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Lifestyle

Keeping a watching brief on Sligo fleadh

THE final countdown to Ennis’ hosting of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the county capital, is set to begin next week. Members of the working group in Ennis, along with representatives of the local authority, are travelling to this year’s host town of Sligo. On the final day of the celebrations, Sunday, August 16, the official handover of the Fleadh from Sligo to Ennis will be made. According to chairman of the working group, Mícheál Ó Riabhaigh, “Having the Fleadh here in Ennis is a huge event for us; it’s a challenge we have been waiting five years for and we’re really looking forward to it.” The handover, after which Ennis will officially be the Fleadh town, will take place at the closing ceremony, when the winners of the senior céilí band competition will play on the gig rig. “The countdown starts immediately then. From then on, Ennis will be the Fleadh town and …

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Henry Rallies trades people to help Ray of Sunshine

HURLING legend Henry Shefflin has urged Irish builders to join forces with the Ray of Sunshine Foundation and put their skills to good work for the under-privileged in Kenya. The winner of 10 All-Ireland medals, the Kilkenny man is appealing to tradesmen and women to get involved in a project to build a refuge for children. He’s happy to report that dozens of bricklayers, carpenters and workers have already pledged their support to the charity. The director of the charity, Clare woman, Olive Halpin explained how Henry, without hesitation, agreed to become an ambassador for the Ray of Sunshine Foundation, following the death of TV personality, Derek Davis. Another Clare person involved in Ray of Sunshine is Dr Rory O’Keeffe from Ennis. Following his retirement, he moved to Kenya to work with the organisation as team doctor. Henry, who has won every honour in the game over his long career, said the charity is looking for volunteers, skilled and unskilled, …

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Expelling pet myths

THERE are lots of myths that have existed around pets and these are just a few. * A wagging tail means a happy dog: Dog body language is very complex and a wagging tail is only part of a very big picture. It can mean the dog is happy but it can also indicate anxiety, fear and sometimes aggression. So look at the whole dog. * You should let the dog have one litter before you spay her: Absolutely not. Dogs don’t have the same maternal feelings that people do and the drive to have puppies only comes around when the dog is in season. Pregnancy may cause complicated health issues and can mean expensive trips to the vets. Thousands of unwanted puppies and stray dogs are killed in Ireland each year and if you let your dog have ‘just one litter’, you may be adding to the problem. * Neutering my dog will change him: The earlier it is …

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Kellie Maloney to join matchmaking trail

A FORMER UK boxing promoter is to attend the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival this September, just months after completing a sex-change operation. Kellie Maloney is a well-known transgender person and was formerly known as Frank Maloney, before completing her transition 16 weeks ago. As Frank, she managed Lennox Lewis to the world heavyweight title. Kellie, 61, heard about the festival last year when she was in Dublin for an interview on The Late Late Show. “I tried to get accommodation but there were no hotels available. This year I booked a small cottage, where I can bring my dogs with me,” she said. Kellie is heading to Lisdoonvarna from September 25 to October 4 and also plans to attend the LGBT festival, The Outing. “Now I have completed my journey, I have to decide whether I want a partner or companion. I am going to go to as many events as possible and see what happens. I will throw the dice …

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Daniel’s book points to a happier life

An Ennis man, who has overcome mental health difficulties, officially launched his second book in Brogan’s Bar, Ennis, on Friday evening. Daniel Meehan, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, found writing Wrath of the Dead to be a somewhat therapeutic and cathartic process. Diagnosed with this disorder at the age of 18, the 36-year-old, who lives in Pound Lane in a housing scheme run by Cluaid, believes his new environment is also helping his ongoing recovery. He is thrilled to complete his first novel, thanks to the development of his writing skills, which he finds to be a great coping mechanism for his condition. In fact, he says that writing is always something he can fall back on if he is going through a tough time. “The process of getting something down on paper helps me sort out all the jumble that is in my mind. It helps put a structure on my thoughts,” he said. Liam Minogue, who established the …

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scattery island

History and spirituality in Clare

A NEW book, which is both historical and spiritual, Kilfenora, Killinaboy, Scattery Island: A Guide for Pilgrims in County Clare by Rosemary Power, is an interesting read. The book was launched by Dr Janet Harbison, director of the Irish Harp Centre in Castleconnell, at the Burren Centre and Kilfenora Céili Band Parlour. Rosemary’s book gives details of three ancient pilgrim sites in Clare and traces a walking route between them, including lesser-known sites on the way. It also provides a guide to the cathedral at Kilfenora, the monastic ruins at Killinaboy and the famous churches on Scattery Island in the Shannon estuary. The route follows, in part, the ancient pilgrim routes and the stopping places on the way indicate that a journey should give time to enjoy the landscape, as well as the places where people have prayed down through the centuries. Prayers and poetry from early Ireland are included, in translations that are often poems in their own right. …

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Top bathing water standards in Clare

Ireland’s bathing waters are of still of a very high standard, even if they are a bit cooler than popular European holiday destinations, according to the EPA. Around three-quarters of all Irish bathing waters (128 coastal and 9 inland waters) met the new stricter standard of ‘Excellent’ quality based on an assessment of data for the period 2011-2014. Eleven bathing waters in County Clare achieved the ‘Excellent’ standard rating, including Ballyallia Lake, Ballycuggeran, Bishopsquater, Cappagh Pier in Kilrush, Fanore, Kilkee, Lahinch, Mountshannon, Lough Derg, Spanish Point and White Strand – Doonbeg and Miltown Malbay. Current water quality at most sites around the country is extremely good with only a few problems having been reported to SPLASH (splash.epa.ie), the national bathing water website. The website has an interactive, colour-coded map that allows people to check out any of the 137 EU identified bathing waters. Peter Webster, senior scientist at the EPA and author of the 2014 Bathing Water report commented, “Despite …

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Councillor Richard Nagle

Doolin road surface ‘an embarrassment’

A ROAD in Doolin has been described as “an embarrassment” by North Clare county councillor Richard Nagle. The construction of badly-needed footpaths linking the two parts of the North Clare village was discussed at the West Clare Municipal District meeting in Kilrush last week. During the discussion, council engineer Cyril Feeney calculated that it could cost €250,000 to pay for the footpaths, excluding the purchase of land. However, Councillor Nagle said the road should be repaired as well. “One of the worst pieces of road in any village in North Clare is from Fitz’s Cross to Fisher Street. The surface is absolutely shocking. It’s an embarrassment for any premier tourist village to have that road surface. Why was it left that way? Because every time a motion was put down, requesting the upgrade of the road, we were told that we had to wait because we had to do the footpaths and the lot. The result is that absolutely nothing …

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