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Living

Brophy looking to the west with The Berlin Crossing

JUST outside Berlin, in a newly unified Germany, 30-year-old Michael Ritter is struggling with political and personal upheaval. His devotion to the now discredited East Germany makes Michael an exile in his own country. Tainted by his membership of the Socialist Party that ruled the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), Michael’s past costs him his job as an English teacher and prompts the break-up of his marriage. As he tends to his dying mother, Petra, she reveals Michael’s father is not the man he supposed and urges him to search for his roots. The journey leads him to a buried manuscript that opens, “I was born in Galway, a small town on the west coast of Ireland, on November 19th 1942…”The Berlin Crossing is a Cold War novel about losing faith and finding redemption that takes the reader through Germany, London and Galway, where its author, Kevin Brophy, now lives. Mainly set against a backdrop of espionage intrigue and Stasi …

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Clare Hunt raises suicide awareness

THE returns of a fundraising initiative by the County Clare Hunt and supporters on behalf of a very special charity will be revealed at an event in Quin on Friday, May 4.Recently, the hunt organised a charity ride through the village and surrounding countryside for Clare Suicide Bereavement Support Clare (SBS) and the number of participants, children and adults, exceeded expectations.A spokesperson for the group said they were overwhelmed by the Clare Hunt’s decision to adopt them as their charity for this particular event. “We were delighted the organisers managed to get so many people to come out on the trek and help us. It was fantastic that over 270 riders saddled up,” he said.A special mass will be celebrated in St Mary’ Church, Quin at 7.30pm on Friday, May 4 and immediately afterwards, the proceeds of the event will be presented by the Clare Hunt to Clare SBS.Members of the support group, which has been operating since 2002, are …

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‘Don’t judge a person who dies by suicide’ – Fitzgerald

PEOPLE who die by suicide shouldn’t be judged for taking this drastic course of action, according to Clare hurling manager, Davy Fitzgerald.Instead, the former All-Star custodian believes people should concentrate on helping people suffering from severe depression and those expressing suicidal thoughts.The two time All-Ireland winner has revealed his heart scare in 1999 proved to be the “wake-up call” he needed to put his own life into perspective and appreciate his own health and well being.The Sixmilebridge man and Clare hurlers are supporting a campaign to increase public awareness of the services provided by Pieta House, the Mid-West Suicide and Self-harm Crisis Intervention Centre in Mungret, Limerick.He insists it is wrong to judge or attach a stigma to anyone who dies by suicide.“We don’t know what is going on in anyone’s head. For someone to take their own life, it must be pretty unbelievable how they are feeling.“They must have put some huge amount of thought into what they were …

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A Rose by any other name

WOULD-be Roses of Tralee from across Clare took part in a county-wide tour on Saturday ahead of the selection of the 2012 Clare Rose this Friday night. The tour started in Ennis town before stopping off in Corofin, en route to Father Ted’s house in Kilnaboy. From there the women travelled to Kilrush where they were treated to a VIP tour of the Vandeleur Walled Gardens and a visit to Shannon Ferries in Killimer before returning to Ennis for a night out.The Clare Rose of Tralee selection takes place at The West County Hotel, Ennis, this Friday night at 8pm, with pre-show shopping at 7pm. The winning girl will receive a collection of Newbridge Silverware, a voucher for a night for two people in any Carlton Hotel in Ireland and a number of other prizes. The Clare Rose will also represent the county in the regional finals in Portlaoise on June 3. Gort woman Lisa Nolan is representing Juniper boutique, …

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Looking good in pictures

THE season of weddings, communions, confirmations and so on is upon us. The cameras are flashing, with family and group photos an important part of the day. I know for myself that taking a good picture is a rare event as I always seem to panic when I hear those dreaded words “Say Cheese”. Being photogenic is not just about having strong cheek bones or a great complexion, rather it is about your approach and knowing how to relax when the camera starts flashing. There are some pointers I can give which, when put into practice, will transform your image. When you are going to an event where you know the cameras are going to be flashing and family portraits are commonplace, bear in mind that what you are wearing will impact on your overall appearance on camera. Fabrics with stripes are tricky on film. Heavy horizontal stripes will make your body look wider than normal on camera. Very-closely-spaced stripes …

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Strumpet City strikes a blow for RTÉ drama

The late David Kelly  was one of our great character actors and played many memorable roles since the 1950s. He played many roles on British television. He appeared regularly in Me Mammy, Never Mind the Quality Feel the Width and Robins Nest but to some he will forever be associated with Fawlty Towers where he played the hopeless builder, Mr O’Reilly.To a younger generation, he will be remembered as Grandpa Joe in the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, while to an older group, he will forever be Rashers Tierney in Strumpet City.Written by James Plunkett, Strumpet City has to be one of the great Irish historical novels of the last century. It can only be described as an epic as it follows the lives of a motley group of characters caught up in the events which affected Dublin 100 years ago, the great strike and lockout of 1913 in particular.Its main issue is with the striking workers and …

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Terry shares some pointers to success

One of the country’s best-known communicators, Terry Prone was in Ennis recently as guest speaker at Clare County Enterprise Board’s latest Women in Business Network event.Terry has nearly 40 year’s experience providing advice at the highest level on PR. As strategic communications advisor to more than one EU Commissioner, Terry has been involved in the planning of major PR campaigns, particularly those involving attitude and behaviour change. Furthermore, Terry has presented radio and TV programmes, written 26 books, sold her first company, started another – The Communications Clinic – in the teeth of a recession where her son, Anton, is her boss. Terry spoke with great enthusiasm on running a business in a male-dominated environment and of the key challenges facing women in business in Ireland today. She also held a very informative questions-and-answers session.Madeline McAleer of Clare Focus, who also spoke at the event, outlined how she has developed her business, www.clarefocus.ie, the support she has received and how …

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Digging yourself out of mortgage debt – where to start

There has been much media debate regarding the 100,000 plus people presently in mortgage arrears. The situation unfortunately is worsening and we are going to see this number increase significantly over the coming months unless guidance and action are taken.The reality on the ground for people both working and unemployed is that they may have been experiencing huge difficulties over the past number of months just to meet their mortgage repayments. This is unsustainable as they have done without essentials such as food, clothing and electricity to make ends meet. In addition, the effects on people’s mental health and relationships are hugely at risk and could result in serious social issues. With incomes down over 14% and increased taxes imposed in an effort to establish economic stability, the funds are not there to meet mortgage repayments for loans agreed in the boom years.What are the options? Well the most important advice anyone could give to someone in difficulty or potentially …

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