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Colourful weekend in Lisdoonvarna

By Nicola Corless LISDOONVARNA was bedecked in livery as usual at the weekend for the opening of its annual matchmaking festival. This year, however, it was more colourful than usual. Rainbow flags are a symbol of diversity, are associated with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and for The Outing, the flags were flown high in the North Clare village. “One lovely thing was that the owner of another business in the town came running up here on Friday evening asking where he could get some of those colourful flags. Now the rainbow flag is flying over that premises too,” said Eddie McGuinness, one of the festival’s organisers. Television presenter Brendan Courtney attended the festival, returning to the village where he spent many a family holiday as a child. “Locals have been very welcoming. I pulled into Lisdoonvarna and saw the big rainbow flags everywhere and I said ‘oh we are welcome’. This is a very sophisticated part …

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Kevin rides out An Imperfect Storm

KEVIN Haugh, the West Clare-born author of An Imperfect Storm, is a cancer survivor. His book is compelling reading for anyone but particularly those who have had a cancer diagnosis or are close to someone who has suffered from cancer. Kevin’s book is not a medical text book, neither does it proclaim to be a self-help tome or an advisory text on “how to live with cancer”. It is an honest account of Kevin’s life before, during and after he was unexpectedly diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The book portrays the changes that diagnosis imposed on his family, brought to his home and inflicted on his relationships. Kevin was a man at war with cancer. It is this fighting spirit and his inherent will to defeat the disease that stand out most in the book. At his oncologist’s suggestion, he began to keep a diary to help him focus and that diary became his book. A retired principal of Galvone National …

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Golden celebrations for John and Mary

WHEN John and Mary Kelly married, it was a few months before the assassination of JFK and around the time of Beatlemania. They tied the knot in Luton on September 7, 1963 and their golden anniversary was celebrated in August, a little bit ahead of the exact date. The couple have seven children and Mary says the celebrations were moved ahead to make sure all the family were in Shannon for it. “The reason we had the anniversary then was that we have a son, Michael, who is working in Africa. He happened to be at home so we had it then. We wanted us all to be together.” Michael is actually based in the north but is in Africa as part of his job. However, the rest of their children are all relatively nearby. As well as their seven children, they have 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, who is a daily visitor, according to Mary. “The great grandchild would …

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Statue of Clare hurling manager under construction

MC Banner, the singer with MC Banner and the Killaloolas, whose popular song The Banner’s Back Again, is fast becoming a big hit with Clare fans, has taken his devotion to the Clare team and their manager to new levels. For the past two weeks, he has been working on a statue of Clare manager, Davy Fitzgerald. He will erect the statue on his front lawn in time for Sunday week’s All-Ireland Final. MC is a potter by trade and is fusing clay and concrete to create his lifesize Fitzgerald. “I think it’s going to look a lot like Davy but my wife doesn’t think so. She’s not mad about the idea at all at all but she understands my devotion to the Clare team. I checked with all the neighbours and they have no problem with it. One of them is knitting a jumper for it for the winter,” MC Banner revealed. MC will rig an MP3 player to …

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Mark Bowers pictured at his home in Killaloe.Pic Arthur Ellis.

Life after prostate cancer

MARK Bowers was shocked when consultant urological surgeon, Garrett Durkan looked him in the eye in the Mid-Western Radiation Oncology Centre, Limerick and confirmed he had prostate cancer. While no one is prepared for this devastating news, the fact that 17 months earlier an ultrasound test revealed a cyst was benign, made it an even more bitter pill for the 52-year-old to swallow. Looking back at that day last October, the Killaloe man felt it was akin to “an icy hand grabbing your heart and squeezing it”. Three previous Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests had shown elevated antigens but none of them were considered to be at a dangerous level. Right from the start of his diagnosis, he was assured all the way that he would be fine, as the cancer was detected in its early stages. His brother-in-law in Canada, who is in his early 70s, is dying from prostate cancer. Mark believes his brother-in-law, who ironically nursed people …

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Progressive pastor inspired by North Clare

INSPIRED by the works of John O’Donohue, American pastor Reverend Ed Bacon sat in a room overlooking the Burren and Galway Bay for a month in 2010 writing the first drafts of his book, 8 Habits of Love. Last week, he was leading a retreat in a hot and humid Mississippi but this week, he is having a retreat of his own and launching that book back on the rocky North Clare coast.

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