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Night falls in Bourton-on-the-Water with the Christmas tree in the background.

Cracking Christmas in the Cotswolds

Just before Christmas my humans took me for my regular Christmas trip to Dublin and I was excited to meet all my friends in Mutt Ugly doggy day care and to take a trip around town to see the lights. Although I didn’t get to see the moving crib this year, I was smuggled into a lovely pub off Grafton Street and when the barman finally spotted me, he came over with a bowl of water so I took it that I was in the clear. It helps to be cute. The following morning I got us all up very early as I had a surprise for my humans. On my trawls through the world wide woof, I’d come across a company called Pets Pyjamas, who specialise in doggy holidays and I’d used my bone allowance to book us all Christmas in the Cotswolds. I directed them through the dark streets of Dublin (one woof for left, two woofs for …

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Alfa Awakens Wonder and Awe

AS A journalist, one of the attractions of the job is getting to meet all kinds of interesting people in all sorts of locations and situations. It’s not often though, that your day-to-day work happens right in front of a classroom of teenagers. But then, the Alfa Project, based outside Scariff, is not your average secondary school and reporting on an extraordinary initiative should involve a departure from the norm. The Active Learning for Adolescents centre delivers Steiner education to teens. If offers creative and practical education and provides an alternative to the conventional Junior Cycle. When I arrive at the idyllic woodland setting in Raheen in the crisp December sunshine, notebook in hand, I am quickly roped into an English lesson by the school’s administrator, Alan Dickey, who spots an opportunity to answer my questions and help students learn about journalism in the process. My unexpected presence in the class room doesn’t phase any of the 14 senior students, …

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Advent at Glenstal Abbey

Advent at Glenstal Abbey – Back to the Future The 1986 blockbuster film, Back to the Future, is not about Advent, the four-week season preparing for Christmas. However, both the film and the season are focused on time. While the main character of the film moves backwards and then forwards in time, Advent invites us to consider Christ in history, Christ today and Christ in the future. The season is divided into two unequal parts. During the first part of the season until December 16, we prepare for the second coming of Christ, which has not yet happened. We train ourselves to expect Christ’s coming. Our hope for this second coming is not without foundation because we know that Christ has come already 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. Christians await in hope for Christ to come and establish peace and justice in our troubled world. Many recognise the need for genuine peace and wait in hope for Christ’s coming. The …

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Christmas in Ennis launches next Friday

SANTA Claus is coming to town on Friday, November 29, and will join Mayor of Ennis Municipal District, Cllr. Johnny Flynn, for the official switching on of the Christmas Lights and the launch of the ‘Christmas in Ennis’ programme in O’Connell Square from 5pm. The Mayor will be joined by two Students from Senior Infants in the Holy Family Junior school, showcasing their design & creativity in the painting of the hoarding surrounding the Christmas Tree, as Winners of the Ennis MD Art Competition. Colum McGrath will MC and Eimear Considine, AKA “the Eimearnator”, will be a special guest in an event not to be missed. Santa Claus is excited to attend the event which will also feature children’s entertainment, carol singing, hot chocolate, face-painting and much more. In conjunction with the switch-on of the Christmas Lights at 6pm, the Lions Club of Ennis will launch their Remembrance Tree intiaitive in aid of Cahercalla Hospice at 5.25pm. Road closures will …

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Daisy getting into Hallowe'en mode as Hairy Potter.

Happy Howllowe’en from Daisy

Have you ever heard of a Howllowe’en Party? I must confess I hadn’t until my humans told me we were travelling to Dublin to attend one. It was organised by the Pawtrait Pack, a facebook group of dog lovers and we were all to meet up in a park near St Patrick’s Cathedral for a get to know you session – in other words sniffing bums! We arrived with plenty of time to spare so we went for a quick coffee at a lovely place called Queen of Tarts. I thought that was very appropriate as I’m a real queen. Even after our coffee, we were first to arrive at the park but in short order we were joined by a lovely group of new friends. There was Ozzie, an Australian Kelpie cross who came with Audrey, who organised the party. Monty, a black and white Collie, like Ozzie, has eyes in two different colours – perfect for a Howllowe’en …

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Arlene Lifts Huge Burden of Silence

If it wasn’t for The Rape Crisis Centre Arlene Hayes says with certainty, she wouldn’t be here today. To mark the impact they have had on her life she has organised an 80s disco to raise much needed funds for the service. ENNIS based retail manager Arlene Hayes has been carrying a heavy weight on her shoulders for almost 30 years now. The happy, bubbly person who lights up when you invite her for a chat, is a survivor of historical sexual abuse. Those closest to her didn’t know she was carrying this burden with her through life, and even she herself didn’t really know until it all came flooding back. Arlene’s earliest memories are of her regular happy childhood in Ruan, trying on her communion dress and going to neighbours to collect communion money. She recalls picking hazelnuts in the fields and collecting mushrooms. “I remember my mother on a Friday night making popcorn. She would get the Quinsworth …

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The Sky is the Limit for Kate

KATE Crotty and her mother Caitríona from Ennis are this week gearing up for the annual Tour De Munster Charity Cycle, which takes place from August 8 to 11. Thirty three year old Kate has completed a Certificate in General Learning and Personal Development in Mary Immaculate College and is currently undertaking a course on Office Administration in the Adult Education Centre, Ennis. Armed with her qualifications Kate has her eyes on an office job, and she and Mum Caitríona are so grateful of the supports received through Down Syndrome Ireland, which have led to so many doors opening for Kate. These supports would not have been available without the funds raised by the public through events like the Tour de Munster charity cycle, which marks 10 years in partnership with Down Syndrome Ireland Munster this year. The cycle takes place over four days, covering six counties of Munster where cyclists will traverse a 600km route. Last year the charity …

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Hospital Choir Sings Out for Staff Wellbeing

THE Healthy Harmony Choir was formed by a group of medical practitioners at Ennis Hospital as a way to unwind and de-stress after a busy day’s work and now two years on, the 30-strong group are singing its praises in terms of its impact on their well-being. Brenda Bleach, a registered advanced nurse practitioner at Ennis Hospital, is one of the choir members and has been involved with the choir since it began. She explained how it got off the ground and why it has become such a popular outlet for staff across the entire UL Hospitals Group. “We started off as staff from Ennis Hospital and we are two years old now. The first year one of the nurses was interested in singing and always wanted a choir, so I ran it by health and wellbeing and asked if it was something we could look at. We started the choir and we didn’t initially have funding. We had paid …

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