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Quin equestrian company moves horse sales on-line

NECESSITY is said to be the mother of invention, and that’s certainly true during the Covid-19 crisis. With severe restrictions on movement hitting the sale of thorough-bred horses, Quin equestrian specialist Johnny Hassett has responded by moving his business on-line. The Bloodstock Connection, at Ballyhannon House, specialises in producing what are called ‘breeze up’ horses. These are generally two-year-olds, who are galloped or ‘breezed’ along a track where prospective buyers can assess them before inspecting them at the sales arena. Taking the business into the virtual world was very much a “make or break” response to the coronavirus outbreak. “We made the decision around seven weeks ago,” Mr Hassett said. “It has gone well in that we’ve sold some horses, but the really big benefit has been to raise our profile and keep our names out there. As a breeze up company, we had doubled up on horses, twice as many horses and upped the calibre significantly and the spend, …

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Feakle man’s ‘Covid cut’ head shave to raise funds for The Mater

AS hair salons and barber shops remain closed until July 20, some people have been going to extreme lengths while others have opted for a so-called ‘Covid cut’ – and choosing to do some fund-raising in the process. Among them is Feakle native Trevor Collins who will have his head saved live on Facebook on Friday night, to raise funds for The Mater Foundation. The organisation is very close to the hearts of Trevor and his family, as his dad Michael had a life-saving lung transplant at the hospital in 2017 and is currently receiving treatment there after contracting a rare form of meningitis. “We will be forever in their debt,” said Trevor. “There’s a doctor there for everything and when dad took ill first, we were nearly looking at palliative care for dad, but for the fact that we did our own research and got him treated at the Mater.” Almost a decade ago, Michael was diagnosed with pulmonary …

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East Clare inspiration for ‘Normal People’ actor Frank Blake

FOR a young actor, being in lock-down while some of your highest-profile work graces screens around the world, must be something of an anti-climax. For Frank Blake, the enforced isolation in his native Tuamgraney, during the height of the buzz around Normal People, is not without its advantages, however. Frank, who plays the complex character of Alan in the adaptation of the award-nominated novel by Sally Rooney, has been using the time to explore his own screen-writing abilities. Given that his great aunt, Edna O’Brien, is one of the country’s greatest living authors, it’s probably a safe bet that he has more than a little literary talent. Now based in Dublin, the actor has been clocking up significant screen and stage roles, including a part in Druid’s landmark production of Richard III. He returned to East Clare shortly before the lock-down was announced, and just as the BBC3’s Normal People, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, was set for a stratospheric launch. …

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Showing a little kindness at Cootes

AS is so often the case when campaigns of any sort begin, it was one single incident that led to the random act of kindness phenomenon that has unfolded in an Ennis shop. It is yet another example of how people have rallied around to help each cope with the restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Stephen Coote, owner of Cootes shop and bakery at Cahercalla Cross on the Kilrush Road, is amazed by the number of people that have been drawn to the notion of “strangers helping strangers” though their local store. Trade at Cootes has been badly affected by Covid-19, as there is no activity at the Éire Óg GAA grounds across the road and nearby St Flannan’s College is closed The random act of kindness idea began on Easter Saturday, April 11, when the Covid-19 regulations were being ratcheted up. Stephen said, “A woman who was out for a walk came into the shop …

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Members of the Carrigaholt Festival Committee; Annabel Mc Mahon, at front, with, back from left, Imelda Lynch of The Long Dock, , Christian Heta, Amigo's Caravan Park, Mark Carmody of Carmody's Bar and Mags Keane o Keane's Bar, who held a virtual online festival due to the cancellation of their main event because of the Corona Virus. Photograph by John Kelly

Carrigaholt hold ‘virtual’ Oyster and Trad Festival

THE community of Carrigaholt are hoping to secure the honour of hosting the very first ‘virtual’ festival, after Covid-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the 30th annual Oyster and Traditional Music Festival. Disappointment at the axing of the event, which was set to be all the more memorable to celebrate three decades, sparked a bright idea for Annabel McMahon who had been tasked with the PR and marketing. Annabel, who runs a digital marketing company in Carrigaholt, said the idea of going virtual quickly snowballed: “We were really so sad that nothing was happening when normally there would have been such a huge build-up to the festival,” she explained. “Last Friday, I contacted the organising team and asked them what they thought about creating a virtual festival on-line. They said, ‘why not?’ and so by 11am, I’d put the call out on Facebook to all of the performers who would normally be here to send their videos.” A outage of the …

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Tulla Teen in Barretstown ‘Virtual Hug’ Campaign

BEING locked down and having to work and learn at home are challenges for everyone at the moment, but for one young East Clare native, who is battling a brain tumour, these are part of normal life. Sixteen-year-old Labhaoise Fitzgerald has had brain surgery twice, as well as gruelling rounds of follow-up treatment. As well as cocooning and keeping up with her studies, Labhaoise is undergoing chemotherapy at her home in Tulla. She is also taking time out to raise funds for the Barretstown charity, which runs medically-supported holiday camps for sick children at its base in Kildare. Like all charities, Barretstown is facing a major shortfall in its funding and urging people to send a ‘virtual hug’ donating €2 in the process. Labhaoise was recently chosen as the Clare ambassador for the initiative and took part in a video with fellow ‘campers’ sending their virtual hugs to friends, family and frontline medical staff. “Barretstown picked a camper from every …

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Ennis fashion retailers rising to the challenges of Covid-19

THE personalised, customer-focused shopping experience that has become synonymous with the town of Ennis is still continuing despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The pandemic has resulted in retail closures throughout the county, with businesses increasingly focusing their efforts online in a bid to meet these new unprecedented challenges. The last few weeks have highlighted the importance of having an online shopping presence, according to Gwen Culligan of the County Boutique in Ennis. While Patrick Burke’s is set to launch a personal shopping service utilising popular apps so people can purchase while still maintaining social distancing. The County Boutique launched its website last year allowing people to buy the latest looks from the comfort of their own home. Gwen tells us they were “incredibly lucky” to already be online when the Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. “We’re selling every day at the moment. I had been spending some time over the last few months putting things on the site, but I’ve been …

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President pays tribute to health workers on May Day

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has singled out health care and all frontline workers for their dedication during the Coronavirus crisis in his May Day address. He also paid tribute to those who have died and the bereaved families. “Today, May Day, we honour and commemorate the important role of the organised labour movements across the globe. We recall to memory, and celebrate, the lives of workers who have marched, fought, and stood in solidarity with their colleagues, their fellow citizens, and with people all over the world, in struggles against injustice, inequality and exclusion. “Today’s SIPTU MayFest is different, by necessity, but recognising the role of workers and their unions is more important than ever. Both Sabina – who is patron of MayFest – and I take this opportunity to pay a particular tribute to all the frontline workers who have played their part for the greater good of all during the Covid-19 crisis. Today we remember those who have …

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