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February Art Network Showcase.

Wednesday, February 22nd 2017 was Art Network Showcase night in the Markethouse, Monaghan, and it was another night of information, knowledge, entertainment, socialising and a fantastic display of varied talent. Alex Watson was a stand-in MC for the night and did his job superbly but you would miss Lorcan's humour. First up was George Knight, a Tour Guide and historian, who introduced us to a new book on Loughcrew Cairns which has been published by Malachy Hand, who is another historian and tour guide with a specific interest in the neolithic period of history. Helping out was Trina Halpen, who assisted in the production of the book. George gave us a background to the Cairns and sites which are worthy of visit and placed special emphasis on Loughcrew. Malachy then led us further into the book and with the aid of images from the book, gave us a greater understanding of the Cairns like Newgrange and Loughcrew. Next up was Dermot Smyth, who arrived in Monaghan almost 30 years ago and settled here. He has had a life long interest in photography but it is only in recent years that he has been able to devote time to his passion. Showing us some of his work he shared his love of photography and encouraged all to use their phones or cameras to capture scenes and discover the emotions, which can be aroused through photography. The usual break followed where the socialising takes place and gives everyone the opportunity to chat to the artists involved on the night. The second half opened with a laugh - yes - Enda Brennan had us all 'in stitches' with his humorous poems, Limericks and verses, many of which are his own composition and others he has had since childhood. Some of them could be described as puerile but they drew the laughter none the same and perhaps reminded us of the innocence of youth and some rhymes we ourselves may have learned or heard. He recited one from the James Young collection and got into the spirit of the poem with his use of costume as he did with a poem from the days of the Wild West in the USA. He had the audience with him all the wat from start to finish. The final act was a solo artist - Ben Lambe O'Sullivan. Normally Ben would have a group with him but they were unable to be present and so Ben performed on his own and he too impressed himself on the audience with the quality and strength of his voice and guitar accompaniment. Well done to all performers for providing us with another excellent Arts Network Showcase.