Raglove 2013

Here I am with friend enjoying the first Café Sessions gig of 2013…. Raglans were playing, supported by an acoustic set from Josh McClorey (The Strypes) — More on this gig in another post!
Photo by Darren Lynch….check out and follow his blog @ lavaghlynch.wordpress.com

365 Photo-A-Day Blog

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Liam’s last night in Cavan before he returns to Dubai and a great night too. [04/01/2013]

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The Devil’s Ceili

The Devil's Ceili

The Devil’s Ceili

 

So I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned my crippling stage fright/nerves/anxiousness….. but yes i do suffer from a nervous disposition. I get stomach cramps watching somebody i know perform in front of people. I worry for them and all the things that could go wrong.

During the summer Darren was involved in an amazing play called The Devil’s Ceili- written by Philip Doherty and Kevin McGahern. In true Phil Doherty style it’s hilarious, strange and highly entertaining.

The play is set in a Ceili House in Ireland in the 1960s,  it centers around three characters, a cocky arrogant footballer( Darren), a womanizer and a power mad priest who are central respectable figures in the local community until a stranger  (American hippie ) turns up, spikes their drinks with LSD and we see the characters true nature. The Devil himself also makes an appearance. The addition of a live band, multimedia projections and clever lighting made this play a talking point of the summer. It ran during the Fleadh and was a huge success- sold out every night!

Here is a link to the original promo video….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQvNnAYGgBc
Yes it turned out almost as crazy.

I was helping out during the Fleadh, doing tickets, cleaning, general bits and bobs….meaning that I was there every night. I watched all of the rehearsals, saw people struggling and then shining. I knew the play inside out, I could have been a prompter if anyone had forgotten their lines……that thankfully didn’t happen. As I watched nervously from backstage every night, laughed with the audience and paced the floor when i sensed things weren’t going as planned I wished that I could be a part of it. I saw how elated everyone was after each performance, how the audience loved the show and I cursed my nerves and stage fright from holding me back.

Due to it’s success the play was to be held again over the Christmas break……….Eight nights!

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And this time I was to be a part of it……reluctantly.

When Phil said he had a small part for me I said…..”Really? Ah cool” no excitement, I didn’t think much of it I thought he’d forget. Then lovely Paula messaged me to see if i’d be at rehearsals….

Rehearsals? Sure that must mean i have an actual part….which i needed to rehearse.

Panic struck….. I immediately leapt to my own defence…

*Internal Monologue*

“No, no, I simply cannot do this.

Yes sure you’re in college until the 13th December, you have two presentations to prepare and essays to do… there will be no time to rehearse.

Exactly….if you miss the rehearsals then you won’t feel at ease you won’t be able to do the show without rehearsing.

Great I’ll just explain that I won’t be around and it would be better off to get someone more dependable.”

Breathe…….

So i told Phil I couldn’t do it….. but he answered me with

“It’s a small part you already know it and you will be able to make the dress rehearsal and we’ll go through it then. You’ll be brilliant.”

So that’s how I was roped in.

I turned up to rehearsals the day before the dress rehearsal. Here I was told that I would be playing the part of the “sexy nun”.

This involves donning a “sexy outfit” consisting of black shorts, suspender tights, a tight t-shirt, stilettos and of course a nuns habit.

Panic reared it’s ugly head.

I am not sexy….I can’t wear shorts, I can’t walk in high heels never mind stilettos- I don’t wear tight clothes. I actually felt physically sick at the thought of it.  Noelle Slacke who is an absolute angel helped me by telling me to wear what I felt comfortable in…..alas boots tights and a dress are not the style of a sexy nun. So we compromised with a black skirt-faux suspender tights , high-ish heels…and a black t shirt.

I knew what I had to do- walk across the stage carrying a sign….help the Virgin Mary castrate someone. Easy peasy compared to what everyone else had to do. I had no lines, why should I be worried?

On a high after a show

On a high after a show

Well a major, major factor in my worry is that I felt like i looked stupid. I am not sexy, I am overweight and I hated having to act sexy and slinky- i felt as though people were looking at me wondering “why the hell is she playing the sexy nun-surely they could have got someone sexier?”

Another factor was during the castration scene, which involved me bringing several items onstage to aid the Virgin Mary  in cutting the womanizers balls off… timing had to be perfect, and I was hyperventilating trying to make sure I came on at the right times. The castration itself involved me slicing into a huge bag of fake blood and bursting it into a bucket.This had to be performed in sync with the Virgin Mary’s moves. Now…. I wasn’t allowed to look at the bucket, I had to stare straight ahead…and let me tell you….it is scary slicing a sharp knife through the air into a bag of blood which bursts EVERYWHERE.

Following the blood bursting everywhere I then had to clean the floor to ensure that the dancers wouldn’t slip and kill themselves…..I had about a minute and a half to clean this blood  as best I could….(impossible to dry the lino floor) pick up the bucket, a table, a crucifix, a bottle and Holy Mary’s robes and exit the stage…..in high heels….whilst an audience stared….

So that was pretty stressful.

Here is me demonstrating that in fact the lino cannot be made unslippable

Here is me demonstrating that in fact the lino cannot be made unslippable

I always felt bad for worrying about my part…because it’s so small compared to the other cast members. Some nights I didn’t burst the bag right….it didn’t gush properly, or I left the crucifix onstage or the floor was slippery.  I felt like I let everyone down. There was one day I left the bottle on stage and it had to be kicked out of the way… that night I went home and bawled my eyes out. I was so annoyed and disgusted with myself. I hated how I looked, I hated that I couldn’t get this simple part right, I hated the fact that people probably thought that I thought I was sexy enough to be the sexy nun. I was convinced people thought I was awful and only got the part because I’m Darren’s girlfriend… It was a bad night…lots of tears, but Darren comforted me and I think it really helped because the show became more enjoyable after that, i suppose i just got over myself…. I wanted people to know that I wasn’t under any illusion that I was a good actress, or sexy or confident… but i suppose i acted as though i was and perhaps that was my best achievement in this play.

For the past three years or so I’ve watched my friends in the Gonzo from the audience and more recently from the sidelines, I’ve watched and wanted to be a part of the community not just a supporter. Being in The Devil’s Ceili allowed me to become an insider, with every  day spent in a freezing cold warehouse rehearsing, sipping mulled wine and every night drinking at gigs with the cast and crew you couldn’t help but feel warm and fuzzy.

I had to take two Xanax’s on opening night to stop myself from bolting out the door and by the time the final curtain came down on December 30th I was smiling and clapping with  the other cast.

Take a bow

Take a bow…….Note the “Sexy Nun” on the far right

Darren said to me before the play began

“I know you’re nervous now, but you will be so proud of yourself when it’s over. You can do this and we’re going to have great fun.”

He was right. With each reassuring pat on the back from Kevin,a “good job jenny” from Phil and a squeeze from Darren at the end of every show I began to feel like I deserved to be there and that is something that I will treasure and remember every time I start to feel like I’m not able to do something. What a great way to end 2012.

Ceili Couple

Ceili Couple

 

Surf and Turf

This is an article I wrote for a photojournalism class. It had to be a photo essay and an accompanying article on a certain aspect in a person’s life. I chose my boyfriend Darren and his love for Surfing.

Surf’s up…on the hay bales

Emerald Surfwear, Ireland’s premier Surf clothing company has a new motto.

Cold, Wet, Windy, Perfect.”  It epitomises the spirit of Irish surfers, the ever changing Irish weather, be it windy, stormy, rainy or fair delivers all sorts of different swells to our coastline. On a day where the rain is lashing the wind is howling and any normal person is cosy inside it is a common sight to see die hard Irish surfers wet suited and booted plunging into the waves.

In terms of variety Ireland has the best waves in Europe, the colder climate helps keep surfers at manageable levels. Enduring the bitter cold water helps breed a certain resilience in the hearts of Irish surfers. Who needs the crystal clear waters of Hawaii when you can look up from surfing in the Atlantic ocean and see the majestic Cliffs of Moher.

In this issue of Tonnta we profile a day in the life of a young surfer from the midlands.

——————————————————————————————-

Name: Darren Lynch

Age: 24

Occupation: Teacher/Farmer

Surf Spots:   Rossknowlagh and Lahinch

——————————————————————————————

It’s 8pm and Darren is pouring over Magic Seaweed (Popular surfing website). He is checking the swell charts for Lahinch, Co.Clare for the following day. “It’s looking good for tomorrow, there’s a swell coming in and it’s going to hit Lahinch at around 11am. We’re leaving here at 7am so we’ll make it to Lahinch by 10am.”

That was his plan, however shortly after checking the reports he was handed a list of “jobs” that needed to be done the following morning.

  1. Make up a pen for the new calves.
  2. Feed cattle in the yard, Mullahorn and Kelly’s field.
  3. Power wash small shed.

For Darren, the surf will have to wait, such is the life of a surfer who also happens to be a farmer’s only son.

The Swell Season

The next morning at 7am Darren rises, bleary eyed he pours himself a coffee, butters a slice of homemade brown bread, moves aside a copy of The Farmers Journal and re-checks the surf reports to see how the swell is looking. “It seems to be tapering off at after 12,” he looks apprehensive “hopefully we get down in time to catch some waves.”

He slips into his wellies and trudges up to the yard to begin his work. Between filling up buckets of meal for the hungry cattle and setting up the power washer Darren removes his new surfboard from its bag. It’s a dazzling orange Cortez board.

Wellies On, Surf’s Up

“I had my eye on this board for the last year, but I didn’t want to buy it until I had more experience surfing…see that fish tail fin? It’s perfect for catching waves” he looks at the board lovingly….”I can’t wait to get to the beach.”He then props the board facing the morning sunlight on top of a hay bale. “The warmth of the sun will melt the old surf wax, so it’ll be easy to remove and I can put on new wax.”

Finishing the jobs in record time, Darren then begins to prepare for the surf trip. From his storage area in the hayshed he removes his wetsuit (which has been hanging from the beams all night) He takes out the bags of meal that are in the boot of his car and replaces them with his wetsuit and towels that are in a waterproof bag.  Using extra strength straps that he bought in the local co op he secures his boards to the roof of his green Volkswagen Vento. “I prefer these straps to the one’s that came with the board- there’s no way the board will loosen with these straps, they’re designed to secure cattle pens!”

Cowabunga dude

One last glance at the online surf report and Darren is ready to go, it’s 10am when he sets off for Lahinch, It is clear to see his excitement as the car pulls onto the M4 motorway, it’s a straight stretch to Lahinch. Chattering excitedly he tells of his plans to meet up and surf with a friend who has just flown back from London. I ask him how he first got into surfing;

 

“I’ve always loved the water, I live beside a lake, and I’m a qualified Irish Water Safety Swimming Instructor, I just love being in the water. Five years ago I moved to Galway to attend NUIG. When I saw the advertisement to join NUIG Surf Club I jumped at the chance, I’ve always loved the idea of surfing, it just wasn’t feasible for me to do it while I was living in Cavan..(or so I thought). I bought my first board off a friend (A Magic Carpet-short Longboard) got myself a wetsuit and booties and went on my first surf trip to the Aran Islands- from that day, I was hooked.”

How does his move back to Cavan affect his surfing opportunities?

“Gravely..” he says with a grimace. “When I’m living at home in Cavan, there’s no spontaneous surf trip for me, there is always….and I mean always some job that needs doing. Whether it is fencing, moving cattle, power washing sheds or dosing cattle it has to be done. I have to plan for the trip in advance and let dad know that I’m heading away. I usually try to get a couple of long work days put in before I go on a surf trip. So I can enjoy the surf guilt free. If I’m lucky I can head up to Donegal for a quick surf, it’s only an hour and a half drive. But I love getting to Lahinch, there’s such a great buzz down here.”

It’s just after 1pm. Darren has just pulled into the car park at Lahinch beach. There are no waves, it’s flat. The tide is coming in, disappointment is etched on his face.

 

Flat

Suit up!

“It’s just one of those things” he shrugs. “ I didn’t drive for three hours to stand and look, I’m getting in regardless.” He changes into his surf attire at speed unhooks his board from the roof, applies a new coat of surf wax and jogs down the slope towards to the water’s edge.

 

He wades in, paddles out and spots a friend and they high five. The smile returns to his face as they both head towards the reef. They are waiting for the waves, but even if they don’t appear the happiness on their faces shows that this trip was not just about the waves it was about freedom and friendship and the journey for both was worthwhile.

 

Happy Campers….Now to the PUB!!