16 TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 NEWS Soroptimists and Harbour Street Shopping Centre presentation to Saplings Mullingar Amy Quirke AKA Skywriter Skywriter returns with eagerly anticipated second single BY: CLAIRE CORRIGAN Following the success of her debut single ‘The Simple Method’, Skywriter brings you her eagerly anticipated second single, ‘Dirty Face’ released by Black Sky Records on Friday, March 9th 2018. Collaborating once again with the Cronin brothers and The Blizzard’s drummer Dec Murphy, ‘Dirty Face’ is a somewhat laidback sound from the Westmeath native. Amy describes the single as “More laid-back than my first single, and a song that is for long night-time drives on the open road and reflection” ‘Dirty Face’ is released to coincide with Skywriter’s spring and summer tour in 2018, which will take in dates in Ireland, the UK and the US. Ireland’s ‘Hot Press’ magazine previously noted Skywriter as an act in their “ones to keep an eye and ear on” section. www.skywriternow.com www.facebook.com/skywriternow www.instagram. com/skywriternow Anne Melly, Margaret Culkin, Noirin Abbott, Marian Mortel, Denis Hogan, Manager Harbour Street Shopping Centre, Ursula Smyth, Principal, Saplings Mullingar, Mr Pat Webb, Chair, Parents Association Saplings Mullingar, Valyrie Moroney, Anne Donohoe and Ina O’Leary Soroptimist Mullingar and Denis Hogan, manager at Harbour Street Shopping Centre, have joined together to donate an incredible €1,000 to Saplings Mullingar last Tuesday evening. The partnership between Soroptimists Mullingar and Harbour Street Shopping Centre is one that has been in place for over ten years. Each year the money from Santa’s Grotto in the Harbour Street Shopping Centre is combined with a donation from Soroptimists Mullingar for a children’s charity. The 2017 children’s charity was Saplings Mullingar. Speaking at the presentation in Bloomfield House Hotel, Sarah McCormack, Soroptimists Mullingar, thanked Mr Hogan for the collaboration, which she said has worked very well over the years, benefitting many different children’s charities. “It is a novel idea and one that unites different organisations to bring joy to children with different needs.” Ms. McCormack reminded those present that the best investment a society can make is to invest in its children. Referring to the national Children’s Strategy Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, Ms McCormack said: “The name of this strategy is so fitting for the work that we do for our children, and it is so important that no matter the challenges that face the children, we all want to give them the brightest future possible.” Struck a chord Ms. McCormack said that when the Soroptimists were looking at the various children’s charities, the ethos of Saplings Mullingar struck a chord with them, as both organisations want to ensure that children have every opportunity to achieve their full potential and participate in their family and community life as well as receive an optimal education. Accepting the presentation on behalf of Saplings Mullingar, Ms Ursula Smyth, Principal, thanked all involved and emphasised the difference a donation of €1,000 would make to support the services that they provide at Saplings. Ms. Smyth and Mr Pat Webb, Chairperson of the Parent’s Association, gave an update on the support equipment, particularly sensory aids, that are now available to help the children at Saplings, revealing the school’s plans to buy a piece sensory of equipment that will help children relax, allowing them focus on their classes. Ms. Smyth and Mr Webb extended an invitation to Soroptimists Mullingar to come and visit Saplings to see the services that they provide and how they will use this much appreciated donation. Soroptimists Mullingar select a children’s charity each year and welcome applications from children’s services which they will consider when selecting their charity for 2018 Collinstown and Fore Parish restoration projects Work is well under way on the restoration of St Mary’s church in Collinstown. The architect is Mr Pat Coughlan of Coughlan Associates, Mullingar, and the contractor is Mr Michael Fagan, Coole. Both are very experienced and passionate about care of old buildings and both have been responsible for restoration of many churches in the country. The re-slating and insulating of the entire roof is near completion and Fr. Patrick Donnelly, PP Collinstown/Fore parish is pictured with Michael Fagan, contractor and Pat Coughlan, of Coughlan Associates, at St. Mary’s Church, Collinstown in recent weeks. already parishioners can feel the effects of the insulation. The stone parapets have also been releaded and repointed. In the coming weeks, the stone work of the building will be repointed and cleaned, the gutters will be restored, lightning conductors installed and the outside repainted. Inside the church, the wooden ceiling will be restored to its original beauty, the walls will be replastered, where necessary, and finally repainted. St Mary’s church can be dated back to 1780 and has the characteristics of a penal church, which results in its simple beauty appreciated by this present generation. The church received major renovation works in 1909 at a cost £2,500 with work on the roof, galleries, confessionals and wood work. In 1975/76, the interior of the church received extensive work. The parish priest of Collinstown, Fr Patrick Donnelly, believes that it is important that a building such as St Mary’s, built during penal times, is preserved for future generations. Meanwhile in the second church of the parish, St Feichin’s, work has begun on the subsidence problem behind the altar. Work will take about 11 weeks and during that time, the beautiful stained glass window will be reinstalled and, finally, the church will be repainted. St Feichin’s was first opened for worship in 1885 and the tower completed in 1912 by Fr Mulvaney (the future bishop of Meath). The church received further work in 1939 and 1974/75. It is hoped that work on both churches will be completed by the end of April. All this work is made possible by the fantastic support of the people of the parish working together to fundraise. Various events were held last year and more will take place over the years ahead. The parish greatly appreciate the support from people outside the parish. Everyone wants to see their church buildings looked after and preserved, especially as businesses and services are being removed from rural villages across the country.
TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 NEWS 17 Sense of Place Uisneach Exhibition a great success BY CLAIRE CORRIGAN There was a large crowd at the Atrium space of the County Buildings on Thursday, 1 February for the long awaited launch of the Sense of Place- Uisneach exhibition. The exhibition featured the work of local budding artists who, under the guidance of acclaimed local artist Claire Kelly and historian Ruth Illingworth, expressed what the Hill of Uisneach meant to them through their spectacular paintings, wood carvings, photography, poetry and various other mediums. Ruth, who does regular tours on the hill, was on hand to launch the exhibition and praised both Claire and all the artists for “capturing the essence of our sacred centre,” “I was interested in some of the quotations that I read going around that capture that idea about Uisneach as a place where there is no division and different tribes and different ways of thinking come together in Ciarán Whyte and Siobhán Sullivan pictured on Thursday, 1 February at the Atrium. a mutual meeting ground. This quotation in particular stuck me, “My soul wanted to take flight on Uisneach and I do think that it has that effect on one. It’s a place of imagination and place for the soul. I think the inspiration that Uisneach has always been Siobhán McCarthy and Miriam Blennerhassett pictured at the exhibition on Thursday, 1 February. to this land has come out so much in this magnificent collection of work, which touches on so many aspects of the Hill- the wildlife, the fairy trees, the air, the water, the fire.” The exhibition is the result of a combined effort of local community artist and facilitator Claire Kelly and the Transformative College supported by the newly established Creative Ireland Programme. To prepare for the exhibition, participants were taken on guided tour of the Hill by Ruth who also shared her knowledge with the group at a workshop lecture. The students then attended workshops at the Langton Centre, Austin Friars Street where they received guidance on their work from Claire who is a noted artist in the area. Speaking at the launch, Arts Officer Miriam Mulrennan said the five-year Creative Ireland Programme aimed to place creativity at the centre of public policy, “Creative Ireland supported this project as well as approximately 30 projects last year. It’s a new fund coming out of central government and it’s not Alice McDonnell, Bridie Costello, Marian Swayne and Ruth Illingworth. Margaret McKenna, Eric Edert, Claire Kelly, Ciarán Whyte and Jody Downes. huge sums but it can provide some support. The focus is really where creativity and community meet and that can be interpreted in a number of ways and as a result, gives us a little bit of freedom to work with the community directly and provide some support.” She urged anyone involved in the arts to contact the Arts Office for more information on the programme, “We will be looking after it this year and we expect to have similar support in terms of money. We should be announcing the scheme for applying for funding in the next week or two so if you are working in any kind of artistic endeavour be that dance, music, literature, film or visual arts, give our office a ring and talk to us about it and we’ll try and steer you in the right direction.” There was a special treat for attendees when poet Michael MacDonald stopped by to read a poem which was dedicated to the ancient site, “Uisneach calls, it always will. Remember it, if we must, in peace forever.” Artist Claire Kelly thanked all the attendees for their support and revealed she hoped to facilitate a similar project next year, “I want to thank Eric and Alice for helping me hang the exhibition and Paul Griffin for providing all the refreshments. I also want to thank the Creative Ireland 2017 Initiative and hopefully we will have a Creative Ireland 2018 initiative for next year.” Ruth Illingworth who launched the exhibition. Dermot Leavy, Alice McDonnell, Finola Colgan, Mental Health Ireland and Julia Smyth and Eunice Onubogu.