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Lifestyle

Return to The Twelve

The other weekend I took the chance to slip away with my hoomans for another little break. It looks like we were just in time. Although Level 3 doesn’t mention dogs, I have a feeling I’ll be staying at home for the next few weeks. Saturday morning saw us heading for Galway city with a stop in Clarinbridge for a swift dogguccino. We had a little wander around the city but it was soon time to head off again and as I suspected, we were going to The Twelve, my Galway home from home. Now I hadn’t arranged this trip, the hoomans had and they’d have to pay for it too because my bone account has gone into boverdraft. I’m not worried though as I believe the Government are making PUP payments now. It’s been a while since I was a pup but I’m so cute I’m sure I’ll get away with it and it won’t be long before my …

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Looking forward to Brunch

Doggy Brunch for Animal Welfare Charity

With apologies to my friend Bev, I have to take over the column again this week to tell you how I spent my weekend. I was lamped into the shower early so I knew something was up but then I went to Pat, my lovely dog minder. I haven’t stayed there much since Covid began so it was nice to have a proper catch-up as I was in residence for two nights. I love a little change of scenery. On Sunday, I was collected bright and early and after a quick dogguccino, we headed off in the car. When we arrived in Limerick, I was hoping we’d be going to The Buttery, where dogs are always welcome, although I was puzzled, as we usually go on a Saturday. What a sight met me! Dogs everywhere, inside and out. It turns out that this was a Doggie Brunch in aid of Limerick Animal Welfare. What a lovely idea, although I noticed …

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Sweet smell of success for childhood friends

TWO enterprising Ennis ladies put the long weeks of the lockdown to good use when they learned news skills and started their own business. Danielle Kenneally and Chantell Keane, who are long-time friends, and hail from Waterpark Heights and Hermitage respectively, both have day jobs that they love, but recently found that a shared passion for candle-making has inspired them to work towards building their own business. “We go back a long way,” said Chantell. “We spend a lot of time together and during lockdown, we decided that we would do some online training. We were interested in scented candles because we both love them and saw a gap in the market in terms of providing a great customer service.” The girls were soon putting their training and creativity to good use with the production of a special line of wax melts. “A wax melt is basically a wickless candle,” Danielle explained. “They’re fragranced and you melt them by putting …

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I could get very used to travelling in a convertible. It's the human's 325i.

Lockdown Staycation Part II

So, this is the second part of our lockdown staycation. After visiting the Twelve Hotel in Galway, I got a taste for another adventure so last weekend we went off to another of my favourite places, BrookLodge in Co Wicklow. Because the weather was so nice, the humans decided to take that funny car with a tent instead of a proper roof. It was bought last year but it seemed to spend most of the summer in the garage with bits being done to it but it seems to be ready now. I only half listen but I believe it’s had softer springs fitted since I drove in it last and it really makes a difference. I can snooze comfortably in the footwell now and that’s all that matters. Even though rain was threatening as we arrived in Aughrim, the roof was folded down for the last bit of the journey, allowing me to sniff the air. As we pulled …

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Harsh realities inspire jailers’ tales

PRISON might seem an unlikely environment to inspire a creative career. For Lisdoonvarna’s Bill Bradshaw, however, working in that tense, high-pressure environment did exactly that. The Rathkeale native is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist, and credits a long career as a prison officer with his unique writing style, as well as some of his subject matter. Bill has just published his third book, Delphine, which draws on influences such as horror writer Stephen King and explores moral taboos and family dynamics. Two more novels are in the pipeline and Bill is actively fundraising to turn Delphine into a six-part Netflix series. He is also part of a Clare-based publishing initiative, backed by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and bringing together a number of other creative minds. While his work in the Irish Prison Service is partly responsible for Bill’s approach to his writing, it is a career that has taken a heavy toll. “There is a raw reality in a …

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‘We need more dissenting voices,’ says emerging Ennis poet

AT 74-years of age Ennis man Martin Knox admits he left it rather late to start publishing poetry, but the trained chemist is certainly making up for lost time. After a fruitful working life, which took in stints at Syntex, later Roche; as well as teaching at some of the country’s most prestigious educational institutions, Martin made the leap into poetry and has just published his first book. Entitled, Words Without Song: Vignettes of Reflective Dissent and Childhood Reflections, the volume is a collection of over 100 poems which “go against the establishment” and give voice to Martin’s long-standing belief that the purpose of literature is to highlight uncomfortable truths. “Racism, poverty, mental health, corruption, environmental damage, the unequal distribution of wealth, suffering, those are some the main themes of my poems,” he said. “Writers should ask serious questions. For a long time, I didn’t have the time to write. When I retired, I found that time. So many questionable …

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Comment: Toddling TDs take six-week nap

PERHAPS like toddlers up past their bedtime, TDs were just over-tired as they hurled abuse at each other across the floor of the Convention Centre last week. As the first term of the 33rd Dáil drew to an end with a blazing row over speaking slots, the Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly noted that it was very late and everyone was very tired. And after all, forming a government had taken a full four months. The gruelling process caused at least one minister to sink into those plush-looking Convention Centre seats for 40 winks, once the three-way coalition deal was finally done. Toddlers, we can easily forgive. With seasoned politicians, it’s more difficult. Several aspects of first term for the history-making coalition have been unedifying. We have had conflicting messages from the parties and internal wrangling within them. After packing their bags for a six-week break, TDs engaged in further back-biting; online and in the national newspapers. You could be …

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Remote hubs a lifeline for Clare’s remote workers

THE remote working revolution prompted by the Coronavirus pandemic would have been impossible to predict at the start of this year. A life-time ago, back in January, working away from the office was still a fairly fuzzy concept for most of us, tied in with worthy but not-always-attainable aims like reducing our carbon footprint, cutting down on daily commuting and achieving a better work-life balance. Now that we have all been thrown into reality of having to meet our work commitments without venturing into crowded offices, finding an appropriate space for remote working has become a real challenge. Kitchen tables across the country have been acting as board room bases for video conferences, while serving as virtual classrooms at the same time – not always with harmonious, or productive results. In Clare, thanks to a synergy of two key departments, the local authority has been better able than many of its counterparts to respond to the surge in demand for …

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