Ancór Christmas Concert


The award winning Limerick chamber choir, Ancór’s eighth Christmas concert will take place at 8pm, in St Mary’s Cathedral on December 15.

“Our partnership with St Mary’s Cathedral has proved very successful indeed. The concerts are always sold out, and it seems to have become an essential part of Christmas, to come to the Ancór Christmas concert for many in Limerick.

“I’m sure the fact that we serve up seasonal treats such as mulled wine and mince pies at the interval has nothing to do with this,” smiled Ancór choir director Cecilia Madden.


Cecilia Madded Ancór musical Director

As well as the 35 member mixed voice choir, the concert will feature well known Limerick solo singers, Emma English, Sarah-Ellen Murphy, Kevin Neville, Vlad Smishkewych, and a guest orchestra.

The programme consists of, “The Magnificat, a fabulous work by CPE Bach who was one of Johann Sebastian’s more famous and talented children.

“In addition we will perform a beautiful Christmas cantata by an Italian composer called Ottorino Respighi which was written in 1930. There will be a few familiar carols too,” said Cecilia.

This year Ancór celebrated their tenth anniversary with the launch of their CD Sing Joyfully, and added more trophies to their collection when they won the Early Music competition and Best Limerick Choir in the Limerick Choral Festival.

In preparation for a trip to Slovenia in the summer of 2017, the choir will be staging a number of concerts throughout the country over the coming months.

Cecilia, who is enjoying her role as Deputy Principal at The Limerick School of Music, said the sound of the choir has evolved over time.

“We have always called ourselves a chamber choir but we are nearly too big to say that now. We aim to have that kind of pure sound that may be heard in smaller, tightly blended ensembles, but with the slightly larger numbers we have now, we have the scope to vary the dynamic levels dramatically for expressive purposes,” Cecilia added.

Tickets are €18 (€15 for Seniors and Students) available from St Mary’s Cathedral or online at Ticketsolve – LIT Millennium Theatre

The Ancór CD Sing Joyfully is available from the Hunt Museum


Jingle Bells for Joseph


Jingle Bells for Joseph, is a fundraising concert for Joseph Monaghan a little boy from Castletroy, who recently underwent pioneering surgery in Leeds for his Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, in order to relieve the severe pain he endures 24/7 and to help him walk.

The concert which will take place at Milford Church, Castletroy, December 2, is to raise funds for Joseph’s rehabilitation, which will cost approximately €30,000.

“Joseph is the son of one of my neighbours, and I have known of his condition for some time, and the extraordinary journey he and his parents, Geraldine and Joe are on. We had spoken in the choir about doing a big local fundraiser and Councillor Marian Hurley and her friend Mary Glynn came to me with the idea that Joseph was the ideal candidate.

“Joseph requires intense, long term rehabilitation to ensure this surgery is a long term success for him, so we are trying to do what we can to help the Monaghan family with that cost,” said organiser of the event and proprietor of the Mid-West Vocal Academy and Music School, Owen Gilhooly.

Owen, an internationally renowned vocalist who is well known to Limerick audiences, is currently pursing doctoral studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where he teaches, established the Mid-West Vocal Academy and Music School in 2011.

The concert of popular and seasonal favourites will feature Owen’s choir Aoide, a mixed voice community choir with 70 members, as well as singers Martha O’ Brien, Conor Gibbons, David Howes, Kelli-Ann Masterson, pianists Conor McCarthy, Irina Dernova and harpist Janet Harbison.

“The concert will feature Limerick born singers returning home to give of their time and talent for this special cause. There will also be some special guests popping in to say hello, and special prizes on the night thanks to some wonderful donations from very generous locals.

“Everything seems to be going well. The choir are frantically preparing some new and exciting repertoire and tickets are moving fast. We are delighted too that University Concert Hall are handling the ticketing for us and our posters are being shared all over social media and in the press,” added Owen.

Tickets are €20, (Family Ticket €40 2 Adults 2 Children) and are available from University Concert Hall Box Office on 061- 331549

El Divas perform at the Limerick Millennium Theatre


El Divas performance at the Limerick Millennium Theatre (LIT) on Saturday November 19, promises to be an evening packed with stunning singing that will thrill and enchant audiences as four extremely talented and accomplished local ladies take you on a musical journey.

These four friends consisting of Limerick ladies Jessica Bray, Amanda Minihan and Ennis ladies Helen Catherine Ball and Janet Woods, after years of trying have finally managed to align their busy schedules to create this exciting event.

The theme of the show is about their special bond, as they sing songs that convey their hopes, woes and dreams, and how their friendships have carried them through various trials and tribulations in their lives and music careers.

Locally and London trained Jessica, a drama teacher, singer, actress and director, has just finished playing ‘Aldonza’  in Man of La Mancha for Muse Productions, and is currently directing Shannon Musical Society’s 9 to 5.

Since completing her training in London Amanda has worked in the West End and regional shows and was delighted to work at home with Wildebeest Theatre Company’s Production of, On The Wire, in 2014.

Helen Catherine Ball, has performed in the West End, UK, Ireland and since returning home  has continued to perform and produce shows, as well as running her stage school.

Janet combines her singing career with teaching history and business at Villiers Secondary School, as well as teaching singing and is also the Public Relations Officer (PRO) for Féile Luimní.

Janet and Helen are also connected by another special bond, through Helen’s parents and Janet’s grandparents, who knew each other through the Hearing-Impaired community.

El Divas will be accompanied by Ennis based Michael Hennessy who is renowned as a teacher, performer and musical director in the Clare region.

Saturday November 19th at Limericks Millennium Theatre (LIT) at 8pm. Tickets €16 & €14, available from the LMT Box-office 061 293190 and


Afternoon Tea at Dromoland Castle

Afternoon tea in Dromoland Castle is like stepping back in time for a few hours, where you can enjoy luxurious historic surroundings in a relaxed atmosphere, while treating your palate to a variety of mouth watering delicious sweet and savoury treats.

The original castle was built in 1014 by Donough O’Brien and was similar in structure to Bunratty Castle. Donough was a son of Brian Boru who ruled as High King of Ireland from 1002 to 1014 from his throne in Killaloe. The main building as we see it now was built between 1800 and 1836.

Though a castle, Dromoland is very cosy, and has an atmosphere thick with history, as you walk through the high-ceilinged plushly decorated hallways and imagine past occupants walking the same hallways, going about their daily business.

Afternoon Tea is served in The Earl of Thomond Restaurant, a bright room, with sparkling chandeliers and a breath-taking view of the lake.

We ordered Mrs Whites Afternoon tea, named after a kitchen maid who worked within the castle for many decades, and though there was a large group of us it was no problem for the professional friendly staff.


Gluten free, Coeliac Afternoon Tea

Three tiered silver stands, holding china plates packed with colourful, beautifully arranged scones, finger sandwiches with an array of fillings, and an assortment of French pastries were placed in front of us. My gluten free food looked just as delicious as everyone else’s. Taste buds tingled as we sampled each little mysterious surprise, and drank our specialised tea or coffee served from silver pots.

Full, happy and relaxed we lounged on the outdoor terrace,  and enjoyed the mild, bright October weather as we chatted.


Reception Dromoland October 30th celebrating Halloween


Dromoland Castle