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Living

A Grand Experience for Whitegate boater

NEXT Tuesday evening at 10.15pm, Whitegate man Gerry Burke will feature on an RTÉ1 television documentary, which charts the journey of three artists, a writer, a photographer and a musician – along the Grand Canal on board the historic 68m Canal Boat. Built in 1936, Gerry bought the vessel in 1995. “As they travel through Ireland’s midlands, they rediscover a lost Ireland, a deep sense of history and heritage and a community that, in spite of the worst ravages of the recession, is thriving and embracing its own uniqueness and talent,” A Grand Experience, producer Martina McGlynn explained. Aside from skippering his boat, which sleeps 11 people, Gerry lives in Ennis and works in the aviation industry for Shannon-based Magellan Aviation Services. Yet, while he makes his living in the airline industry, his passion for Ireland’s waterways is unwavering. “The family has been involved in boating for generations. We’re from beside Lough Derg. We bought a traditional barge back in …

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‘Typical Irish beauty’ laid to rest

YVONNE McTernan may have been labeled a ‘typical Irish beauty’ back in 1950 but to her family, she was anything but typical.Born on October 31, 1928, in Ennis, she was the daughter of the late Michael and Ellen McTernan. At 20 years of age, Yvonne was selected as one of Aer Lingus’ first air hostesses in 1948 before being picked, two years later, by American photographer and artist Ben Stahl as what he considered a typical Irish beauty. Mr Stahl was travelling around Europe at the time painting women who he believed represented ‘typical’ beauty from that country.“The only thing she ever said was there was an announcement made and she was chosen,” Yvonne’s daughter, Laura, explained.“Ben Stahl was trying to find a forum to vet the young girls to choose. He was told to go to Aer Lingus because they had already gone through a strict selection process. The air hostesses were in an elite group because they also …

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Catherine surfs a golden wave

NINETY-SIX year-old Catherine Talty from Clounlaheen, Mullagh has won a Golden IT Award for mastering digital technology that helped to preserve the past. Local history group Cuimhneamh an Chláir (CAC) visited Catherine to record her stories of times past. However, she decided to learn to use the digital recorder herself in order to document her tales for the CAC archive, contributing 83 files on folklore and tradition from the mid-19th century all the way up to the 1970s. “Not so much into computers as taping music recordings,” was Catherine’s explanation behind her award. “I was used to the ordinary little tape recorder going to sessions over the years, recording songs and recitations. Then Tomás Mac Conmara, who works for Cuimhneamh an Chláir, was paying frequent visits as was Carol Gleeson. They both made recordings of my recollections of  bygone days. Then I was given a present of one of these little digital tape recorders by the family at Christmas time,” …

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Anne moves from cows to couture

FROM cattle to cashmere, Anne Marsh McMahon is changing her focus. With two decades of farming under her bespoke belt, the Broadford woman returned to college in 2010 to study fashion. She completed the course in the Limerick College of Further Education in May this year, emerging with City and Guilds and FETAC awards in advanced fashion design in textiles and knitwear. Now she is focusing on her new business, AMM Designs, offering jewellery, hats and garments of her own design.“I am a farmer,” Anne says. She has been farming her own land for the past seven years, rearing suckler cows but farming is in her blood.“I have been farming for the last 20 years. When I left school, I stayed at home with my dad on the farm. I had the opportunity to go to fashion college in Mallow but I went to agricultural college instead. I have always been knitting and sewing down the years. My mother always …

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Fixing your fashion faux pas

AFTER noticing a lack of solutions to Ireland’s fashion problems, two savvy North Clare entrepreneurs decided to take matters into their own hands.Dee and Wendy Fitzgerald from Kilnaboy this week launched their new online “one-stop shop” SecretFashionFixes.ie, which stocks a vast selection of “ladies fashion emergency products”.The start-up is an online retail store selling innovative and quirky problem-solving fashion emergency products for ladies. Its products vary from hem tape to blouse buttons and nippies to arch tags.“We have always had a huge interest in fashion and also had a huge interest in online shopping. I do everything from my grocery shopping to my Christmas shopping to my birthday shopping online,” explained Dee.“Aside from that, the idea came from when I was in Nashville in America about three years ago. When I was there, I visited a shop which had a section on products for solving fashion emergencies. I remember thinking these products were amazing. I had never seen these sorts …

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More than one-third of people in Munster do not have a pension

Over one third of people in Munster do not have a pension, according to recent figures. 62% of Munster people surveyed have a pension but one fifth of these have reduced or stopped contributions according to a survey on behalf of Friends First. It also showed that 17% of people in Munster are currently unable to meet their monthly financial commitments with little lift in sight as over half of participants surveyed feel less optimistic about their personal finances for 2013, compared to 2012. Commenting on the findings, Simon Hoffman, Business Development Director, Friends First, said, “This research suggests that we are working our way towards a pensions time bomb. Financial pressures on Munster families continue to hamper people’s ability to save and meet their monthly commitments.” “With a new property tax on the way, householders are going to be faced with an additional financial challenge at a time when they cannot take much more. As a result more and …

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The rise of the Irish Volunteers

THE Irish Parliament in the late 1700s was in no way representative of the country. Catholics and Presbyterians, who constituted a large majority of the population, were excluded.   The country was ruled by the King’s Viceroy and the Church of Ireland members of the parliament in Dublin and even then, any law they passed had to be approved by Westminster. They were also charged with the defence of the country and by the end of that decade, they were in a sorry state. There were widespread fears of a French invasion and there were very few troops in Ireland. Most of the troops stationed here had been sent to ‘the colonies’ to fight the American War of Independence. The government could not afford to replace the troops so a part-time military force was raised by local gentry to keep law and order and defend the country from invasion. Initially, about 10,000  joined the Irish Volunteers but within three or …

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Leader funding advice offered at meetings

A SERIES of countywide information seminars are being planned for the month of October, advising communities of LEADER funding for community heritage projects.Clare County Council’s Community Built Heritage Animator Programme aims to support local community groups to develop project proposals that are eligible for the funding through Clare Local Development Company.  These may be large or small heritage buildings or other structures. The Lakeside Hotel in Killaloe will be the venue for the opening information seminar on Tuesday night with the second planned for The Old Ground Hotel, Ennis on Thursday night, October 18. Further information nights will be held in The Stella Maris Hotel, Kilkee on Tuesday, October 23 and The Falls Hotel, Ennistymon on Thursday, October 25.All meetings start at 7.30pm and will be of approximately two hours duration.  

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