02 February 2011

Portumna Community School to Stage "Hot Mikado"
Poetry as a Bridge to Romania
Age Action Ireland - Volunteers Needed
Portumna Contract Bridge Club
Main Street Road Surface to be Repaired
Portumna GAA
Omna Singers
'The Field' Anniversary
Portumna Arts Group & Portumna Pen Pushers Celebrate Valentines Day
Portumna Community Town Hall AGM
Table Quiz - VESA Fundraiser
Ireland Reaching Out Meeting
St. Patrick's Day Parade
Evening Dancing
Portumna Community School
Portumna Golf Club
Letter from Shanghai (2)

Portumna Community School to Stage "Hot Mikado"

Hot Mikado
Thursday and Friday next Feb. 10th and 11th Portumna Community School will once again stage their annual school musical, an event which has entertained audiences to the highest standards over the years. This year's production is Hot Mikado, a modern take on the Gilbert and Sullivan classic. All the old favourites are given a modern twist from Jazz to rock and plenty in between. Featuring an intoxicating mix of styles and influences, classics such as 'A Wand'ring Minstrel I' and 'Three Little Maids' are transformed into show-stopping blues, swing, hot gospel numbers with pulsating rhythms that will make you want to get up and dance!

The cast is made up entirely of the school's Transition Year class with musical assistance from the first year music students. Intense rehearsals over the last few weeks under the direction of James Coughlan with musical direction from Denise Kelleher will have brought the best from this committed and enthusiastic cast.

Ticket prices have been maintained at the same level as recent years but the addition of a special Family Ticket of €30 for 2 adults and 2 children is proving very popular. Tickets made be booked online at www.portumnacs.com or by phoning the school during office hours 090 9741053.


Poetry as a Bridge to Romania
Poetry is so pivotal to Romanian culture that an old proverb claims that "Every Romanian is a born poet.' This tradition is still alive in the post-communist generations since 1990, despite the pervasive encroachment of media culture and consumerism. Poems by modern Romanian poets are subtle, often not realistic, intense, and strewn with vivid images. Though their voices may seem strange at first, their inner landscape of longing, love, faith, and terror in the night is not so very different from our own. It is with great delight that we invite the public to Portumna Library for 7.30pm on the evening of Wednesday February 9th to celebrate the rich, vibrant, and musical poetry of the Romania. The playwright, screenwriter and writer for radio, Neil Donnelly will be present to facilitate the reading (in translation) of the work of 10 contemporary Romanian poets. Contact 087-0523242 for further details.


Age Action Ireland - Volunteers Needed
Volunteers needed to help teach over 55's to use Computers. Galway Rural Development - Na Calaí, in conjunction with Age Action Ireland need volunteer tutors who can commit to a 2 hourly session over 6 to 8 weeks (both day and evenings available). Basic computer skills needed but patience and good humour just as important. A short induction for volunteer tutors will be provided. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Na Calaí to register at 974 1887 or call to their office in Abbey St., Portumna


Portumna Contract Bridge Club
Portumna Contract Bridge Club Results for the 17th Jan were:
1st Bertie Hanlon, Conor Finch. 2nd Fr.Finneran, Bridget Brereton. Gross Sean Cahalan, Patsy Hanbury. 3rd Charlie Mullen, John Craig. 4th Michael Torpey, Eileen Touphy.

Portumna Contract Bridge Club Results for the 24th Jan were:
1st Fr.Finneran, Bridget Brereton. 2nd Peggy White, Patricia Eames. Gross Charlie Mullen, Joan Ryan. 3rd Sheila Dillon, Mary Burbage. 4th Lorna Stoddart, Bertie Hanlon.

Portumna Contract Bridge Club Results for the 24th Jan were:
1st Mary Rose Cormican,Nora Flanagan. 2nd Charlie Mullen, Marge Mullen. Gross Kaye Duddy, Fr. Finneran. 3rd Mary Jo Kelly, Eileen Smith. 4th Patsy Hanbury, Patricia Eames.


Main Street Road Surface to be Repaired
Following representations to the National Roads Authority concerning the condition of the N65 at Brendan Street, Mayor of County Galway has been informed that the necessary funding to carry out immediate repairs is available and work will be underway as a matter of urgency. A more detailed announcement regarding funding for major upgrading of this section road and Clonfert Avenue will be made at a later date. Mayor Mc Clearn said that following changes made by the Department of Transport, Galway County Council were no longer allowed to carryout these type of repairs on National roads without the approval of the National Roads Authority, these changes are causing unnecessary problems and should be reversed.


Portumna GAA
Lotto: There was no winner of last Saturday night's lotto jackpot worth 2000 euros. The numbers drawn were 3 18 27 28. Three people matched three numbers John Keane snr and Emma Keane Johnathan O Donnell and Johnny Keane. This week-ends lotto is worth 2100 euros.

Minor Players: A meeting for minor players will take place in the clubhouse on Monday night at 7:30pm. All players between the ages of 15-18 are asked to attend. Membership will be taken up on the night 20 euros for u16 and 30 euros for student.

Coaching Director: Paudie Butler the national coaching director of hurling will attend Portumna and Gortanumera schools this Thursday for coaching sessions with all our underage boys.


Omna Singers
Portumna Arts Group Omna Singers have just returned for another 8 week series of singing workshops under the direction of Marie Power, venue An Gairdin Portumna on Monday nights @ 8pm. If you like to sing this is for you. Contact details 087-6955166


'The Field' Anniversary
Portumna Players staged J B Keanes world famous play The Field 20 years ago, to celebrate the anniversary of the play they will show a digitalized version of the play in Horan's Bar Portumna this coming Friday 4th February at 9.30 pm all the cast and friends are welcome.


Portumna Arts Group & Portumna Pen Pushers Celebrate Valentines Day
Portumna Arts Group aims to raise the spirits and warm the hearts with a Lunchtime Recital of Song & Words in the Church of Ireland on Sunday, Feb 13th at 12 noon. The theme of the songs and readings will be Love to welcome the romantic day of St Valentine's Day. Participants include Darren D'Burca, Colin Fahy, Joe Casey, Miriam Donohue, Pascal Kennedy and members of the local Portumna Pen Pushers and Arts Group with members of other groups participating. Admission - €8 and all welcome.


Portumna Community Town Hall AGM
The Portumna Community Town Hall AGM will take place on Friday 4th February at 8pm in the small hall. This meeting is open to anyone who may have an interest in the running of the Hall.


Table Quiz - VESA Fundraiser
Table Quiz in Treacy's Bar next Friday the 4th Feb at 9pm. All proceeds will go to VESA (Volunteer Eco Students Abroad). 4 local students will be traveling to Fiji this summer to do voluntary work. Your support would be greatly appreciated.


Ireland Reaching Out Meeting
South-East Galway Parish Meeting Thursday, 3rd February - 8pm in the Lady Gregory Hotel Gort

The Ireland Reaching Out project team invites you to the first parish meeting of 2011. The project steps up a gear this week with the launch of the website www.irelandxo.com. Comprehensive details of the planned IRO training programme for the parishes of south east Galway will also be presented as well as progress updates from selected parishes and the latest on the Week of Welcomes. The event will be attended by a number of the programme's sponsors including representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

All are welcome and new participants are particularly encouraged to attend. This is an ideal opportunity to introduce new parish team members to the project as well as meet other parish welcome team volunteers from communities across South-East Galway. We are delighted to confirm that David McWilliams, economist and broadcaster, John Concannon, Head of Strategy, Fáilte Ireland and Joe Hackett, Head of the Irish Abroad Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs will also address the meeting. Please ensure that your parish is well-represented - everyone is welcome!


St. Patrick's Day Parade
The good news is there will be a St. Patrick's Day parade in Portumna this March 17th. It is hoped to run the parade in the early afternoon, more details later. The late Sean Ryan launched the Portumna parade in 1984, since then it has gone from strength to strength. With the exception of the last 2 years (Portumna Senior Hurlers were in Croke Park and as a result the Town was deserted) the parade has been an integral part of events in Portumna. It is hoped this year also to introduce new ideas and music to the festival. This should be seen as a chance by local businesses to showcase what they have on offer to visitors and locals over the weekend. The last parade had an estimated crowd of 4000 upwards.


Evening Dancing
An evening of dancing will take place on Sunday 6th February in the Youth Hall Woodford from 5pm to 8pm. Music is by Danny Hunt - a social evening of fun and entertainment for all ages!


Portumna Community School
Concern Debating: Last Thursday, Conor O'Meara, Elizabeth Cunningham, Fiona Hyland and Donal Flynn took to the podium in another Concern Debate against St. Brendan's Community School of Birr. They were proposing the motion "Child labour is a necessity of life in the developing world". They showed no difficulty in wrestling this motion and both sides put up a good fight. While the adjudicators were making their final decision there was a very heated open forum, with comments and questions been thrown from every corner of room M! In the end both teams were winners as the adjudicators decided on a draw. The team now have to wait and see if they qualify for the next round. Huge thanks must go to Ms. Hough for her continued help and organisation. Well done and good luck!


Portumna Golf Club
This Sunday, 6th February will see the incoming Captains and Presidents Drive in at Portumna Golf Club. The Mens Captain is Christy O Rourke, Lady Captain Lillian Austin and President John Harte. The draw will take place at 11.30am with a shotgun start at 12noon. Final fling will also take place in the evening with live music, food and happy hour. Presentation to the Junior Cup who won the All-Ireland final in 2010 so all in all an action packed Sunday.


Letter from Shanghai (2)
FEBRUARY: Chinese New year in China
MARCH: Féile Shanghai
APRIL: Vist of Oranmore basketball Team representing Ireland at the World Basketball Competition in China
MAY: Out and about in Shanghai
JUNE: Education here and Murphy's prepare to come home
JULY: Summer in Ireland
AUGUST: Return to Shanghai and the blistering heat

I'll cover all the Chinese festivals as they arise.

Back in Shanghai after a whirlwind week in Dublin to promote Féile Shanghai, the Irish Festival happening in March. Hard to believe but the Shanghai Government have asked us to hold a 4 day event on Nanjing Road. This is the busiest street in Shanghai with a million people walking the street every day and one and a half at the weekend. The Irish are the only national group to be given the honour of having a parade and festival and it is a testament to the excellent relations that have been built up over time with the Irish Consulate in particular working very hard to ensure a country of 5 million have great influence in a city of 25 million and a country of 1.5 billion. Like all numbers in China, unimaginably big!

I come home every January to see my mum, a sprightly 87 years old and still living on her own and driving a car. She has just taken to the treadmill, you can't believe that at 87 she has joined a gym (albeit a HSE gym to help her rehabilitate from her bypass operation on her leg last year). She is an example to us all. Anyway the week was packed with meetings with so many people who wanted to hear about Féile Shanghai and after my anxiety about interest in the event I was so relieved that so many different organisations are excited about it. From Shanghai's twin city of Cork to the Ireland China Association to the organisers of Chinese New Year celebrations in Dublin (soon to be twinned with Beijing), to entertainers, educators, Rendevous353 (check this out it is an amazing website connecting the Irish across the world), politicians, government departments, media, chambers of commerce and so many more besides. We are about to announce our first sponsors and the event is going to have a huge impact on the Chinese public who unfortunately know so little about Ireland, but what they know they love.


Right, now who's having scorpion
The question I am most often asked about by people who are not familiar with China is "what's the food like?". The answer is, like the people, fantastic. Now don't get me wrong they do eat some strange stuff here as you can see from the attached photo but in a rice economy they still view our potatoes with some suspicion. By way of understanding, it is important to know that like the Irish the Chinese have experienced severe famine. The Great Leap Forward of 1958 to 1962 caused extreme suffering here and for many that time is within living memory. This may be why the Chinese, like the Irish, insist on feeding you to the gills when you go to their house (or restaurant). Fear of hunger is in their minds and in our DNA. Partly because of this and also because of their great curiosity for food the Chinese have a very diversified palate. Food is also regional, in Shanghai the sumptuous dumpling soup is a firm favourite, especially now during the cold winter. Food from Sichuan (the province that suffered the devastating earthquake) is very spicy while from Yunnan which is beside Sichuan and just above Vietnam, the dishes combine many exquisite tastes, flavours and ingredients. Our house keeper is from Anhui, north of Shanghai and she cooks a mean stew from that region with meat, potatoes, onions and carrots which my kids call "Irish Stew". In Shanghai as in many cities you can eat in fast food chains like McDonalds and KFC, street food from the familiar to the bizarre (fried locust anyone?) all the way up to Michelin starred restaurants both Western and Eastern. In Guangzhou there is a saying "we eat everything in the air except the aeroplane, everything in the sea except the ship and everything with four legs except the table" so that just about describes the variety on offer. The most important thing for the Chinese though is that the food is fresh. Even in the supermarket (yes Tesco) you can buy live swimming fish and at the market across the road from us the vegetables are seasonal and the ducks and chickens are quacking and clucking (remember that?).

So the food is different but also the same just depending on how adventurous you are. Wouldn't it be a very bland planet if all we ate was chicken breast, mashed potatoes and peas.

On a final note I wanted to tell you that here in Shanghai we are all very disturbed by the situation in Ireland. Experiencing it first hand last week I was very upset to hear the stories of real hardship and suffering from friends and family alike. I wasn't sure what to say to my mother when she told me how much her pension had been reduced, such a daunting prospect for someone who does not have any of the other difficult options (emigration, work, selling the second car) that people are being forced to make. Walking around Shanghai I was struck again by the affluence and optimism here. It was not always so, this is a new phenomenon and it is not built on a property boom, it is built on good planning, tremendous investment in infrastructure and education and hard, hard work. It made me realise that it is possible to turn things around, not to the frankly bewildering (for us emigrants - I left in 1989) boom-times but to a balanced and equitable economy. We have much we can learn from the Chinese on this score.

From Shanghai, "xin nian kuai le" or Happy New Year of the Rabbit!

Eoin Murphy

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