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A smile that has won a thousand friends

JUST before 10am on the morning of October 26, 2004, life altered irrevocably for Eugene and Bridget Lorrigan.

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A harvest not our own

AT this time of year, farmers are saving the harvest, the food that will feed us, and others, during the months to come. It’s also a time when we are conscious of the value of food and all that we take for granted and the places in the world where the harvest has failed, as in drought-stricken East Africa.

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A life of slavery in Niger

SLAVERY exists. Newspapers are full of stories of slavery, indentured servitude and human trafficking in Ireland and abroad. The group of men freed from slavery in a Travellers’ camp in England recently is only the tip of the iceberg, according to experts.

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An insight into life on Pemba island

THROUGHOUT the last fortnight, Tanzanian priest Fr Appolinaris Msaky has been visiting Ennistymon as a guest of Pat and Neilius O’Doherty.

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Colourful memories of bygone days

Anyone passing Cooney’s in Quilty on Thursday, September 1, might have been tempted to park up and drop in. Upon entering, the visitor would have learned that those partying in the middle of the day were nearly all over 90 years of age.Some of the senior citizens who attend the ClareCare Daycare Centre in Miltown Malbay were on a day out, under the supervision of Cait Ní Loinsigh.Among those present was 95-year-old Bridie Carey from Craggane, Quilty, who farmed all of her life.“I was farming since I was a child. I loved it. It was tough sometimes but at the same time I was interested in what I was doing,” Bridie told The Clare Champion. Bridie has fond memories of saving hay but not so benign recollections of long days saving turf in the bog. “Footing turf? I used to hate it. I’m telling you, it was tough on the back,” she grimaced.Bridie also clearly remembers hand-milking cows but says …

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A quiet day for love in Lisdoon

FRIDAY, September 9. The Town Hall in Lisdoonvarna was dimly lit and fairly stuffy, with only half the ceiling fans working. Shay O’Callaghan was onstage, providing the raucous soundtrack to the dancing, a mash-up of nostalgic melodies. The black curtains hung limply, contrasting with the blue, red and white of the walls rather meekly. Overhead, windows threw dapples of light on the floorboards, illuminating the dancers that limbered through them but also highlighting the glumness of the hall. While the dance floor had its attendees, they were sparsely arranged. The guys taking money at the door admitted that numbers weren’t looking great so far. Average age: probably around 60. All in all, love wasn’t really in the air. As I was to find out, or perhaps, as I should have already known, that isn’t so much the point of the festival anymore. Matchmaking, an age-old tradition and a prominent idiosyncrasy of our cultural backlog, is quite obviously dying out. Willie …

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A big step from Inch around the world

STORIES and memories of a Clare family’s history back to the early 1800s have been carefully woven together by a man who wants to keep it all in the mind’s eye. It’s a story typical of many Irish families, a continuous line remaining at the homestead, while other strands extend around the world.

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Is Michael D man for the job?

MICHAEL D Higgins is no stranger to presidential titles. He is the current president of the Labour Party and is president of the Galway Gaelic football and hurling teams but now he is aspiring to don another presidential role, that of Ireland’s 10th President.

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