Ballydehob Jazz Festival 2015

Ballydehob Jazz Festival 2015

FuneralTHE Ballydehob Jazz Festival, the Boutique Festival in the Back of Beyond is back for its 9th year from the 1st to the 4th May.

This year will see an array of talent landing into the creative hub of  Ballydehob from local to international ; from Skibbereen to New Orleans.

The highlight of the Jazz Festival 2015 will be Saturday night’s Prohibition,Rum Running, Speakeasy Party in the secret Shebeen (aka the local community hall ). The Dublin City Jazz Orchestra; an 18 piece brass band will be pumping out the tunes andjazz standards of the 20’s,30’s and 40’s on the night.

The award winning Swing Jazz DJ Gary Baus will follow, spinning his records long into the wee hours..There will be dozens ofinternational Jazz Dancers throwing their shapes and instructing the revellers how to throw some hokum shapes themselves!

Since its inception in 2007, The Ballydehob Jazz festival has grown in stature and in standard due to its commitment to a first rate ,varied and accessible programme of events. Over the years this off beat heavenly hamlet  has hosted a string of unbelievable musicians and singers;from award winners to child prodigies such as, The Neil Cowley Trio to Paddy Cole,from Andreas Varady  to Gary Baus. It does so with the help of the creative local community and some sponsorship. It does not recieve any funding from the Arts council.

The heart and soul of the BJF is its Jazz Trail which places the finest musicians and performers in some of the most unusual settings…from local hostelries to old shop stores,to cafes to clubs  to restaurants and even a little busking on the street.

The Jazz trail line up this year  will feature the skills of The Darktown Strutters,the Portland, Oregon based Underscore Orchestra,The East Coast Jazz Band,Cookie and the Vaudevilles,The Cork School of Music Big Band, Marlene Enright and Gary Baus  amongst many many others

the-underscore-orkestraThis year a big feature will be the  New Orleans style jazz funeral with a West Cork twist which will take place in the early evening on both the Saturday and Sunday.

A major addition to the Ballydehob Jazz festival in 2015 will be the introduction of jazz dance workshops with lindy hop,swing and jazzroots being taught by a team of top class jazz dance instructors from all over Europe who are descending on the village for the May Bank Holiday weekend.This will add a great style and colour to all the events over the festival.

A  festival market will take place in the Village Hall this year on the Sunday,  during the day featuring West Cork artisan food and craft stalls,  selling their wares all to sounds of the 18 piece brass band that is The Cork City School of Music Big Jazz Band and also the magical  sounds of the Underscore Orchestra.The market  is open to all and is an event for all the family

For further information on the Festival check out or or Twitter: BallyedehobJazzFestival.

West Cork auction house sells Michael Flatley “foot” paintings for more than €100,000

West Cork auction house sells Michael Flatley “foot” paintings for more than €100,000

TWO paintings by Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley that he painted with his feet were sold at auction for almost €120,000 recently by West Cork’s Morgan O’Driscoll Fine Art Auctioneers.

Morgan appeared on the Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy prior to the sale to discuss the two Flatley paintings.

Prompted by a growing demand for Irish Art at home and abroad, Skibbereen-based Morgan O’Driscoll Fine Art Auctioneers recently became the first Irish auction house to hold a viewing in London with a viewing held from the April 13th – 15th of their Irish and international art auction at La Galleria, Pall Mall in London prior to a Dublin viewing and auction held on April 20th at the RDS.

The auction included works by an array of important Irish artists such as Louis Le Brocquy, Camille Souter, Frank McKelvey, Mainie Jellett, Colin Middleton, Daniel O’Neill, Sean Scully, Gerard Dillon, John Behan and George Campbell and international artists such as Robert Motherwell, John Hoyland, Hughie O’Donoghue, William Scott, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso as well as the paintings by Michael Flatley.

Established in Skibbereen in 1994, Morgan O’Driscoll has grown to become one of Ireland’s leading fine art auction houses with offices in both Dublin and Cork. They were also the first Irish Auction House to hold dedicated sculpture auctions and timed online auctions.

Skibbereen Credit Union Wild Atlantic Year Photo Competition a huge success!

Skibbereen Credit Union Wild Atlantic Year Photo Competition a huge success!

Back Row L to R: Mike O'Brien (Director), Elma Casey (Credit Union), Stephen O'Sullivan (Credit Union), Donal O'Driscoll (Manager) Front Row L to R: Carla Sheehy, Ciarán Barry, Bláthin Barry, Ellen Logan, Rebecca Sheehy, Caroline Salter and Hannah Sheehy. Pic: Dominic Casey

Back Row L to R: Mike O’Brien (Director), Elma Casey (Credit Union), Stephen O’Sullivan (Credit Union), Donal O’Driscoll (Manager)
Front Row L to R: Carla Sheehy, Ciarán Barry, Bláthin Barry, Ellen Logan, Rebecca Sheehy, Caroline Salter and Hannah Sheehy. Pic: Dominic Casey

CONGRATULATIONS to the first winners of our Wild Atlantic Year Photo Competition, Ellen Logan and Carla Sheehy seen here at the recent presentation of their prizes, a canvas print of their photo.

Ellen, from Schull is an avid photographer and Carla who is only 10-years-old shows a skill beyond her years. Both photos captured the beauty and ruggedness of our local coastline. We were thrilled with the response to the first part of our Facebook Wild Atlantic Year competition receiving over 100 amazing photos from our members. Each and every photo caught the essence, magnificence and beauty of West Cork Wild Atlantic Way.

Skibbereen Credit Union is committed to the development of its local community and is delighted to host this competition to showcase the uniqueness of our area.

The second leg of our competition is now open and we are asking our members to start snapping photos of Spring in West Cork.

Photos can be submitted online through our Facebook page and voting for the winner will start at the end of April.

Upcoming exhibitions at Uillinn: West Cork Art Centre, Skibbereen

Upcoming exhibitions at Uillinn: West Cork Art Centre, Skibbereen

Sun setting on a passing icon_1995_ 160x120cmThe opening season at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre continues with two new exhibitions; Antrum, Daphne Wright’s solo exhibition of sculpture and video and Disconnect, a three person exhibition of installation and paintings by west Cork-based artists – Bernadette Cotter, John Doherty and Sue Crellin McCarthy.

Daphne Wright is an Irish born artist based in Bristol. Using a wide range of materials – plaster, tinfoil, video, printmaking, found objects and performance – she creates worlds that are beautiful and rather eerie and which feel like the threshold to somewhere new. For her solo exhibition Antrum (a general term meaning a nearly closed cavity or chamber) in the James O’Driscoll Gallery, she has created four new unfired clay still-lifes to be displayed along side Sons, 2011, a pair of Jesmonite casts of the artist’s sons from the chest up. Daphne describes the process of gently working with her boys through the difficult process of full-body casting; she gingerly introduced them to it by casting their busts in tiny sections – an ear, a nose, a shoulder – to create the work. The resulting figures are lifelike but not alive, they seem present but indifferent, already long gone. The new still life pieces have moved away from the precision of work like Sons.  Four plants are presented in pots and saucers on shelf like slabs all made from clay. The instability of unfired clay adds to a feeling of flux, but their pallid wornness ages them like archaeological finds.


Two video works, If you broke me and I am the beginning are displayed in the same gallery, both show a solitary boy speaking in riddles to the camera. In each piece the child’ s face is painted; as a tiger in If You Broke Me and with a beard in I am the Beginning. Here, popular riddles are made strange, the monotony of each boy’s voice and their unblinking stare creates a heightened tension, and the riddles take on a different significance beyond that of simple childhood. This work explores the issues of guilt and love, life and loss that surround parenting and being a child.


Daphne Wright will present an Artist Talk in the Gallery at 6.00 pm on 20 March.




Disconnect in Gallery II, features work by Bernadette Cotter, John Doherty and Sue Crellin-McCarthy who, in various ways, deal with a disconnect between states or of people, or of past and present.- Their work also embodies a certain stillness that allows space for reflection on, or contemplation of, what is behind or beneath the surface.


Bernadette Cotter is known for her visually beautiful and deeply moving work. She manipulates materials to the point of transformation and the resulting intense accumulation of materials, involving hundreds of hours of stitching and pinning, are exhibited in deliberately configured installations. Skin to Air is concerned with thoughts about the one and the many – the individual connected to others while at the same time remaining separate from them. Names of people known to the artist are stitched onto squares of white organza that are folded into a pouch like configuration. Over eight hundred of these pouches are stitched together to form three hanging panels. The names, partly obscured by the folding, are further obscured by squares of red organza attached to the front of each panel, in a cathedral window style pattern. These panels hang like a screen in the space.


Behind the panels, on the wall, are the same number of folded squares attached with straight pins. These squares of cloth move slightly as people pass by. The third element of skin to air is a torn and dense mass of red organza suspended from the ceiling. There is an air of stillness and fragility about the installation, a feeling of lightness and transparency. Bernadette says ‘the piece is as if a skin has lifted into the air, a skin threaded with memories’.


John Doherty is based in west Cork, and the subject matter of much of his work is familiar scenes from provincial towns, old family premises, the corner shop, pub, local garage, now redundant, neglected and forlorn, creating a sense of a changing environment. His realism is immediately attractive, painting layer upon layer, subtly pointing towards the human stories that exist behind the facades of places and things inhabited and used by many different hands over the years. There is an atmosphere, a stillness in these paintings that leads to thinking about what has gone on before and what has yet to come.

Sue Crellin McCarthy’s drive as an artist lies in a personal, open enquiry into the metaphysical and intangible elements of existence. Her work could be seen as documentation that explores being, meaning, thought, emotion, essence, and ethereal reality. Her installation Apocalypse of Thought examines a personal realisation that we only find true freedom through abandoning everything we hold as truth. The charred, barren and devastated aspect of the elements placed at the threshold to Galley II and in front of a two-way mirror, in which we can glimpse ourselves as we move through the gallery, examines the relationship between the confines of everyday life; the ‘invisible’ conditioning, boundaries and adopted pervasive perspectives that society, our thoughts and beliefs place on us, and the possibilities of true freedom through moments of detached awareness of being.


The official opening of Antrum and Disconnect will take place on Friday 20 March 2015 by Mary McCarthy, Director of the National Sculpture Factory.


The artists will present Gallery Talks over the run of the exhibition which will be to Saturday 2 May 2015.

West Cork to benefit from the €17.8, Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Capital Programme

West Cork to benefit from the €17.8, Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Capital Programme

Minister Coveney inspecting harbour works on Cape Clear. Pic: John Eagle

Minister Coveney inspecting harbour works on Cape Clear. Pic: John Eagle

THE Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD has announced the full details of a €17.8m Capital Investment Package for the ongoing development of Ireland’s publicly owned fishery harbours and local harbour network .

In announcing the initiative the Minister said, “I am delighted to announce the full details of my Departments €17.8m Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Capital Programme for 2015. I have set aside €14.9m towards safety, maintenance and new development works at the six Fishery Harbour Centres at Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Rossaveel and Killybegs, in addition to the completion of infrastructural improvement and storm damage repair works at North Harbour, Cape Clear which is also owned by my Department.”

Flagship projects in the 2015 Capital Programme (see table1) include electrical upgrading in Castletownbere and addition, the Bull Nose Development and the Duffy’s Pier storm damage repair projects at North Harbour Cape Clear are to be completed.

Welcoming the news, local Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington said, “I am delighted that West Cork is to receive €1.996m towards ongoing development works at Cape Clear and €890k towards Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre. Other monies will also be available from the overall allocations such as the Safety and Maintenance of all Fishery Harbour Centres, (€1.44m) Local Authority Harbour Development & Marine Leisure (€1.5m) and Local Authority Storm Damage (€1.4m)”.

“The continuation of the funding towards the completion of infrastructural improvement and storm damage repair works at North Harbour, on Cape Clear at Duffy’s Pier and Bull Nose Development will enhance the safety for those living on the island and to the thousands who visit there each year”

“The funding for Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre, towards electrical upgrading,, provision of a Harbour Slipway (Phase 1), Sanitary Facilities Works, replacement of Water Network and Site Investigation of proposed development on south side of Dinish Island are all welcome and necessary in the busy port” Deputy Harrington added.

At the announcement Minister Coveney also stated that he has allocated €1.5m for a Local Authority Harbour Development and Marine Leisure programme in 2015, and as an exceptional measure €1.4m to facilitate the completion of a number of Local Authority Storm Damage projects which were approved in 2014 as part of the Governments response to the extreme weather conditions in late 2013 and early 2014, but not completed by the Local Authorities in 2014  due to time constraints and other issues.

“I am confident that Cork Co. Council will receive funding towards projects in West Cork from these allocations.  This is further evidence of this Governments’ commitment to investing in and sustaining rural and coastal communities around the country” Deputy Harrington concluded.

Seals hold up dangerous pier

Seals hold up dangerous pier

Cape Clear Harbour

Cape Clear Harbour

RESIDENTS of Cape Clear Island say they are outraged that a planning application for remedial works to a dangerous pier are being held up due to concerns that pile driving for the project may have an adverse affect on seal colonies in the vicinity.

Séamus Ó Drisceoil from the Cape Clear ferry said, “The Carthys and Calf Island are over two miles from North Harbour; even more ridiculous is the fact the pile driving was recently completed at the other end of the same pier.”

Last February the dangerous condition of the pier was noted together with photographs on the ferry blog at with hopes the planning permission would be expedited quickly which now seems unlikely.

Séamus Ó Drisceoil said, “Islanders are outraged at the fact that something which poses a real risk to human beings will be allowed to exist for longer than necessary because of a near mythical risk to seals over two miles away. On behalf of our crew and the community we serve we find this to be a pure outrage and hold whoever caused this personally responsible for anything that happens in the meantime. It’s almost beyond belief that something so far-fetched was actually issued by a planning authority”.

“The problem with these esoteric concerns is that they are very difficult to resolve, as many people know, it’s often much harder to resolve a stupid question than a legitimate one”.

Mr Ó Drisceoil said that the ferry company acknowledged the ongoing efforts of the Department of Marine to reconstruct the harbour and the Management and Crew of L & M Keatings who are the main contractors on site.

New exhibition at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre

New exhibition at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre

Uillinn. Pic: David O'Sullivan

Uillinn. Pic: David O’Sullivan

FOURTH Space exhibition is now in its final week at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, running until 14th March.

The next exhibition will open on 21st March with Daphne Wright and a group exhibition Disconnect.

Sculpture and video installation work by Daphne Wright will feature in the James O’Driscoll Gallery. Daphne has created new works of sculpture for this exhibition showing with two video works, If you broke me and I am the beginning. Both videos show a solitary boy speaking in riddles to the camera.  Popular riddles are made strange and take on a different significance beyond that of simple childhood rhymes and logic puzzles.

A group exhibition Disconnect in Gallery II consists of work by Bernadette Cotter, John Doherty and Sue Crellin McCarthy.

Bernadette Cotter is a Cork based artist known for her visually beautiful and deeply moving work. Her installation Skin to Air is concerned with thoughts about the one and the many, the individual connected to others, while at the same time remaining separate from them.

John Doherty, an Irish Realism painter, paints familiar views in small provincial towns, of shops, garages, and pubs, which have become redundant in a changing environment. Working from photographic images he explores the original scene, painting layers upon layer investigating beneath superficial surfaces the hidden nuances that underline each image.

Sue Crellin McCarthy is an emerging artist who explores being, meaning, thought, emotion, essence and ethereal reality. In Apocalypse of Thought she examines a personal realization that we only find true freedom through abandoning everything we hold as truth.

The official opening will take place at Uillinn on Friday 20th March at 7 pm.

New figures show Live Register down for 31 months in a row

New figures show Live Register down for 31 months in a row

Noel Harrington TD

Noel Harrington TD

THE Latest Central Statistics Office figures show that unemployment has dropped for 31 months in a row and that in Cork County, there has been a fall of 23.44% over that period.

In Cork the number of people on the Live Register has fallen from 43,941 to 33,641 while nationally the percentage signing on has dropped from 15.2% in 2012 to 10.5% today.

Local Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington said, “Things are moving in the right direction and these figures give us confidence that the policies pursued by this government are working. Through hard work and dedication a strong, sustainable recovery can be delivered right throughout the country and in particular here in West Cork.

“I want to ensure that we are able to compete with Dublin and Cork in attracting foreign direct investment to West Cork. According to the IDA, 37% of investments in 2014 were made outside the main centres and the Government will work to continue this trend,” he said.

Labour TD Michael McCarthy said the target should now be to drive the unemployment into single percentage figures.

“A breakdown of local figures reveals that things are moving in the right direction as Bandon recorded a decrease of 17%, Clonakilty 12.3% and Skibbereen 11.3%.

“The continuing fall in unemployment demonstrates that Labour’s policies to create jobs are delivering. Ireland will soon reach single digit unemployment figures which is in stark contrast to the Fianna Fail/ Independent/ Green Government crisis peak unemployment figure of 15.1%. We are committed to getting unemployment down further, and continuing to support local communities and employers to create jobs in Cork,” he said.

West Cork employees honoured at national Centra awards ceremony

West Cork employees honoured at national Centra awards ceremony

Brid O' Driscoll, Bernie O'Regan, Finalist, and Noel Fuller, Store owner.

Brid O’ Driscoll, Bernie O’Regan, Finalist, and Noel Fuller, Store owner.

TWO Centra employees from West Cork were recently honoured at the inaugural Pride of Centra Awards 2015. Eoin Hurley (Kevin O’Leary’s Centra Bandon) and Bernadette O’Regan (Fuller’s Centra Union Hall) attended the special awards ceremony in Croke Park.

The Pride of Centra Awards were developed to recognise Centra employees for their commitment and dedication shown in the workplace. The awards were established to acknowledge the Centra employees who consistently live and demonstrate the Centra brand values each and every day. The Cork employees are just two of the 10 Centra employees selected as finalists out of a total of over 10,000 demonstrating the significance of her achievement.

Eoin picked up his all-important finalist spot after nominations from Carol O’Leary the store owner and Basil Blennerhassett the store manager. Eoin was nominated for excelling in the workplace through his community involvement, dedicated attitude and outstanding contribution.

Meanwhile Bernadette, who was nominated by store owners, Ingrid and Noel Fuller, has become an integral part of the store through her ongoing  work with the local community where she has become a well-known face for her generousity and charity work as well as her excellent customer service.

Eoin Hurley, Finalist, with Matt O' Callaghan, MRPI HR Director.

Eoin Hurley, Finalist, with Matt O’ Callaghan, MRPI HR Director.

The other eight finalists represented seven additional counties: Clare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Laois, Leitrim, Tipperary and Wicklow. These finalists were also recognised for their ongoing commitment to their work through community initiatives, charity organisations, customer service and imaginative in-store ideas. Brenda Donagher from Daniel’s Centra Portarlington, Co Laois, was named as the overall winner.

Centra is extremely proud of all its employees and the strength they bring to the business, constantly ensuring that Centra delivers a very high standard in everything it does. It is the retailers, store managers and floor staff that have driven Centra’s business throughout Ireland over the past 36 years.

Matt O’Callaghan, Human Resource Director, Centra, said, “Throughout our stores we have fantastic people who are all dedicated to delivering ‘Service Excellence’, a very high standard of customer service and local community engagement. We are very grateful to all our employees but in particular the finalists who made it to the inaugural Pride of Centra Awards. These finalists have really shown that they go the extra mile every day for the customers and communities in which they work and live. I would like to congratulate all our finalists on this fantastic achievement and I hope they will all continue to bring their enthusiasm to their Centra stores for many years to come.”

Volunteers needed as Cycle Against Suicide visits West Cork this May

Volunteers needed as Cycle Against Suicide visits West Cork this May

cycle-suicideTHIS May, one of Ireland’s biggest charity cycle events, the 2015 Cycle Against Suicide will pass view West Cork and organisers are seeking local volunteers to help out with the event which will see up to 1,000 cyclists travel from Kenmare to Cork city via Bantry, Mizen Head, Skibbereen and Clonakilty from May 4th to 6th.

The cycle will afternoon stop in Kenmare on Monday, March 4th before overnighting in Bantry, the next day the cycle will continue to Mizen Head before stopping for the night in Skibbereen and will stop the next afternoon in Clonakilty before heading east to Cork city.

For the overnight stops Mercy Heights school in Skibbereen and Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai have been chosen as “anchor schools” to act as cordination centres for the cycle as it passes through.

Mercy Heights will organise a mental health event comprising of presentations, videos, music, celebrity speakers and an exhibition of local mental health services the following morning.

Anton O’ Mahony, the link teacher for Mercy Heights said, “Our school is delighted to host this important event and welcome the cyclists to Skibbereen. The impact of this type of activity is powerful and far reaching, not just in our schools, but also in the community at large. It gets the conversation around mental health going in the community and shows the support services that are available to those that need them.”

Promoting positive mental health practices in our school and the community is an important task to Mercy Heights Secondary. By becoming an anchor school, and partnering with Cycle Against Suicide, we can continue to raise awareness of the issues around mental health and suicide. It’s about encouraging people to know it’s absolutely ok to ask for help.”

Cycle Against Suicide founder, Jim Breen said, “This is the third year of the Cycle Against Suicide and we’re blown away with the phenomenal response from the schools involved in the Cycle. These schools are critical to helping us spread the message that it’s ok not to feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help. Each year over the two weeks of our annual Cycle, we give presentations in schools and communities all around the island of Ireland and we witness how hugely responsive students are to that message. We also see the value students place on their own mental wellbeing and that of their friends and families.”

CAS Route 2014.09.07Cycle Against Suicide offers a Homestay programme, which sees homeowners across the island providing a bed and hot meal to participants in the Cycle. Cycle Against Suicide Homestay Coordinator, Dudley Farrell said “There is still time for people to offer accommodation to participants for a night when the cycle passes through. People who opened up their homes to cyclists in the last two years have said overwhelmingly that the Homestay experience was just as rewarding for them as it was for their guests,” said Farrell.

The number of cyclists registering for Cycle Against Suicide is increasing year on year. As a result, we need more accommodation for cyclists and crew. We are more than happy to avail of as many spare beds as possible. Of course we’ll also need many volunteers to help make our time in Cork memorable. Whether it’s sandwich-makers, road marshals or just people standing at the side of the road to cheer on the cycle, we can all play our part in breaking the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland.”

If you would like to provide Homestay accommodation when Cycle Against Suicide visits Skibbereen, send an email to or The local co-ordinator for home stays is Ritchie Keating who can be contacted through St Fachtna’s DLS.

If you would like to help out in Bantry contact Marie Spillane on 086 232 8150 or email

If you would like to volunteer with Cycle Against Suicide email For more information on see, where you can also register for some or all of the 14 days of the Cycle Against Suicide 2015.