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Kathleen going strong at 113

FEAKLE native Kathleen Snavely (nee Hayes) became the State’s oldest ever living person when she turned 111 and 327 days last year but, having reached her 113th birthday this week, she looks set to become the island’s oldest living person. Annie Scott was the oldest living person from the island of Ireland. She was born in Northern Ireland on March 15, 1883, living to be 113 and 37 days, having died in 1996 in Scotland where she settled. Kathleen was born in Garraun, Feakle on February 16, 1902. Indications are that she is in good health, so she looks set to make history once again on March 24 of this year, which would make her the oldest person born on the island of Ireland. However, she has a long way to go to outlive the longest living person in recorded history, who was French woman Jeanne Calment, who died aged 122 years and 164 days in 1997. The current oldest …

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New-look Niamh sheds five stone

NIAMH McMahon is feeling a lot better about herself these days. Everything changed when Niamh, who is from Tulla and lives in Flagmount, hit 40. The mother-of-three made up her mind that she had to lose weight and was determined to make it happen. Niamh rejoined WeightWatchers in Ennis in January 2014 and having attended 57 successive classes, has shed five stone. Feeling lighter, fitter and no longer a diabetes sufferer, Niamh is now able to partake fully in day-to-day life. “Even when I got married, I never wore a dress. Last October, was my school reunion and I wore a dress for the first time. Even my friend, Tina, who I grew up with, was shocked to see me in a dress. All the lads hadn’t seen me in years and would have all remembered me as being heavy,” Niamh recounted. She is certain that she wouldn’t have attended that reunion had she not lost so much weight. “I …

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Telling a tale of Endurance

HIS achievements ring out a century on but few will know some of the sides of Ernest Shackleton that Michael Smith shines a light on, in his biography of the explorer, By Endurance We Conquer. This book is a logical step on from Smith’s earlier book, An Unsung Hero Tom Crean – Antarctic Survivor. That work brought Crean into the Irish public consciousness for the first time and Smith, a former political and business journalist with The Guardian and The Observer, said he started writing it when he realised no-one else had chronicled the life of the Kerry man. “The more I read about people like Captain Scott and Shackleton and Amundsen, the more I came across this fella called Tom Crean and I thought I’d like to read about him. He seemed to be an interesting character, he cropped up everywhere. “Of course, when I looked for a book, there wasn’t one about him. That coincided with the time …

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Great times ahead for Lisdoonvarna

Lisdoonvarna looks set to attract even more visitors to its annual matchmaking festival this September after its most famous son featured in the New York Times recently. The North Clare Spa town, by all accounts, attracted record tourist numbers during the five-week festival last year. However, one local hotelier says interest is already surging, from the United States in particular, following Willie Daly’s extensive coverage in the well-known paper. “This article appearing in the New York Times certainly is a bonus for us. Usually, interest in the festival really gets going in May and June but this is worldwide coverage and getting into something like the New York Times, a well established and world-famous paper, is amazing. That type of press coverage will definitely help Lisdoonvarna this year,” said Marcus White of the White Hotel Group, of which the Hydro Hotel, the Imperial Hotel and the Burren Castle Hotel are all part. The socio-economic demographic of NY Times readers increases …

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Big Apple or Ennistymon dilemma for Willie

North Clare matchmaker, Willie Daly has been invited to New York for St Patrick’s Day, following the recent publication of an interview with him in one of the best-known newspapers in the United States. The Lisdoonvarna man was invited to the city by a group of publicans in Brooklyn, to conduct a matchmaking weekend there, after an article about him appeared in the New York Times on February 3. “I was invited off the back of the article but, really, I always have St Patrick’s Day at home with my grandchildren and we always participate in the Ennistymon parade, so I have to weight it up against that,” he said. Last year, following national headlines made by whistleblowers, Willie and his family entered the parade as the tin whistle blowers. “I have suggested to the people who have invited me that maybe April 1 or May Day might be alternative times for a matchmaking weekend. St Patrick’s Day is busy …

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Online resource to tackle bullies

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly has launched two new resources to help support young people affected by bullying. Tackle Bullying (www.tacklebullying.ie), an online resource for young people affected by bullying, was developed at the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC) at Dublin City University and funded by National Lottery Funds. The centtre was established in 1996 by Professor Mona O’Moore and is led by Dr James O’Higgins Norman. It is the first forum of its kind and encourages teenagers to share their experiences with their peers or offer support to others. While the forum will encourage peer-to-peer conversation, all posts will be monitored by professionals and an option to contact one of the moderators directly will be available to those feeling very unhappy or have a serious issue they’d like to discuss. The website will also contain some useful information on the subject such as tips on staying cyber-safe and newspaper articles which might be …

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St Pat’s students highlight importance of ports

ST Patrick’s Comprehensive, Shannon has won the inaugural Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) Transition Year Schools competition. Education Minister, Jan O’Sullivan presented the winners with a €2,000 cheque for their school, while there were also medals and an iPad for each team member. The purpose of the competition was to deepen the understanding of port activity on the Shannon Estuary and its contribution to the economy. It was titled The Importance of Ports in the Mid-West and was open to students in Clare, Limerick and Kerry. The Comprehensive students devised a booklet for primary schools, which gives younger students a greater understanding of the estuary and port company’s activities through games, quizzes and other learning tools. Team member Sinead Quinn said, “We really had no idea how important SFPC is. Many of us live just five miles from Shannon Airport and we never even knew there was a fuel jetty there. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. When we …

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Killaloe centre shortlisted for award

A dementia specific respite and daycare centre in Ballina/Killaloe, has been shortlisted for a prestigious Irish Healthcare Award, 2015. Waterman’s Lodge, which has been nominated under the Specialist Centre of the Year category, is one of two national respite centres run by the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland. A former hotel, the premises was acquired by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland in 2008 and extensively modernised and converted into a dementia specific care centre. The purpose of the respite centre is to provide dementia specific person-centred care to the person with dementia and their carers in the community. The centre can accommodate up to 11 respite clients per week. Currently there is 35 staff employed at Waterman’s Lodge all of whom have received dementia specific training. The Irish Healthcare Centre Awards 2015 will be presented on March 27.

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