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Living

Harvesting ice on the Mississippi

IN spite of what we were told by our spiritual leaders when we were young, the practice of self-denial is of little or no value to a human being. Rewarding one for one’s efforts is not necessarily a bad thing. The only stipulation is that a person must not reward themselves for the efforts of others without consent.One of the negative characteristics of the Irish people even in the recent past was their tendency to gain enjoyment from the failure of others. If the person of their derision failed a second or third time, their pleasure was doubled or tripled.This unfortunate national characteristic prevented many people with foresight, imagination and vision trying out new ideas. Even the most thick-skinned person gets tired of being laughed at. It is so much easier to go along with the crowd. Many the plan died a sad death at the bottom of a porter glass.We talk a lot about the Irish people who were …

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Clare pupils to speak out at Comhairle na nÓg

“YOUNG people in County Clare care passionately about making the world they live in a better place for everyone,” says Amy Bickerton, chairperson of Clare Comhairle na nÓg.Amy, a Leaving Certificate pupil in St Joseph’s School, Tulla, was speaking ahead of the opening of Comhairle na nÓg 2009, which will be held on Friday in the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis.“Those who are young now will be adults in the future and we are willing to play our part in helping to create that future,” she continued, before adding, “the decision-making structures of the county need to be more open and welcoming for young people”.Amy urged young people to become involved in Comhairle na nÓg through their schools or youth groups.Comhairle na nÓg is an initiative from the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA), which aims to provide an opportunity for young people to discuss and debate matters of relevance to them in their community.Of equal importance …

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Life-changing transformation for Dympna

A 67-year-old Shannon woman scooped the top prize in this year’s national Curvette of the Year competition. Dympna Carthy was announced as the winner of the contest at a gala event in Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Hotel last Wednesday. Curves is an international women’s fitness franchise with a programme that aims to increase energy levels, self-confidence and encourages members to meet new people and make friends. This is the third year of the competition, which aims to find a Curves member who has not only lost weight and inches through Curves but has also experienced positive life changes since joining the Curves programme.After being diagnosed with osteoporosis, Dympna joined Curves in Shannon (which is in Smithstown) in 2006 to help increase her strength. She says the results have changed her life.“I don’t know myself now, I have that much energy. I was very inactive but once I was diagnosed with osteoporosis, I was nervous about lifting heavy things but going to Curves …

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Keeping slim the Holly’s way

A NEW venture for one Clare family and for an Irish company is already making waves as Lifeslim Ireland’s first meal replacement weight-loss programme branches out into 30 pharmacies nationwide.Lifeslim is the brainchild of Holly’s Pharmacy and was conceived when Frank, Tom and John Holly noticed a gap in the market for an Irish weight-loss management programme.While losing the pounds for some might be easy, maintaining the loss can be a difficult challenge.Speaking to The Clare Champion, Frank Holly, founder of Lifeslim, explains how the Holly’s developed this product and what the benefits of the Clare programme are in comparison to other “shake” diets. “When I was working in my father’s pharmacy, we have a pharmacy together in Ennis and in Ballinasloe, we had been working with a similar type weight-loss programme for about four or five years. In that time, we got very interested in it as we had some good success with it, so we decided to start …

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Time Line

IT is hard to believe that somebody could have such a far-reaching influence on the history of a country which they probably never visited, as the effect Katherine Wood had on Ireland.Born in Essex in 1845 to a large wealthy landed family, Clare figures prominently in any account of her life. The two men in her life were introduced to one another by The O’Gorman Mahon in Carmody’s Hotel, which stood in Ennis where now you find the entrance to the Abbey Street car park and her first husband was MP for this county. Katherine Wood became Mrs Willie O’Shea and later Mrs Charles Stuart Parnell but will forever be known as Kitty O’Shea. The “Kitty” was probably first used as a derogatory name as it was also used at the time to describe a prostitute. Nevertheless, the name rings down through the years of Irish history although nowadays, if you Google it, you will get more hits for worldwide …

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A reminder: water is a gift

“No water in Ireland? – A joke?” my friends said.Going without water for a week in the cold weather makes you value it and the neighbours who helped out.Getting clear water again, even if it’s cut off most days, made me conscious of how precious it is, and how easy to take for granted. It’s been a chance to get back into routines learnt in countries where water is metered or in short supply. These are simple things to cut the environmental cost of treated water – cleaning teeth with the taps off, putting a brick in the cistern; and as the toilet takes a third of water delivered to our homes, collecting it to reuse later that day – from the shower, hot water bottles, washing the floor. Just a small effort but a reminder about sharing the good things of life with others and thanking God for having it at all. Clean water is rare and precious in …

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Wild Ways

THIS time of year could be described as “reading and writing time”, for there are hours that we waste watching often asinine programmes on television or falling asleep in front of them. But the cold weather is not conducive to such an activity. Most of us seem to wish merely to cuddle up in front of a roaring fire to try and stop our bodies from shivering. The old ditty “Can’t think, brain numb; inspiration won’t come” strikes one as appropriate. I suppose, however, our spare time could be divided into active or passive occupations, although the latter should at least keep our brains ticking over.In the active sphere, I would include creative craftsmanship, something that nowadays is seldom enjoyed. Games of skill are popular, especially when involving many members of each family. Drawing and painting are also great and allow the imagination to run and the results retained. What, though about writing? It is said that everyone has a …

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The week in pictures

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