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Zoe puts her heart into representing Ireland

By Peter O’Connell TWENTY-EIGHT hours of weekly training has transformed Zoe Kelly. The mother-of-two, who lives in Ennis, is to represent Ireland at the Arnold Classic Europe section of what is the largest amateur bodybuilding championships in the world. The event takes place in Madrid on the weekend of October 11 to 13. Zoe, who is originally from Surrey, will be one of six representatives on the Irish team. It’s hard to comprehend though that she is just 32 and has had corrective heart surgery in recent years. “I had corrective surgery for an underlying heart rhythm disorder. I was in intensive care for several weeks in Ennis. It was diagnosed in 2009. In 2010, I had two procedures in the Mater hospital,” Zoe told The Clare Champion last week. “I just kept having episodes of collapse. It’s important to say it wasn’t life-threatening. It was a quality of life issue. To carry on like that wasn’t feasible,” she added, …

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More than 19,000 visitors to lighthouse

By Peter O’Connell FIGURES released on Tuesday show more than 19,000 people (14,101 adults, 5,082 children) visited Loop Head Lighthouse during the six-month opening period up to Sunday, September 29. Clare County Council, which manages the facility in conjunction with the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), said preliminary estimates indicate 75% of the total visitor figure was represented by domestic visitors, of which approximately 55% were holidaymakers and 30% were day trippers. Local visitors accounted for the remainder. Overseas visitors made up 25% of the total figure. The lighthouse was opened on a weekend basis from St Patrick’s weekend until mid-May, after which it was opened daily until the end of September. Opening hours were extended by two hours to 7.30pm during late July and August to accommodate the surge in visitor numbers to the West Clare landmark this summer. The visitor figures represent a jump of 2,000 on the same period in 2012. Last year’s figures showed that 17,423 …

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Business Profile: Bourke weathering another recession

INCREDIBLE though it might seem, when it emerged that Cypriots were having their bank accounts raided as part of the island’s bailout, it led to an increase in business for those selling clothes in small towns on the far side of Europe. Patrick Bourke found that people, particularly older people, were inclined to turn part of their savings into something tangible, lest Ireland’s dysfunctional banks be next in the firing line. “It helped us. People were afraid their money would be lost so they decided to spend their money instead of losing it. You’d notice it with older people rather than younger people, because younger people hadn’t the money sitting there.” He operates men’s clothes shops in both Kilrush and Ennis and is the third generation of his family in the business. “It started in 1928, we’re 85 years in business this year in our shop in Kilrush. My grandfather started it in 1928, my father took it over in …

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Cappa man overcomes adversity to keep the dream alive

DRIFTING in and out of consciousness, John Cahill couldn’t let go of his dream. His bicycle lay mangled in a Killaloe ditch, an increasing crowd surrounded the Cappa man and the pain seared through his body. Still his scrambled thoughts zoned in on London. “I was lying on the road for about 20 minutes waiting for the ambulance to come,” the An Post employee recalled on Wednesday more than a year after his accident at a triathlon in Killaloe. “The first thing I did was move my fingers and toes. Once I could do that I knew then that one day I’d get back on the bike. Even when I was lying there the first thing that went through my head was London and would I be able to make it.” John is just back from the World Triathlon Championships in London, so yes, he definitely made it. Along with David Brew, also from Cappa, John represented the West Clare …

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Life at the Poles

THE wilds of the Antarctic and Arctic will be all too real for an audience in Glór in Ennis on Thursday, as wildlife film maker and photographer Doug Allan invites them to join him in an exploration of his life in these Polar opposites. Speaking to The Clare Champion, Doug explains Clare is his first stop on a whirlwind 10-date tour of Ireland and he is looking forward to sharing his experiences. “I began as a marine biologist and I worked a bit as a scientist but more as an assistant diver – this was way back in the early ’70s, and then I got this fantastic job in the Antarctic working as a diver. Between 1976 and 1986, I had spent a lot of time in the Antarctic; at one stage up to two and a half years without coming back. Really it was in that time that I gained a lot of experience about snow, ice and cold …

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Michael in no rush to hang up his golf clubs

ALTHOUGH he has lived and worked in Nottingham since 1966, the love of golf Michael Rush picked up in his native Lahinch has had a profound effect on his life. Now almost 72, Michael or ‘Smiley’, which he says he is better known as, was the centre of attention at Lahinch Golf Club earlier this month when the exploits of the 1963 All-Ireland Junior Cup winning team were recalled at a golden anniversary celebration. Lahinch Golf Club won the same competition in 1961 but according to Michael, the cupboard has been bare since. “I wasn’t even in Clare in 1961, I was in London. My brother, Tommy, was part of the 1961 squad. He was a radio officer and he won a vital game but he had to go back to sea and he missed the last two rounds. When we had won it twice, you think, ‘this is easy enough’. You could think different now. Lahinch hasn’t won any …

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Cappa man getting used to new life at UCD

MARK Glynn is acclimatising to life at UCD having traded Kilrush Community School for the prestigious third level campus. The 18-year-old Cappa man achieved stunning results in the leaving certificate, emerging with eight A1s and one A2. Mark, who has two sisters and a brother, was one of just nine students nation-wide to achieve similar results. Utilising his mathematical prowess to tot up his points tally, he realised that it sat at a maximum 625. Not surprisingly he sailed into medicine, his first-choice course. “I wasn’t expecting to get those results at all although I needed those points to get medicine,” the self deprecating student told The Clare Champion last week. Mark probably sensed that something was up when it was suggested that he stay around for a bit, on the day the leaving certificate results were distributed. “I went into the school at about 9.30am. They handed me the envelope. I was just told to wait back for a …

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