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The week in pictures

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Health, hope and horses

THE light clatter of hooves on the Carolan family farm in Muckinish, Spancilhill are audible every Saturday morning. The sound is accompanied by the uplifting sight of special needs children trotting around the farmyard aboard Lightning, supervised by Ashling Carolan, who is one of Ireland’s first therapeutic riding coaches. A social care graduate, who works in Tipperary during the week, Ashling has been getting up early on Saturday mornings in recent months. “I work with people with special needs on a day programme in Tipperary. I used to take the lads horse riding at work and I really liked it. I thought it really benefited them so I went off and did a course in therapeutic riding coaching. There are a lot of general riding schools around but I don’t know of any doing therapeutic riding classes at present,” Ashling told The Clare Champion. “I know the things that need to be worked on and the areas that I can …

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African colour behind the porcelain

Dust and fragments of clay, the remnants of hard work, lie sprinkled across the marble tiles. Fine sculptured pieces line the room, with buckets of paint filling the room with a pungent aroma. The wooden table forms the epicentre of the studio, serving as the platform for the starting part of the work. This studio has, for the best part of a decade, been the arena for the creation of almost 100 ceramic works. The artist, Noreen Ramsay has spent long years perfecting her craft. A quick glance across the patio to her studio adjacent to her Cratloe home will normally show a dim bulb, as she toils away through the night.Having grown up in the heartland of Zambia, she developed a love of imagery and creativity. Having trained in medicine, her  burst of creativity took over, in a career-defining turning point of her life.“I think it did influence it because I was outdoors a lot,” she said. “In Africa, …

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An emotional homecoming

I was curious, when in 2011, I read a newspaper article about an upcoming event called The Gathering, a year-long celebration planned for 2013 welcoming home members of the Irish diasporas and their descendents.

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Gort Lomáin celebrates a century

CLARE’S oldest ICA Guild, Gort Lomáin, celebrated their 100th year with a dinner in the Old Ground Hotel, Ennis, last Saturday night.Founded in 1912 by Jane Vere O’Brien, the Gort Lomáin Guild has held meetings in Barefield School, Ballyalla House and other locations. At that time, the ICA was known as the United Irishwomen but changed in 1935 to the Irish Countrywomen’s Association.Among the guests on Saturday night was Veronica Rowe, daughter of founder Jane Vere O’Brien, who spoke of the crafts, and particularly Clare embroidery, promoted in the early days, when 12 smocked dresses with this decoration were ordered for one of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren.Liz Wall, national ICA president, congratulated the guild on this momentous occasion and noted that seven new guilds have been set up across the country in the past few months, with one of them in Liscannor. She said this was the first centenary celebration she had attended in her position as national president but she …

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Bev’s Hallowe’en SOS for hedgehogs

ENNIS-based 2012 Irish Veterinary Nurse of the Year, Bev Truss, has appealed to people to check their gardens for signs of hedgehogs in the run up to Hallowe’en.Think first before moving, destroying, cutting down and cleaning up gardens, is her message.Bev explained, “Hogs love to sleep during the day in piles of our garden rubbish. We pile up the leaves, twigs and cuttings and leave for a few days before having a garden bonfire. Hedgehogs curl up into a tight spiky ball when in danger but this is no match for a fire. Many hedgehogs die every year in bonfires, so move your bonfire and make sure there are no sleepy hedgehogs in there before lighting it, especially at this time of the year as Hallowe’en approaches.”“Strimmers and lawn mowers kill and injure hundreds of hogs every year, not only in gardens but in fields and roadsides. Before strimming, use your foot to find a nest, they are ball-like as …

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Library acquires copy of famous dictionary

IT is accepted that Peter O’Connell died on February 24, 1826 and was buried in the old graveyard at Burrane in the parish of Killimer but the year of his birth cannot be certain, 1746 or 1755.One thing that is certain is he compiled a number of manuscripts, including a transcript of Cormac’s Glossary, a translation of a history of the wars of Thomond, which was composed by John McGrath in 1459 and two works jointly with another Clare man, Theophilus O’Flanagan, the first secretary of the Gaelic Society.Both works are of great interest and are called Egerton 113 and 125. In Maynooth College  library, two manuscripts by O’Connell are known as c99 and c111. The best known of his manuscripts, Egerton 83, which he spent about 40 years compiling, contains an Irish-English dictionary which Eugene O’Curry believed was the most comprehensive Irish- English dictionary in existence. Copies of that dictionary are in the Royal Irish Academy and also in …

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Nine decades of memories keep Kevin talking

KEVIN Stapleton lived and worked for 46 of his 90 years in England. Resident in Ennis since his return to Ireland in 1989, the Kilkee man has a reservoir of anecdotes and tales, which he doesn’t need much encouragement to divulge. Even his birth in 1922 had a tragic twist to it.

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