Martin Hayes has travelled the world with his fiddle. His performances and recordings expose his audiences to his personal interpretation of the traditional Irish music that has been handed down from generation to generation. Nights by the fire at home in East Clare as a boy listening to traditional music and playing with the Tulla Céilí Band as a teenager lit the flame of passion. We experience that passion every time we listen to Martin play, in whatever setting.
Recently, Martin and Ger Sweeney chatted for Ger’s Irish radio programme on Spain-based Talk Radio Europe. Here is that conversation.
Described as a Folk/Americana trio, The Raines, comprising Ruth Dillon, Julianna Erkkonen and Yvonne Tiernan are based in Galway. Each is an experienced and talented folk musician so since joining forces in 2019 it is fair to say that they have been making beautiful music that has caught the attention of audiences far and wide. Ger Sweeney spoke to The Raines in December 2021 and this is how the conversation went.
“Are you Going Up Town” is the title of a wonderful book that explores the shops of Limerick City through the years, and the Limerick shopping experience there that was so special. Written by Hélène Bradley Davies, Ursula Callaghan and Maura Cronin, the book is a result of them asking “Where do we shop and why do we shop there?” Simple questions really, but the response varies from – ‘That’s where my mother went’, to ‘They have the best selection’, to the simple fact of the particular shop’s closeness to home.
The book is full of wonderful pictuers of Limerick from the 1800s onwards and charts the development of shops and of shopping in the city, showing how retailing animated the thoroughfares and the fine buildings of the new town, as well as the medieval streets and lanes of the older parts of the city. The authors write about, and have pictures of the shops of bygone days and the wide array of goods that they offered while also featuring the shop owners, their employees, and the shoppers. A major strength of the book is the use of memories recounted by the shoppers, shop owners and assistants who were interviewed for this project. The clarity and vibrancy of their reminiscences are astonishing, with interviewees able to remember entire streets of shops that are long gone, their proprietors and their employees
The book describes historical trends in the range and type of goods being sold in shops, as well as changes in the organisation of retailing, such as the rise of the department store and the retail chain store or “multiple”, and the decline of the small family shop. As well as the history of local shops and shopping, the authors expertly delineate various aspects of the geography of retailing. It is clear that shopping in all periods was a different experience for different social classes, and in different parts of the city.
This is not just a social history. As well as leading the reader on a fascinating journey through the city of yesteryear, it provides an important reference point for current debates on the future of Limerick. As the city wrestles with profound changes in retailing, in particular the rise of on-line shopping, the book invites us to think seriously about the future of the city centre.
Ger Sweeney spoke to one of the authors, Dr. Ursula Callaghan about the book. The interview was heard on his Irish radio programme on Spain-based Talk Radio Europe. Their chat can be heard below.
Mike Murphy’s career at RTÉ began in the early 1960’s. Mike’s dulcet tones can still be heard but not on the Irish national airwaves but as the voice of the new Senior Times’ podcast series. When the podcast series was launched Ger Sweeney chatted with Mike about it, and about his long and distinguished career in broadcasting.