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Recreating Traveller life in the 1950s

People young and old turned out for a very special exhibition of living history in Ennis recently. As part of Travellers Pride Week, Waterpark House was transformed into a scene of Traveller life from the 1950s. According to organisers, the event wasn’t just about showcasing times past, it was also about promoting positive mental health. Dr Siobhan O’Connor, co-ordinator Ennis CDP Primary Health Care Programme for Travellers in the Clare/Ennis CDP Education Peer Support Project explained, “From the Ennis CDP Primary Health Care Programme’s perspective it was a day invoking positive mental health. Travellers could position themselves as part of the history of Ennis, Clare and Ireland. There was a sense of belonging and ownership of the space and history of Ireland. This was particularly strong in the drama that was performed talking about the role of Travellers in the 1916 Rising, when Travellers transported messages and hardware between the volunteers at great risk. “From a mental health perspective, it …

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Stonehall community rallies around Tara

Friends, neighbours and staff at Stonehall National School have rallied around a charitable cause for a 13-year-old pupil, who has a very rare medical condition. A number of fundraising events have been organised for Tara’s Trust, including a recent wax, shave or dye event in The Honk Bar and a gala barn dance at the Inn at Dromoland on Saturday, June 11. Tara O’Brien, her parents, Vincent and Geraldine; brother, Evan (17) and sister, Ellen (14) live in Rineanna North, Newmarket-on-Fergus. The sixth-class pupil in Stonehall National School suffers from a condition known as hemangioendothelioma, a very rare vascular tumour. Her numerous surgeries have included three spinal fusions, a splenectomy and, more recently, decompression of her spinal chord, as well as undergoing chemotherapy and trials on various drugs. While Tara is on daily painkillers, she has battled the disease with great courage and spirit and loves going to school and being with her friends. All the proceeds from the fundraisers will be donated to a …

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Champion reporter’s award-winning story

A CLARE Champion journalist hopes her award-winning article on a farm tragedy will help to increase public awareness of workplace risks and reduce further loss of life. Nicola Corless scooped a Local Ireland Media Award for writing the best Feature Story of the Year at a presentation ceremony in Tullamore last week. Her story, titled When all changes in an instant, was widely praised for its sensitive telling of how a family coped with the death of a husband and father. “There have been five farming-related fatalities this year to date and we aren’t even into the busiest time yet. I hope the award will mean that more people read the article and carefully consider whether or not the time saved by taking a risk is worth what could ultimately be lost. “I am glad to see voluntary organisations, like Embrace FARM, providing some support to farm families who have lost a loved one or been injured in a farming …

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Eric Trump says dad will be US president

DONALD Trump’s son is adamant that his father will maintain a close relationship with Ireland should he become the 45th president of the United States. In an in-depth interview with The Clare Champion at the Trump International Resort in Doonbeg on Sunday, Eric Trump also backed his father’s proposal to build a wall between the US and Mexico, while he supported his controversial stance on temporarily banning Muslims from entering the country. “I think there will be no better friend to Ireland, not only because he loves this country and he has spent a tremendous amount of time here but I think Ireland has always been one of our true friends and allies in the world, as opposed to so many of the other countries that call us allies but then totally disrespect us in so many ways. What country in the world is closer to the United States than Ireland? I would argue none,” Eric Trump replied, when asked …

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Cooraclare marks Con Colbert link

THE Cooraclare connection to the late Con Colbert, who was executed by firing squad at Kilmainham jail on May 8, 1916 was commemorated last weekend. In Cree, historian Paddy Waldron was joined by MEP Seán Kelly and former Minister for Education Mary O’Rourke for a fascinating discussion about Con Colbert’s life and times. Con Colbert was from West Limerick but his mother Hanorah Josephine MacDermott was from Clondreddan in Cooraclare. Tom Mac’s shop in Cooraclare village was the venue on Saturday for an exhibition of 1916 memorabilia, including a letter written by Con Colbert on the night prior to his execution, to his uncle Dan Irving of Cooraclare. Flan Irving is Dan Irving’s grandson and he told The Clare Champion on Saturday how touched he was by the three day commemoration. Incredibly, the letter has remained in the Irving household for a century. “This event has been emotional. The actual letter has been in our house for 100 years. Dan …

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Sheahan family walk their own Mid Clare Way

THREE generations of the Sheahan family set out on a journey in February 2014. Their plan was to complete the Mid Clare Way in stages every fifth Sunday and this year they concluded their trek. Ballybeg resident Paudí Sheahan, his 80-year-old father Michael and his seven-year-old son Marcus completed the entire Mid Clare Way earlier this year. Paudí’s other son Robert, who was 10 when they began, often joined them at various stages of the walk. They could not believe all that they experienced – the beautiful scenery, woodland walks, lake views, quaint villages and towns and some of the county’s most interesting historical and archaeological sites – was available on their doorstep along the Mid Clare Way. Paudí’s parents were always out doing something and routinely went walking every Sunday. However, when Paudí’s mother, Evelyn, died suddenly three years ago, he and his four brothers decided that they would each take turns and do something with their father every …

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Leicester’s Aer Rianta International link

ON Monday night, Leicester City finally won an unlikely Premier League title and there is a slight Clare link to the story. The club’s chief executive, Susan Whelan, once worked for Shannon-based Aer Rianta International (ARI), going on to work in its stores in Russia and Thailand, before becoming involved with the new Premier League champions. Former director of Shannon Airport, Liam Skelly was also first director general of ARI and the Scariff resident remembers the Dublin woman’s time with the company. “ARI was operated in Shannon so she came there and then went to Moscow and worked there. Eventually, we got a contract to operate Duty Free in Thailand and she went out there. She was a buyer for perfumes and that,” he explained. After ARI finished business in Thailand, Ms Whelan left the company. “Our contract ended and Susan decided to stay on. The King Powers are from Thailand. King Powers got the contract in the airport in …

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Trump would get Doonbeg nod

THE biggest employer in Doonbeg is set to become the Republican Party candidate to contest the US presidential election. On Tuesday, Donald Trump was all but confirmed as the Republican presidential nominee after his win in the Indiana primary, which led directly to main rival Ted Cruz dropping out of the race. Although Doonbeg is a small village in West Clare and will have no direct say in whether Trump or the likely Democratic Party nominee Hilary Clinton becomes the 45th President of the United Status, if a snap primary was held in the Long Village, voters would probably vote local, despite the odd reservation or two. Trump has threatened to build a really long wall between Mexico and the US border to help put people from Mexico off the idea of entering the Land of the Free. He is also insisting that the Mexican state pay for the wall at a cost of between $5 and $10 billion. The …

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