03 August 2011

Shane O'Rourke in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
Cherish The Ladies - Celebrating 25 Years of Music Making
Headstone Discovery
Pub Limerick Competition
Portumna Country Market
Woodford Gun Club
Near Naked Cyclist Pedal Through Portumna
Caman Abu Squad ready for their Croke Park Debut
Portumna Golf Club - Left-Handers Competition
Portumna on Facebook

Shane O'Rourke in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
Shane O'Rourke is competing in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc 2011 to help with fundraising for the Abalta School for Children with Autism in Galway. Fundraising for Abalta has been going well this year with the Dog Show the Women's Mini Marathon and a forest walk to come in September.

The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (www.ultratrailmb.com) starts on August 26th, with 2300 runners completing a full circuit of the Mont Blanc Massif in France, Italy, Switzerland and back to France over a distance of 104 miles. Shane will run for one day and two nights with 9,500m of positive height gain in what is regarded as the worlds toughest trail race.

Donations to Abalta can be made to Treasurer Phil Coleman, Chairperson Aggie Flaherty or to Shane for what is a very worthy cause. Over the past number of years Shane has competed and completed in races across numerous deserts including the Atacama and Sahara, this requires a great deal of training and dedication on Shane's behalf your support will make it all worth while.


Cherish The Ladies - Celebrating 25 Years of Music Making
Irish music lovers are in for a treat this coming September when the world famous Cherish the Ladies take to the stage in the Shannon Oaks Hotel.

When describing Cherish the Ladies, the headlines say it best; "It is simply impossible to imagine an audience that wouldn't enjoy what they do", "An astonishing array of virtuosity", "Expands the annals of Irish music in America, the music is passionate, tender and rambunctious", and for the past twenty five years, Cherish the Ladies have proven themselves worthy to live up to these accolades and in doing so have become one of the most engaging ensembles in the history of Irish music.

Taking their name from a traditional Irish jig, the group initially began in 1985 with a series of concerts celebrating the rise of female musicians in once a male dominated scene. The concerts were held in New York City and organized by Dr. Mick Moloney and the Ethnic Folk Arts Center. The troupe initially won recognition as the first all-women traditional music and dance ensemble, but they soon established themselves as musicians and performers without peer and have since won many thousands of fans of their music.

Under the leadership of the dynamic and irrepressible Joanie Madden on flutes and whistles, they have grown from a one-time concert concept to an Irish traditional music sensation and are the most successful and sought after Irish-American group in Celtic music. With their unique spectacular blend of virtuosi instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements and stunning step dancing, this powerhouse group combines all the facets of Irish traditional culture and puts it forth in an immensely humorous and entertaining package.

The past years have seen the group touring all over North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand performing in the finest concert halls and international festivals. They are equally at home in front of a symphony orchestra, a performing arts center, a folk festival or even the White House.

During their travels, they have attained numerous awards and achievements including; named Best Musical Group of the Year by the BBC, Top North American Celtic Group at the Irish Music Awards, Entertainment Group of the Year by the Irish Voice Newspaper, chosen the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall's International Group of the Year at the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland and voted Top North American Celtic act by NPR Radio "Thistle and Shamrock" program. In 2010, the ladies were immortalized as they were bestowed a street naming, "Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies" became a permanent street sign on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, New York.

They have shared the stage with such noted entertainers as James Taylor, Joan Baez, Emmy Lou Harris, The Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem, The Chieftains and dozens of symphony orchestras. The "Celtic Album", their collaboration with the Boston Pops Symphony led to a 1999 Grammy nomination. The Ladies have recorded fourteen highly acclaimed albums which were all released to rave reviews including their Christmas Album which was chosen as one of the top Albums of the Year by The New York Times, Washington Post, The Village Voice and many other nationally syndicated Newspapers and their latest album "Country Crossroads" recorded in Nashville and featuring guest stars Vince Gill, Nanci Griffith and Maura O'Connell.

Cherish the Ladies have appeared on CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, Evening at Pops, C-Span, PBS and National Public Radio in the United States and on BBC and RTE radio and television overseas. At the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, they were chosen to represent Irish music and culture at the Official Cultural Olympiad. The girls continue to blaze forward and continue to enchant audiences worldwide.

Joanie Madden is the Grammy Award winning whistle and flute player who has been the leader of Cherish the Ladies since its inception. Born in New York of Irish parents, she is the second oldest of seven children raised in a musical household; her mother Helen, a dancer of traditional sets hails from Miltown Malbay, County Clare and her father Joe, an All-Ireland Champion on the accordion, came from Portumna, he passed away in November 2008.

Joanie received her musical training early in life listening to her father and his friends play music at family gatherings and social events. She began taking lessons from Jack Coen, brother of ex-Garda Tony Coen who now lives in Lorrha County Tipperary and within a few short years she had won both the world Championship on the concert flute and whistle. During that time, Joanie also became the first American to win the coveted Senior All-Ireland Championship on the whistle.


Headstone Discovery
In Portumna Church of Ireland churchyard, the cutting back of a 130-year-old tree has revealed a previously unknown grave. This burial ground was somewhat devastated by the hard winter, and is undergoing a restoration project. It was discovered that the mature and overgrown Thuja was actually growing in the grave of the late C G O'Keefe, his wife Barbara and their infant granddaughter Belinda Nesbit. Although the headstone was first inscribed in 1879, it is clearly legible and iron bar surround undamaged. If anyone has any knowledge as to the O'Keefe grave or who their descendents may be, contact caroline@well3.eu


Pub Limerick Competition
This week sees the launch of Portumna's Shorelines Arts Festival Pub Limerick Competition. One of Portumna's local wordsmiths has composed a unique first line of a Limerick for each pub in Portumna. So each pub will have its own personalised first line for the creative punters to add their four lines to complete the Limerick. Each entry is €2. Envelopes available in all local pubs so get writing and rhyming, supporting our upcoming Shorelines Arts Festival, Sept 22nd-25th. Judging of the Limericks will take place in September with reading of selected entries and award of the Shorlines Limerick Award, created by Brian Murray, planned for Sun night Sept 25th in a pub near you. The judges are the 3 J's of Baffle, Loughrea. See www.shorelinesartsfestival.com for more info.


Portumna Country Market
The local Country Market are holding a Coffee morning for famine relief in Somalia on the coming Friday 5th August 8.30am to 12 Midday. Your support would be appreciated. Come and meet friends, make anarrangement to meet there and have a nice fresh scone with your coffee.


Woodford Gun Club
Well done to the members of the clay shooting team which represented Galway in Mullingar at the all Ireland 50 bird sporting competition and came 5th overall .The team was Brian Porter, David Lyons, Gerry Daniels, David Ryan, Sean Starr and Tony Porter.


Near Naked Cyclist Pedal Through Portumna
Ten Near Naked Cyclist will be stopping for lunch in Portumna on Saturday 20th August as part of their 560 mile cycling challenge. The cyclists will be facing one of their toughest challenges by taking on Male Cancer Awareness Campaign's East to West challenge, cycling from the east of the UK, Southend on Sea, to the west of Ireland, Galway. Not only will the cyclists be facing almost 100 gruelling miles in the saddle every day for 6 days, they will be doing so in near naked suits. The cyclists aim to raise awareness of male cancer and reduce the embarrassment factor associated with male cancer through the aid of the suits.

Patrick Cox, founder of Male Cancer Awareness Campaign said: "This challenge is tough, both mentally and physically. The suits are a bit silly in places, like men's bodies and aim to grab people's attention. We are hoping that the people of Portumna get behind us and show us support."

Ahead of the challenge, volunteer cyclist Rhod Perryman said: "This is my third year of doing the challenge, it's simply brilliant. You can not beat the feeling of cycling through towns and seeing people's reactions to the suit, they always generate a smile. I am looking forward to turning yet more people's heads this year"

The Near Naked Cyclists will be stopping for lunch on the final day of their challenge in Portumna around 1pm. The cyclists will be enroute to their final destination in Galway, where they started day 6 in Kilkenny.

Please visit www.malecancer.org for more information or www.ballsoutchallenge.org to take up your own challenge.

Male Cancer Awareness Campaign aims to reduce the embarrassment factor associated with male cancer. Men's lives are lost every year because they are too embarrassed to get themselves checked out. By completing the East to West challenge in Near Naked suits will raise awareness of male cancer and help reduce embarrassment levels.


Caman Abu Squad ready for their Croke Park Debut
Next Sunday Portumna will showcase Caman Abu at half time in the GAA Hurling All Ireland Championship semi final. The Portumna squad, Vincent Treacy, Matthew Loughnane, Fergal Coughlan, Sean Donoghue Bernie Treacy, Colette Fahy, Noeleen Fogarty and Susan Royston have been training hard on the Sign Out All Weather pitch in preparation for their first outing.' The players are realy looking forward to their big challenge on national stage'says their manager, Marguerite Dolphin.

Caman Abu is a variation of the traditional game of hurling, piloted in Portumna, it has been developed to cater for social and recreational players. Caman Abu has many features in common with hurling but the one significant difference is that it is played as a non-contact ground hurling game. A special hurley stick and sliothar have been specifically designed for the game. The rules reflect the social and recreational nature of Caman Abu. Caman Abu is a new and innovative while also fun, enjoyable, sociable and accessible.


Portumna Golf Club - Left-Handers Competition
Portumna are hosting a Open Mens & Ladies Left-handed competition on Friday 12th August. It was revealed that 25% of the members are left-handed. The Captain Christy O Rourke, President John Harte, Vice Captain Frank Ryan, Treasurer Joe Austin, Course Manager Paddy Kelly and office manager Mike Ryan are all left handers. It is hoped to make this an annual event so please support.


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