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Calendar coup for Belvoir snapper

A NIGHT-time scene of Bunratty Castle captured by Belvoir amateur photographer John Power is to feature as part of an original John Hinde calendar after he was selected as a runner-up in the 2009 photography awards recently. The Waterford native, who left the Déise for County Clare in the late 1960s, took up photography as a hobby some years back and since then has been viewing the landscape around him through the eyes of a camera. For the 2009 photography awards, the participants were asked to capture a photo that showed the beauty of Ireland’s villages, towns and cities and last week the winner and 11 runners-up were announced. John explained his selected shot was taken on a particularly wet evening after he was finishing eating in the Creamery in Bunratty when he noticed the way the light from the castle lit up the sky. “I’m a hobby photographer and I’m always on the look-out for something a bit …

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Search begins for Miss Clare

THE annual Miss Clare beauty pageant, in association with the Miss Ireland pageant, will be held in the Woodstock Hotel, Ennis, on Thursday, September 2.“This is one of the main events in the local social calendar and one of the most glamorous evenings in Clare,” said organiser, Orla Sexton.The pageant is open to girls aged between 17 and 23 with “pleasing personalities” but all entrants must be Clare residents.“We are looking for someone who will be themselves, someone with a good personality, someone who is outgoing and gets on well with everyone. Essentially, we are looking for a girl with a good personality and good looks. “During the afternoon of the event, the girls will be interviewed by the judges and then in the evening, they will be interviewed on stage and will do some modelling,” explained Orla.The judges of this year’s competition are Mr World, Kamal Ibrahim, Louise Brooks, Nigel Bridge, Marie Crowe and the current Miss Clare, Sinéad …

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Kilkee pharmacist retires after 40 years

FOR at least 15 of the 40 years that John Williams operated his pharmacy in Circular Road, Kilkee, he was flouting the law of the land. Issues of conscience didn’t trouble the recently retired chemist, although a few anonymous, hate-filled letters did drop through the family letter box.While condoms were not legally sold in Ireland without a prescription until 1985, John started selling them in Kilkee in the early 1970s. He even ran a weekly small advertisement in The Clare Champion for years promoting the fact. While working as a pharmacist in Limerick in the late-1960s and prior to moving home, John was a founding member of the Limerick Family Planning Clinic, along with the late TD, Jim Kemmy.“When I came back to Kilkee I felt that contraceptives were a right for everybody. Myself and a local doctor decided that we’d force the hand of the health board,” John remembers, ruminating on four decades dispensing medication in the town.“There was …

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Keeping the peace in the Congo

IRELAND’S first major overseas peacekeeping mission was to the Congo in 1960, a milestone in the State’s history and something that was marked with a commemorative ceremony late last month.There was a good sprinkling of Clare soldiers who travelled to the central African country, including Sixmilebridge man John O’Malley.In the 1950s there wasn’t a lot of opportunity in this country, so the chance of a steady job and of seeing something different led to him leaving the Banner county for the fierce heat of the Congo.He remembers the moment when he volunteered to serve abroad. “I was down in Ballybunion for exercises and stuff. The next thing we had a muster parade. That’s a thing where every man, woman and child comes in and is briefed on what’s going down. We were told there was a mission coming up to the Congo and they wanted volunteers. So I took a step forward. That was about it.”He had never been abroad …

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