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Dialects archive goes online

VOICES of native Irish speakers from North Clare in the 1930s are being brought back to life by the Royal Irish Academy. Eighty-five years ago, a German professor, Dr Wilhelm Doegen, came to Ireland at the request of the new Irish Ministry of Education to record Irish-language speakers throughout the island. The objective was to have a permanent record of the spoken language from all of the districts in which it was still spoken. Clare men Stiofán Ó hEilíre, Máirtín Mag Fhloinn, Seán Carún, James Shannon and Liam Ó Dileáin took part in the project and were recorded at the then University College Galway between September 8 and 21, 1930. While the recordings have long been known to linguists, the Academy Library wanted to make them freely available to all via the internet and Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn recently officially launched The Doegen Records Web Project: Irish Dialect Sound Recordings 1928-1931. Recordings of stories, songs, poems and …

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A Wyrd Tale Retold In Shannon

MUSE Productions in Shannon return to action following their production of Waiting for Godot earlier this year and make a move towards the vaguely ridiculous and spooky with Wyrd Sisters. The production, which will be a special treat for those getting into the Hallowe’en spirit, is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Terry Pratchett. It was adapted for the stage by Stephen Briggs and is a parody of Macbeth. Running for five nights at the Oakwood Arms Hotel, Shannon, Wyrd Sisters is a fun-filled drama for all the family featuring demons and ghosts, ghastly forests and storms. The play is set in the Kingdom of Lancre, but something is rotten in the state. The evil Duke Felmet has murdered the previous king and now newly crowned, he will stop at nothing until the whole kingdom is under his iron fist. The only one who could take the throne away from his grip, however, is the missing …

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Horses and hard work keep Tom young at heart

By Peter O’Connell HE doesn’t look 90 and can’t quite believe that he is. Tom Whelan, originally from Doonbeg, has been living and working in O’Dea’s Road, Kilrush for several decades. He has shod thousands of horses since training as a farrier with Barry’s in Kilrush many decades ago. These days, Tom still tips away in his forge across from his house. “Tis a pity,” he laughs when the 90-year figure is mentioned. “Hard work. A lad that sits down gets seized up. It’s like a car or a tractor that’s idle. It seizes up,” Tom replied when asked how he was in such fettle. “I was always on them,” he added, pointing to his finely polished work boots. Tom has been around horses since he was knee high to a foal. When he was growing up in rural West Clare, everybody had a horse. They were essential. “Everyone had a horse,  a pony and an ass. Creamery, ploughing and …

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Charlie to take a bow wow for award

By Dan Danaher CHARLIE, the Great Dane who became an international hero after a story in last week’s Clare Champion, is to be honoured with a national award. The two-year-old gentle giant, who has captured the hearts and imagination of people around the world, for his ability to detect when a Killaloe toddler is going to have a seizure, will be officially recognised by the Irish Great Dane (IGD) Club at a ceremony in Dublin. The IGD club, which is affiliated to the Irish Kennel Club, will present Charlie with a national merit award in the National Show Centre, possibly next March. This is just one example of the phenomenal response to last week’s Clare Champion story where Arabella Scanlan outlined the dog’s ability to detect her daughter Brianna’s frequent seizures, up to 20 minutes before the start of each episode. Following a week of national and international headlines, Arabella told The Clare Champion she is overwhelmed with all the …

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Frankie and Siobhan Lundy with their daughters Ava, Emily and Olivia.

Positivity in the face of uncertainty

By Jessica Quinn “I could go away and crawl into a corner and let it roll me over, or I can stand up and say no way, Jose”. These are the inspirational words of Frankie Lundy who, two and a half years ago, was diagnosed with the rare Huntington’s Disease. Speaking to The Clare Champion recently, Frankie and his wife Siobhan talked openly and honestly about the affect the condition has had on their family and their efforts to raise awareness. Originally from Belfast, 51-year-old Frankie has lived in Ennis for over a decade, having previously lived in Shannon. A former musician, the Lundy name is widely known in music circles with Frankie playing drums for a number of well-known bands. Huntington’s Disease is a hereditary disorder that causes progressive deterioration of the physical, cognitive and emotional self. Most people with HD develop symptoms between the ages of 30 and 50, with symptoms varying from person to person. A self …

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Cuimhneamh an Chláir receives high praise

The work of the award winning Cuimhneamh an Chláir, the Clare Oral History and Folklore group was praised as the Mayor of Clare, Councillor Joe Arkins launched the ‘Winter of the Cuaird’, Cuimhneamh’s winter collection programme for 2013/14. The group of volunteers, who have already conducted over 580 interviews with some of Clare’s oldest citizens, are hoping to add to their increasing archive of memories during the winter months, the traditional time for social visiting in the past. Speaking at the launch Councillor Arkins commended the volunteer Cuairteoirí for their hard work on behalf of the people of Clare and encouraged the group to continue and develop both their collection and dissemination work. “It is just so vital to record and preserve the social history and oral heritage of our county. I’ve been to many funerals over the years where those gathered have regretted the fact that nobody recorded the memories of those now gone from us. Cuimhneamh an Chláir …

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Elderly urged to be Safe at Home

SECURITY concerns of the county’s elderly were highlighted this week at a seminar in Ennis’ De Valera Library aimed at helping people to be ‘Safe at Home’. According to organisers, the seminar was such a success that it is hoped to make it an annual event. The Ennis event was the fifth in a series of nationwide seminars hosted by Bluebird Care. Kay Leahy, director, explained the seminars have been organised due to the evidence of growing worries among elderly people about their security. “There has been a 60% increase in calls to Senior Line, a free phone line for older people, worried about security at home. This is also reflected in our own network, as we hear anecdotal evidence from the thousands of older people that we work with on a daily basis.” The Safe at Home series was conceived as part of Positive Ageing Week, organised by Age Action. The seminar was open to members of the local …

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