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A self-sufficient life for Susanna

SUSANNA Anker is unwilling to develop an emotional link with her hens. Definitely not the ones that end their days on a plate in her family home in Cahermurphy, Kilmihil. Susanna’s self-sufficiency doesn’t stop at rearing and then plucking her fowl, though. She turns and foots her own turf, keeps bees, grows vegetables, spins the wool from her sheep and keeps the odd pig, who goes down the same route as the hens.Years ago, rearing, killing and plucking hens, geese and ducks was all the rage in West Clare. Not so much now, although that’s something that Susanna is definitely redressing.“You just have to be in that frame of mind,” she says, reflecting on what happens when the hens’ heads roll.“If you know that you’re going to eat them, they’re not going to be pets. I don’t give them a name. Otherwise you wouldn’t have the heart to kill them. When their time is up, you have to be able …

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Fight for freedom in Cratloe

NINETY-one-years ago, County Clare was a drastically different place. The War of Independence was entering its most intense phase. Black and Tans and British soldiers patrolled the streets of Ennis. Raids, searches and shootings were a feature of everyday life.In January 1921, the British Government declared martial law throughout Clare. The numbers of British Army soldiers and of the British police force, the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), in the county were also greatly increased.Fairs, markets, GAA matches and all public meetings were prohibited. Drinking hours in the county’s pubs were restricted and the use of cameras in public was banned. Travel through the county was restricted. Motorcars were frequently stopped and searched and an RIC permit was needed to travel from one police sub-district to another.Political meetings were banned and all printed matter was censored. The British even halted publication of The Clare Champion for a time.In defiance of the imposition of martial law, members of the East Clare Brigade …

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A new year, a new you

A NEW year generally means a new start. So let us make this a new year and a new you. Registered dietician, Orla Walsh has 10 tips to help keep us healthy in 2012 and beyond. 1. Drink up: Water is vital for life. The body relies on it to run, in the same way your car relies on petrol. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Also, quite often people confuse thirst for hunger, which can lead to weight gain. So aim to drink around two litres of water each day.2. Don’t skip breakfast: Studies show that people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. It kick-starts your metabolism and prevents you from snacking on high calorie snacks throughout the day. Plus, the steady energy released from a healthy breakfast will keep you thinking at your best all morning.If you find morning time to be very hectic, prepare something the night before. Or if you don’t …

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Time to shed the Christmas gains

NEWLY published research shows that 24% of Munster people, including those in Clare, tend to gain 3lbs or 1.5kg over the Christmas period and a further 24% tend to gain 2lbs or 1kg. If not addressed, weight gains could have a significant impact on the health of the nation, at a time when obesity figures are steadily increasing worldwide.The research, carried out on behalf of Aviva Health Insurance, has shown the impact of Christmas eating and exercise habits, highlighting the need and importance of proactive health management.Almost half (47%) of Munster people eat one and a half times more over the Christmas holidays, while a further 24% eat twice as much as they normally would during the rest of the year, according to the research. The primary cause for this behaviour was identified as eating larger dinner portions than usual (55%), while chocolate came in a close second, with 60% of people saying they overeat the sweet treat.The Aviva Get …

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The career of Sean McBride

During the Presidential Election much was made of the reputed activities of one of the candidates over the past 40 years. Those asking questions were sometimes told to learn their history and names such like Richard Mulcahy and Frank Aiken were trotted out. These men undoubtedly were militarily active but it was pre-1923. After the end of the Civil War and the foundation of Fianna Fáil, only one senior member of the IRA made the move from subversive activity to politics in this state – Sean McBride who became Chief of Staff in 1936.McBride, son of Maud Gonne and Major John McBride, was born in Paris in 1904. His father was a veteran of the Boer War and was executed after the Easter Rising, while his mother took the anti-treaty side in the Civil War. McBride received his early education in Wexford, was active in the War of Independence, opposed the treaty and was interned. On his release he worked …

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Beating the January blues

The third Monday in January, which falls next week, has become known as “Blue Monday,” or the most depressing day of the year. This is due to a combination of poor weather, the post-Christmas blues and mounting debt. Whether or not this is the most depressing day of the year, January can be one of the months most associated with a low mood and the disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms of SAD may consist of difficulty sleeping or difficulty waking up in the morning, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, irritability and withdrawal from friends, family and social activities, all of which can lead to depression and a feeling of hopelessness. Dr Abbie Lane, a consultant psychiatrist from the stress clinic based at St John of God Hospital, a leading provider of mental health services and treatments in Ireland, offers some advice on dealing with the disorder. “If you experience some of the symptoms of SAD, …

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