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Castlegregory man features in Guinness TV advertising campaign




AS THE 2017 GAA All-Ireland Senior Championships enter the final stages, Guinness has launched its latest TV advertising campaign, 'Behind Every Great Town' featuring life-long Castlegregory GAA club volunteer Maurice Spillane. The captivating 30’’ film celebrates the everyday GAA volunteers, who willingly give their time in communities across Ireland all year round.

The advertisement features Maurice Spillane and three other real GAA volunteers from Inishbofin, Co Galway, Slaughtneil, Co Derry, and Ongar, Dublin 15. Together, they represent the thousands of people throughout the Island of Ireland who find enrichment, enjoyment and a sense of community by immersing themselves in their local GAA club.

At 12 noon today, 4 x 20 second films featuring each of the four GAA volunteers including Maurice Spillane will go live on the Guinness Facebook Page and the Guinness Europe YouTube Channel. In Maurice’s film, he tells, in his own words, his personal volunteer story to the backdrop of various landmarks in the Castlegregory area such as Kelly’s Height, Maunsell’s Garage, The Pearse Memorial Hall and of course Páirc An Cáisleán, Castlegregory’s beautifully scenic GAA pitch.

Maurice Spillane has been helping as a volunteer with Castlegregory GAA Club for 50 years. He took on the role of Chairman of Castlegregory GAA Club at the age of 23 and has been helping out ever since. Maurice has also helped to run the GAA Lotto, was senior player registrar and his block-building skills can be seen all over the re-developed Castlegregory GAA grounds, which was re-opened in 2003.

Speaking about his passion for the GAA, Maurice said: “The GAA was a social outlet for me as a young adult. I was quite shy growing up and the GAA helped me in a way to get the shyness out of me. I remember it was 1970, I was 23 years of age and I was asked to go to a GAA meeting in the old Pearse Memorial Hall in Castlegregory village. Things were bad with emigration at the time. It was the AGM and there were only five or six people at it. Somebody said to me, "Maurice, will you do chairman?". Up to then, I had never been involved in any type of administration, but I said ‘OK’ and I’ve been knee deep it the club ever since.”
Commenting on the ad, Guinness brand manager Chloé McEvoy said: “Our ad celebrates the people like Maurice whose selfless efforts and dedication to their local clubs enhances the towns and communities they live in, as well as making the GAA the vibrant, progressive and inclusive organisation that it is today. Driven by a sense of pride and belonging, these volunteers truly are the life and soul of the GAA.”

In the 30-second TV advert, it opens on a beautiful aerial view of Maurice driving through the countryside from his home outside Castlegregory to the club grounds to mow the field with his ride-on mower, a job he has done on many occasions through the years.

The viewer is then transported to Galway’s Inishbofin, where Islander, Simon Murray, and those before him have a dedication and conviction to succeed, having seen the people leave their neighbouring island Inishark in 1960. Although the island does not have a club team that regularly plays on the island, their GAA pitch is a physical symbol of their identity.

From there, we see a glimpse into the world of Wendy McEldowney and other volunteers from Slaughtneil, Co Derry, one of Ireland’s most remarkable GAA communities. Only founded in 1953, the Robert Emmets GAA club is the epicentre of community life and has helped to unite and grow the parish. The film ends with Moses Wanjigo, originally from Kenya, who came to live in Ireland in 2010. Responding to an advertisement from the Erin Go Bragh GAA Club who was looking new members to join, Moses was welcomed by the club with open arms and he quickly found a way to integrate into the local community.

‘Behind Every Great Town’ was created by communications agency, Wilson Hartnell, together with well-known Irish director Brian Durnin and production company Red Rage Films.

You can view all four vignettes here







Carols by Candlelight

    St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas […]






St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas 2023, December17, at 7.00pm. Admission is free.

Ten Choirs from Killarney parish will join together and sing some of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols.
The carol service is directed by accomplished Musician and Choral Director, Paula Gleeson. Originally from Cork, her family have been involved in all aspects of choral and church music for 50 years.

“This is the best experience as director, working with Fr. Kieran O’Brien, and St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir, I get to work with so many talented people in Killarney. The commitment of Teachers, Principals, and the hundreds of students from the Primary and Secondary Schools is inspiring. The generosity of our sponsors, who were so willing to contribute has helped to make this night a reality. We are all so truly grateful,” she said.

Choirs include:
St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish Choir, organist Anita Lakner
Holy Cross Mercy School Choir
St. Oliver’s Primary School Choir
St. Brigid’s Secondary School Choir
St. Brendan’s Secondary School Choir
Killarney Harmonisers
Killarney Community College School Choir
Lissivigeen National School Choir
Gaelscoil Faithleann School Choir
Presentation Monastery School Choir

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The same but different – A tribute to three great Irish musicians



Driving home from work last Friday, tributes for Shane McGowan were pouring out across the radio stations and while listening in, I got a strong sense of déjà vu.

It was only a few months earlier that we got the sad news that the talented Aslan front man Christy Dingham had passed away, and a short few weeks after that – Sinéad O’Connor.  The loss of three iconic Irish musicians that left music fans across the country reeling.

When I think about each artist individually, their personalities couldn’t be more different. Yet, for days after the passing of the Pogues frontman, I found myself wondering why I was so drawn to all three.

And then, over the weekend I stumbled across a completely unrelated article which led with a headline:

“In a year dominated by artificial intelligence, deepfakes, and disingenuity, “authentic” has somehow emerged as Merriam-Webster’s word for 2023.”

And there was my answer. The one characteristic that embodied all three of these great Irish musicians.

It was my mother that first introduced me to Aslan’s music. She grew up during their peak and loved all sorts of rock music. I regularly watch their Vicar Street performances back on YouTube and still get mesmerised by Christy’s intense stage presence. Using elaborate hand gestures to evoke a greater meaning behind the words, he always looked like he was away in his own world. Off stage, and particularly later in his career, I admired him for his honesty when talking about his struggles with addiction and mental health. He was talking openly about these issues long before it was the norm.

Sinéad O’Connor was another original soul who, because of her talent, was catapulted into a music industry consumed by artificiality; she was almost too pure for it all. I always admired her unwavering commitment to her beliefs. Her authenticity was evident in every aspect of her artistry. The way she unapologetically embraced her shaved head and boy-ish style, she challenged conventional opinions around beauty. Her music reflected her personal struggles and she never shied away from addressing issues of social injustice, religion, and gender equality. Her stances often drew criticism and controversy, but she always remained true to herself.

Shane MacGowan will always be remembered for his unfiltered nature, and while the lyrics of many songs were dark and gritty, there was also an element of empathy and compassion in what he wrote. Like Christy, he too struggled with addiction and mental health issues throughout his career. While his demons sometimes spilled over into the public eye, his honesty and vulnerability just endeared him even more to us Irish.

So isn’t it apt in a year we lost three great musicians, the word of 2023 happens to be the one undeniable trait that they all shared. Thank you Christy, Sinead and Shane for showing us that authenticity is not just about being different to everyone else; but also about possessing the courage to challenge the established, to question the norms, and to keep going, even when the going gets tough.


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