add her unique presence both personally and musically to their work. Now, it is time for Sharon to take centre stage. Her album as a solo artist is due for imminent release; meanwhile Sharon and her band have been delighting crowds at the Isle of Wight and Glastonbury festivals with a storming set of her new tracks, an odd Corr’s favourite and some rocking traditional Irish tunes. Sharon sings lead, plays violin and piano.

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s Solo

The new album comprises a number of selfpenned tracks, Sharon plays violin throughout. She is joined by long-time Corrs’ sidemen Anthony (Anto) Drennan on lead guitar, Keith Duffy on bass, and Jason Duffy on drums with orchestral arrangements by Fiachra Trench, a collaborator on four of the Corrs albums. The first single, “It’s Not a Dream”, was released in Ireland and the UK in 2009. We look forward to what Sharon will delight us with in the coming months and years… Sharon’s album is due out in this year and is called: Dream of You.

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l l i b n i s u o c

The Best Of Both Worlds

Today Cousin Bill is the best known Irish-Swedish band in Scandinavia. They play in pubs and venues the length and breadth of Scandinavia. I remember my own delight at accidently stumbling upon Cousin Bill in an Irish pub in Helsinki. It was soon clear why that particular pub was Text: Noel Sheehy With their escalating popularity, 2010 is a big year for them with Irish and English dates in May and more importantly a CD release by March 2010! Cousin Bill has had a long journey, and now combines Irish and Swedish talent. Cousin Bill was formed in Wexford, Ireland in the late 90’s by Ian Maloney and Tommy Mahoney. The sole intention of the band was to produce original easy listening acoustic/electric songs. Ian and Tommy recruited the services of Risteard O’Dwyer (Bass) and Richie Roche (Drums) to play some gigs in their hometown to showcase the songs. Without a name the boys played their first gig in Wexford Arts Centre. The band toured Ireland constantly and released their second cd ‘Vanity’. Usual story, it sold out. Things in Ireland were becoming stagnant and Cousin Bill were offered a tour of Scandinavia. They took on a 10 week tour not realising that they had to play cover versions along with original material. An up-and-coming new band consisting of Eoin O’Connor and Dominic O’Shaughnessy were going on the same Scandinavian tour as Cousin Bill. Dom became ill and Ian was his replacement. After months of touring the Cousin Bill name was back with a new line-up. Constant touring took it’s toll and Ian recruited new Swedish members, Stefan Estulf and Kai Korhonen to become the newest Bill’s. The new members have now brought a new freshness and enthusiasm to Cousin Bill. The current line-up consists of Ian Maloney (lead vocals and guitar) Robbi Rommedahl (lead guitar and vocals) Dominic O’Shaughnessy (bass, keyboard, guitar and vocals) Stefan Estulf (drums) Check out www.myspace.com/cousinbillband. 10 IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010


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Arthur, The King Of Guinness Text: Noel Sheehy

Text: Noel Sheehy

Back in the 2001 I had the privilege of living on the south-side of Dublin. My neighbour was none other than the Guinness Brewery at St. James’s Gate. On walks to the city centre I always made two observations, the pigeons and the fragrant flavours coming from the brewery. I reckoned the pigeons also loved the aroma.

In Ireland you appreciate alcohol, whiskey and Guinness are the cornerstone of any Irish pub. However nothing could prepare me for the levels of interest or appreciation abroad for Guinness. And soon it’s not long before you wonder who the person behind the creation of Guinness Stout was and how it came about.

In politics, Guinness supported Henry Grattan, not least because Grattan wanted to reduce the tax on beer. He was one of the four brewers’ guild representatives on Dublin Corporation from the 1760s until his death. Like Grattan, Guinness was publicly in favour of Catholic Emancipation from 1793, but was not a supporter of the United Irish during the rebellion.

Arthur Guinness was born in the year 1725 and lived until 1803. He was an Irish brewer and the founder of the Guinness brewery business and family.

By 1767 he was the master of the Dublin Corporation of Brewers. His first actual sales of porter were listed on tax excise data. It seems that other Dublin brewers had experimented in brewing porter beer from the 1760s. Arthur’s major achievement was in expanding his brewery in 1797–99. Thereafter he brewed only porter and employed members of the Purser family who had brewed porter in London from the 1770s. The Pursers became partners in the brewery for most of the 1800s. By his death the annual brewery output was over 20,000 barrels.

The man has best been described as an entrepreneur, visionary and philanthropist. Arthur Guinness laid the foundations for Guinness Brewery. When he was 27 years old he inherited £100 from his godfather. Quite a lot of money back then as you can imagine. He invested the money in a brewery in 1755 at Leixlip, close to Dublin. In 1759, Arthur Guinness went to Dublin city and set up his own business. He got a long-term lease on the four-acre brewery at St. James’s Gate for an annual rent of £45.

Finally on the 24th September 2009 Guinness celebrated its 250th anniversary. During this day, which is referred to as Arthur’s Day, glasses were raised in memory of a remarkable man ...Cheers to Arthur Guinness.

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France Cheats Ireland Out Of World Cup Place.

No place for Ireland in the upcoming World Cup Finals 2010, no surprise there. The Irish team has never had the luxury of consistently qualifying for major tournaments. The 2002 World Cup was the last competition we qualified for, and we all know what a bitter experience that became with the captain abandoning ship. Text: Noel Sheehy This time the surprise is not that we missed out on qualification, it’s the unjust nature of our exit. A quick post-mortem of the crucial game and the fallout leads us almost to the cast of a gangster movie. Of course the budget for the “movie” could vary depending on who qualified, for France it’s 100 million; for Ireland a fraction of that. (starring) Thierry Henry: the former Arsenal player we used to love and admire for his honest play, his deep runs from the wing, and the killer eye for goal. For him to say that he handled the ball instinctively,(which he did twice) is utter nonsense. Nowhere in the soccer manual is there any requirement to handle the ball in play unless you’re the bloody keeper. Thierry Henry is a disgrace to the game and his nation. How nice of him to wait 24 hours before saying something like “Oops maybe a replay would be fair.” Sepp Blatter: the FIFA main man who could right the injustice of allowing a replay went missing when it was a time for action. He could have stood up and ordered a replay in the name of “fair play” . But he is not nicknamed “Sepp Bladder” for nothing. Michel Platini: UEFA president and another culprit in this whole affair. A man of power but naturally, with him being French was he going to favour a replay? All this talk of fair play, and then when push comes to shove these people go into hiding. Martin Hansson: the Swedish referee had time to talk with the 4th official. He had time to over -rule, on the grounds of handball twice, from Henry prior to Gallas’ goal. And on top of that Sebastien Squillaci was offside. Instead the Swedish referee chickened out, probably all too aware of the man named above. Raymond Domenech: the French version of Stephen Staunton only more annoying. I met French fans before the playoffs and they declared that Ireland would win because they have a far better manager. This idiot Domenech would never agree to a replay. 14 IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010


For us, the Irish fans, the only peace of mind we can have is that France will be the most hated team in the 2010 World Cup, and I promise, the first on the plane home. The players will carry the guilt and their clueless manager will be found out, again! But we are left to look on with envy at the English team, blessed with a strong squad and easily the world’s best manager. I think the biggest annoyance is that Ireland looked destined to qualify: we had the rub of the green. Given was in the form of his life, surely one of the best keepers in the world. The Irish team is not a team of world class, but it’s well drilled, with honest hard working players, players who can hold their heads high, and us fans can do likewise. This injustice will strengthen the squad mentality and help us on to get on the plane for 2012!

A quick mention for Trapattoni, the Italian version of Jack Charlton, though with less stars at his disposal. Thanks for getting us so close to qualifying. Please blood more young players, particularly a left back and bury the hatchet with Andy Reid. Trapattoni has agreed to stay on for another two years. Whether the 70-year-old will fulfil his dream of leading the Republic to Brazil in 2014 for a careercapping swansong will depend on whether he can build on what he has started. He does have some real prospects coming through such as Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson and Everton’s Seamus Coleman. Finally, there is also the impressive sight of the new Lansdowne Road stadium on the Dublin skyline, awaiting its opening fixture in August 2010, when the Irish fans will once more clear their throats ahead of the qualifying campaign for Euro 2012. IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010 15


Rugby

A Nation Awaits

2009 was the most successful year in the history of Irish rugby. The national team won their first Grand Slam in 61 years and finished the year unbeaten, toppling the Tri-Nations and World Champions South Africa along the way. Leinster’s victory in the European Cup also added to the sense of achievement within Irish ranks. Text: Micil Glennon Irish rugby has been on a roller coaster ride for the past five years. Eddie O’Sullivan led Ireland to three Triple Crowns with the standout moment being the 2007 victory over England in Croke Park. For some reason (Celtic Tiger syndrome maybe?) we thought that all we had to do was turn up for the World Cup in France and we’d win. This proved not to be the case. The slump continued in the 2008 6 Nations with just two wins. In came Munster’s Declan Kidney but his second match in charge ended with a heavy defeat at home to the All Blacks. Since then Ireland have remained unbeaten. One of the most satisfying aspects of the 6 Nations triumph was the hard-fought nature of the wins. The last three games were won by a total margin of 10 points. Amongst all the heroes Brian O’Driscoll stood out. While the success was not a oneman effort it would have been unthinkable without the energy that the captain brought to the team. In the autumn internationals it was again O’Driscoll that set the standard for the rest of the team to follow. Having been out-muscled by the Aussies for the first hour the Irish remained in the game. A measured build-up by the pack along with a practiced backline move allowed the Leinster man to touch down for a converted try that levelled the game (20-20) with the last play.

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The Fiji game was the first full international to be played in the RDS but it was more notable for the debut of Leinster outhalf Jonathan Sexton. He showed great confidence running with the ball and scored seven kicks from seven attempts in a 41-6 victory. The last game of the calendar year brought the World’s number one team to Dublin. This was built up as an unofficial battle of the hemispheres as South Africa came in as Tri-Nations champions (as well as their series victory over the ultra-hyped Lions), and the Irish had beaten all in the 6 Nations. Declan Kidney opted for Sexton ahead of Ronan O’Gara and it proved to be a masterstroke. This kind of tinkering was unthinkable in the O’Sullivan era – indeed on the morning of the game the former Ireland coach wrote that it was not something he would have done. But Kidney is a different animal. His decision proved astute

and now leaves Ireland with two outhalves that can play against top opposition. Sexton scored all of the points in a 15-10 victory as Ireland recorded their third straight win against the Boks. On the injury front, Ireland will be without Luke Fitzgerald and Denis Leamy for the 6 Nations after they both suffered serious knee injuries against Australia and Perpignan respectively. So while Irish rugby is on a high right now, the upcoming 6 Nations will be a severe test. As hard as it was to win the Grand Slam, it will be even harder to repeat, with away trips to Paris and London. Scotland and Wales will come pumped-up to Dublin looking to take a scalp. The last three games also showed that Ireland still have problems at scrum time and this is not good news. Winning the championship on points difference is a more realistic target. Ireland’s 2010 6 Nations Fixtures: Kick off times are local to where game is played. Sat 6 Feb

14:30

Italy

Croke Park

Sat 13 Feb

17:30

France

Stade de France

Sat 27 Feb

16:00

England

Twickenham

Sat 13 Mar

14:30

Wales

Croke Park

Sat 20 Mar

17:00

Scotland

Croke Park

IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010 17


The Last Leap Scandinavia frequently gets a special treat: Ireland’s most famous export after Guinness comes to town and shows exactly why Riverdance is world renowned. Text: Noel Sheehy

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of Riverdance RIVERDANCE WAS CAST INTO THE LIMELIGHT as the interval act while Ireland held the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994. Soon it became the best music and dance show the world had ever seen. Few people realise the effort and thought put into creating one of the most dynamic shows in the world. Previously in Sweden I had the privilege to experience Riverdance at first hand. The weight of expectation within the hall was enormous and the crowd was not to be disappointed, especially those who wished to see something spectacular.

RIVERDANCE CAN BE SUMMED UP very easily. It is a show which mixes alternative types of music, song and dance together, to get the highest quality level possible. It is like a magical machine composed of many separate parts which all work together with remarkable results.

The setting was fantastic and each theme whether it was Irish post-famine era or Russian, it had the desired effect. The show featured amazing music, with many musicians using old or rare pipe instruments that you don’t get to see so often. Not only were the dancers capable of unbelievable movement but they were sporting some eye-catching costumes as well. For me the key moment was the re-enactment of the performance shown during the famous Eurovision Song contest. The sight and sound of about 50 tapping dancers across the stage was hair-raising.

Most of the dancers hail from Ireland with some other nationalities like American and British thrown in. Between them the dancers can boast of literally hundreds of championships won in Ireland and abroad. Most started dancing at tender ages in local dance schools and progressed to world championship level before being chosen to perform in Riverdance. Riverdance allows dancers the chance to perform together for the first time in a non-competitive way. The grace and eloquence of their soft-shoe dance and the power and precision of their hard-shoe routines, clearly display the endless hours of practice and their dedication to the art of Irish Dance.

THE RIVERDANCE SINGERS possess amazing voices closely interwoven with all the other elements of the show. The harmonies and solo passages bring echoes of an ancient mysticism. These singers have one thing in common: their love of Irish music and an urge to bring it to a world audience in the wonderful new guise showcased in this unique production. Finally it was a great feeling to see Riverdance and it was all the more special being Irish!

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Ireland’s Two Favourite Female

Marian Keyes Text: Noel Sheehy

Born September 10th,1963, Marian Keyes is an Irish novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for her work in women’s literature. She is as popular abroad as she is on Irish shores. Born in Limerick and raised in Monkstown, Keyes earned a law degree from Dublin University, but immediately disregarded it, left Ireland and became a waitress in London, feeling as though she did not deserve a well-paid career. Keyes began composing short stories after she found work in an accounts office, but initially had no intention of completing a novel, arguing that it would take too long. In this period of her life, she underwent a severe struggle with alcoholism, but overcame this in 1995 at a rehabilitation centre in Dublin, Ireland. Marian Keyes was in for a surprise, following a letter back from the publisher whom she’d sent her manuscripts to, she began work on a book, and thus her first feature-length story, Watermelon, was born. Known for her self-deprecation, Keyes often says that she “became a writer by accident”. Although many of her novels are known as comedies, they are often filled with dark themes including domestic violence, drug abuse, mental illness, divorce and alcoholism, most of which are loosely based on her own life experiences. She is regarded by her fans as a pioneer of the so-called ‘chick-lit’ genre; her stories usually revolve around a strong female character who overcomes numerous obstacles to achieve lasting happiness. Keyes currently lives in Dun Laoghaire with her husband Tony, after moving back from London in 1997. Her Fiction Books Watermelon (1995) Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married (1996) Rachel’s Holiday (1998) Last Chance Saloon (1999) Sushi for Beginners (2000) No Dress Rehearsal (2000) Angels (2002) The Other Side of the Story (2004) Anybody Out There? (2006) This Charming Man (2008) The Brightest Star in the Sky (2009) Her Non-fiction Books Under the Duvet (2001) Further under the Duvet (2005) Cracks In My Foundation in Damage Control - Women on the Therapists, Beauticians, and Trainers Who Navigate Their Bodies edited by Emma Forrest {2007) 20 IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010


e Novelists

Cecelia Ahern Cecelia Ahern is an Irish novelist, since 2004. In addition to publishing several novels, she has also contributed a number of short stories to various anthologies, for which all her royalties go to charity. Cecelia Ahern is currently a producer for the ABC comedy Samantha Who? starring Christina Applegate. Her writings can be compared to the work of Jessica Adams, Susie Boyt and Jenny Colgan.

She was born 1981 in Dublin, Ireland, she is the daughter of the former Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern. In 2000, she was part of the Irish pop group Shimma, who finished third in the Irish national final for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Her Writing Career When Cecelia was 21 she wrote her first novel, PS, I Love You. This got published in 2004 and was the number 1 bestseller in Ireland, the UK, U.S., Germany and Holland. It is sold in over 40 countries. The book was adapted as a popular movie starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. It was released in the US during December 2007.

Cecelia´s second book, Where Rainbows End, (2004) (titled Rosie Dunne or Love, Rosie in the U.S.A. , also reached number one in Ireland and the UK, and won the German CORINE Award in 2005. She has contributed to charity books with short stories such as Irish Girls are Back in Town and Ladies’ Night.

Her sixth book is called The Gift and was published in December 2008 in the UK. Cecelia´s most recent book entitled The Book of Tomorrow was published in October 2009.

At least three more of Cecelia’s books are currently being adapted as movies. Let us all hope they are as good as the first one.

Single Books 1. PS, I Love You (2004) 2. Where Rainbows End, (2004) (titled Rosie Dunne or Love, Rosie in the U.S.A. 3. If You Could See Me Now (2005) (titled A Silver Lining in the U.S.A. 4. A Place Called Here (2006) (titled There’s No Place Like Here in the U.S.A. 5. Thanks for the Memories (2008) 6. The Gift (2008) 7. The Girl of Tomorrow / The Book of Tomorrow

And if you haven’t seen that movie PS, I Love You, I strongly recommend it!

IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010 21


Major Irish Movies Today many movies lack that human touch, instead focusing on graphics and effects. Irish movies seldom lack the sense of reality. Ireland has produced a number of great movies over the years. Here are the best of them with a short synopsis. Text: Noel Sheehy Some Mother’s Son. Written and directed by Irish filmmaker Terry George in 1996, and based on the true story of the 1981 hunger strike in the Maze Prison, in Northern Ireland. Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner Bobby Sands (played by John Lynch) led a protest against the treatment of IRA prisoners, claiming that they should be treated as prisoners of war rather than criminals. The mothers of two of the strikers, fight to save their sons’ lives.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley. This is a 2006 Ken Loach film set during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923). This drama tells the story of two County Cork brothers, played by Cillian Murphy and Pádraic Delaney, who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the British Empire. It takes its title from the song “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”. Widely praised, the film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie was so realistic that many elderly Irish people were not able to fully view it.

Inside I’m Dancing. Michael Connolly (Steven Robertson) is a 24-year-old who has cerebral palsy, and a long-term resident of the Carrigmore Residential Home for the Disabled, run by the formidable Eileen (Brenda Fricker). His life is transformed when the maverick Rory O’Shea (James McAvoy), who suffers from muscular dystrophy, moves in. Michael is stunned to discover that fast talking Rory, who can move only his right hand, can understand his almost unintelligible speech. Rory’s dynamic and rebellious nature soon sparks a flame in Michael, introducing him to a whole new world outside of Carrigmore. Omagh was a film dramatising the events surrounding the Omagh bombing and its aftermath. It was first shown on television in both countries in June 2004. Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan (Paul Kelly) was killed in the bombing, is played by Gerard McSorley, originally from Omagh. Out of respect for the residents of Omagh, it was filmed on location in Navan, County Meath. Garage. A simple story of a simple man. Brilliant performance by Pat Short, an actor/comedian. The film tells the story of a lonely petrol station attendant and how he slowly begins to come out of his shell. An award wining film which moves slowly along until the end exposes the sad life of the village idiot. My Left Foot. Arguably the best Irish movie made in 1989 portraying tragedy, hope and comedy in the life of Christy Brown. Daniel DayLewis got an Oscar for his best ever performance. With a top cast, set in “poor old” Dublin, it’s a compelling movie which will have you happy and sad within seconds. Definitely the movie, which put Ireland on the Hollywood map for the last 20 years. The Field. An epic movie, starring the late Richard Harris as the Bull McCabe. This tragic tale based on a story involving a farmer’s fight to keep a field which holds a secret. Richard Harris received an Oscar nomination for his performance in one the most powerful and critically acclaimed movies ever produced. 22 IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010


Michael Collins. This is a fantastic, historic movie staring a host of Irish and International stars, including Liam Neeson playing the part of Michael Collins. Controversially based true story depicts Ireland’s troubled times, beginning with the 1916 rising. A great way to understand the history of Ireland. Angela’s Ashes (Called Angel On the Seventh Step in Sweden) An excellent but sad movie based on the book by the late Frank McCourt. The movie is set in the wet depressing city of Limerick. The story shows a boy’s life during hard times, while his brothers die and his father struggles with alcoholism. And while it is sad there are also some laughs as well. The movie shows signs of hope and eventually the boy’s fortunes change. The movie is somewhat different from the book though both are exceptional. In The Name Of The Father. A tragic and disturbing real life story about innocent Northern Irish people, who were falsely imprisoned for an IRA bombing by corrupt English police. Amazing performance by Daniel Day-Lewis among others. There are no laughs in this serious and shocking tale. The Boxer. Another Northern Ireland movie which has a love story running parallel with the on going troubles there. It provides a good example of the struggle people were faced with living alongside terrorism. It is quite depressing and romantic but an interesting movie. The General. Good movie which was based on one of Ireland’s biggest gangsters. The Irish version of this movie was a good insight into Dublin’s gangland. Critics felt the movie glorified a thug. The Snapper. A funny and cruel comedy set in Dublin. Based on a book by Irish writer Roddy Doyle. For many Irish people it was their favourite Irish comedy. Story is based on a working class family, whose daughter becomes pregnant by a “friend” of the father’s. The Commitments. Comedy about a group of talented musicians based in Dublin. Some laughs thrown in along with plenty of music and singing, again based on working-class Dublin. Based on a book by Irish writer Roddy Doyle. The Van. Another great movie from a Roddy Doyle book, and arguably even funnier than The Snapper. A harsh sense of humour, the movie is based on Dublin characters down on their luck in the early 90`s. Similar cast to that of The Snapper with fantastic acting. Intermission. This movie is really what you would call an episode movie, which are really growing in popularity. There is a unique ring to this movie. However, it’s not all laughs as the characters have all been through the mills. It doesn’t try to dress Dublin up in Hollywood fashion and depicts a harshness that is very real. Veronica Guerin. This is arguably the saddest story to hit our screens for years. The movie itself is direct and harsh while at the same time highly accurate and moving. Veronica Guerin was a talented, brave journalist who was given the job of crime coverage for an Irish newspaper. She died a hero and is someone whom we should all admire and respect greatly. The film is one we can respect for telling an important story, even if it was a brutal one. This Is My Father. This is a fantastic 1998 film directed by Paul Quinn. It portrays a tragic love story set in late 1930s Ireland, focusing on the relationship between, a beautiful, feisty 17 year-old girl from a middle class family, and Kieran O’Dea (Aidan Quinn), a shy labourer in his early 30´s. The film is told as an interweaving of the 1990s, and the events of the 1930s. The story highlights the issues of prejudice, classism, alcoholism and social and religious conservatism in rural Ireland. IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010 23


Beef & Guinness Stew Cold outside? Miserable? Single? In a relationship? Divorced and on emotional death row? Either which way, Irish food writer Grace Fitzgerald, guarantees that this is the stew for you. Imagine a tender cube of deliciously savoury gravy-drowned meat falling apart in your mouth with intense but mellow earthy Guinness flavours? Now imagine that this winter-warming stew takes only 30-40 minutes of mild standing, chopping and frying activity in the kitchen. Not too strenuous considering once you have it all in the pot and in the oven, you have nothing to do for 3-4 hours but bake potatoes an hour before serving. But worry not. There will be left-over Guinness involved to help with the passing of the time. To feed 4 Irish people (or 6 Swedish), you will need:

How to cook the stew

1. 2. 3. 4.

Put the dry seasoning into a plastic sealable bag and shake. Add the cubes of beef and toss about until they are all evenly covered for frying. Pour a little oil and throw a knob of butter into the casserole pot and put on a medium-hot heat on the hob.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

½ - ¾ kilo of beef (Grytabiff). ¼ kilo of kidneys (optional). Mushrooms; two large flat (field) mushrooms. Two large yellow onions; roughly chopped into relatively smallish pieces. Two carrots. Beef stock; no more than 2 teaspoons. Guinness! 2/3 of a 33cl bottle, and a few more to pass the time when the stew is in the oven. Seasoning; salt, black pepper, powdered English mustard (a pinch), flour (a fist). Two large spoons of oyster sauce.

Now briskly remove each piece of dusted meat and place carefully into the casserole pot to fry – the key is to leave enough room around each cube and not to overcrowd the pan, then after a couple of minutes of frying turn each chunk of meat over, (some of the bigger chunks might benefit from a minute or two on their sides as well) . Fry the meat in 3-4 batches in total depending on the size of your pot, in turn, lifting out each batch to rest on a plate/bowl/whatever as it is nicely dark golden brown, and adding a little oil and butter before the next batch goes in. Now fry the onions and add to the resting meat, and then the mushrooms. When they look slightly crispy/golden, put all the ingredients back into the pot and add the stock, oyster sauce, the Guinness and carrots and enough water until the liquid just covers the meat. Stir, and scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom – vital for imparting flavour. Put the lid on the casserole and pop it in the oven for 3-4 hours at a low heat. E.g. Gas Mark 2/300F/150 C. Check and stir each hour. Pour yourself a Guinness (or a smooth shiraz) and prepare for gourmet heaven. This is slow food at its best.

Grace Fitzgerald has PR launched and lead one of Ireland’s fastest growing Slow Food conviviums (Slow Food Limerick & Region), and is a published food writer and restaurant reviewer with Ireland’s Food and Drink Bible - Food & Wine Magazine and Gothenburg’s Monthly magazine. (graceannfitzgerald@gmail.com)

Photo: Corina Bermúdez Casas 24 IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010


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What Are You Laughing At?

The ‘Laughs At The Liffey’ comedy club opened October 8th 2009 at the Liffey Irish pub in historic Gamla Stan in Stockholm. It was the first English language comedy club in Sweden. Text: Noel Sheehy The club was set up to provide a space where international and Swedish comedians could perform stand-up comedy in English. The idea for a comedy club came from Irishman Pete Taggart and involved Louis Zezeran an Australian. International stars such as the controversial Canadian Jason Rouse occasionally appear at the club. Well-known Swedish comedians such as Magnus Betnér and Mårten Andersson have performed their stand-up acts in English at The Liffey before going on tour in the UK. Comedy in Sweden There is a big appetite for comedy in Sweden. Comedians like Eddie Izzard, Pablo Francesco and Dylan Moran regularly tour and American and British comedy shows are a regular feature on Swedish TV. Irish comedians like Spike Milligan, Dylan Moran, Dara Ó Briain, Ardal O’Hanlon, Sean Hughes and Ed Byrne are well known internationally.

Pete Taggart

comedians to look at:

Zeid Andersson, stand-up comedian, singer, lecturer and actress. Her style is ironic, personal and acerbic.

Pete Taggart says, “We like to surprise our audience as they don’t know who is going to appear next. Sometimes we’ll also throw in a mystery guest comedian to keep the entertainment interesting.” Pete explains, “All comedians know it is the relationship between the comic and his or her audience that determines success and we don’t censor this”.

Kodjo Akolor now making the breakthrough to TV. Kodjo has appeared at most of the stand´up comedy clubs in Sweden.

The comedy club has comedians deciding to try stand-up comedy after they have seen a show, because they either loved what they saw or thought they could do just as well”.

Isak Jansson, screwball comedy with socially commentary. Isak likes cheese, autumn and Perry Como.

26 IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010

Open door policy This laid back tradition is continued at The ‘Laughs At The Liffey’ club. The comedy club is unique in that it doesn’t audition comedians before they appear or categorise them as rookies or featured comedians. Any comedian can ask for a performance slot and it is the audience who rate them as good or bad.

Pete Taggart’s comedy began when he shared a flat with the Monty Python director Terry Gilliam. He’s been in BBC TV productions and comedies in Ireland and the UK.


Ireland’s Lovable Comic

Dylan Moran Text: Noel Sheehy

Famed for his unique style of standup, his intellectual and bitter wit, Dylan Moran is a regular visitor to our shores here in Scandinavia. But life was not always this easy for the cynic we all admire. He was on tour in 2009 and it was an absolute privilege to see him.

Dylan Moran has won more awards than you can shake a stick at. But more importantly the man is hilariously funny. With his laid back style he fools the audience into thinking he is rambling on, when all of a sudden he provides an incredible analysis linking up all his comments. He is most famous for his observational comedy

Hopefully you will get a chance to see him live in 2010. He creates a special atmosphere but this is not always caught on camera.

Early life Dylan was born in Navan, County Meath in 1971. He attended St. Patrick’s Classical School, where he experimented early on with stand-up, (with fellow comic Tommy Tiernan) and left at age 16 with his Leaving Certificate. Career Dylan fell into comedy at age 20 after watching Ardal O’Hanlon and other comedians perform at Dublin’s Comedy Cellar. He began his stand-up in The International Bar in 1992 and, got a good reception. A year later he won the So You Think You’re Funny award at the Edinburgh Festival. In 2000, his sitcom Black Books was first aired on Channel 4. The sitcom was about a miserable, unsociable,book shop owner. The second series was televised in 2002, and the third, aired in 2004. The sitcom was to prove quite popular. 2009-10 Dylan’s latest stand-up show What it is has been playing to packed-out houses across the UK, Australia and Scandinavia. For all those who have not been lucky enough to secure seats there is finally the opportunity to see his new live DVD which is out now. ‘What It is’ was recorded Live in Australia during Dylan’s recent sell out visit. Dylan stumbles onto the stage, picks up his audience and sweeps them away on a nicotine-stained cloud. What it is will leave you breathless, crying with laughter and nursing the sweetest of hangovers. If you haven’t seen him yet check out his clips on youtube, his piece on Germany is hilarious.

IRISH NEWS _ Nº 1 2010 27


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