Music Archives - This is Galway

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At This is Galway we are all about local, especially when it comes to music! So we are shining a spotlight on the incredibly talented and hard-working artists that make Galway’s streets and venues so vibrant. This time we are getting to know Loner Deluxe…

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Each year Galway Public Libraries celebrates a literary figure or historical event with its county and citywide Galway’s Great Read. Last year they proudly celebrated, in her centenary year, one of Galway’s most prolific and extraordinarily versatile writers, Eilís Dillon with an online programme entitled ‘Eilís Dillon: Language, Landscape & Legacy.’

Galway Public Libraries has specially commissioned two new works for Galway’s Great Read 2020; one in art and one in music to highlight Eilís Dillon’s creativity, love of language, her nationalism and the legacy she has left in her writings for children and adults and in the various translations that she has done.

Galway Public Libraries have commissioned Galway composer and musician, Máirtín O Connor to compose a music composition in response to one of Eilís Dillon’s best known and highly regarded translated works, the old Irish lament ‘Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire’. which is often described as the greatest love poem written in the Irish language during the eighteenth century.

Originally written in the Irish language by Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonail, as a lament on the death of her husband Airt. The newly commissioned music will incorporate a bilingual performance of the work with vocalist Ceara Conway and actor Siobhan O’Kelly. The piece is available online at Galway Public Libraries on their YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Galway Library

Speaking about this commission Jo Vahey, Executive Librarian said, ‘it was captivating to watch the creative spirit of Mairtín O’Connor bringing his innovative musical ability to his composition of the Airt Uí Laoighaire suite of music, and to listen to the wonderful and mesmeric sounds of his completed piece’.

The second commission during Galway’s Great Read 2020 was a visual art commission, which was awarded to artist, Ruth O’Donnell to commemorate and celebrate the life and work of Eilís Dillon. The creative process was a collaboration between the artist and Eilís Dillon’s family, linking family memories of their mother/grandmother, her contribution to the canon of Irish Literature and the prominent role she played in Irish culture. From this interaction the artist Ruth O’Donnell created a unique piece of art and it will be on display in the window of Galway City Library.

Sharleen McAndrew, Assistant Librarian said ‘What a magnificent piece of art. It is a true reflection of the Eilís Dillon we have come to know and respect through our research for our Galway’s Great Read programme. We are delighted with Ruth O’Donnell’s creation for Galway Public Libraries and this beautiful artwork will be a legacy piece of the Eilís Dillon centenary year.’

Some other events as part of Galway Public Libraries virtual programme include: an online book club, which invites one into the descriptive imagination of Dillon’s work; and various seminars which explore her Galway roots and place in Irish history, all available via Galway Public Libraries YouTube channel.