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Living

Clare in the Australian spotlight

The spectacular scenery of County Clare will feature in a series of online videos on one of Australia’s top travel websites, encouraging thousands of potential Australian holidaymakers to consider Clare, the west and the island of Ireland as their holiday destination for 2010.

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The sinking of HMS Leinster

ONLY lately is there any recognition of the Irish casualties during World War I. Many of these were Clare people and the town of Kilrush alone suffered over 70 deaths. More than 50,000 Irish perished in between 1914 and 1918.

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Gone but never forgotten

PATSY Quinn was on her knees scrubbing the kitchen floor when her sister walked in. It was a Saturday. The garden was bathed in unusual March sunshine but Patsy, on this rare day when she didn’t have any plans, had committed to cleaning the house. Her husband Tom and their 14-year-old son Eoin were in the sitting room watching the television. Ireland were playing Wales in the Six Nations. They were recording the game for Barry. He had asked them to before he and his cousin left for a day fishing on Lough Corrib.“The front door was wide open. My sister arrived in. She often called; she just lived three doors up. I said, ‘Isn’t it a beautiful day? Isn’t it fabulous out there?’ She was quite serious looking. She said ah…” Patsy’s voice still trembles when she remembers that day six years ago. “She kind of just stood there looking and she broke the news to me then. I …

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Battling adversity

GROWING up with type one diabetes was difficult for Audrey Bleach. General childish indulgences such as sweets and treats were forbidden and as she grew up, her life was built around insulin injections, her diet was regimented and her blood sugar levels had to be constantly monitored.What it was to be a normal kid and normal adolescent was lost to her in many respects due to the restraints of her illness. Having been diagnosed with type one diabetes at the age of nine meant things would progressively get worse for Audrey as she grew older but despite the looming bleakness that lay ahead in her future, she remained positive and upbeat, determined to find a way to be happy.The Tuamgraney woman’s motto is, “Always live life to the full” and Audrey kept her good spirits even after her kidneys began to succumb to the disease causing her to go into renal failure in 2003. “My daily routine would involve four …

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Clare win inaugural Munster Boccia League

IT was celebrations all round as the Clare Boccia team won the Munster League in Cratloe last week. Boccia is a form of bowls for people with Cerebral Palsy at Paralympic level. However, in April of this year Sports Inclusion Disability Officers (SIDO) in Munster decided to run a Munster  league for people with intellectual disabilities. The competition was based on each county hosting an event as part of a round robin series on a monthly basis. Each county was allowed to enter four teams of three players, with each team scoring points based on their overall finishing position.Clare was represented throughout the tournament by trainees at the Dulick Enterprise Training Centre in Ennis. Having recorded wins at both Kerry and Cork, the Clare team were in the lead going into the final leg, which was held at Cratloe GAA sports hall. Needing to consolidate their position at the top of the leader board, the Clare teams finished second and …

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Grooming the model student

FOR model Orla Sexton doing a deportment course changed her life. Not only did it help her gain confidence, it also shaped her career. Now Orla plans to share her experience with other young women.Orla has recently formed her own business Orla Sexton Modelling as part of which she gives classes in grooming and deportment. Deportment, says the West Clare woman, involves “walking with refinement, your posture and how you carry yourself”. “Deportment is great for building confidence. There aren’t many places you can do deportment here in Clare. I had to go to Galway with Catwalk Model Agency when I was doing it,” she recalls. Orla has already given a series of classes at her old secondary school St Joseph’s in Spanish Point.  “It started from Spanish Point where I did a grooming and deportment course. It lasted eight weeks and consisted of one class every week in the school. At the end of it, the pupils were awarded …

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Mary’s words ring out in the hallowed halls of Cambridge

THE voice of 86-year-old Mary Reidy, nee McMahon, a native of Carrigaholt, was heard by a learned gathering of poets, academics and language enthusiasts last Friday  as part of Cambridge University’s 800th anniversary celebrations.One of triplets born in Clouncuneen, near Carrigaholt in 1923, Mary recounted the story to her niece, Mary Courtney, who is an awarded-winning poet, based in Coventry. Pat and Seán McMahon completed the set of triplets, while Motto and Ellen, parents of the triplets, had 11 children in total, including two sets of twins. It’s something of a miracle that this trio of McMahon children survived as they each weighed barely 1lb. “I recorded my Aunty Mary telling this tale of her birth in my kitchen in Coventry this summer,” Mary Courtney explained. “She was over on a visit to see me  and she had, in fact, lived in Coventry herself in the 1950s. The recording was done on a whim  on a crackly old tape held …

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Civic reception honour for Sharon

SHE has performed in front of tens of thousands of people at Croke Park and played with some of the biggest names in music, but for world-renowned musician Sharon Shannon, it was a visit to the headquarters of Clare County Council that was her most nerve-wracking moment. On Monday, the Ruan-born accordionist was honoured with a civic reception from Clare County Council at Aras Contae and Chláir. She told those gathered, “I am the most nervous I have been in all of my life”.But she had no need to worry, as surrounded by her family, friends and neighbours she was highly praised by all on the council and officials for her contribution to music. The floor of the council chambers vibrated as all tapped their feet along with the tunes she performed alongside Eoin O’Neill. PJ Murrihy also played a rendition of Sharon on the Box, a song inspired by the lady herself.Speaking to The Clare Champion, Sharon explained that …

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