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Parteen NS kicks off rugby project

Pupils in Parteen National School have kicked off a new rugby project, with a public appeal for assistance in their fact-finding mission. They need help telling the life- stories of the 15 men who played on the Parteen rugby team more than a century ago. A good deal of the pupils’ work will focus on how conflicts drastically altered the lives of the rugby players. ‘United by Sport, Divided by War’ is the theme of the project. The men were united in their love for playing rugby in peacetime but war would ultimately tear their team apart and have a devastating impact on many of their lives. A project team, made up of 17 history-loving pupils and third-class teacher Cathal Crowe, meets after school on Monday to delve into the untold stories of the rugby players. School principal Ger Ruane described this project as a fantastic opportunity for the children. Mr Ruane thanked Mr Crowe for volunteering to do this in his free …

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International award for Edna O’Brien

East Clare author Edna O’Brien has won the 2018 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. It is a major award with a prize of $50,000 and it will be presented at the 2018 PEN American Literary Awards Ceremony in New York on Tuesday next. According to PEN America, the award is “conferred annually to a living author whose body of work, either written in or translated into English, represents the highest level of achievement in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and/or drama, and is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship”. PEN said Ms O’Brien’s “acclaimed work broke down social and sexual barriers for women in Ireland and beyond”. Born in Tuamgraney in 1930, the now 87-year-old Ms O’Brien went to school in Scariff and Loughrea. In 1960, her first novel, The Country Girls, was banned in Ireland, as were a number of subsequent novels. She has been a prolific writer in the years since and in 2002, In The Forest was …

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Clare hurlers back County Library health initiative

Clare senior hurler and youth wellness ambassador, Podge Collins, and captain, Patrick O’Connor, have pledged their support for Clare County Library’s Healthy Ireland at Your Library programme. Speaking at the launch in the de Valera Library, Podge said, “I am delighted to be associated with this library initiative, it’s a brilliant resource for the county. I hope that young people will call into their local library or log on to the website www.clarelibrary.ie to check out what’s on offer.” Caroline Aherne, executive librarian, explained, “Healthy Ireland is the national strategy to improve health and wellbeing, placing a focus on prevention, individual awareness and keeping people healthy for longer. Public libraries, including Clare County Library, are currently delivering the nationwide ‘Healthy Ireland at Your Library’ programme that will establish libraries as a valuable source within the community for health information.” Through funding granted by Healthy Ireland, Clare County Library has enhanced its health and wellbeing book collections (digital and hardcopy), and …

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Teens raise €11,500 for grief centre

CHILDREN from the Mid-West who have suffered some form of bereavement will benefit from counselling and other supports worth €11,500, thanks to the fundraising efforts of a large group of Clare teenagers. The Children’s Grief Centre reaches out to young people in the Mid-West suffering loss by supporting them through a variety of interventions, such as art and play therapy. Based in South Circular Road, Limerick, the centre is a support service for school-aged children and young people affected by loss through death, separation or divorce. It provides a safe and supportive place for children and young people and their families as they grieve. The service is provided by trained and experienced people. Clarecastle-Ballyea Youth Choir and Celtic Ensemble Londubh organised a fundraising concert at Clarecastle’s St Peter and Paul Church, in aid of the centre on Sunday, December 3. Representatives of the group handed over a cheque for €11,500 to the director of the Children’s Grief Centre, Sister Helen …

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Flynn live from New York on Christmas Eve

ENNIS broadcaster Colm Flynn will be bringing some Christmas cheer all the way from the Big Apple this festive season, as part of a very special radio show. This Christmas Eve on RTÉ Radio 1, Colm will be broadcasting a live show from New York City, where he will be meeting a host of young Irish people, who have made the city their home. He told The Clare Champion, “It will be a really special Christmas Eve show. It’s going to be really magical, with special guests, music in Central Park, the most in-demand Santa in the US and lots more.” As they broadcast from the NPR studios in Midtown Manhattan, Colm and his guests will be exploring the highs and lows of Christmas in the magical city that never sleeps. Among his guests is a Galway girl, who is now head of social media for Teen Vogue magazine; a Cork woman, who designs floral arrangements for all the top …

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High Fashion at Ennistymon Fair

The first camera that fashion photographer Ronan Gallagher ever owned was a Kodak disposable one. From these humble beginnings, he is now engaged by fashion labels such as Gucci, Nike, Burberry and Hugo Boss. He was also responsible for bringing a photoshoot for one of these massive fashion houses, Stella McCartney, to Ennistymon. Ronan’s passion for photography was ignited at the age of 17, when the Barefield native became inspired by images his brother Gavin took. Gavin, who now owns his own company, Dreamcatcher Productions, in Lahinch, would return from surf trips abroad and show Ronan pictures he had taken. “I just found the concept of capturing stuff in that way really interesting and so I went out and bought a load of Kodak disposable cameras and took pictures of my friends skateboarding out the back of Glór in Ennis. From there, my interest just grew and grew,” said Ronan. Eventually, he decided to move to London to try his …

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Blueprint for Safety against domestic violence

“THERE are women alive today who would otherwise have perished at the hands of an intimate partner, due to the success of the Blueprint for Safety.” This was the message from St Paul’s 39th Chief of Police John Mark Harrington to a public seminar in Ennis on Tuesday outlining the Blueprint system. He referred to a comprehensive, co-ordinated justice system response to domestic abuse crimes, developed in St Paul Minnesota and now being shared with the Irish Justice System. Between 1996 and 2016, six women were murdered by someone they knew intimately in County Clare. The hope is to pilot the Blueprint model in Ireland, and for County Clare to lead the way as a demonstration area. This week, the delegation from St Paul, Minnesota, met members of the Clare justice system and senior figures in An Garda Síochána and the justice system in Dublin. Leading the charge on this proposal is the Clare-based Irish domestic abuse research and development …

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Mulqueens say farewell to O’Connell Street

FOR 45 years, Mulqueens Florists has been synonymous with O’Connell Street in Ennis. Now, however, the family-run outlet has closed its town centre premises and is fully operating from Carmody Street, where the family have had a second store for 16 years. The Mulqueen link with the town centre goes back to the early1950s, when Margo and Frank Mulqueen opened a grocery shop in Abbey Street. Yet the reason for closing their O’Connell Street shop is a contemporary one and resonates with most people who live or work in Ennis. “A big deciding factor was parking. That’s a major thing,” Brian Mulqueen confirmed. “People are frustrated and the local authority hasn’t provided new parking. People quite often ordered in O’Connell Street and picked it up here in Carmody Street. Or alternatively they got their flowers delivered. We do a lot on our website. You could have people on the edge of town, who order on the website and get it …

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