A Fond Farewell to Garvan Gallagher

May 31, 2011

A Fond Farewell to Garvan Gallagher

Artist Interview with Garvan Gallagher – 31 May 2011

Draíocht says goodbye today to its longest ever resident artist Garvan Gallagher, who has been working with the Centre since 01 March 2010. We chatted to him as he tidied out the Studio …

Q: So can you remember your first day here, back in March 2010? It seems like a long time ago in one way, and yet it’s flown by in another way!
Yes, it seems like only a few months ago, but actually when I was clearing my things, nuggets from the 15 months resurfaced and it puts it into context. My first day was like the new boy in a big space with open windows. It was exciting, new things always are, and I knew what I was going to be working on, so I got down to some research after a quick blog update with my new empty studio.

Q: So how important has this time been for you in Draíocht’s Artists Studio?
I think it’s fantastic to offer this to an artist. The physical space is one thing, and as a photographer, I probably didn’t need such a huge space, but the emotional space (if you can call it that) is really as important. That space where I could base myself to work in the community, a community where I’m a total blow in. Draíocht having such a prominent place in Dublin 15 allowed me to immediately begin having conversations with people without them wondering if I was an axe murderer or just slightly crazy.

Q: You’ve been working hard on some big projects during your time here, including the Intergenerational Photography Project & Exhibition. Can you tell us a little bit more about this project and the people involved?
The Intergenerational project was a fantastic success in so many ways. Other than the fact that the end exhibition looked fantastic, the entire process was really interesting, exciting and allowed me to do something completely new, something I’d never done before. Facilitating a group of people was daunting to begin with but the participants gave 100% and they were all so amazing to work with. Sarah Beirne with her little box of tricks, fantastic attitude and unending supply of props was vital to the whole thing. The intergenerational element to the project was something all the participants picked up on in the feedback; it was the one element all the participants really enjoyed. Whatever about the project, this little social experiment was the biggest success for me. It was a truly enjoyable, rewarding and incredibly valuable experience.

Q: What would you say is the thing you most enjoyed about your time in Draíocht?
Probably the Intergenerational project and working with the lovely Sarah Bierne. We were a good team. That and eating cake and being able to bring Fred (my dog) to work every day. Fred wasn’t allowed any cake though.

Q: Have you any funny memories of the last year in Draíocht that really stand out in your mind?
Erm, the Christmas party ...

Q: How did you keep motivated if you were having a bad day?
Working on a residency so long allowed me to work on other things too that had to pay the bills. I set up a photography workshop/school in town, which took a lot of my summer last year. If I was really having a bad day, I’d treat myself to some coffee, donuts and head home to watch some West Wing by the fire.

Q: Could you tell us a little more about your forthcoming exhibition in Draíocht’s Ground Floor Gallery later in 2011?
Normally when I work on something I have a pretty good idea what I will exhibit. Right now, and this is a good thing, I’m not 100% sure. I know there will be some recreated fashion photographs using the older body as opposed to the youthful skinny superhuman one; there will be lots of personal stories confined to a publication as well as being told by the people themselves in a video piece; there will be photos of the ‘real’ people in their own fashion and what they have to say about it and also a piece on reflections – that last piece I’ve no idea what it will be yet. So it will be an interesting mixed bag but with a very human element, and all from people around Dublin 15. I think it’ll be really nice.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ever since I was in my teens, the moving image was something that always drew me in. Photography was what I done in college and it’s something I’m passionate about and maybe I’ll stay with it. I don’t want to confine myself to one thing though but be open to lots of other stuff. So in 10 years time, I really have absolutely no clue. I’ll probably be in London, hopefully able to pay the mortgage!

Q: What are your interests and hobbies outside of photography?
Are box-set marathons a hobby? Cooking is a big thing for me, I have a library of cookbooks and make a great beef bourguignon. I love to travel. Every five years or so, myself and my partner aim to make massive 4-month trips. Last time was South America, next India. Have plans to head across Europe with Fred on a campervan. 

Q: You weren’t always a professional artist; can you tell us a little about your journey from full time 9-5’er to where you are today?
I did an OK leaving Cert, actually it was kind of crap. I wanted to do Communications in DCU but never got the points so I got my 7th CAO choice (that’s 3 from the bottom!), which was computer science in UL. I had to double check how far down exactly Limerick was from Donegal. It was good to me though, it allowed me to travel and live in places like Istanbul and Rome. I just didn’t want to wake up when I was 50 behind a desk working for a big company, and I could never see myself starting up my own IT company. So I went and did a full-time photography degree in IADT, working a 3-day week in my old company for the most of it, which was great. The company were really flexible and really good to me. I picked up a lot of really valuable things from working in a professional IT position – work ethics, deadlines, writing documents, communication skills etc. 

Q: In general, do you have any advice you could give to an artist following the same path as you?
Being an artist is hard and you definitely don’t get anything handed to you on a plate to you. You have to do all the digging, all the looking, phone calls and selling yourself; something I’m not very keen on or good at myself, but who is? But the best advise would be to follow what’s in your heart, it’s generally telling you the right thing. 

Q: Most of your work concentrates on portraits of older people. What draws you to taking photographs of this particular group?
I don’t think it’s something I’ll do forever, it’s something I got interested in while doing my thesis for my final year in college. Doing portraits was the last thing I thought I’d end up doing, and it’s all I do now. I was making portraits with a social element to them, e.g migrant workers, the male body that wasn’t the covers of Men’s Health magazine. Doing research for these, the older body would inevitably come up, and I made a note to do a project around this. I’m interested in how we adapt to what society thinks we should do. There are very few representations of older people used in advertising. Products are sold with young and beautiful bodies. There is a myth that is being sold to us, and something we are lapping up, that we can stay young forever. This has a huge impact on how society views our older population. I was brought up to respect older people, and I had huge respect for my own Grandparents, who have had a huge part to play in who I am today. We are losing that, and by doing projects like these, I hope in some small way it will make people think. If it changes the attitudes of a few, then it has worked. We are all going to grow old, and changing attitudes starts in schools, in homes and in projects like this. There is also a great sense of freedom in working with a lot of older people. They have so much life experience and juicy gossip, and they don’t really give a crap what you think of them. I love that.

Q: Has working with older people made you think a lot about getting older yourself?
It certainly draws attention to it. I’m 37 so I’ve a bit to go, but time does shift on quickly. I think it’s made me less self-conscious about what other people think, and that’s refreshing. In Japan, older people were celebrated (now also unfortunately changing). That’s the way our society should be. The thing to achieve I suppose is to have no regrets by the time I get there.

You can find more information about Garvan’s work on his website:

Would you have a few minutes to answer Garvan's Survey about growing older and Fashion?
click here ... 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Garvan Gallagher,

Juliet Turner at Draiocht for 1 Night

May 30, 2011

Juliet Turner at Draiocht for 1 Night

Juliet Turner is appearing at Draiocht, Blanchardstown on Sat. 11th June 2011, 8pm.
Prepare to be drawn in and bowled over!

Juliet Turner stumbled into making music. She was given a guitar for her fifteenth birthday and met a poet who told her to start writing her own songs. In 1996 whilst at university in Glasgow, she was offered the chance to record those songs in a little studio called “Heaven” with small independent label “Sticky Music”. The result was “Let’s Hear it for Pizza”. People are still buying the album years later for songs such as “Pizza and Wine”, “Beyond the Backyard” and “Indian Summer”. It is a rough and ready album with some gorgeous lyrics. Innocent yet a little twisted.

Juliet moved to Dublin to finish her degree and to start playing live shows. Word travels swiftly on the Dublin music scene and soon Juliet was opening shows in the city for international artists such as Bob Dylan, Gabrielle, Natalie Merchant, Sting, U2 and Brian Adams and was touring with Joan Armatrading, Brian Kennedy, Ron Sexsmith and Roger McGuinn.

In 2000 Juliet set up her own label “Hear This! Records” with her manager Derek Nally. She released her second album “Burn the Black Suit” on the label and it went double platinum in Ireland. This album, produced by Gerard Kiely, was a little more ambitious – “pop veering into darker territory” as one reviewer put it. It gave the world three catchy pop tunes – “Dr Fell”, “Take the Money and Run” and “Burn the Black Suit”. Also the haunting “Belfast Central” and the duet with Brian Kennedy on “I hope that I don’t fall in love with you”, written by Tom Waits. This album was recently voted one of the top 100 Irish albums of all time by Hot Press Music Magazine Readers. Number 51.

“Season of the Hurricane” was released in Feb 2004 and went platinum in Ireland in June of the same year. This offered the radio hit “Everything Beautiful is Burning” and went to No. 8 in the Irish album charts. It also found itself nestling at no. 5 in the Amazon Internet charts between Norah Jones and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Less immediate than the previous album with smoother production values, Turner’s music became even more difficult to categorise and her subject matter more intriguing. The stand out track on this album is the starkly beautiful “No Good in this Goodbye”.

“There was no love as ordinary as ours.  We walked hand in hand through this work day world. And the swiftness of your leaving caught me by surprise. There is no good in this goodbye”.

In Feb 2005 Juliet picked up an Irish Meteor Music Award for best Irish Female Performer, alongside artists such as Paddy Casey, PJ Harvey and Snow Patrol and she also signed a distribution deal with Valley in America. Deciding that the time was right to record some of the live shows, she released “Juliet Turner - Live” in November 2005, recorded over three nights in one of her favourite small Irish venues, the Spirit Store in Dundalk. This set the tone for the gigs to follow over the next couple of years as Juliet began to play all her live shows in small acoustic venues accompanied only by guitarist Brian Grace.

Then with three studio albums, a live album, double platinum sales and a Meteor Music Award under her belt, Juliet decided that a change of scene was needed and in October 2007 returned to Trinity College Dublin to undertake a four year BSc in Clinical Speech and Language Studies and has since received her degree.

Alongside the studies, the songwriting and performing continues and Juliet has been recording a new album with producer Keith Lawless. Described by the Irish Times as ‘one of the most intriguing of Irish female song writers arriving several years ago with a guitar and a batch of brittle, poignant songs; her broad accent and even broader outlook; her bitter-sweet tastes all marking her as one to watch’, Turner is still an artist marbled with tiny streaks of maverick.

The new batch of songs are thoughtful and less acerbic than some of her previous writing and the narrative lines running through the album are sympathetic and full of warmth. On stage with long time guitarist Brian Grace, Juliet Turner has a wry charm, a beautiful voice and fine lyrics, making her a compelling live performer. Listen for “Elder of the Tribe” and “Luisa” in particular. The release of new material seems to fall in a four-year cycle and her last album released in 2008, was eagerly anticipated and extremely well received.

Turner's live shows should be experienced. She is a quiet, relaxed performer with a wicked sense of humour. Her voice is unusually clear and sweet and her between song anecdotes are amusing, eccentric and off-the-cuff. With three studio albums, a live album, double platinum sales and a Meteor Music Award under her belt, Juliet Turner decided that a change of scene was needed and in October 2006 returned to Trinity College Dublin to undertake a four year BSc in Clinical Speech and Language Studies. Alongside the studies, the songwriting and performing continues and Juliet recorded a fourth studio album with producer Keith Lawless in a warehouse in Dublin.


The last album, “PEOPLE HAVE NAMES” was released in June 2008 and has been garnering rave reviews:


Irish Times four stars. **** JULIET TURNER: People Have Names
“Just as Juliet Turner’s palate for life’s sweet and salty moments has evolved, so her palette of sound has rumbled onwards as well, and her appreciation for life’s minor chords has grown. The title track (left to the end of the album, where it can seep into the subconscious) is a thought provoking meditation on life’s defining qualities: “It’s the work of a life time to love and be loved in return, to love to the end”. Lyrically, Turner’s attention turns to the big and small ticket stories; loneliness (Tuesday Night Ladies), romance (High Hopes) and the contradictions of youth and age (The Elder of the Tribe). Arrangements are spacious and unforced, with suitably tinted brass and strings, and Turner’s wisdom in letting her CD’s percolate for olympian periods is palpable on this gloriously taut collection”.

Belfast Telegraph - JULIET TURNER:  People Have Names (Hear This) 4 Stars ****
You’d be hard pushed to find a flaw in Juliet Turner’s musical armoury.  The Omagh-born songstress has usually delivered in both recording studio and stage. She’s a natural at encapsulating a marriage between folk and the singer-songwriter genre. “Season of the Hurricane” from 2004 was an excellent body of work — but since then she’s swapped the studio for the lecture hall and gone back to Trinity College Dublin to do a four-year degree in speech and language therapy. Fast forward to 2008 and Turner has just made the album of her life . People Have Names is a quite stunning collection of material — gorgeously presented by simple, sumptuous arrangements that are underpinned by Turner’s delicate vocal chords. The single Trickster is among the many highlights, but the two outstanding tracks are High Hopes and the opener Invisible to the Eye.

Hot Press Music Magazine ****Irish Maverick is Album of the Year Contender.
"Whereas many of her contemporaries have lost momentum, their best work behind them, Juliet Turner’s fourth studio album is an intoxicating example of an adventurous artist moving forward, discovering fresh topics, literate themes and intriguing sounds with which to tease her artistic muse. “Invisible to the Eye” is a striking song with Turner’s voice at its most sublime. The Cohenish “High Hopes” looks at the vicissitudes of love, “Elder of the Tribe” focuses on contrasting generational differences, while the unsettling, country-tinged “Tuesday Night Ladies” - boasting a particularly exquisite vocal from Turner - is a graphic depiction of modern lives lived with no direction home. Despite the slow tempo, “Joy” is uplifting and brash, with a self-confident sweet swagger, but “Trickster” is the real gem, a deceptively catchy tune with the refrain “What do you mean you don’t like shopping? What do you mean you don’t watch TV?”. Keith Lawless’s production, drizzled with warm strings and splashes of accordion and brass, brings a seductive and uncluttered feel to a bunch of songs that Turner seems to have been tenderly nurturing for a while. “People Have Names” is about as faultless as it gets and is a serious contender for album of the year."

Sunday Life - JULIET TURNER: People Have Names
"Turner has quietly evolved into one of our best singer/songwriters, and this fourth album, with a rich production and an increasingly sophisticated musical palette, may just be her best yet. Its songs are personal snapshots that reflect on the hard, bitter truths of life and are suffused with an air of sadness and regret that chime perfectly with the melancholy edge to Turner’s voice.”

Book Now: Tel: 01-8852622 or online 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Music,

West United Football Player turns his hand to writing

May 24, 2011

West United Football Player turns his hand to writing

For many years Christian O’Reilly enjoyed a top class playing career with West United and the playwright took more than most from his time between the white lines as he has recently put his playing experience to good use with the penning of a new play called ‘Here We Are Again Still’. Legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once described football as “more important than life or death”. O’Reilly’s play is a celebration of soccer and it explores what it means and why it happens.
Now people say it is only a game but as anyone who played or follows it will testify – it is much more important than that. The play is funny and entertaining and based on two men, one older and one younger who discover an unlikely connection through their shared passion for the sport.
- Mike Rafferty, Connacht Sentinel, May 17, 2011

"If I was coaching some young lad over there, I'd tell him his job is simple: to allow yourself to play football. That means when someone tells you you're s***e, you tell yourself you're good. When they roar at you for making a mistake, you tell yourself mistakes are human. When they scream at you for missing an open goal, you say to yourself, 'I'll score the next one'. Your job -- your job more than anything -- is to encourage yourself because you can't rely on anyone else to do it for you. Does that make sense?"
Some lines taken from Christian O'Reilly's wonderful play 'Here We Are Again Still', coming to Draiocht on Tuesday 31 May, 8pm ...

Paddy sits on the same bench outside his flat every night, unable to sleep since the death of his wife. His elderly neighbour Imelda does her best to drive him indoors, but there’s no talking to him. Then one day Paddy is annoyed to find a troubled young man called Tony sitting on his bench. Despite his reluctance to connect with anybody, Paddy strikes up a grudging acquaintance with Tony and discovers in him a damaged soul struggling to deal with the past and fearful of the future. As they build a tentative friendship, they catch glimpses of matches played in the nearby playing fields and realise they share a forgotten passion for soccer. But Paddy hasn’t coached since he lost his wife to cancer and Tony hasn’t played since he lost everything to heroin. 

Full details here ...

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By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre,

Writer Dermot Bolger confirmed for Post Show Chat

May 18, 2011

Just confirmed, a post show chat and reading with writer Dermot Bolger, after this weeks 'The Parting Glass', Saturday 21 May, 8pm ... show lasts 92 minutes straight through, no interval ... http://www.draiocht.ie/events/the_parting_glass/

'In The Parting Glass, Eoin has come back to Ireland with his wife and their son Deiter after 15 years in Germany. Like many emigrants, he has always been bound to home by his relationship with his parents, and his mother's Alzheimer's has precipitated his move back. He returns a few years before the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. There's this sense that he is the lunatic who left the casino just before the slot machine paid out, he missed out on that. In the first play 'In High Germany', Eoin's father was also a returned emigrant. In 'The Parting Glass', all the things that happened the father happen to Eoin all over again. As the econony collapses, his son Deiter, now 20, faces the prospect of emigration, and Eoin realises that the whole process of people leaving the country to find work is a never-ending cycle' ... Dermot Bolger in conversation with Marc O'Sullivan, Irish Examiner

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By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre,

Queen’s Visit - Traffic Restrictions - 17-20 May 2011

May 16, 2011

If you're coming to any of our shows this week, it might be a good idea to check out the traffic restrictions in Dublin before you leave and give yourself plenty of time to get here ...

more info ... 

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Ireland from Tuesday (17th) to Friday (20th), visiting Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary and Cork.  

Please log on to AA Roadwatch for a list of the road closures, parking restrictions and travel information for the State Visit this week.
Due to the high security around the visit, all details are subject to change and many details may not be made available until hours before any closures.  

Dublin will remain open for business this week. However, anyone travelling into the city is advised to plan your journey in advance, allow extra time for your journey, expect to complete some journeys on foot and use public transport facilities where possible.  However, check timetable and route changes before setting off and there may be brief disruption to transport services at times. Gardai will direct traffic at major junctions, with the aim to facilitate movement in the city. Pedestrians should be aware that from Tuesday 17th until Friday 20th May, designated crossing points will be in place on a number of city centre routes.

Phoenix Park:  

There will be no parking in the Phoenix Park until Wednesday 25th May.

There will be restricted access to the park and traffic disruption can be expected.   

Dublin Zoological Gardens will be closed on Tuesday 17th and Monday 23rd May. Dublin Zoo will be open from Wednesday 18th until Saturday 21st and on Tuesday 24th May, but there will be no parking available in the park. On Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd the Zoo will open with limited parking.

Knockmaroon Gate in the Phoenix Park will be CLOSED to all traffic.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Draiocht Info,

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