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End of an era for Larkin’s of Miltown Malbay

THE doors of Larkin’s newsagents in Miltown Malbay closed its doors for the last time at the weekend, marking the end of an era. After 22 years serving the local community Michael Larkin describes the final days at the store as “very emotional” as customers dropped in to wish him well. The Kilkee native and his late wife Anne took over the shop from the Hurley family back in 1999, a few years after the couple had returned to Clare after living in New York. “We came back from the States in 1995 and we had a bar for four years, The Lark’s Nest. We decided we had enough, I was in the bar game in New York and if I was going to make money from it I would have there. We took over from the Hurleys in 1999, we bought the shop because it was a little goldmine. There were no supermarkets around at that time and Hurley’s …

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Clare scientist has skin in the ethical game

Clonlara woman is combining her scientific training and sustainable ethos to effect change in business of skincare IT IS often said that the global beauty industry can have an ugly side. Heavily reliant on plastic packaging, the sector produces up to 120 billion units every year. And that’s before you get to the advertising hype, airbrushed images and increasing pressure to chase after perfection and eternal youth. One woman, who is determined to tackle some of those issues is Dr Ruth Kelly from Clonlara. The former environmental scientist is a pioneer in the emerging area of ethical beauty. It’s something that she believes passionately in, as do an increasing number of consumers. Ethically produced beauty products have become increasingly attractive, as they are more sustainable and can offer real skin benefits, as opposed to empty promises. “Women are under constant pressure to look ten years younger and really, that’s just rubbish,” – Dr Ruth Kelly. “We should look at time …

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Liscannor’s Aoife shows her strengths with new release

LISCANNOR songwriter Aoife Doyle will release Strength To Be Strong, the first single from her upcoming album, this Friday. The song is a groovy, soulful mix of gospel, jazz and roots, with stomping brass arrangements. “Strength To Be Strong is about having to dig deep to find the strength to stay strong in the face of ongoing adversity. To release this song as the first single off the album felt like an appropriate choice, given the world events of the last 18 months, she explains. Aoife, originally from Bray, County Wicklow, has been living in Liscannor since 2014. She grew up in a house steeped in traditional and folk music, and completed a BA in jazz performance at the prestigious Newpark Music Centre, and an MA in Songwriting at the World Academy of Music and Dance in UL in 2018/2019. 
She cites a wide and varied range of musical influences including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Alison Krauss …

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Travel restrictions led to open water swimming boom in Killaloe

OPEN water swimming is becoming a very popular pursuit in Two Mile Gate, Killaloe, following travel restrictions imposed to curb Covid-19 over the past year. This is graphically illustrated by the huge interest and participation in swimming lessons, which started on Wednesday evenings in Ballycuggeran in July. With the demand for swimming lessons already outstripping supply, Swim Ireland are considering extending them for four weeks in September, subject to weather conditions. Swim Ireland coach, Donnacha McGeever, Ballina, believes travel restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic encouraged people to avail of more recreational activities on their doorstep. “I wasn’t doing any open water swimming for the last few years. When Covid-19 came, it was the only social and activity outlet I had to get out into the real world during the winter. “There has been a massive uptake in swimming during the pandemic. I think Covid-19 kept us local and taught us we can enjoy the open water with a wet …

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The Irish Diaspora: Tales of Emigration, Exile and Imperialism

In his new book, The Irish Diaspora, Turtle Bunbury explores the lives of men and women whose pioneering journeys beyond the Irish shore played a profound role in world history. Here, he shines a spotlight on figures from County Clare. COUNTY Clare contributes some of the earliest stories to ‘The Irish Diaspora’ through the story of St Donat (Donagh), also known as Donatus of Fiesole, who is said to have both studied and taught at the monastic island school of Inis Cealtra in Lough Derg. “Donat and St Andrew Scotus, a fellow Irishman, were returning from a pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles in Rome,” writes Bunbury. “They called into Fiesole, a town north of Florence, where the citizens were just preparing to elect a new bishop. As Donat entered the cathedral, all the bells began ringing and the lamps and candles burst into light. The congregation, not unreasonably, deduced that the intrepid Irishman should become their bishop. Given …

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On the Wild Atlantic Way at Brigid's Garden

Wild Atlantic Tour

The Twelve Hotel is a perennial favourite of ours to stay for a few nights, not least because it’s completely dog friendly so Daisy can come with us to enjoy the holiday. Of course with all the lockdowns over the last year, it’s been some time since our last visit so we were delighted to get a booking just after they reopened to residents in early June. There are a limited number of dog-friendly rooms so it’s advisable to reserve in advance. Daisy, in particular, was greeted like an old friend and when we arrived in our room there was a surprise awaiting us in the form of a bottle of bubbly. It came courtesy of my cousin Martine. She was passing through Galway earlier that week and we advised her to stop at The Twelve. She was so impressed with the food – and the cocktails – that she left the bottle as a little thank you. We had …

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Whatever your interest Further Education and Training offers a pathway

Sometimes, finding the best in you takes a bit of exploration. Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board offers hundreds of full-time and part-time Further Education and Training learning pathways at over 300 locations in Limerick and Clare. Further Education and Training helps you get real skills for employment. We deliver courses to over 25,000 learners in Limerick and Clare every year. These learning pathways are for you if you want to enhance your opportunity for employment, up-skill while in employment, help you progress to further studies or develop a new skill. From Apprenticeship and Traineeship to full and part-time FET courses, your pathway to employment, career progression, and life-skills begins with us. Our range of full-time courses includes Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC), Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS), Hospitality Education and Training, Specific Skills Training, and Youth Education and Training. Our part-time delivery includes Core Skills (language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy), Vocational and Employee Skills Development, and Outdoor Education and …

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Ennis woman’s 32-peak trek for Pieta

ENNIS native Ashling Kelly has almost completed a 32-peak challenge, in which she climbs the highest peak of each county on the island of Ireland, to raise funds for Pieta House. Ashling spent much of her time in preparation for this impressive feat keeping fit and plotting the routes she was going to take, as some of the peaks she conquered were in clusters that she could complete over the course of a few days. The challenge also required Ashling to camp out near the peaks, something that added a new and exciting element to the feat altogether. Now with only three peaks left to climb, Ashling has raised over €2700 online at the donation website JustGiving and she can be supported here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ashling-kelly1 This challenge was something Ashling had always wished to complete, and she was inspired to do so during lockdown and give the proceeds to Pieta House due to the mental pressures of quarantine.   By Conor …

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