Hunters in the Snow – A Perspective

Three hunters trudge wearily homewards through the snow: it is by far the most popular non-religious Christmas card image scene, and with good reason. Pieter Breugel the Elder painted it in 1565, yet we feel it is a world we can understand. Not long ago, men very like these hunted on Boxing Day, and wood was gathered for the fire, and the winter was cold enough to safely play on frozen ponds. You could easily imagine a local artist fifty or so years ago, painting such a scene from life or memory.

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A Star Wars Story

A long time ago – not in a galaxy far, far away, but right here on Earth – a little boy stared up in wonder at the big screen at the incredible story that George Lucas put up there: Star Wars. In hindsight, one can perhaps see some of the cracks in that original story, but for that little boy it offered the belief that there is something greater than the individual self – something that even death cannot defeat – and that anyone, no matter how low and base their origins, can aspire to greatness. That was a powerful message that he could not yet articulate, but it inspired him nonetheless. Continue reading “A Star Wars Story”

A Colourful Debut

2016 may have been a tough year for music, but that certainly wasn’t the case for emerging Fermanagh band Anto & the Echoes. After only a few short months of forming and honing their sound, they took on their debut gig in July. Punters were turned away from Charlie’s bar as the crowd reached maximum capacity early in the night. A series of well-received gigs around Northern Ireland followed, and the band returned to Charlie’s to close the year with another sell-out show.

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From Russia with Calf

scan1In keeping with the time of year, many of our articles this issue have to do with heritage and tradition – memories and ghosts. Respect for tradition is not always inward-looking: it can lead to the most surprising connections, as in the case of how this drawing came to me.

It begins with a young Russian who was writing a story set in Ireland, and was seeking a suitable placename for the home town of her hero. The name that caught her eye was – Ballinamallard. Continue reading “From Russia with Calf”

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