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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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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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