NUI Galway to honour three individuals for their contributions to the Arts

Monday, 17 October 2005

NUI Galway will confer Honorary MA degrees next week on PJ Curtis, Pádraic Breathnach and Ollie Jennings for their outstanding contribution to the Arts in Ireland. The ceremonies will take place Monday 24th October and Tuesday 25th October 2005.

PJ Curtis, broadcaster, author, record producer and lecturer, will be recognised for his significant contribution to many aspects of Irish cultural life throughout a career that has spanned 30 years. A native of Kilnaboy, County Clare, Mr Curtis has won numerous awards for his radio documentaries which include the 1980 ground-breaking 'The House of R&B', the first programme on Irish radio to regularly feature authentic Blues, Cajun, African and World Music. Having produced 53 albums, he has worked with Ireland's finest artists and as a music historian, has lectured at home and throughout the US. Mr Curtis will be conferred with an honorary MA degree on Monday, 24th October at 11.00am.

Padraic Breathnach, will be honoured for his immense contribution to cultural life in Galway and Ireland. A fluent Irish speaker, Pádraic grew up in Carna, Connemara. As a student in NUI Galway, he was deeply involved with An Cumann Drámaíochta and Dramsoc, where he teamed up with Ollie Jennings in a series of groundbreaking cultural initiatives in and out of college. He worked with An Taibhdhearc and Druid Theatres and became the first manager of Galway Arts Centre, before co-founding Macnas with Ollie Jennings.

As both performer and Artistic Drector, Padraic Breathnach became the most visable face of Macnas, which as well as presenting the annual Galway parade, toured the US and with U2, over 40 cities in Europe. Macnas represented Ireland on the world cultural stage in Seville 1992 and was invited to usher in the new Millennium in New York in December 1999. As an actor, Pádraic has worked in several films and television programmes and now presents his own arts programme 'Soiscéal Phádraic' on TG4. Pádraic Breathnach will receive his honorary MA degree on Tuesday, 25th October at 11.00am.

Ollie Jennings will also be honoured for his outstanding contribution to the Arts in Galway and Ireland. He worked alongside his friend Padraic Breathnach from his student days at NUI Galway, developing the Arts Festival into one of the most innovative and outstanding arts and cultural events in Europe. The two are synonomous with Galway's cultural renaissance in the last three decades. This artistic relationship was strengthened further when they co-founded the Macnas group. Ollie continued to develop and guide both organisations until 1990 when he joined the Sawdoctors as manager. Jennings will be conferred with an honorary MA degree on Tuesday, 25th October at 2.00pm.

Ends

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