Michael Sonnie Murphy – Kilnaboy’s Olympian

The North Clare Historical Society continues its current lecture series at the Courthouse, Ennistymon on Tuesday 29th March @ 8 pm.

James Neylon and Seán Roche will give a talk on Sonnie Murphy – Kinaboy’s Olympian

Sonny Murphy Croke Park

Michael Sonnie Murphy was a native of Ballycashen, Kilnaboy. He always showed a great interest in sport, and athletics in particular. He was a regular competitor at sports meets and competed at the Kilnaboy Parish sports which were a regular feature of the late 1920s and early 1930s. He was secretary of the Kilnaboy sports which took place in September 1931. In those days, he did most of his training in the fields and roads of his native Ballycashen and his daily schedule would have been a frequent sight for all his neighbours.
The National Championship took place at Croke Park in 1932 and Sonnie entered the 3,000 metres steeplechase. He won this event in a time of 9 minutes 51.8 seconds, a then Irish record. Considering that this was not his more favoured event it was an exceptionally good performance and on the strength of this Sonny was selected to compete at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Sonnie ran in the second heat of the 3,000 metres steeplechase, with five from each heat to qualify for the final. Making things even harder for him was the fact that the heats of this race took place on one of the hottest days of the Games, temperatures that naturally would have been totally unfamiliar to him. For the first three laps everything seemed to be going well for Sonnie as he ran shoulder to shoulder with both Iso-Hollo and McCluskey and the possibility of running in an Olympic final was looming on the horizon. However just as the athletes approached the half way mark there were signs that Sonnie was in serious difficulty and he fell back somewhat in the race. Undoubtedly the intense heat was beginning to take its effect on him, as well as the fact that he only had just over two weeks to regain his fitness after the very long boat trip. Typically Sonnie refused to give up and after a short while began to give chase to the leaders. However it was this extra effort that was to be his undoing. At this stage of the race he began to sway on the track and as he approached the water jump, running in third place, he collapsed completely. His fellow Irish athlete, Dr. Pat O’Callaghan recognised that Sonnie was dangerously dehydrated.
Though Sonnie ran at various events during the following four years the effort of competing in such extreme heat had taken its toll on his health and he died on St. Patrick’s Day 1936. He is remembered with pride in his native Parish of Kilnaboy. The annual memorial road race is indeed an appropriate way to remember a great man and a great athlete. This talk is a tribute to mark the 80th anniversary of his death.

James Neylon and Seán Roche are both natives of Kilnaboy and are active in their local community groups. They are also members of the Kilnaboy Athletic Club and are actively involved with the Sonnie Murphy Memorial Race since its inception in 1984. James and Seán have a keen interest in local history.

Admission €5

North Clare Links to 1916 Rising-An Illustrated Presentation by Colm Hayes and Mick O’Connor

1916 Poster

North Clare Links to 1916 Rising

North Clare Historical Society marks the centenary of 1916 with a presentation of North Clare links to the 1916 Rising

Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon on Wednesday, 23rd March at 8pm. Admission €5

Colm Hayes will talk on Irish Republican Brotherhood and Volunteer Activities in North Clare prior to 1916 while Mick O’Connor will narrate the story of Gaelic League man, Eamonn Waldron’s arrest in Ennistymon in the days after the Rising.
Ennistymon native, Colm Hayes will outline the creation of an IRB Circle in the Ennistymon area by Tomás O’Loughlin, a native of Carron and a lifelong Republican brought up in the Fenian tradition. Following the establishment of the Irish V olunteers all over the country from 1913, the Clouna Company became the most important unit in North Clare as they trained and prepared for the call to rise up against British rule in Ireland.

Mick O’Connor is no stranger to North Clare. He is married to Anne Dillon from Ennistymon and is a regular visitor to the area. Mick is better known as a musician and music historian and his talk will trace Éamonn Waldron’s time in County Clare, his arrest in Ennistymon, his subsequent interment and his activities during the War of Independence while he was teaching in St. Flannan’s College. At the time of his arrest he was a teacher with the Gaelic League.
In 1929, Éamonn married Harriet Gibson of Ballyvoe House, Kilmaley and moved to Galway where he devoted the latter part of his life to teaching and promoting the Irish language at Coláiste Naomh Éinne and Coláiste Iognáid.
Éamonn died 6 April 1966 during the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. It is fitting that in the centenary of 1916 that the people of Clare recall the idealism and zeal of Éamonn Waldron who was imprisoned for his nationalist activities in Clare in 1916.

‘hem’ by fiona o’dwyer

Opening Friday,March 18 @ 8 pm by Maria Finucane, Artist / Lecturer

Fiona image


The works presented in this exhibition hem embody in one way or another diverse meanings ascribed to its title:

old Frisian word hemme meaning enclosed land

border of a piece of clothing

encircle and restrict the space or movement of

denoting or meaning blood

The starting point was a strange half told family story related to events 100 years ago. Ghost story as allegory perhaps.

This set in motion a meditation through drawing of edges and movement in both external and internal imagined landscapes. We see this in the series entitled Trace, which are made of layers of paper, compressed earth and pencil. They are shown laid out flat at table height in specially constructed frames of perspex and oak. The drawings become at points in their making like a set of shaken out signs and patterns encoded in and into the work, maybe to be deciphered into meaning or taken as direction.

Fiona O’Dwyer’s work possesses a sensitivity to material, a musicality and experiential poetic nature. In the video work we see the repetitive movement of the hem of a garment, the line that circles us in, the part that touches the ground.

In another piece, set out like wings, are six stone guns collected by the artist between 1992 and 1993 while building her studio in Co. Clare. The pieces are sandblasted with the words or more accurately the sound pill powder.

In this year, in the context of the churning of history O’Dwyer ponders her own history and her experience of continuing to be an artist on this rural edge. Articulated through the work itself, its materiality and relation to place she reflects on the possibility that the epigenetic memory of a migratory early life experience made her not the outsider but the artist.



‘Neither Rhyme Nor Reason’ Artwork by Patsy Ricks & Aoife Murray

Red Couch Space

‘Neither Rhyme Nor Reason’

Art work by Patsy Ricks & Aoife Murray

March 18 – April 14

Opening Friday,March 18 @ 8 pm

This collaboration between mother and daughter Patsy Ricks and Aoife Murray is about where our minds take us.


Patsy sees the beauty in the everyday things that would probably go un-noticed, and tries to capture that on paper or canvas. Rough, aged objects that have stood the test of time and are all the more interesting and wonderful for it. Her oils are completely imaginary, using a different medium for expression.


Aoife is a freelance SFX makeup artist, interested in fantasy and the surreal and is currently training in prosthetic and postiche. She is FETAC and ITEC certified since 2014 and has worked on a range of projects in film and television from TG4 “Ros na Run” to History Channel’s “Vikings”. She is part of the Cork Bodypainting Crew since October 2015. A group of artists, models and photographers meet up every 2 months and create something together. It is her new found love and she is thrilled to be a part of such an amazing team.

We all have stories to tell.



Yoga for Strength-Flexibility-Vitality with Helga Himmelsbach

Yoga for Strength-Flexibility-Vitality with Helga Himmelsbach
New 6 week cycle begins:
Tuesday, March 22nd 10:15 – 11:30 am intermediate
Wednesday, April 6th 6:30 – 7:45 pm
Wednesday, April 6th 8:00 – 9:15 pm
Yoga classes are designed to show you how to strengthen your body in particular your back, core and joints while creating more space around the discs. You will learn how to relax and release tension so your body can realign itself. You can lead a more fulfilling, richer life with lots of energy instead of pain.
Helga is a practicing Physical Therapist for 25 years and a 500 hour trained Yoga teacher.
Pre-booking is essential at info@burrenwellness.com or 086-8960959
Cost – 6 weeks €75
Concession 10%
No drop-in

Happy – The Movie, Saturday, March 12 @ 10 am

To mark United Nations International Day of Happiness
North Clare Happiness Project will show the film
Saturday March 12th at 10am
Courthhouse Gallery, Ennistymon
Entrance is Free
Happy Movie Picture
Happy explores the meaning and sources of happiness in interviews with people from all over the world with a positive psychology lens.
The film will be followed by a discussion on what makes us truly happy – plus bubble making in the Ennistymon Square at 1pm.
North Clare Happiness Week
Takes place on 14th-22nd May 2016