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Shoeboxes send much needed message of hope

WEST Clare mother Josipa Akinradewo knows only too well the joy that the Team Hope annual Christmas Shoebox Appeal can bring. As a young girl living in Croatia while her father fought in its War of Independence she was one of those to receive a precious gift from a stranger overseas. That experience stayed with her, and now preparing a shoebox for others has become an annual tradition she shares with her own children. This year because of Covid-19 the experience will be very different, with people being asked to build a ‘virtual box’ online to be given to children in need in Africa and Eastern Europe. However, this has not taken away the spirit of the initiative which has brightened the lives of so many, and Josipa is encouraging others to get involved. Josipa, her husband and two children have been living in Ireland for five years. A year after their arrival her son brought home a leaflet about …

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Theresa measures the success of new podcast

“YOU’LL laugh, but I’m actually an introvert,” says Theresa Roseingrave, Barefield ‘newbie’ entrepreneur, mother and the woman behind the podcast series ‘Ladies of Measure’. The eight part series features intimate and candid conversations with some of this country’s strongest, but often less ‘obvious’, female leaders. Explaining her vision for the popular podcast which is now in its second series, she tells us, “Through life, I’ve been fortunate to always work with, and be surrounded by, inspirational women. I wanted to share the stories of women like them and use their journeys to help inspire others. I’m not talking about celebrities – real women walking the path of life just like the rest of us. It’s so easy to look at each other and think “she’s got it all – she’s successful and has her act together”, but it isn’t always so, and it isn’t always a battle easily won. I look at Maria Walsh, MEP, who was so open about …

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East Clare prepares to mark centenary of Glenwood Ambush

AS EVENTS in the War of Independence are commemorated across the country, communities in East Clare are preparing to mark the 100th anniversary of the Glenwood Ambush in the New Year. On January 20, 1921 at about 4pm, a motorised patrol of ten armed Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Black and Tans, travelling from Sixmilebridge to Broadford, approached the back gate of Glenwood House. Waiting for them, concealed behind the walls of the Glenwood estate was a group of approximately 37 armed volunteers, from the East Clare Brigade of the IRA, led by Michael Brennan of Meelick. As the patrol passed by the gates, a fusillade of gunshots struck the patrol. Six RIC and Black and Tans were killed, two were injured and two escaped unhurt. One IRA volunteer was injured. The ambush party then withdrew through the forest and mountains to the East of Glenwood, towards the village of Oatfield. The surviving members of the patrol made their way …

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McKernans weave strands of success in Tuamgraney

SUCCESS came as something of a surprise to husband-and-wife team Anke and Eugene McKernan, who set up their woollen mills in Tuamgraney in the 1980s. “We really didn’t plan it,” Anke told The Champion. “We were originally weavers, but realised that it was the market for hand-crafted scarves that was really going best for us. In 1995 we replaced our handlooms with a 120-year-old cast iron shuttle loom, and in 2012 we purchased our first knitting machine. We just couldn’t have imagined how the business would grow.” Now, McKernan Woollen Mills, produces over 500 different product lines which combine the crafts of weaving and knitting in innovative designs, textures and styles. With 70% of the pre-Covid business coming for export channels – to countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, the US and Canada – the company has had to switch gears to some extent because of the pandemic, and put more of a focus on retail business in outlets including …

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Clare writer receives two nominations for Irish Book Awards

RELEASING her debut prose book ‘A Ghost in the Throat’ in the midst of a pandemic, Clare poet and author Doireann Ní Ghríofa admits she didn’t know what to expect. However, she had no need to worry, with the publication going on to receive critical acclaim, becoming a best seller and securing two nominations in the forthcoming Irish Book Awards. Doireann, who grew up in Kilnamona tells us, “It was due to be published in April but that was postponed until the summer. Everything was so strange with the coronavirus, and I was worried that after so many years of work, that my book would sink without trace and completely disappear – but I was wrong. “Readers took it into their hearts from the very start, and they kept it the Top 10 national bestsellers from when it was published in August all the way up to October, something I could never have dreamed of. I’ve been surprised and delighted …

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Flagmount woman’s poetry raises funds for IKA

A FLAGMOUNT woman is using her new-found literary talent to express her gratitude to an organisation to that supported her to donate a kidney to her husband. Reah Higgins and her husband Aaron underwent surgery in January 2017 so that the couple could share the gift of life. For a number of years up to that point, Aaron had been on gruelling dialysis to manage his chronic kidney disease. “I was a live donor in this instance and fortunately it was a success,” said Reah, “We were blessed to be a match and it was a miracle really and life changing, in that we could make plans again. We had been very restricted before with Aaron on dialysis three times a week and often ill or fatigued. He now has lots more energy, less hospital appointments and his spark back.” Together with their sons Fionn (12) and Stephen (10), the couple have been enjoying greater freedom until the pandemic hit …

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Composer inspires a new musical generation

MUSIC and its impact on mental health and well-being are the twin elements that concertina player, composer and producer Pádraig Rynne has been reflecting a lot on lately. As Development Officer with Music Generation Clare, his ‘day job’ takes him to educational settings the length and breadth of the county – mainly virtually – and he has seen first-hand the benefits for children and teens of creating, composing and performing. Music Generation is a national partnership programme whose mission is to create inspiring experiences for children and young people through music. In a county like Clare, where songs and tunes are part of the fabric of daily life, the organisation has been going from strength-to-strength over the last seven years. The pandemic has prompted it to move many of its core activities online, and, with other young peoples’ activities curtailed, it has been a creative lifeline for many. “When the lockdown hit last March, we were lucky to have so …

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Return to The Twelve

The other weekend I took the chance to slip away with my hoomans for another little break. It looks like we were just in time. Although Level 3 doesn’t mention dogs, I have a feeling I’ll be staying at home for the next few weeks. Saturday morning saw us heading for Galway city with a stop in Clarinbridge for a swift dogguccino. We had a little wander around the city but it was soon time to head off again and as I suspected, we were going to The Twelve, my Galway home from home. Now I hadn’t arranged this trip, the hoomans had and they’d have to pay for it too because my bone account has gone into boverdraft. I’m not worried though as I believe the Government are making PUP payments now. It’s been a while since I was a pup but I’m so cute I’m sure I’ll get away with it and it won’t be long before my …

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