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Academic links J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings with The Burren

A Derry-based academic has uncovered evidence suggesting that the world-famous karst landscape of the Burren Region inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in his masterworks ‘ The Lord of The Rings’ and ‘The Silmarillion’. Following a recent trip to examine the original J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts and papers at Marquette University in Wisconsin, USA, Tolkien scholar Dr. Liam Campbell will discuss his research findings and their outreach in terms of how the English writer’s acclaimed work has profound and traceable interconnections with Ireland. Dr Campbell’s talk will feature at the Burren Tolkien Society Festival on August 15-24. Organised by the Burren Tolkien Society and supported by Clare County Library and the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, the festival will feature contributions from Tolkien experts, writing workshops, screenings, lectures and guided walks of the locations frequented by Tolkien, including Poll na Gollum Cave which event organisers suggest influenced the creation of one of the author’s most famous characters (Gollum). “An unexpected body of evidence …

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It’s a cat life for eccentric Rhona

RHONA Lucas laughs when she is asked to describe herself. She lives with 147 cats, five dogs, three donkeys and a posse of nine visiting foxes in Cloonlaheen East, not far from Mullagh. With the odd exception, she knows the name of most of her cats, who reside in the An Cat Dubh Sanctuary in the tranquil surrounds of her relatively new abode. [doptg id=”33″]“My view is that eccentricity is interesting,” Rhona replied, when asked was she perhaps slightly odd. “If we were all the same, it would be very boring. If you met me I clearly am not mad. I just believe that animals deserve to be treated with respect,” she explained. Intriguingly, Rhona also gets on with people, as her former Galway-based vet attests. “They always said that they loved working with me because I clearly liked people as well. A lot of people in the welfare business sadly don’t like people. They’re much better with animals and …

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Kidney transplant a life-changer for Michael

MICHAEL Mescall considers himself blessed. In his time of need, his wife and family were not slow in lending their support in the most profound manner. Diagnosed with kidney failure in December 2005, the retired Clare County Council civil engineer, who farms in Kilmihil, needed a new kidney. His wife, Maureen and Michael’s extended family didn’t dwell for a moment. They were prepared to hand over one of theirs and, in fact, were queuing up to do so. “During the summer of 2011, I was placed on the transplant list and I will always be grateful to my brother, Martin; Maureen’s nephews, Martin, Michael and Andrew Kelly; their mother, Bernie and Maureen, all of whom offered me a kidney. How lucky can one person be?” Michael wondered. Eventually, Maureen was chosen to donate her kidney to her husband. “Both of us worked hard at getting fit and keeping down the weight but this was not a chore, as we had …

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Kathleen leads the way on Weight Watchers Walk

Approximately 100 Weight Watchers members from around the county will walk the Clare coast in an event the organiser hopes will become an annual charity fundraiser. Weight Watchers leader Kathleen Shannon is behind the walk which will take participants from Liscannor to Doolin along the Cliff walk. “If it is a success I would like it to become an annual event for charity,” she said. “This is the dummy run to see how it will go. I want to make it a charity event for Clare next year and if that goes well I would like it to become an all-Ireland fundraiser for people to raise money for charities in their own area,” she added. This year’s event is not raising money for charity but is a non-for-profit event, according to Ms Shannon. “This year it is just for fun. People will pay for the bus and the meal after but that is it. The total distance of the walk …

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Artist Sean Scully

International art experts gather in Ballyvaughan

A twice-nominated Turner Prize painter, the Dean of Colombia University’s School of Art, a former Danish Minister for Culture and a leading art theorist from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are among a host of international art experts gathering in Ballyvaughan to take part in a programme of events marking the 20th anniversary of Burren College of Art. Beginning on Thursday and continuing through Sunday, Ireland’s only independent fine art third level college will exhibit works by some of its most successful and high profile alumni and will host a symposium exploring alternative models of education, featuring contributions from groundbreaking Irish and overseas art education innovators. Irish-born American painter and printmaker and twice Turner Prize nominee, Sean Scully will also receive an honorary Doctorate. Located at Newtown Castle, the Burren College of Art specialises in delivering a range of contemporary fine art programmes including photography, sculpture, painting and digital media, and in hosting leadership retreats and “audacious …

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Three changes on hurling team

By Seamus Hayes The Clare senior hurling selectors have made three changes in personnell from the team which drew with Wexford last week for this evening’s replay in Wexford Park. Team captain Pat Donnellan has been omitted from the starting team as has Cathal McInerney while Podge Collins is ruled out due to suspension Seadna Morey will start today and he is named as midfield partner to Colm Galvin. Peter Duggan is named st wing forward with John Conlon moving to the corner in place of Collins while Darach Honan is to start at full forward in place of McInerney The team is; Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona); Cian Dillon (Crusheen) David McInerney (Tulla) Jack Browne (Ballyea); Brendan Bugler (Whitegate), Conor Ryan (Cratloe), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber); Colm Galvin (Clonlara) Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge); Peter Duggan(Clooney-Quin), Tony Kelly (Ballyea) Colin Ryan (Newmarket); John Conlon (Clonlara), Darach Honan (Clonlara), Conor McGrath (Cratloe)

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Bird flies in for Scariff Harbour Festival

Broadcaster, journalist and documentary presenter, Charlie Bird  will mark the 20th anniversary of the first IRA ceasefire in Northern Ireland at the opening of the 2014 Waterways Ireland Scariff Harbour Festival this August Bank Holiday weekend. For over 10 years from the start of the peace process, Charlie Bird was RTÉ’s contact with leading republicans. “This was one of the big dates in the history of the peace process, leading to the Good Friday Agreement,” said Charlie Bird. “I was one of three journalists given the statement by the IRA and the only one to have been given an audio copy of an IRA member reading out the statement. They have now been given to the National Museum in Dublin and, in time to come, will be on display,” he added. The idea for the very first festival in Scariff in 2003 stemmed from the Good Friday Agreement and the foresight of the North South Ministerial Council and the Arts …

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Dooley leaves strong message on mobiles

Clare Fianna Fáil  Timmy Dooley has sharply criticised  mobile phone operators for “lacking any urgency” in repairing problems with poor coverage in East Clare. He commented, “Mobile phone operators in Ireland, including Vodafone, have been overseeing poor mobile phone coverage in many parts of East Clare. Areas like Mountshannon and Whitegate have extremely bad mobile phone coverage. It is part of a wider problem for mobile phone users in the county and it is not being tackled.” Deputy Dooley said it is not good enough to treat customers like this and it reflects extremely badly on these multi-national companies. “As a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications, I intend seeking to bring Vodafone and other mobile phone operators before the Committee to explain why they have virtually ignored this problem,” he said.

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