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Daisy posts her Christmas letter to Santa.

A Dog’s Christmas in Dublin

Now that Christmas is finally over it’s time to reflect on how my holidays went. Christmas is for dogs too and we should never be forgotten. My humans were invited by BMW to the National Concert Hall in Dublin for lunch and a Christmas concert featuring the Snowman film and a live orchestra. Despite my loud protests, dogs weren’t invited so where would I be left while the concert was on? Well, I needn’t have worried. After we parked the car at the hotel we took a short walk along the canal. It’s really lovely along there with all the swans and ducks. The ducks seemed friendly but I have a healthy respect for swans so I kept my distance. We arrived at a lovely place called Mutt Ugly, a dog groomers and crèche. Once I got over the shock at the name – surely I’m not an ugly mutt – we went inside and I got a great welcome. …

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Ennis woman among expats honoured in Abu Dhabi

AN ENNIS woman is among a group of expats living in Abu Dhabi who have been honoured for their work in raising awareness of mental health. Laura Brennan, originally from Toberteascain and daughter of Martin and Cora, is the vice chairperson of the voluntary group Darkness Into Light Abu Dhabi. The group who dedicate their time to raising awareness and providing accessible support for their community in the United Arab Emirates have been presented with the Spirit of the Community Award at the Pride of Abu Dhabi awards. They began work in 2015 in an effort to bring the Pieta House Darkness into Light walk to Abu Dhabi and last year’s walk saw more than 700 people take part. However, their work is about so much more than the walk. They strive to provide free and accessible support and to unite people who are suffering distress through various events such as the annual Light Ball Abu Dhabi and monthly Tea …

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St Flannan’s class of 1968 meet again

THERE may have been a little more grey in the hair but when former pupils of St Flannan’s College, Ennis reunited last weekend, some for the first time in 50 years, it was like nothing had changed. Tony Gleeson, former pupil of the historic Ennis secondary school and one of the organising committee of the 50th reunion, said, “It was a bit of shock for some when they came in and looked at each other. Naturally emotions were high, as many of the students had not met in the intervening years and recognition and identification was challenging in a few instances”. However, before long, they were soon chatting away to each other. “It was like going back to 1963 when they all met first.” On Friday, the 1968 Leaving Certificate class of St Flannan’s came together to mark the 50th anniversary of their time in the school. They started their education there in 1963, the same year that a notable …

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Enjoying the sunshine during breakfast on the terrace.

Half a Century at BrookLodge

Keep it to yourself but one of my humans recently celebrated his 50th birthday. That’s ancient – around seven in dog years. Seeing as he’s always so good to me and looks after me so well, I decided to do something nice for him. I checked my bone account to see what it could stand and thanks to the excellent Bone/Euro exchange rate, on account of Brexit worries, I found that I could manage a few nights in BrookLodge in County Wicklow. It’s one of my favourite places as I get to look at the hens, chickens and geese that roam the grounds. My humans love it for the peace and tranquillity, not to mention the organic food for which it’s renowned. There’s a further attraction – the two resident dogs, my pals, Oscar and George, who are always good for a laugh and a chat. It was late afternoon when we arrived so after checking in with my American …

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Competitors race towards their bikes at the start of the Brompton World Championships in London.

Brompton World Championships – again

Another year, another Brompton World Championship but unfortunately, this year I didn’t manage to win a place in the lottery to get an entry to the race. Fortunately, only a week before the event, I managed to ‘acquire’ an entry and made arrangements to ship both myself and my Brompton folding bike over to London. Last year, I competed with a bulging disc in my spine and the rain was incessant. I had high hopes that this year’s race would be better on all counts. On the day before the race, I met up with friends from the London Brompton Club near Buckingham Palace and we cycled through St James’ Park and Hyde Park to end up at the Brompton Junction shop in Long Acre, near Covent Garden for champagne and nibbles. It was an enjoyable run, despite the heavy rain that fell for most of the hour. I got talking to an Australian who had come over specifically with …

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Never leave your dog in a car in hot weather.

Never leave your dog in a hot car

With the current heat wave showing no signs of abating, Škoda are highlighting the dangers of leaving your pets in a car in hot conditions. Even a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to a dog. A car’s interior can reach 47 degrees in an hour when the outside temperature is 22 degrees. If it rises to 26, a car can reach 37 degrees in just 10 minutes. Such temperatures can prove fatal to a dog in under 20 minutes. You can take precautions to keep your dogs safe on a hot day: Never leave your dog in a car in warm weather, even if it feels cool outside. Don’t excessively walk or over-exercise your dog. Avoid walking your dog at the hottest time of the day – often morning or later in the evenings can be cooler. Always take plenty of water with you when out with your dog. Make sure your dog has shade to …

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Short Story : 18 holes with the in-laws

I squinted into the morning gloom. A mist hung over the green, obscuring the flag from view. Taking a deep breath, I fixed my eyes on the ball and drew back the club. The grip quivered between my clammy palms. I looked up towards the green again, then down at my ball. If I could just chip it out of the rough- “Hit the ruddy thing!” I flinched violently, losing my balance as my club rocketed towards the ground. It struck the ground with a jarring thud, sending me reeling. I spun away, wincing, as my ball trickled over the ridge. David fixed me with steely glare. He was dressed head-to-toe in tweed. The buttons of his waist-coat quivered beneath the weight of his paunch. He wore a deer-stalker, jammed over the crown of his head and a pair of thick leather boots. His mouth was nothing more than a thin slit beneath his thick, lustrous whiskers, curling beneath his …

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A short story: A Canadian summer

As our holiday in Canada drew to an end, I longed to be alone in the perfect beauty of mountainous British Columbia. In the late evening after dinner, I excused myself from the campfire evenings and headed towards the shore, mere minutes from the campsite. Settling down by an old log, I glanced down the empty stony beach. Far out on the tranquil sea, a few kayakers paddled silently through the blue water, sending ripples across the bay. The sun hung low over the distant mountain, gently changing the Pacific waters from blue to yellow to orange. On the mainland, the distant mountains turned orange as the light hit them. Far off to the south of the hills, the faint lights of the city flickered and twinkled in the fading daylight. I sat down and leaned my head against the log. I turned it towards the sun, closed my eyes and felt the rays of its soft light as it …

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