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Inspiring hope through travel tales

Lahinch author Ruairí McKiernan writes about the challenges of writing his first book, overcoming initial rejection from publishers, and then launching what became a No.1 bestseller at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was never my dream to write a book, but it seemed life had other plans. The first call to write came when I was 23 and living in Canada. A publisher approached me after hearing me on the radio discussing globalisation. I was no expert on the subject, but I decided to give it a go. A third of the way through the first draft I gave up. Too hard, too time-consuming; the writing life not for me. “Never again,” I said. Fast forward a decade. I’m hitchhiking around Ireland on what I called a listening tour; seeking out hope for myself and my country. At that time I was burnt out, feeling lost and depressed, and so too was post-boom Ireland. I began meditating, bringing awareness to …

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Happy Howly Christmas everyone.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas break. I know it was a bit different from other years but that didn’t make it any worse. Before the real lockdown happened, I got the chance to pay a flying visit to two of my favourite places – Brooklodge in Wicklow and The Twelve in Barna. We hardly stirred from either hotel, with lazy days spent snoozing in the room or in the lounge. A change is as good as a rest and snoozing in different surroundings is very refreshing I always find. I had some sad news in BrookLodge though. My friend Oscar went to Doggie Heaven a few weeks before our arrival. I’ll miss him as he was always good for a laugh and a gossip. He had a lovely, long, happy life though and that’s all a dog ever wants. On the way to Galway from BrookLodge, we stopped in Dublin to meet my Aunty Aileen and we …

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Banner teams strive for title of Ireland’s fittest family

TWO ultra-fit Clare families will put their strength and stamina to the test on national television over the coming weeks in a bid to be crowned Ireland’s Fittest Family. The hit TV show, which already features Clare man and Wexford hurling boss, Davy Fitzgerald, will see the Kulczynski family from Ennis and the O’Halloran family from Newpark, Kilkishen go through extreme endurance challenges in settings from ski slopes to bogs. Over the course of the series, which started last Sunday on RTÉ One, a total of 16 families will be whittled down to four for a gruelling final contest, from which only one winning team can emerge. With highly impressive fitness credentials, the Kulczynski family are hotly tipped to stay in contention until the very end. Elite junior triathlete, Sabian has multiple national titles in triathlons, aquathons and duathlons and represents Ireland in competitions across Europe. He is a swimmer, mountain biker, road biker and used to run cross country. …

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Tulla students show true colours to raise funds for Samaritans

AT the end of last year, St Joseph’s Secondary School, Tulla, raised €625 for the Ennis branch of the Samaritans. Enterprising students held a ‘Colours Day’ as part of a Wellness Week initiative. Student Council presidents Aoife Kelly and Adam O Neill lead the initiative.

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Larry’s empowerment legacy

PARTEEN native, Larry De Cleir is a man of many parts. A psychotherapist, who spent two decades in the Irish army, he is also a talented singer-songwriter, whose work ranges from personal reflections to commentary on politics and society. With a CV like that, his retirement is probably set to be a fairly active one. The role of retiree is one that Larry is still getting used to having signed off, just last week, after a 13-and-a-half year stint as Project Leader with Bedford Row, an initiative that supports prisoners and families in Clare and Limerick. “I was involved with the project for a long time before that,” he explains. “I was counselling and getting clients from the project. Before that, again, I was involved, in very early days meeting workers with the Hospitality Centre in Limerick Prison, where the project started up. I was aworking with South Hill Outreach and we had a step-down [service] going on, so I …

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Spanish Point Golf Club rewards Doreise’s tranformation

A WEST Clare woman’s dedicated efforts to boost her health and fitness have secured her a top prize in an annual wellness initiative run by Spanish Point Golf Club. Doreise Power, who is from Quilty and now lives in Mullagh, took part in a ten-week initiative running alongside Operation Transformation from January to March this year. While the pandemic put paid to plans for a gala presentation night, a lower-key presentation was made recently to a delighted Doreise. Mervin Hehir of Spanish Point Golf Club said the local Operation Transformation initiative was aimed at making a difference to people in the dark months of the year, and about creating activities for the whole community. “The golf club is community owned and we wanted to take away any suggestion that clubs are stuffy places,” he explained. “That’s why, last year, we decided to run a 10-week programme alongside Operation Transformation on RTÉ. We really wanted to help people learn about fitness …

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Bunratty woman ‘jumps the gate’ to create line of children’s books

CREATIVITY, and an eye for a gap in the market, has inspired a Bunratty woman to ‘Jump Over the Gate,’ by developing a line of children’s books. Interior designer Edel Moloney has branched into children’s publishing, alongside a creative team featuring writer Róisín Meaney and illustrator Louisa Condon. The new company, called Jump Over the Gate, has created what Edel describes as “Ireland’s coolest puffin, Puffin Paulie, who resides in his burrow at the Cliffs of Moher”. “We’re three women with complementary skills,” notes Edel. “We’re very excited about the potential of this project.” Puffin Paulie Goes West is the first of two planned books, which will be accompanied by merchandise including a soft toy and T-shirts. The book, which is available, fittingly, at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, features Paulie on the back of his motorbike whizzing along the west coast, playing tunes, surfing the waves, cleaning some beaches and having lots of fun. his wonderful and entertaining …

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Key Clare images from War of Independence brought to life in colour

COLOURISED images of key moments in Clare’s revolutionary history have been included in a new book on the period between the East Rising and the foundation of the State. Among the pictures that author Michael Barry has included in An Illustrated History of the Irish Revolution (1916-1923) is a photograph of Eamon De Valera at Ennis Courthouse after the by-election of 1917. Other shots include scenes of tanks in Clare and an armoured car at the RIC barracks in Ennis. There is also a picture of De Valera’s arrest in 1923 at a Sinn Féin gathering. The latter appeared in the Illustrated London News just after the outbreak of the Civil War.   There’s also a photo of De Valera in America in the period 1919-1920. During a visit to the Chippewa Reservation Reserve in Wisconsin, he was famously made honorary chief of a Chippewa tribe, and the colourised image shows him wearing a Native American ceremonial headdress. “I specially …

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