On this day fifteen years ago, Glór first opened its doors and in the intervening period has seen events of all shapes and sizes take to the stage at the Ennis venue.
A specially invited audience gathered for the official opening on Friday 30th November 2001 by then Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands Síle de Valera.
Over 60 Clare performers – three generations of the best players of Clare music took to the glór stage, including Tony McMahon, Paddy Canny, James Cullinan, Tony Linnane, Noel Hill, Siobhan Peoples, Martin Hayes, Josephine Marsh, Maura O’Connell, the Tulla Ceili Band and the Kilfenora Ceili Band, to present a night of music such as has never been heard before.
With Martin Hayes and the Sawdoctors performing over the next two nights, without doubt the opening weekend of glór was one of the best three nights of music ever staged in the County. The opening night concert was broadcast in full by Clare FM, and RTÉ Radio One transmitted the second half.
Built at a cost of €8.5m, Glór was the largest investment in the Arts in County Clare. With two auditoria, seating 485 and 65 people respectively, the venue hosts local, national and international music, theatre, talks, dance, comedy and visual arts events throughout the year.
In recent years it has initiated a number of artists in residence programmes as well as programmes tailored for children and young people. The venue has firmly established itself as an integral part of the Irish cultural landscape and also houses a theatre bar, box office, in-house Italian restaurant and an exhibition space.
Glór kicked off its first year of operation with a series of glór Gigs, a special series of Irish music events, which were recognised locally and nationally for the quality of the music and musicians.
Many distinguished guests have visited glór over the years including former president Mary McAleese, President Michael D. Higgins, Sonia O’Sullivan, Roddy Doyle, Kate Adi, Barry McGuigan and Edna O’Brien to name but a few.
All of them have commented on the good fortune of Ennis and Clare to have such a wonderful facility providing a wealth of diverse programming to the county. The announcement of the construction of a new state of the art library building, coupled with a purpose built gallery space alongside glór, brings to fruition the vision of a cultural hub in the county and town which will strengthen Clare’s reputation as a cultural centre, as well as support economic and social activity in Ennis.
This November, glór celebrates a milestone 15 years in business and the venue is going from strength to strength. Since opening its doors in 2001, 139,267 people have booked in excess of 626,000 tickets for over 5119 ticketed performances, including Planxty, Tommy Tiernan, Katherine Lynch, BellX1, The RTÉ Concert Orchestra, The Gloaming, The Frames, Druid Theatre Company, Barry Norman, Rough Magic Theatre, Fishamble Theatre, The Ennis Book Club Festival, Pat Shortt, Duffy, David Gray, Tommy Fleming, Neil Delamere as well as for very many Clare arts performances.
Glór Gallery has exhibited works by Mick O’Dea RHA, Lorraine Wall, Walter Verling RHA, Dympna Bonfield, Sean MacSweeney, John Shinnors, Barrie Cooke, Jean Regan, and Sam Walsh, along with collections form the Graphic Studio Gallery; IMMA; The National Gallery and from Children’s Books Ireland, to name but a few.
There have been many highlights over the years and the company has worked with over 54 local and community groups, as well as national and international performers. glór gives employment to five full time staff, and over thirty part time staff, and the venue has become one of the leading arts and performance venues on the Irish circuit, a venue actively sought out by top Irish performers and artists.
To kick off the celebrations, glór has programmed a jam-packed winter/spring season of events featuring lots of new acts amidst plenty of older favourites, and the venue has a fantastic online giveaway coming up this week to celebrate the milestone.
Glór looks forward to the next decade with the recently appointed Director, Orla Flanagan, who will continue the work of making glór a leading resource for Clare artists, audiences and communities.
‘I’m looking forward to meeting and working with the fantastic wealth of organisations and arts practitioners within Clare, and I’m delighted to be part of this landmark 15th anniversary celebrations. Thanks to the continuing support of Clare County Council, The Arts Council, and Glór’s generous patrons, plans continue for more superb programming into 2017, with new artist development initiatives and continuing development of artists in residency programmes” she told The Clare Herald.