The Schoolyard Theatre Fundraiser for Slí Eile

Des Holton, performers Lorraine Nash and Ernest Aines with Sli Eile CEO Jess Angland.

On Saturday, February 4th, The Schoolyard Theatre played host to a spectacular fundraiser for Slí Eile, Ireland’s only residential mental health service, in Churchtown, Co. Cork. Among the performers on the night was Australian Ernest Aines, multi-award-winning songwriter, noting over a decade of experience, whose uniquely pure and thoughtful sound has enchanted both fans and critics across the globe. He has just been announced as a finalist for Artist of the Year by Folk Alliance Australia. Ernest has taken home multiple awards for songwriting over the years, beginning with an Apollo Bay Festival Young Songwriter Competition win back in 2010. He has since noted finalist positions at the International Songwriting Competition (2013), the Melbourne Songwriting Competition (2016) and the Australian Songwriting Awards (2021), along with another win in 2020 for the City of Melbourne Online Song Competition. 2020 also saw him earn the runner-up position in the Cygnet Folk Festival Song Awards.
Also performing was Kerry native 22-year-old multi-instrumentalist, Lorraine Nash, one of Ireland’s newest rising talents. She is a talented instrumentalist, often using a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, harp, flute, and violin in her creative process to embody her songwriting with different influences and ambience.
Over the past year Lorraine has performed at high profile events such as Your Roots are Showing folk conference, Indiependence Presents: Autumn Air, The Ruby Sessions, and Breaking Sound UK. John Creedon of RTÉ Radio 1 has said of Lorraine, “The future is her oyster.
A capacity crowd enjoyed a wonderful night. Jess Angland, CEO at Slí Eile said “It was truly a remarkable night. The performances were amazing, and everyone enjoyed it. Ernest spoke about his own personal challenges, and actually visited Burton Park (home of Slí Eile) the following morning. He sang for the residence, giving them their own private audience”.
Slí Eile is known for the wonderful, professional, and compassionate care given to its residents. It is wonderfully managed by staff and volunteers, and the weekly Farm Market will resume on the weekend of the upcoming May bank holiday. Like many other health organisations, funding efforts are continuous. Last year, the Slí Eile charity vintage shop opened in Charleville town and is ably managed by Belinda and volunteers. Well worth a visit since bargains are to be had in the highest of quality goods. Noonan’s Christmas Lights included the group in their list of charities last Christmas and it’s heartening to see the support given by the public. Jess Angland, the board of Slí Eile, volunteers, and the staff are truly grateful for all the support they receive.
In the meantime, Ernst Aines and Lorraine Nash continue their Irish tour. They play Whelan’s in Dublin tonight Thursday, February 8th, The Whitehorse, Ballincollig, Cork on Friday 9th, The American Bar, Belfast on the 10th and finally, Cleere’s in Kilkenny on February 11th.