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Tales of long ago and close to home

AN APPRECIATION of what is local is one of the (few) upsides of lockdown. Being restricted last year to a 2km, and later a 5km radius for exercise, certainly proved productive for Newmarket-on-Fergus author, Colm Liddy. As a self-confessed “stroller,” Colm, a pharmacist by profession, began to see his native place in a new light. Fascinated by traces of past hidden in ruins and monuments dotted around the area, his inquiring mind led him to research colourful characters, locations and incidents dating from the 1600s to the 1980s. The result is a treasure trove of history in Colm’s latest book, Long Ago in Newmarket-on-Fergus. “I suppose it was the total collapse in sporting activities that forced me to find something to occupy the time,” Colm told The Champion. “I’m fairly obsessed with sport and would normally be playing it and training kids. Covid put an end to all of that. So, my wife and I did a lot of walking …

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Clare families asked to join search for Ireland’s best banana dessert creations

BANANA importers Fyffes has issued an invitation to mums, dads and children throughout Clare to join in a search to find Ireland’s ‘Best Banana Dessert’ creation. Fronting the search to find this year’s winning creations is Ireland’s well-known television cook, Donal Skehan whose programmes are a favourite amongst viewers and wannabe cooks. The popular presenter hopes to repeat the success of last year, when his task was to judge Ireland’s most creative banana bread bakers. Reward will go to the overall winner and best junior baker with recognition for originality in a number of other areas. Entries are open from April 14 to 19, with winners announced on National Banana Day itself, April 21, an initiative devised to support the national drive to encourage healthy eating, especially amongst young and growing children. Details and entries online at Facebook – facebook.com/FyffesIreland/ and Instagram – instagram.com/fyffes_ireland/ using #FyffesGBBO21

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Sam sharpens focus on starting knife making school in Clare

“I CAME over to Dublin from Ghana for what was meant to be six months, to help my friends set up a restaurant and plan a menu, then I blinked and found five years had gone by.” Sam Gleeson is reflecting on the road that has led him to Ennistymon and how he has come to set up a knife making business that last week won him a prestigious national craft award with a €10,000 bursary. Using metal and woodworking techniques, and using found and reclaimed materials, even washed-up ocean plastics, he creates beautiful, distinctive knives for culinary use. The plan now is to open a teaching facility in Ennistymon to share his bladesmith craft with others and Sam plans to use his bursary to attend a forge-welding course in the US and take his own skills to the next level. “Reclaimed wood and plastic goes in the handles,” he says, “but what I’m becoming known for is making my …

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Parteen woman’s cosy cottage is crowned Home of the Year 2021

A PARTEEN native took the top prize on RTÉ’s Home of the Year 2021 grand finale on Tuesday night last. Jen Sheahan, who now lives in Dublin, won the prestigious award after bowling the judging panel over with her late 1800s artisan cottage in Dublin. Judges Hugh Wallace, Suzie Mc Adam and Amanda Bone chose Jen’s home from among 21 homes across the country. Jen had her eye on a cottage for some time and was delighted when one came on the market in 2019. The property needed a lot of work as it was damp, had no central heating and the toilet was outside. Jen did a complete renovation, knocked all internal walls, dug up the floor and lowered it plus added on an extra floor to make it a two-storey house. Judges were highly impressed by work which includes clever storage solutions throughout and quirky features including a disco ball light in her brightly coloured downstairs toilet. “I …

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Search is on for talented Clare teen to star alongside Oscar winner Olivia Colman

A UK-based casting company is interested in hearing from Clare teenagers as they search for a co-lead to star alongside Oscar winner Olivia Colman in their latest movie. The character, ‘Mully’ is a 13-year-old Irish boy, and Casting Director Elaine Grainger stresses that previous acting experience is not necessary for what she calls a “breakout role”. “For our upcoming feature film, Joyride, and playing joint-lead with Oscar winner Olivia Colman, we are hoping to discover a brand new cinematic talent for the role of 13-year-old Mully – to potentially find a future breakout film star. It is a complex, rewarding and challenging part; Mully is bold, sensitive, emotional, defiant and hilarious. The ideal boy will have a huge heart and boundless bravery, who will fearlessly take this journey with us. The company would be interested in hearing from Clare teens with or without film experience, aged between 11 and 16, adding that “a fantastic singing voice would also be an …

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From Tulla to New York to Baghdad

OVER the course of a 45 minutes conversation on a Friday afternoon, Ray Leyden stresses that he feels lucky, feels blessed, that the United States has been good to him, that he thrived in its military, that business and life on the far side of the Atlantic are going very well. He describes himself as a ‘glass half full’ type of person and that outlook has stood to Ray since he emigrated to New York as a teenager, where he built a career and life. As a young man he worked on construction sites all across the Big Apple, before joining the US military just weeks before 9/11. He would go on to see action in Iraq, being among the first US soldiers to cross the border. With distinguished service behind him, Ray would go back to college afterwards and since 2018 he has been running his own financial services company, Feninal Capital Strategies. Back in the autumn of 1994, …

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Camogie All-Star inspires Beckman Coulter staff

ALL-STAR camogie player, Anna Geary, shared some of her top tips with the staff of Beckman Coulter this week as the company marked International Women’s Day. The international bio-medical firm, which employs 500 people at its Tulla site, also announced the appointments of a number of women to its senior management team. Four-time GAA All-Star, Anna, who is now a performance coach and broadcaster, delivered a talk open to all staff on the topic of Balance, resilience and Coping with Change. She also discussed  the concept of Progress – not Perfection. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Choose to Challenge, and as part of the festivities, Beckman Coulter also published facts on the history of the annual event and the history of women’s rights and how women’s rights have evolved over the years in Ireland. Staff were also encouraged to ask children in their families about their understanding of women’s rights and equality with girls and boys …

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€200k allocation for walk and cycle route that will link to planned West Clare greenway

THE Government has given the green light for a new walk and cycle route that will eventually link Clarecastle to Ennis and on to the planned West Clare Greenway Local TD Joe Carey welcomed the allocation of €200,000 under the Government’s Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme Measure 2 to the River Fergus Walk & Cycle project, saying he is “overjoyed” the first phase of the cycle and walking route has been approved”. The Clarecastle-based TD recounted how he has lobbied his colleagues in government on the project for several years, including Minister for the OPW Patrick O’Donovan who visited the area in December 2020. The Fine Gael deputy said: “This is really exciting news for the community. The River Fergus Walk & Cycle will be a fantastic amenity that residents, commuter and visitors to the area will enjoy for generations to come.” It has been several years since the Clarecastle Community Development Ltd (CCDL) and Ennis Chamber identified the opportunity to …

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