May Showcase 2018

Raimonda Zakariene is owner/designer of “Knits by Monda” originally from Lithuania near Siauliai town, she came to Ireland in 2002. Growing up watching her mother knitting Raimonda began knitting dresses for her dolls. Losing her parents at an early age, she continued knitting for her family and working in a knitting factory.

Raimonda’s inspiration comes from everything around her: environment, people, nature and growing process. She loves knitting something special, something unique, that people would feel great in and would love themselves. Raimonda’s knitwear has been published in Lithuanian Knitting magazines. Raimonda has been showing her knitts at Fashion Show, which was held in Clones Canal Stores, Profits was in aid of the Largy College YSI ‘Break the Silence’ project, last December.

Tommy McGuire is a Castleblayney man who has devoted much of his life to various roles within rural and Community development, which included the distinction of being National President of Macra na Feirme.

He has been manager of Castleblayney Communiy Enterprise, one of Monaghan’s oldest community groups since 1991.

It is this passion for community realm that brought his attention to a forgotten Monaghan hero. This interest then took him on an unknown journey during, which he unearthed the amazing story of John McGough, known simply as ‘The Runner McGough’.

After 3 years of delving through boundless archived materials in Ireland and UK he has now published his book, which tells John’s remarkable story. A story of a Scottish unequalled Champion, an Olympian, an early Celtic FC masseuse, Manchester United’s first ever Irish trainer and the trainer of two winning All Ireland teams.

 Jim McHugh’s music brings a new dynamic to folk music by cleverly infusing traditional styles with an uptempo and raw indie style (even the odd ballad) that creates something very different for the Irish music scene.

The roots of this original music stretch back to Jim’s time performing and writing for many years with his band The Mandalas, previously known as Unaware. In late 2016, Jim drew on his musical past and more recent experiences to put together an album of 12 new songs. The songs flow through Indie and Up-Tempo Folk Rock to slower heart wrenching ballads.

The 12-track album was launched in 2017 and features McHugh on vocals/guitars/piano. He also enlisted his old band mate and friend James ‘Butch’ McNeill on drums, former Speedking members Paul McCabe on bass and Ronnie Morgan on guitar. The album was co-produced, mixed and mastered by the singer/songwriter Ben Reel at his new studio in Armagh. Three of the songs have been released with music videos, ‘Hills of Mullyash’, ‘My Destiny’ and ‘Sweet Surrender’.

Jim’s release in 2017 has seen him live play on Midlands 103 FM with Anne Marie Kelly, Near FM sessions and South Dublin FM. He performed at The DC Club, Dublin as part of his album launch and was selected for the Christmas Music Trail as part of the Carrickmacross Arts Festival.

For 2018, Jim will release a new song entitled ‘an Muc Snámha’ on 06th March to coincide with Seachtain Na Gaelige and Bliain na Gaeilge. This song has already received airplay on national radio with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta to the fore. This song is based on the local legend of St. Maeldoid trying to build a new monastery on one side of Muckno Lake but his attempts were thwarted each night by the swimming pig. In addition, Jim continues to write new material for further release in 2018 and with additional live performances.

Diarmuid Mc Cleary hitch-hiked to every county in Ireland with no money carrying a microwave to raise money for charity. This creative and whacky idea took the Monaghna man on the adventure of a lifetime – over 12 days Diarmuid traveled thousands of miles all over Ireland without a penny, relying completely on strangers staying in random strangers houses, spending hours in the freezing rain and making it all across the country. In this talk he will he explain some of the logic behind his adventures and how sometimes you need to trust your own creative instincts.