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The Emerald Connection

All Things Irish

April 30, 2020 admin

The Emerald Conversations Episode 4. Ger Sweeney talks to Clare-based Artist, Manus Walsh

Manus walsh is one of Ireland’s most talented artists. His inspiration comes from many sources but the fact that he is based in Ballyvaughan in the heart of the Burren in Co. Clare ensures that the inpsiration tap never runs dry. Just after he launched a new exhibition in November 2018 Manus took some time out to chat to Ger Sweeney.

April 30, 2020 admin

The Emerald Conversations Episode 3. Ger Sweeney talks to Irish Broadcasting Legend, Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy’s career at RTÉ began in the early 1960’s. Mike’s dulcet tones can still be heard but not on the Irish national airwaves but as the voice of the new Senior Times’ podcast series. When the podcast series was launched Ger Sweeney chatted with Mike about it, and about his long and distinguished career in broadcasting.

April 30, 2020 admin

The Emerald Conversations Episode 2. Des Kenny tells the story of Kenny’s Bookshop

In November of 2018 Ger Sweeney spoke to Des Kenny of Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Gallery in Galway. In this conversation Des tells the story of the family run business.

April 28, 2020 admin

The Emerald Conversations Episode 1. John Lynch, Leader, Kilfenora Céilí Band

John Lynch is the leader of the world renowned Kilfenora Céilí Band. In this conversation with Ger Sweeney from 2018 John talks about the village of Kilfenora, the origins of the band and what’s on the cards for future years.

April 21, 2020 admin

Government Working to Keep Irish Diaspora Connected and Supported

In a message on the most recent Global Irish Newsletter, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon TD assured the Irish Diaspora that the government is working very hard to support them with their various needs during the Covid-19 crisis. Some people need help to get back to Ireland at this time and some are being supported in the work they are doing in their own communities abroad, working with vulnerable people at this time.

“I want to assure you that although you are abroad, you still are in our thoughts as we collectively fight against this pandemic” says Minister Cannon in his message. There is information about how the Irish Embassies and Consulates abroad have re-doubled their efforts to offer additional support to Irish citizens in their areas. Likewise, some initiatives are identified including one that Ireland Reaching Out developed called “Children’s Family Tree”. This allows children to connect with their Irish heritage and understand their history. It provides an opportunity for families self-isolating at home to explore their genealogy and bring them into contact with their extended family members in Ireland.

April 12, 2020 admin

PJ Curtis – Music Producer & Broadcaster pays tribute to Mary McPartlan

One of the many tributes paid to Mary McPartlan following her death on 6th April called her “Ireland’s best kept secret”. Mary was completely immersed in the Arts in Ireland and her many talents ensured that she brought success and something special to eveything she became involved in.

Although she was part of a folk duo called Calypso in the 1970’s it took some convincing to get her to the recording studio. When she did agree to record she did it to raise funds for the charity “Simon” and she chose PJ Curtis to produce the album for her in 2004. The album was called “The Holland Hankerchief” and it went on to receive ecstatic reviews and was voted MOJO folk album of the year.

President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina paid tributes to McPartlan whom they described as a “dear friend”. In the statement, President Higgins said the Leitrim-born folk singer, who won many awards, “leaves a legacy of achievement for the arts that will endure”.

PJ Curtis, spoke to Ger Sweeney about Mary McPartlan and offered an insight into the importance and significance of her involvement in so many Arts-related projects and programmes. He recalls the fun they had making “The Holland Handkerchief” and while this is a tribute to Mary McPartlan, PJ also pays tributes to some other great musicians and singers that passed away in recent weeks.

April 11, 2020 admin

Shaskeen – 50 Years Making Music

It was in 1970 that Tom Cussen first named the new band “Shaskeen”. 50 years on the band and its members are known and respected across the world in music circles and loved by the many hundreds of thousands of people whose lives they have enriched in that time through their music.

Ahead of the launch of the band’s new CD, titled “Shaskeen Live and Kicking” Ger Sweeney got an opportunity to speak the founding father, Tom Cussen and the newest addition to the line-up, David Sanders. The album was recorded at two live events but the majority of the material is from a gig in Corofin, Co. Clare which was held on January 4th 2020.

On Friday 17th April 2020 the album will be officially on sale via the band’s website, and the timing of the release was meant to kick-start a series of gigs to celebrate the 50 years of Shaskeen. The onset of the Covid-19 virus has put paid to that but there is another very poignant reason why 2020 will not be the year that the members thought it would be for Shaskeen. On the 28th March the band’s piper, Pat Broderick died suddenly. This blow was followed four days later when Pat Costello, vocalist, mandolin, five string and tenor banjo player passed away.

In this interview Tom and David talk about Shaskeen, its origins, ambition, the need to constantly evolve, the passion each member has for playng music and entertaining crowds. They also pay tribute to their fallen colleagues and friends for whom, in these uncertain times of Covid-19, they can’t start the mourning process in earnest.

The story of Shaskeen is a very special one and it cannot be told in a brief interview with two people. However, that story WILL be told and it will be told in words and music as soon as circumstances allow.

April 2, 2020 admin

Ger Sweeney talks to Broadcaster Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy has a very distinctive voice which is instantly recognisable. He has been broadcasting since the early 1960’s and has seen many chances in the industry over the years.

Senior Times is a magazine for the over 50’s that is circulated in Ireland. They also run events across the country called the 50 Plus Expos. Senior Times had done an interview with Mike a while back and they contacted him recently to see if he would have an interest in being the voice of its new Podcast.  As he says himself Mike didn’t have a clue about podcasts but it was something new and he jumped at the opportunity.

Recently, Ger Sweeney spoke to Mike Murphy about the podcast, those he has already interviewed and those on the list for future episodes. He also spoke in detail about his broadcasting career and shared some great stories and memories. We’ve lots of bad news at present so why not take some time out and listen to Ger and Mike chatting about great times