In a Town of Five Thousand People

In a Town of Five Thousand People

In a Town of Five Thousand People, Frank McGuinness’s fifth collection, demonstrates again the ‘energy and intensity’ Peter Denman noted in Poetry Ireland Review. The scathing invective of ‘The Town Next to Us’, a series of loving elegies for artists and actors and a record of struggles with religious ties anatomize ‘the darkness within the darkness’

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Lesser Spotted Culture

Lesser Spotted Culture – UTV will run a series of 12 special one hour programmes entitled Lesser Spotted Culture, produced and presented by Joe Mahon of Westway Productions, which will be shown on UTV starting mid January to mark Derry-Londonderry’s year as City of Culture in 2013.

In each monthly programme, Joe Mahon, the host of UTV’s popular, long-running series, Lesser Spotted Ulster will explore events with particular significance or resonance for the city – in terms of its own unique history, heritage and culture.

The first episode of the series will air in January – featuring coverage of the opening events and a flavour of what is to come in the months ahead. This will include ‘The Music Promise’ where every child in the city will have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument; ‘ Portrait of a City’ which will provide one of the most ambitious digital archives of a community ever conceived and a tour of some of the city’s most outstanding architectural features – new and old.

Speaking at the launch in Custom House Restaurant, Joe Mahon said: “Lesser Spotted Culture will adopt a relaxed, entertaining but always respectful approach when talking to local people and internationally renowned artists alike.

“A fabulous line-up of artistic and cultural activities has been planned for this year, many of them of international importance and prestige. Our series will highlight some of these events and put them in the context of the history, culture and natural environment of the city and surrounding areas.

“Events like The Turner Prize, the Field Day premieres and the All-Ireland Fleadh will be hugely popular but, underlying the glamour and glitter of such highlights, there will be a range of activities that emanate from the indigenous culture of the city. In the longer term, they may prove to be no less important in terms of the legacy they leave behind. Our series will ensure that this, ‘lesser spotted’ culture gets its fair share of the limelight.”

Michael Wilson, Managing Director of UTV Television said:
“UTV’s relationship with Joe Mahon and Westway Productions goes back to 1996 and demonstrates our continued commitment to local programming and the independent production sector in Northern Ireland.

“Lesser Spotted Ulster is one of the most popular series ever shown on UTV, so to take it off air for a year while Joe produces and presents Lesser Spotted Culture shows just how much UTV want to support Derry-Londonderry as it celebrates this special year.

“We are confident that Lesser Spotted Culture will prove equally captivating and appealing for our viewers. There is a wonderful programme of events planned and nobody better placed than Joe to uncover the gems of this year for our audiences on TV, online and on the go, via our new app which we will be launching in 2013.”

Shona McCarthy Chief Executive, The Culture Company 2013 said: “Lesser Spotted Culture is a fantastic platform to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the city, and the diverse cultural offer, especially next year during our year as UK City of Culture. Further to the great success of Lesser Spotted Ulster, we are thrilled to be partnering with UTV and Joe Mahon to deliver a wonderful series, and couldn’t think of a better person than Joe, a son of the city, to take the lead. It will undoubtedly be a highlight on the 2013 monthly calendar, and I for one will be tuning in. ”

Empire Heritage Malin Head Donegal

Empire Heritage Malin Head Donegal – Underwater robotics technology has been shedding new light on two shipwrecks off the Donegal coast. “The Northern approaches off the Donegal coast represented a bottleneck for convoys in a major shipping route in the second World War across the North Atlantic,” says Dr Daniel Toal from the Marine Robotics Research Centre at the University of Limerick. “Significant tonnage in shipping was attacked and sunk in this wartime gauntlet and there are a large numbers of wrecks.”

He and his team built the smart robotic system used in the survey, ROV Latis, and technical diver Dr Ger Dooly helped to plan the expedition.

In September, the ROV checked out the wrecks of the S S Empire Heritage, sunk in 1944, which lies 70 metres under the surface and 15 miles north-west of Malin Head, and the passenger liner S S Empress of Britain, sunk in 1940 and now lying at a depth of 160 metres, 40 miles northwest of Bloody Foreland.

Despite the challenging weather conditions and wave heights of up to four metres, the Marine Institute-supported survey gathered camera and sonar images of the SS Empire Heritage site. They showed the cargo of Sherman tanks, which were originally destined to fight in the second Word War but are now scattered across the seafloor, according to Dr Toal. The survey also showed that the SS Empress of Britain lies on her side and is broken along her keel.

The UL team is now focusing on developing underwater robotics technology to support the renewable ocean energy sector.

This article appeared in the Irish Times