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IN THE bleak midwinter of the Covid pandemic and another lockdown, there is a bright point of light - Music for Galway’s annual midwinter festival, the first major event of any year on Galway’s cultural calendar, is going ahead.
CHRISTMAS IS a time when it is traditional to gather around the screen and watch films, it is also a time of togetherness and reflection - values the Galway Film Fleadh want to uphold, despite the best efforts of 2020 to undo them.
THIS HAS been a year without gigs, concerts, or festivals, and yet, it has still been a year which has given us some outstanding music. Here is my selection of the best albums of 2020.
Back in Connemara for Christmas, which she insisted on calling Christ Mass, Ethel Mannin opens the door of her little cottage, located between Roundstone and Clifden, close to Mannin Bay. She has been away for some time. She lights fires in all three rooms, to drive away the musty smell and damp, and soon she is comfortable sitting by the window looking out at the sea, the mountains beyond. She was back to stay until restlessness, or some political challenge, calls her away again.
THIS YEAR has, as Stephen Fry noted at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, been "a very dark time for the performing arts". A sector so reliant on human interaction; the gathering together of people; and which lives on the shared experience, remains one of the most profoundly affected, and curtailed, areas of life and activity.
The founder of the Galway Advertiser; the first female conductor at the Academy Awards; and the west of Ireland man who spearheaded the global Covid-19 response are all among 14 individuals who will be conferred with Honorary Degrees by NUI Galway in 2021.
HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network), the all-island organisation responsible for the promotion of business angel investment, and a joint initiative of Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and Invest Northern Ireland, has announced that investors in its WxNW Syndicate along with Enterprise Ireland have invested €650,000 in Galway-based Ronspot Solutions. HBAN angel investors have contributed €400,000 to this funding round, while Enterprise Ireland has invested €250,000. Angels from HBAN’s Dublin, London and Singapore groups have also invested.
The Joyces finally arrived in Zurich on 17 December 1940 exhausted after weeks of torturous negotiations with the German, Vichy-French and Swiss authorities. They had sought refuge in Switzerland during World War I, now they hoped to do so again. To add to the stress of it all they had to leave their daughter Lucia behind in a psychiatric hospital in Brittany which was behind German lines. Joyce hoped that once settled in Zurich he could use all the influence he could muster to have her follow them to safety.