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Ennis man’s brush with celebrity

AN ENNIS salon owner has proven to be a cut above after a hair-raising brush with a Hollywood star. Hassan Jiad, owner of Panache Hair Design, was recently called on to cut the hair of actor John Travolta. The star of Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction and Grease was so impressed that he has given Hassan his private telephone number and has asked him for a repeat appointment in New York later this month. The multi-award winning actor had been staying in Dromoland Castle Hotel when he decided that he needed a trim. Hassan, who is originally from Iraq and has been living in Ennis for 23 years, was working in his salon when he got a mysterious phonecall from the hotel. He revealed, “They said there is a man here who wants you to give him a haircut. I asked who it is, and they said they will let you know at reception when you get here. That was …

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Daisy posts her Christmas letter to Santa.

A Dog’s Christmas in Dublin

Now that Christmas is finally over it’s time to reflect on how my holidays went. Christmas is for dogs too and we should never be forgotten. My humans were invited by BMW to the National Concert Hall in Dublin for lunch and a Christmas concert featuring the Snowman film and a live orchestra. Despite my loud protests, dogs weren’t invited so where would I be left while the concert was on? Well, I needn’t have worried. After we parked the car at the hotel we took a short walk along the canal. It’s really lovely along there with all the swans and ducks. The ducks seemed friendly but I have a healthy respect for swans so I kept my distance. We arrived at a lovely place called Mutt Ugly, a dog groomers and crèche. Once I got over the shock at the name – surely I’m not an ugly mutt – we went inside and I got a great welcome. …

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‘I can see the difference it makes to people’s lives’

WHEN Government ministers or business leaders talk about prioritising what they call STEM, it shows a very one-dimensional view of what Irish education should be. Such a view isn’t particularly concerned with developing people, rather with creating human units of economic activity but, thankfully, people with a more balanced view of young people are also active in Irish schools and classrooms. Cora Guinnane is one of them, a woman who serves as chaplain of St Caimin’s in Shannon, and whose enthusiasm for what she does is very obvious. “I love chaplaincy, love it. I really believe in it. I can see the difference it makes to people’s lives. I see the kids at a different level. I would know the kids who might come to school without a breakfast or the kids where there is a bereavement or separation. “There could be addiction, just the kids that are struggling with emotional difficulties, their well-being mightn’t be great or their mental …

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St Flannan’s class of 1968 meet again

THERE may have been a little more grey in the hair but when former pupils of St Flannan’s College, Ennis reunited last weekend, some for the first time in 50 years, it was like nothing had changed. Tony Gleeson, former pupil of the historic Ennis secondary school and one of the organising committee of the 50th reunion, said, “It was a bit of shock for some when they came in and looked at each other. Naturally emotions were high, as many of the students had not met in the intervening years and recognition and identification was challenging in a few instances”. However, before long, they were soon chatting away to each other. “It was like going back to 1963 when they all met first.” On Friday, the 1968 Leaving Certificate class of St Flannan’s came together to mark the 50th anniversary of their time in the school. They started their education there in 1963, the same year that a notable …

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Enjoying the sunshine during breakfast on the terrace.

Half a Century at BrookLodge

Keep it to yourself but one of my humans recently celebrated his 50th birthday. That’s ancient – around seven in dog years. Seeing as he’s always so good to me and looks after me so well, I decided to do something nice for him. I checked my bone account to see what it could stand and thanks to the excellent Bone/Euro exchange rate, on account of Brexit worries, I found that I could manage a few nights in BrookLodge in County Wicklow. It’s one of my favourite places as I get to look at the hens, chickens and geese that roam the grounds. My humans love it for the peace and tranquillity, not to mention the organic food for which it’s renowned. There’s a further attraction – the two resident dogs, my pals, Oscar and George, who are always good for a laugh and a chat. It was late afternoon when we arrived so after checking in with my American …

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Competitors race towards their bikes at the start of the Brompton World Championships in London.

Brompton World Championships – again

Another year, another Brompton World Championship but unfortunately, this year I didn’t manage to win a place in the lottery to get an entry to the race. Fortunately, only a week before the event, I managed to ‘acquire’ an entry and made arrangements to ship both myself and my Brompton folding bike over to London. Last year, I competed with a bulging disc in my spine and the rain was incessant. I had high hopes that this year’s race would be better on all counts. On the day before the race, I met up with friends from the London Brompton Club near Buckingham Palace and we cycled through St James’ Park and Hyde Park to end up at the Brompton Junction shop in Long Acre, near Covent Garden for champagne and nibbles. It was an enjoyable run, despite the heavy rain that fell for most of the hour. I got talking to an Australian who had come over specifically with …

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Adoption is a “terrible option”

Clarecastle resident Geraldine Gregan made the difficult decision to give her baby up for adoption, a decision she has regretted ever since. Her pregnancy as a single woman brought shame, she was branded as damaged goods and had to hide out half way across the country for the last month of her pregnancy, writes Carol Byrne. Originally from County Cork, Geraldine Gregan acquired a rare job as a quality manager in a dairy business in Cavan. After receiving a BSc in Dairy Science, her job security, being a single woman, was put in jeopardy when she became pregnant in the mid-1980s. “The relationship had ended when I realised I was pregnant. I felt a deep sense of guilt and sadness. It was so wrong and selfish of me to be bringing a baby into the world that would not have a dad. My own dad passed away when I was 16 and I still missed him. I also felt sadness for …

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Ciara Relays Her Survival Story

Clare’s first Relay For Life, in aid of the Irish Cancer Society, took place in Tim Smythe Park over 24 hours from 2pm last Saturday. It was an event for the whole community to remember those lost, to support those who continue their fight, and to celebrate survivors. In an interview with The Clare Champion Lissycasey woman Ciara Lynch speaks about her cancer journey having just graduated when she was diagnosed with oral cancer.  “THERE is something powerful about walking in silence and in solidarity”, cancer survivor Ciara Lynch said, after participating in Clare’s first Relay For Life in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. The soon to be 30-year-old said the event was an emotional but inspirational one. Ciara, a national school teacher who survived oral cancer in her early 20s, is the new chairperson of Ennis Musical Society and was joined by society members who held a strong presence on the Fair Green for the 24 hours. “It was a great …

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