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For this year's festival we wanted to showcase and celebrate the wonderfully positive response that the people of our village have had to this strange and challenging year. So many of us have started or expanded new

Oranmore Arts Festival

businesses, launched new community groups and projects, taken up new hobbies, or shaken the cobwebs off old ones. We put out a call to the entire community to show us how you've reacted to the challenge


of the past year. An overwhelming mass of talent came pouring in that makes us even more proud of the place we call home. 'Open Minds' documents our creative response to COVID in one place as a celebration of the

Local Businesses

power of art and creativity, in all of its many forms, to lift our spirits, give us hope, teach us something new about ourselves and our village. We hope the pages to follow do just that for

Community Groups

you. Enjoy.

Cover photo by Seán McConn


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Meet OAF

Pictured from top left: Lindsay Deely, Chairperson; Marcus Quinlan, Creative Director, Emma Breathnach, Volunteer Coordinator; Michael Cannon, Social Media; Gillian Carey, Community Liaison; Orla McCormack, Secretary; John Clancy, Corporate Fundraising; Megan FlynnDixon, Treasurer; Eleanor Leadbetter, Classical Music; Kevin Deely, Contemporary Music; Helen Fahy, Public Relations.

The Oranmore Arts Festival is a not-for-profit arts organisation with a driving motivation to provide access to the arts across all stratas of the local community. In doing so, it aims to increase appreciation for the breadth of local talent within the community by providing opportunities to showcase local artists, as well as bringing art of outstanding merit from around the world to the doorstep of the local populace.

The Oranmore Arts Festival core focus is a four-day long annual event held every May, with other smaller events held throughout the year in conjunction with complimentary national events and initiatives. By working year-round, and in close association with other community groups and local business owners, the Oranmore Arts Festival takes a ‘whole village’ approach in an effort to build community relationships. With close and careful consideration given to diversity and inclusion, the festival practices it’s remit in all that it does; art for everyone, right in our own village.

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2021 Festival Programme

The Oranmore Arts festival has been held annually on the first weekend in May since 2018. In March 2020, with two months notice, we somehow managed to celebrate the creativity in our wonderful community in an entirely online festival.

A full year on, finding ourselves still needing to keep a safe and social distance and limit our engagement with others, we as a committee are aware of the online fatigue so many of us suffer from.

With that in mind, rather than repeat an online festival, the Oranmore Arts Festival decided to curate a series of safe, socially distanced activities to celebrate the creativity that is still very much alive and well in our wonderful community. We will endeavour to mark this strange point in time that we’ve all experienced and maybe even surprise some of you with the end result!

From May 6th to 9th we have delviered activities for kids, families, adults and everyone in between, including this publication. We launch two 'inivatation to create' art projects to take part in safely from home with the See it your way Shape Art Activity and Painted Rocks project supporting Darkness Into Light. We buried a time capsule filled with items suggested by the community to represent this strange past year, and of course produced the publication you're now reading.

And there is still more to come. Two public art murals will be created throughout the month of May that we can all enjoy for years to come as we walk around our village. More on that to come!

We as a committee have never recognised the need to bring art and beauty and light and life to our community, and we deeply apprecaite the invovelment of everyone that has helped us along the way. Here's to a real in person festival in 2022 and for years to come.

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Humans of Oranmore by Megan FlynnDixon Social Inclusion Week October 2019, OAF held an event in the Oranmore Library called 'Diversify OAF!' We put on a great spread of international dishes with support from some of our favourite local establishments (think Basilico, The Polish Shop). We were delighted with the turn out (lots of families, Brothers of Charity) and we asked people to write ideas on sticky notes as to how OAF could be more inclusive. One sticky note said....."how about a Humans of Oranmore photo project?" Fast forward to 2020 and a call out for Department of Justice and Equality Community Integration Fund. Perfect fit! Applied, granted. Whoop! The objective of the project is to engage local photographers, including service users from within Brothers of Charity, and capture the diverse range of people to truly reflect our community. The resulting photographs will be exhibited in the village. If you would like to be involved, in front or behind the camera - get in touch! info@oaf.ie

Upskilling our People by Megan FlynnDixon in 2021, OAF is turning inward. With funding secured from the Arts Council Capacity Building scheme, we are increasing our skill set in order to deliver a more robust, considered and impactful festival to the people of Oranmore in the future.

The project “Upskilling Our People 2021” will compromise of nine evening workshops, delivered online to the organisers of the Oranmore Arts Festival. Invitations are extended to other small festival facilitators across the country. At the time of writing we have loved the workshops on Digital Strategy with Craig Dwyer of Forachange, Stakeholder Engagement with Stephanie Wong of Act Build Change and Diversity with Alphonse Basagomba of Buheri Consult. Lots of ah-ha moments!

A short legacy video will be compiled of workshop facilitators to share with our community and evaluation will form part of the OAF AGM each September.

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Spotlight on Niamh Regan The last 12 months have been huge for Galway singer songwriter Niamh Regan. She released her debut album 'Hemet' and memorable tunes such as 'Save the Day' and 'How About That Coffee?' gained her a following throughout the country.

Performances on 'Other Voices', a nomination for the RTÉ Choice Music Profile and a beautiful performance on The Late Late Show brought her music to an even bigger audience.

She's been a friend of OAF from early on supporting Mundy at Oranmore Castle in 2019 and playing to a virtual audience on Culture Night last September. She even found time to join the OAF team for some banter in their takeover of FlirtFM in March.

She goes on tour in November and it will be great to see her live with her band. You can buy her music and check out her tour dates on http://www.niamhregan.com/.

"It’s as if, when you listen to her music, she’s sitting there in your living room with you, casually improvising a song you asked her to sing. Her soft, whispery, spoken vocals create a beautiful, familiar, and warm effect." Irish Echo

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Artist Mary Rose Keane I am an Irish Artist originally from Donegal, now based in Co Galway, on the Wild Atlantic Way.

My inspiration comes from everyday moments, people, conversations, the wonder of nature. With a background in social work, I am also very aware of the difficulties and and sometimes insurmountable challenges some have to endure. On a positive I see the resilience and inner strength people possess to overcome adversity and build a positive life for themselves. This inspires me think about the power of the mind and positive thoughts and the power our mind can have over how we choose to see and live our lives.

There is so much we are unaware of and unlocking the unconscious mind.

My art is experimental and and about mark making, seeing where it goes rather than following a plan. This process leads to free uninhibited expression.

https://www.maryrosekeaneart.com/ https://www.instagram.com/maryrosekeaneartist/ https://www.facebook.com/maryrosekeaneart

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Oranmore Railway Station 1917 by Margaret Martin Bulging barrels of Guinness were packed into the carts and they dispersed from Oranmore Railway Station to Gort, Athenry and Loughrea. My destination was Oranmore village. I passed Thornpark Lodge and the sight of the Hurling Pitch in front raised my spirits. I was Captain of the under 18s and we won a match last evening against Maree.

The whitethorn hedges cascaded along the muddy road and my pony whinnied as she acknowledged thoroughbred horses grazing on pasture at Carrowmonmeash. They tossed their manes and flicked their tails at us.

We approached the Old Mill on the corner and full tide was flowing under the arches. This reminded me of Aunt Mary’s face as tears fell down her cheeks like a river escaping a dam. She watched Uncle Peter being brutally beaten as he was led away to Dartmouth Prison for his part in the Merlin Ambush.

steampunk by Grace Rabbitte Find her work on Instagram @gracerabbitte

The clamouring of the cart-wheels on the cobbled stones crossing the bridge brought me back to Main Street. I was closer to my destination. Sean Furey passed me and said ‘Grand day’. This was code for; the coast was clear at the barracks. No frisking or hostile behaviour from the R.I.C.

"I will never have this version of me again. Let me slow down and be with her"

I passed Cunniffe’s Thatch pub with its daytime innocent façade.

At night, in my early teens, I was allowed to be a ‘look-out’ while messages were passed and clandestine meetings set up. On occasions I would give a warning, a tap on the window with a stone, this was the signal for all to dash for the back field and exit safely.

-- Rupi Kaur

I reached my destination, the brewery, two doors down from Cunniffe’s . The men greeted me with ‘Grand day’. I dismounted the cart and watched as they unloaded the barrels. I smiled with pride as I saw the barrel with a small black harp discreetly painted on the base.

I was successful in supplying necessary ammunition for the next ambush.

Acknowledgements. The History of Oranmore Maree. Brenda Furey Oranmore in Days of Yore. Kay Davis

Claddagh by John Morley

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Artist Liz Moran Liz Moran is an artist living in Oranmore on the west coast of Ireland. A lover of paint and all things creative since childhood, this pandemic has given her the space and push to devote more time to her passion. Painting has been the balm and solace that has guided her through this tricky time.

She is an abstract painter, painting from intuition and spirit. Inspiration comes from nature and in particular the ocean. Her medium of choice is oil paint.

She can be found on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lizmoranart/

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The Morning Walk by Ríona Egan

The morning walk reveals the day A bee hovers curious, then backs away A hooded crow in covert cahoots with a pigeon loiters upon the roof

A snail dawdles across the path An envious slug follows his track Towards the wall of moss and stone where a beetle had parked to be alone

Songbirds spar obliviously A blackbird looks surprised to see A nervous passer-by, arrested.

The intrepid stroll is bittersweet It stifles breath but lets folk meet All be it two metres kept apart And clad with gloves, a mask, a scarf

Real encounters mean the world When you see them cross the road Eyes smile bright while limbs retreat A snub for life, that's played for keeps.

by Edel Byrne

April 2020

see more of her work further in this volume

Wren by Julie Rabbitte Find her work on Instagram @julierab

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I am a self-taught ceramic artist based in Oranhill, Oranmore. I am Anne, a German who moved from the Baltic coast to the wild Atlantic coast of Ireland 17 years ago. During the day I do coding and run projects. But in the evenings when all the madness calms down I create. This means when my 3 kids ( a 5 years old and 2 year old twins) are in bed and sleep. So yes it is often very hectic in my house. Since I can remember, I drew or painted for hours. I got introduced to clay the first time through my younger sister when I was about 14. But this only lasted until I finished school and moved away to study. I modelled a lot of small sculptures back then rather

Ceramics Artist Anne Rumpf

than making cups or pots. I always loved creating with clay but was put on hold for a couple of years because I was distracted by other things. I moved to Ireland after I finished university. Found a job in Galway and stayed. I've never stopped creating, I painted a lot until a friend of mine introduced me to the Galway Forge Clay studio 5 years ago. During the first lockdown, in May, I purchased my first pottery wheel. At that time I had zero experience and had never thrown anything. I watched a lot of youtube and Instagram videos to help me get started. I practised and practised for around two weeks until I got the first decent piece and soon was able to pull up walls. There is a lot more to learn and to improve no doubt. And my head is full of ideas I want to try out and transform into reality.


"Better an oops than a what if"

By Karen Lyons. See her work on Instagram @snapfilterpost

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The Swans of Oranmore I think swans are such beautiful elegant birds, majestic and mythological. First some facts about these fascinating waterfowl, the male is called a “cob” and the female is a “pen”. The resident Irish swan is a Mute swan. A pair stay together for about three years or maybe longer depending on how successfully they breed. If a bigger stronger male comes into the territory to claim the female, the losing male will take off. She may accept the male intruder, if not she will take off. Then he takes over the territory and will bring in a new female. Breeding starts in midMarch and they build a nest which is an untidy heap of reeds and debris. Assembled by both partners, close to the water’s edge, the structure may be partly floating. A new one is build every year. The eggs are laid at two day intervals, the clutch size for Irish swans is about seven eggs. He will sit on the eggs during the laying period, protecting them while she goes away feeding. It is important for her to be well fed. Swans are vegetarians and live for about fifteen years Once her clutch has been completed she starts incubating, sitting on the eggs continuously turning them from time to time. Seldom leaving the nest, she can’t feed normally and must rely on the fats she has laid down previously to see her through. Meanwhile, he patrols the territory keeping would-be rivals at bay. Their predators are herons, minks and foxes if the nest is on land. They will not accept any cygnet that is not their own. On the water the male swan is king. After about 35 days of incubation, the chicks hatch, emerging from the eggs over a 24 hour period.They remain with their mother for a day or two and then she leads them into the water. Covered in down to protect them from the cold, the babies are able to swim and feed themselves immediately. The parents don’t offer food to their cygnets, but take them to locations where they learn to fend for themselves. The cob soon forms a bond with his new family. When danger threatens, a mother will allow the babies to climb on her back and shelter under her wings. Newly hatched cygnets are grey. They soon become brown and then, gradually begin to turn white. The cob takes exception to any white swans on his territory other than his mate, and this includes his offspring. In late autumn and winter, he begins harassing them, forcing them to leave. It is heartless but that’s the way of nature. His territory must be cleared for his pen to be ready for the next breeding season. The youngsters must now find their way to traditional locations, which here in Galway is the Claddagh Basin. Several years will be spent in these “herds”, during which time the adolescents will mature and find their mates. Once paired, they in turn must seek out a territory and breed. Now back to our swans in the Estuary. Multiple pairs of swans have tried to nest there without success, because they built their nest on what was once a mill raceit’s a small island alongside the bridge. The eggs take 35 to 41 days to hatch and there is a high tide every 30 days and the eggs continually were washed away. It seems swans are not the brightest! So in February 2015 along came Peter Butler who is a conservationist and with the help of Galway Conservation Volunteers and the Oranmore Tidy Towns he set about researching a solution to the problem.

...continues over leaf (ha!)

by Doreen O'Keefe

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The Swans of Oranmore ...continued (see!!)

by Doreen O'Keefe

The answer they came up with was a floating raft that the swans could nest on. These are common in the canals in Holland, they also have them in England and Canada on their lakes. But nobody had ever put them into an estuary with incoming tides. Environmental and planning regulations also had to be considered as the swan’s nesting place lies in a Special Area of Conservation here in Oranmore. He created the structure using recyclable materials including four wooden pallets and builders’ planks. Mooring the raft was a technical challenge. They had to take into consideration the effect of waves, incoming tides, and a fresh water river from the Carrowmonesh wetland area and variable wind conditions. The swan’s favourite nesting materials were then placed on top of the structure. It was subsequently launched into the middle of the estuary and moored into position to allow it to bob and flow, pontoon-like, with the tide. After a number of days, the male swan accepted it as his own and breeding began. There was great excitement in the village and people used stand on the bridge and watch the swans with delight. Dog walkers like myself and mothers with toddlers all watching the swans, trying to get a glimpse of their eggs to see how many were laid. It was a very cold spring that year with bitter winds, I remember watching the swans struggle to stay on the eggs and keep them warm. We watched them taking it in turns to change roles, it was a whole procedure of flapping wings as one got off the eggs, trying not to have them exposed or broken while the other took over. Then on May 17th 2015, Charles and Camilla came to Galway, I remember walking around by the bay and the first eggs had hatched. I decided to call the swans Charles and Camilla. I think there was more excitement about the eggs hatching than Charles coming to visit Rinville. Eight of the nine eggs hatched and sadly only five of the eight cygnets survived. I saw her carry the cygnets on her back and watched as she helped them up on the raft as they squawked and fluttered.They stayed there as a family and it was captivating to watch the cygnets grow and change colour. Unfortunately in a bad storm in 2018 the female swan took flight and was electrocuted on the wires across from the bridge and died. Word went out on swan tinder and a new female came in and stayed for a while but then left and there were no cygnets last year. But we now have a new female, and love is in the air. Peter and the volunteers launched the raft again this April. The pair have mated and the eggs are laid. We should have cygnets by June. So the next time you are in Oranmore why not take a stroll around the bay and view the raft and the swans. Hopefully our new couple will continue to reign in the bay at Oranmore for many more years to come.

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Artist Annette Murphy My name is Annette Colleran Murphy and I live in Carnmore. I have just completed my first year of a Degree in Contemporary Art at CCAM (GMIT) as a mature student. Due to Covid, there was little choice but to adopt a blended learning approach, with many of the modules being delivered online, but this encouraged more resourcefulness and use of things we find around our home and garden. See more of my work here

in the night back garden

old keys on old boat

May 2021

Artist Donna O’Rourke

I worried that parents were having a hard time and I wanted the children to think that their neighbourhood was magical, special, during lockdown. I made the rabbits around Easter during a spell of bad weather and left them around peoples' houses at night. I made a fake fossil and I was hoping finding it would be a great source of excitement for some child. I left them on people's walls while out for my evening walks. There was little pair of eyes were meant to be a real surprise for someone when they were finally spotted The rocket was one of the larger pieces and was left under a tree. The burglar was a tongue in cheek response to a complex piece that vanished the day it was put out.

Click link for video of how Donna makes her art.

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Ciara Crowley of Avital's Young Composers playing The Huntsman

Covid New Year by Doreen O'Keefe

Covid Christmas celebrations with warnings and threats, followed by New Year isolations. Deaths, persistent virus and various vaccinations, perplexed by restrictions, freedom gone.

School cancelled, pubs bolted, restaurants shut, no plans, no joy, no spontaneity. Walks, never ending gloom, meetings on zoom Awake, dig deep to face the day

Kitchen by Grace Rabbitte Find her work on Instagram @gracerabbitte

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Photographer Edel Byrne I love gardening with a huge interest in therapy gardens my garden has been so important to me over the last year, I have a tiny nursery and sometimes set up an honesty box selling plants. I have degree in Fine Art and a diploma in commercial photography from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technologyfrom also have a certificate in garden design from KLC school of design in London accredited by the RHS. I am also on the communications team for Green Sod Ireland www.greensodireland.ie

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by Ann McEnroy

Joyce Kilmer’s poem declares that ‘ only God can make a tree’ and how right she is! Trees are so beautiful and majestic They shelter us from the wind, shade us from the sun. The trees are home for birds and insects, and adorn our scenery as well. One third of the earth is forested, absorbing carbon dioxide, and thereby preserving our environment. Unfortunately forests have been destroyed by people to date either for commercial gain or forest fires. Hopefully with more environmental awareness, this will stop as the trees are essential both for humans and animals.

There is such a great variety of trees in the world. In Ireland we have the mighty Oak, with its large round shape, and strong wood, the Ash with the light green leaves in Spring, the Rowan with its red berries, and the Willow drooping so gracefully by rivers or ponds. The oldest tree in Ireland is the evergreen Yew gracing the grounds of St.Patrick’s College, Maynooth. The Yew is mostly seen in graveyards, symbolic of death and resurrection in Celtic culture ;the drooping branches taking root again.

I love Coole Park with the historic Autograph tree of Beech, the Monterey Pine, The Oriental Plane, The Red-cedar, The Maple, and especially the clump of Redwood which are fused together. The smooth pink bark and large branches so great a place for children to climb and play hide and seek, a seat nearby for parents to watch and enjoy. There is a tree at my childhood home on which my older brother carved the date in September 1945 marking the end of the war. On a recent nostalgic trip there we located it.

In Japan there is a Wisteria that is stunningly beautiful forming a canopy which covers half an acre of ground, with its lovely light purple floribunda sprays. It is described as the most beautiful in the world. (The Wisterias is really a climbing shrub but in this instance it is grafted and supported by Steel) The delicate pink Cherry Blossoms, and the radiant red-orange Japanese Maples. The little bonsai, which is supposed to create positivity and boost one’s immunity, originated in China. One of our dogs got the name Bonsai.

Continues overleaf...

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Trees ... continued

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by Ann McEnroy When I was in Australia, about twenty years ago, I saw a documentary movie at the information centre about the ancient forest where they found the oldest trees in the world. They described how scientists were brought in, blindfolded by helicopter, so that the exact location would be kept secret. Around 1994 a bushwalker discovered this tree belonging to a 200 million year old plant family. Last year firefighters saved those Wollemi Pines from fires.. We went to the National forest park in the Blue Mountains to see the refreshing Eucalyptus forest. There was a blueish haze overhead, caused by the Eucalyptus fumes rising, the scent of eucalyptus permeated the air. Some of those trees were huge,one such was a tourist attraction,in I think a place called the Cathedral of Ferns. Tasmania has the world’s tallest Eucalyptus.

California is home to the largest living thing on earth, a giant Redwood known as General Sherman 36 feet wide,52,500cubic feet,and about 2000 years old.There are many gigantic Redwoods in The National Park there. Vancouver is another place one finds spectacular trees, we were like midges beside the Cedars.The beauty of the ‘Fall’ in Canada ,with the array of colours on the Maple Leaf trees is breathtaking. So many more trees in our beautiful world.

Our own story begins with a trip to Dublin for one of our daughter’s graduation, (I cannot remember which one.) Only two allowed to the reception, so we left the other children with our friend Ann in the gate lodge of Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital, of which she was matron. While there they gathered conkers from beneath the fine chestnut trees in the avenue. They collected a bucket full which they took home to play with. I wondered if any could be planted. Brian planted a number of the best of them in a pot of compost, threw the remainder in a trench when they were no longer being played with. The ones in the pot developed poorly but the ones in the trench bloomed into fine saplings.

We had a planting ceremony, each child planted one as did I, Brain the rest, (twenty in all), along by the road, our dog Bonsai in attendance! each one photographed. For many years we enjoyed a row of lovely Chestnut trees, so admired were they that the rest of the road was lined likewise by a developer. A name was being chosen for our road a few years ago when codes were being assigned for satellite navigation. Chestnut Lane it was called. Alas a canker disease came into the country attacking Chestnut trees, and ours are suffering. Perhaps some will survive.

We all love trees and have at least fifty in our grounds. There was only one when we came almost forty years ago. Brian planted them: Oaks, Sycamores, Ash, Mountain Ash, Walnuts, Hollies, Beech, Acer, Laurels, and a Golden Ozer as well as a plum tree and apple trees. There’s plenty of birdsong.

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Artist Joanne Palmer I have always had a keen eye and interest in Art for as long as I can remember. I studied Art and Design following on from school but never persued it. Two years ago I decided to try and take it up again, as a pastime for myself and I’m so delighted I did, as I had forgotten just how enjoyable and therapeutic getting lost in a creation can be…

Left: Sun Down at Rinville, Original oil on canvas Available to purchase as a set limited edition prints coming soon .. please contact Joanne on Instagram for enquiries here

Below left: “ Looking out onto closed pitches longing for what he knows and loves “

Below right: “Mind The Gap “ A concept of “struggle” in that very moment where you think all is lost and slowly start to fall into the gap deep in your own mind. Drowning within whilst the world passes you by

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by Julie Rabbitte Find her work on Instagram @julierab

Covid New Year by Kathy Eastwood ‘Tis the night before New Year, we’re all staying home

Now there’s a word and I really don’t get it

For there’s nowhere to go, and there’s nowhere to roam

If I dump the stuff now, will I live to regret it

We’re told to stay put, there’s a virus about

I have clothes, I have papers and junk that I love,

We’ve got to stay indoors , we mustn’t go out.

In cupboards, in attic, below and above.

The pubs they’re all closed, and we’re stuck at home

And then there’s the house, it could do with attention

No one can come to me, so I’m penning… a poem !

Jobs to be done… too many to mention

Its been a long time since I got a hug

The kitchen needs painting the oven needs cleaning

Deep in my heart strings, I’m feeling the tug.

There’s lots I could do, to give my life meaning.

I’ve only seen grandkids from far away

There’s writing to do and there’s books to be read

Looking through windows when their Mums say okay There’s Karl and there’s Luke, there’s Robert and Jack Isla and Adam and Freya … my pack

Just thinking about, is wrecking my head To all of those mutterings, I know I’ll object So I’ll sit me down quietly, take time to reflect.

What is expected from Nana…. that’s me

Why would I let me get into a tizzy

Is to stay separated from friends and family.

To keep the world happy… do I have to be busy?

Can’t go to shops, not even for food

Oh no… oh no… says a voice in my head

This can be hard; I don’t want to be rude

“There’s much more important stuff Kathy” it said.

Someone in Government calls it cocooning

Talk to your grandkids,tell them you miss them

More to the point I find it marooning

Look forward with love, til the day you can kiss them

Sitting here, silently, thoughtful, alone

To meet and to hug and to love as before

No one to listen, if I let out a moan.

When things were so easy and simple… and more

Gotta get on with it, look on the bright side

When life was so normal but we didn’t know it

Gotta be positive, there’s nowhere to hide

We didn’t take time out to live it, or show it

What should I do, as time stretches ahead?

This routine of nothingness let us all face it

Once breakfast is done, maybe go back to bed?

No plans, no commitments... relax and embrace it.

Bed, back to bed, now that’s not my style

Until we get vaccine, we’ve got to live through it

Still, might be different to add to my file

Be strong and resilient, I know we can do it.

As inside my head, I hear a voice mutter

The future’s uncertain; we’ve got to endure

There’s things you could do….like maybe declutter.

Stay in the present, we’ll win, that’s for sure.

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Artist Sinéad Burke IHere is my new studio which I undertook as a covid lockdown project & works produced from it so far.

I’m a member of the Tidy Towns committee and responsible for the Fáilte artwork seen around the village with many more projects to come.

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Writer Koshi Tamura My name is Koshi Tamura, I’m a 10 year old Nintendo/ Minecraft loving kid. One day during lockdown my school decided to ask us to enter a story writing competition which I never expected to win. It turns out they decided to publish my story and I was shocked and everyone in my class was delighted!!!

Koshi Tamura's story was published in Lighthouse Storybook in 2020. Sales of The Lighthouse Storybook benefit Children In Hospital Ireland. Copies of this wonderful publication are available on their website or through Fighting Words.

Koshi's story is also available in an online publication Young Storykeeper - also available to download - and as an animation here.

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Creative Kids

Amelia Nic Chonaonaigh 7yrs, Naíonáin Mhóra

My Acrostic Poem. Waiting… Why can’t I see you? Awake for hours missing you, In bed thinking of you, Trying to remember you, In the car thinking of you, Never not thinking of you, Going to be waiting. Matthew Mac Conaonaigh 10ys, Rang 4, Gaelscoil de hÍde.

acrostic /əˈkrɒstɪk/ noun 1. a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.

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Creative Kids

Brothers Cathal & Eoghan O'Reilly from Oranmore having fun with photography.

Above- Coole Park, Gort. Right - Cathal is trying to pick his tiny brother up on his spade on Bunowen Beach in BallyConeelly.

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast" - The Queen, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

by Edel Byrne see more of her work further in this volume

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Avital's Young Composers Alongside the usual activities of our piano year - practising scales, passing exams, performing in Zoom concerts - my young (and youngat-heart!) composers were set a brand new challenge this year. They were tasked with writing a composition for another student to play. Their composition had to reflect the personality, hobbies and playing ability of the person for whom they were composing.

This project was completed in the first quarter of 2021 during lockdown and I would like to wholeheartedly praise and thank my wonderful, talented students and their brilliantly supportive parents for the effort they have put in.

The result is this beautiful book of 30 easy piano pieces which we would like to share with you. Embrace your crazy side with ‘Calm Down!’, creep through ‘Haunted Hallways’ or take a stroll along ‘Renville’s Pier’ - our collection has something for every pianist.

If you haven’t dusted off your piano or keyboard for a while maybe this collection will inspire you. Although my students will not be performing for you this year, we hope you enjoy our compositions.

Download a pdf of the Composition Exchange here

By Karen Lyons. See her work on Instagram @snapfilterpost

May 2021

Oranmore really is the place to – JUST BEE!! What a year it has been! From face-to-face classes to Facebook posts, online workshops and zoom classes.YouTube channel, Instagram, supporting schools and wellbeing for all. Creative Schools Ireland, Galway Advertiser, Galway Sports Partnership, and online training. HOWEVER, impressive and all this may sound NOTHING compares to the support that Just Bee - creative mindfulness for kids has received from the amazing community here in Oranmore. People stopping (young and old), well wishes, praise, support, genuine interest, gratitude shown, 1000’s of likes, lots of shares, opportunities galore, questions asked, and advice given. I am proud to live in a community that supports the mental health and wellbeing of our children. Oranmore is the place to – JUST BEE x

Maria Ramberg – mom of 3, primary school teacher and creative mindfulness practitioner. Currently teaming up with Galway Sports Partnership with their first ever mindfulness for kids’ initiative. Starting the 8th of May. Sign up via the link on Facebook link below!

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May 2021

Jumbelo Kids Activity Kits Verona Duane set up a business over lockdown called Jumbelo which creates kids activity kits targeted at ages 3-6 years. The fun activity kits are a conveniently presented all- in-one kit delivered to your door with easy step by step instructions. Mum Deirdre says..."A brilliant product. My 6 year old and 4 year old got hours of entertainment out of it, between making them and then playing with their finished product. Really good step by step instructions and everything needed to build them was supplied. I highly recommend it.!"

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May 2021

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Babbling BookClub moves storytime online Since Covid The Babbling Book Club been running online story times and started a mini business packaging up babbling bookclub and selling it as babble boxes-- gifts of books and toys for little ones to bring the story to life at home until we can run groups. They've gone all over the country and even abroad!

"The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page" - Rachel Anders

COVID Sunset by Kathy Eastwood

May 2021

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Elsbels Boutique by Eleanor Leadbetter What a year it has been! From face-to-face classes to Facebook posts, online I did some sewing prior to Covid, but I was never comfortable with doing anything but the basics with my sewing machine, I had very little idea how to follow a pattern, and I definitely wouldn't have called myself a seamstress! But during the first lockdown I wanted to both find a new creative outlet (since my usual creative hobbies were on hold) and do something material to help people during the pandemic. So I decided to make masks, and I volunteered for the "Masks for all Ireland" group who were making and donating masks to groups and individuals in need around Ireland; I ended up making 80 masks for the Active in Age group in Oranmore.

During the process of making so many masks, my confidence in using my sewing machine increased, and once the demand for masks began to subside I decided to turn my hand to simple children's clothes. My daughters were both growing out of their clothes since the start of lockdown, and it was hard to find anything in their size which they wanted to wear, so I stepped out of my comfort zone again to start sewing with stretch fabrics for the first time - another big learning curve! But I quickly found that sewing clothes was addictive, and it is such a nice feeling to have clothes which actually fit! None of us in the family fit neatly into any size charts, so learning to grade and adjust patterns meant that we could start to have garments which fit us properly rather than settling for something which would just "do".

Around Christmas time I started selling handmade accessories (snoods, gloves and headbands) and having expected to sell one or two items to family and friends, there was much higher demand than I could have hoped! As well as selling through social media, some of my items were for sale in Brazco Coffee Academy, and more recently they have sold some of my handmade masks as well. And in the near future I'm hoping to start stocking bespoke handbags, as well as items made with fabric of my own design, inspired by the flora and geology of the local area.

If you would like to see more, would like to order, or have any ideas for items you would like me to make and stock, you can contact me via Facebook or Instagram at Els-Bels Boutique, or you can email elsbelsboutique@gmail.com.

May 2021

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Galway Tide Calendar for sea swimmers, sailors, and all waterlovers by Ben Kinsella Like many people during the pandemic, my wife Edel was getting a real buzz from swimming in the sea. I suggested to our kids that we make a tide calendar for her as a Christmas present. Rather than just creating a traditional "tide table" with numbers, we came up with a nice visualisation. I have some software development experience, so I wrote code to automate the whole process.

We ended up printing 100 copies of the Galway 2021 calendar, and it was very popular and sold out. The 2022 version will be bigger and better (A3 portrait instead of A4 landscape), with photos of local swimming spots etc.

Email Ben at kinsella.ben@gmail.com to express an interest

Rosenbear custom artwork Rosenbear is a small design service based in Co Galway in the west of Ireland. Rosenbear was founded by Artist Mary Rose Keane. The concept of creating uplifting positive wall art and customised gifts grew from Mary Rose's own desire to seek out that special meaningful gift for friends and family. She started to create her own and then friends started asking her to make pieces for them and it grew organically from there. Each piece has a hand painted illustration making each piece unique. Marks from the original work are left and and not always digitally edited to show the process and authenticity of the work. Old traditional practice of illustration using simple tools is celebrated.

Mary Rose is passionate about design and ensuring the customer gets the perfect gift or art piece. From guiding customers through the selection process right up until artwork delivery. Please feel free to get in touch if you cannot find what you are looking for. Find out more at https://www.instagram.com/rosenbear/

May 2021

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Oranmore Commumity Garden lI heard it on the grapevine!

The main aim of Oranmore Community Garden is to increase environmental awareness by bringing different groups together for educational workshops on how growing your own food and how composting can reduce waste and contribute to offsetting the effects of climate change. Local people to come together and learn in a hands on way.

We believe our little garden benefits physical and mental health and overall well-being both in terms of the act of gardening and in terms of growing and eating our own healthy food. We also hope it will benefit all of the community of Oranmore and we are committed to ensuring specific groups are included such as people with disabilities; older people; people from different cultural backgrounds and people who are socially disadvantaged in any way. We look forward to participating in the Oranmore Arts Festival again this year by depositing a packet of seeds into the time capsule to symbolise for future generations how community growing helped to enhance our collective resilience during the pandemic... Find out more about the garden on our facebook page here

May 2021

Cuidiú Oranmore Breastfeeding Group I am a qualified volunteer Breastfeeding Counsellor and I have been running our group virtually since last March. The group is a supportive, inclusive space where mums can connect with other mums and get evidence based breastfeeding information and support. We are creating an online “village” for new breastfeeding mums who are missing the normal face-to-face supports at this time. I run a monthly support group meeting on zoom where mums and mums to be can pop along for a chat and to ask any breastfeeding questions they may have. I am available for one-to-one telephone calls and video calls as are other Breastfeeding Counsellors locally and nationally. Along with three other local Breastfeeding Counsellors we have set up a lovely active Cuidiú Galway WhatsApp support group which is full of wonderful mums and breastfeeding supporters. Although virtual supports can't replicate in real life experience, we have had wonderful feedback from mothers on how our virtual supports have helped them get the information and support the need for their breastfeeding journeys.

As well as supporting breastfeeding parents Cuidiú Galway have also set up a new “Bumps and babes” group which is for all new and expectant parents facilitated by Tara Durkin a Cuidiú antenatal teacher. Cuidiú antenatal classes have also moved online and Cuidiú Antenatal Ireland created great videos and put them up on YouTube at the start of the first lockdown when all the hospital antenatal classes suddenly stopped.

Claire Withey Cuidiú Breastfeeding Counsellor 085-1622119

www.facebook.com/cuidiugalwaybreastfeeding www.cuidiu.ie

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Sea Swimming Doll-fins “Evening swim, Washes away All the worries Of the day Water my comfort Holding me strong Ever so grateful Where I belong”

From a group of 3, deciding it would be a good idea to embrace the cold waters of Renville on a grey morning May 2019, the Doll-fin group has swelled to 56 - confirming that our somewhat crazy notions were infact a great idea! Pre covid, the daily dips were novel and fun, often meeting en masse at dawn or dusk, with yoga, meditation, fires and a cup of tea...

But covid-19 brought something new to our swims ; they became an essential resource enabling us to get through the stress and anxiety of lockdown.

Before getting into the water, there could be many different emotions and feelings present..... anxiety, worry, busy head, ‘ it’s too cold, I can’t do this’, but afterwards .... well! Here are a few of the group’s descriptions of what it’s like....Calm, exhilarated , energised, clear head, ‘control alt delete’ for humans, therapeutic, motivated, alive , connected, ‘rebooted’ ,'my disability disappears', a better human being....!!

If you would like to become part of a group that offers motivation, and support on sea dipping/ swimming contact OAF at info@oaf.ie to be put in touch with the group.

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An Ciorcal Comhrá Nach breá linn go léir bheith i gcomhluadar ó am go ham agus dreas cainte a bheith againn le chéile, ag spruschaint, b'fhéidir, nó ag cur is ag cúiteamh faoi chúrsaí reatha nó ag comhroinnt cuimhní cinn ó laethanta ár n-óige - agus mar sin de. Sin go díreach a bhíonn ar siúl ag na baill

( ochtar againn) den Chiorcal Comhrá in Órán Mór gach maidin Chéadaoin le trí bliana anuas. Bhuailimis le chéile i

mbialann álainn Delice sa sráidbhaile. Faraoir, tháinig an Phaindéim agus chuir sin deireadh lenár seisiúin i Delice. Bhíomar meáite, áfach ,ar leanúint ar aghaidh leis an gComhrá agus ,de réir na sraonta a bhí i bhfeidhm ag amanna éagsúla, bhuaileamar le chéile in ár dtithe, in ár gáirdiní agus - ón bhFomhar seo chaite - ar Zoom. Is ar éigean a chuaigh Céadaoin ar bith thart gan an grúpa a bheith le chéile , ag baint sult agus spraoi as an ócáid agus é go léir trí theanga bhinn na Gaeilge agus muidne ag éirí níos líofa in aghaidh na seachtaine.

Bí cróga, cuir Ciorcal Comhrá eile ar bun !

Curtha isteach ag baill an Chiorcail Comhrá.

I Bike Oranmore The last year has changed the way in which community groups get together and motivated all of us to think in new ways about how to engage with and support our members. When Galway Cycling Campaign put out a call for bike users in Galway to take photos at their favourite locations and share them on social media as part of a campaign for safe cycling infrastructure (#GalwayByBike), it was the perfect opportunity for I Bike Oranmore to use Oranmore Castle as a backdrop. In normal times, a group photoshoot would be a simple project. However, with social distancing a pandemic necessity, an alternative was required - When you can’t merge the people, merge the photos instead! The only requirement for the photoshoot was that people would be photographed with their bikes. On 01 April, we had a wonderful mix of families, groups, and individuals, of all ages and all abilities, those who bike for sport, for

I Bike Oranmore

shopping, for health, for commuting, and for fun. And to top it off, the weather held up beautifully and gave us all

Photographer: Caroline Rowan Public Relations: Susan McGrady

hope that better days for group activities would be coming soon. It was an enjoyable, if somewhat unusual, event and we’re looking forward to having more happening over the summer, Covid guidelines permitting!

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Limelight Creative Arts Centre Limelight creative arts is a creative program based in the heart of oranmore Village in County Galway and is supported by Brothers of Charity Galway Services. The focus is to foster creativity, independence and well being through performance and visual art.

Amy Brannigan is a visual artist and GRETB Art educator based in Clarinbridge Co Galway. She works very closely with the brothers of charity supporting community art based initiatives. Find out more about Limelight on their facebook page here

Lockdown window by Kathy Eastwood

May 2021

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Supper Club Oranmore Supper Club was the brainchild of one woman who was too busy to organise it. So she deputiesed to 2 more, equally busy woman. Our inaugural event was held in 2018 and we held a packed schedule in 2019 - remember Swish Swap Shop? 2020 was shaping up to be another epic year with sensational events responding to diverse needs of the women in our community. But alas, we know what happened to that.

We held a sell out Networking Dinner at Home Base (Amorica) on Thursday Feb 6th 2020. Natasha and Nick accommodated our ever burgeoning numbers and rocked 36 covers in the atrium room. We had speakers Jill Holtz and Megan FlynnDixon, prizes and loads of fun. We can't wait to repeat that feat.

We had to postpone, then cancel a hike planned for International Women's Day but managed a couple of Coole Park walks and coffee in the summer. It is hard to quantify just how important our friendships have been throughout the lock down periods. We are looking forward to resumption of normal business and planning that nude swim!

If you want to join reach out via mflynndixon@gmail.com

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Oranmore Tidy Towns Despite the challenges of 2020 & 2021 with covid, Oranmore Tidy Towns has remained an active & enthusiastic group throughout the year! While we couldn't all meet up in person, the committee & a fantastic group of volunteers continued their work individually with lots of diverse projects ongoing around the village. From painting benches, flower boxes, & artistic Failte signs, to rejuvenating the well area, planting pollinator friendly plants and litter picking, it has been a busy year, even with lockdowns!

All this great work has helped keep the community spirit alive and well in Oranmore at a time when it's more important than ever. We've kept the focus on promoting Oranmore as a great place to live, work, and play through brightening the village, supporting biodiversity, and working together! You can see lots of the great work achieved on our Facebook page and new volunteers are always welcome to join.

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“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” -Alan Kay, Computer Scientist

Oranmore Sunrise by Avital Dines

Huge thanks to everyone that submitted content to this publication. We were overwhelmed by the amount of content shared. It has reaffirmed our commitment to showcasing the wealth of talent in this village of ours. We look forward to producing subsequent editions in the years to come.

All rights reserved. No part of WELLSPRING may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the relevant artist.

Editors: Lindsay Deely & Megan FlynnDixon


Profile for LindsDeely

Wellspring Volume 1 | Oranmore Arts Festival | May 2021  


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