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Dublin’s great street entertainer

AROUND the month of March each year we often hear that St Patrick might have been from Wales or England and that his father was a Roman official.What about the poem which tells us that:- St Patrick was a gentleman, he came of decent people,In Dublin town he built a Church and upon’t put a steeple;His father was a Callaghan, his mother was a Brady,His aunt was an O’Shaughnessy and his uncle was a Grady.Similarly, while wholesale drunkenness on St Patrick’s Day is to be deplored maybe we should remember,No wonder that our Irish boys should be so free and frisky,For, St Patrick taught them first the joys of tippling the whiskey:No wonder that the saint himself to taste it should be willing,For his mother kept a shebeen shop in the town of Enniskillen.Some people will tell us that St Patrick never came to County Clare but the same poem says, when talking about him banishing the snakes :-Nine hundred …

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Learning to live with diabetes

John McLaughlin was shocked to be diagnosed with diabetes in September 2006. He was 58 at the time and didn’t fit the typical profile for most type 2 diabetes patients.Most of the people he knew with diabetes were overweight, smoked, drank, were physically unfit, did everything wrong and didn’t participate in regular physical exercise. However, he didn’t fit into this category.Having played senior hurling for Wolfe Tones and Sixmilebridge for a number of years, McLaughlin from Manusmore, Clarecastle, remained active playing various different sports, particularly tennis on a very regular basis.The previous August was very warm and he found himself drinking more and more. After a tennis tournament in Ennis, he realised he was drinking fluids like a fish. Fanta, milk, water and “gallons” of tea at home. None of them seemed to quench his thirst.Forced to go to the toilet three or four times a night, his sleep was also disrupted. Instinctively, he knew there was something wrong so …

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Pakie reflects on 60 years as an emigrant

AT about 1pm last Sunday Pakie Kearney stepped off the train at Ruislip tube station. You couldn’t miss him. The 82-year-old Ennistymon man, who emigrated to the UK on October 1, 1949, was wearing a round tweed cap, a Clare jersey and a tweed coat. Pakie was on his way to Ruislip, where the Clare senior footballers were due to play London, having left his home in Canvey Island, Essex, at 10am that morning. Originally from Church Hill in Ennistymon, Pakie even remembers the name of the emigrant boat that took him to England more than 62 years ago. “I arrived in Liverpool. The name of the boat was the Princess Maud. They reckoned the cattle were down below but we never saw them. I came over with a friend of mine. God rest him, he’s passed away now. I came to a place called Peterborough. I worked there for the London Brick Company,” Pakie recalled. Then aged 20, he …

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A history of divide in athletics

THE history of athletics in Ireland is one of splits and divisions. The forthcoming Olympic Games in London will inevitably lead to recollections of the 1948 Games when some Irish athletes competed and some were not allowed. It is easy to be wise in hindsight but looking back 60 years, we might wonder why any association would send competitors to the Olympics knowing full well that they would not be allowed compete. Similar scenes occurred in Melbourne in 1956. Undoubtedly, organised athletic events in the 1870s was very much of the establishment and they did not cater for the ordinary people of the country. When the GAA was set up, it was involved in the organisation of athletics. Patrick Nally, who greatly influenced Cusack and Maurice Davin, the first president of the GAA were both noted athletes and Davin was considered one of the best in the world. These GAA athletic meetings were a huge success but it was yet …

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Taking to the catwalk to celebrate weight-loss success

THREE Clare women, who have lost about 200lb between them, are among those gracing the catwalk at a special fashion show this Friday night.Ella Rose Thickett, Hilda Cusack and Emily Mafiet, along with Gerard Murphy and Sheila Hogan, will be styled by show co-ordinator Tess Purcell before taking to the ramp for the show, in which all of the models are current WeightWatchers members.Forty-five-year-old Shannon resident Emily Mafiet is a real WeightWatchers success story, having lost close to 7st since joining in 2009. Emily, originally from South Africa, has lived in Shannon for the past five years. She suffered at the time from depression and found the transition difficult. She struggled to make friends.“I was not a people person. I was very depressed with myself and with everything. I was comfort eating all the time,” Emily remembers.“I wasn’t making friends but there was one woman, also from South Africa, who was friends with me. I met her and she saw …

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