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Lock-down boost for Clare Wildlife

NATURE has felt the benefits of decreased human activity during the lock-down, according to experts in Clare, who feel that staying close to home has also given people an opportunity to develop a greater appreciation for local wildlife. “Over the last while, people have become much more aware birdsong in particular,” noted Tom Lynch, Secretary of the Clare branch of Bird Watch Ireland. “It’s not the numbers of birds has increased, it’s just the quietness has made their song much clearer. Chicks have a better chance of survival too and it’s easier for birds to forage.” The drop-off in human activity and regulations confining people to their immediate localities have also lead to a spike in interest in bird-watching, Tom added. “All of our group and formal activities are curtailed, but people are definitely reconnecting with nature and things they were aware of in their youth. We’ve had calls about people hearing cuckoos in mid-April. A bit of a novelty …

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Young people urged to share a day in their life for writing competition

CLARE’S young people are being urged to show they have the write stuff by getting involved in a new county-wide competition. Clare County Library have launched a creative writing competition for children and teenagers. “With schools currently closed and students working remotely on assignments set by teachers Clare County Library would like to offer a different type of exercise to children and teenagers aged between 7 and 15 who like to write stories,” explained a spokesperson. To enter, all you have to do is write a story up to 700 words based on ‘County Clare 2020: A Day in My Life’. Entries must be in before 12 noon on May 12. All entrants are asked to type their name and age at the end of their story and email their entry to library_mailbox@clarecoco.ie When sending entries include the words Creative Writing Competition as the email subject. The shortlisted and winning entries will be posted on www.clarelibrary.ie on June 3 and …

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Rescue services advise against water activities

In advance of the May bank holiday weekend the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI are appealing to the public not to take part in any water-based activity on or in the sea, while the Covid-19 restrictions are in place. Both organisations are concerned that as the restrictions continue, people may become complacent and be tempted to take to the water or proceed to coastal areas for recreation. However, it is crucial to continue to minimise the risk to Search and Rescue, volunteer crews, helicopter crew and other front-line emergency services, from being unintentionally exposed to Covid-19. RNLI and Coast Guard Search and Rescue services continue to be fully operational and on call 24/7. As the current COVID-19 restrictions continue to apply it is appreciated that people will want to get out for a break and take to the water if they are living or exercising near the coast or inland waters. However, both organisations are urging everyone to follow Government …

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Shining a light on mental health during Coronavirus crisis

IN response to COVID-19, Shine has put measures in place to ensure continued vital support is available to people experiencing mental health difficulties and their family members. A national organisation, Shine is dedicated to upholding the rights and addressing the needs of all those affected by mental ill health, through the promotion and provision of high-quality services and working to ensure the continual enhancement of the quality of life of the people it serves. Ann Marie Flanagan, Shine’s Mid-West regional development officer, said, “As our name suggests, we shine a light for people who are in crisis and we know our work is more important than ever at this time. Our service is available to anyone who has mental health difficulties, as well as their families. For the period of the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to comply with Government guidelines about distancing and travel, we have moved our group and individual supports and education to phone, email and social media. …

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Caring continues under Covid-19 pressures

CARERS impacted by Covid-19 restrictions are struggling with a lack of respite and home support visits, but keeping their spirits up through check-in phone calls, virtual quizzes and even Zoom bingo. While home care continues to be provided, many carers have chosen to cocoon alongside their loved ones, and paused their services voluntarily. The restrictions have also placed a big burden on charities providing support to family carers, as they have meant key fund-raising activities have been curtailed. “We are still 100% open and taking new cases, but our home visits are limited,” explained Margaret Naughton, from Ennis, who works with Jack and Jill, a home nursing care service for children. “At this stage, the only visits we make would be for end-of-life and palliative care.” The Specialist Children’s Liaison Nurse works with 30 families across Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary, and said her daily contact are, for the most part, made by phone. “They’re not always easy calls, and …

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David leads ‘Champion online exercises

A CLARE hurler is the latest person to come on board to help the nation keep fit and well when confined to home due to the Coronavirus pandemic. David Reidy, the sports and marketing officer at Limerick Institute of Technology, has developed an online exercise programme. Starting next week, he will present recorded videos of 20 to 30 minutes, which will be posted on The Clare Champion and LIT social media forums at lunchtime on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Starting on Monday and running over three weeks, the Éire Óg hurler will present a total of nine training routines, which will suit people of all level of fitness and ages. “I’m looking forward to this challenge. People who are stuck in their home during this crisis need to keep their mind and body active. I’m showing them through The Clare Champion and LIT social media how they can do this without having any kind of gym equipment. If they have …

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Silent commemoration for Canada Cross attack victims

SILENT and sombre were the centenary commemoration of one of the bloodiest attacks on a Clare community during the War of Independence. Unfortunately, due to the Covid 19 crisis, plans for the Canada Cross, Miltown Malbay commemoration, as part of Clare’s Decade of Centenaries, scheduled for Saturday, April 18, were put on hold. The community was to honour Patrick Hennessy, John O’Loughlin and Thomas O’Leary, who lost their lives at Canada Cross on April 14, 1920. Instead, the victims were remembered in the hearts and prayers of their descendants and the wider community in their homes. Reflecting on the attack at the time, Dr Michael Fogarty, Bishop of Killaloe, said, “My poor people they have made a Calvary of your little square, but what was meant for a massacre has become a consecration.” The families of the dead and wounded in the attack, the Mid Clare Brigade Commemoration Committee and St Joseph’s GAA Club had organised a programme that will …

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Love still blooming in a time of lock-down

LOVE in a time of lock-down is still continuing to flourish, with many prospective couples using old-fashioned methods to get acquainted, according to match-maker Willie Daly. The Lisdoonvarna love guru told The Champion that the extraordinary times we are living through have seen a surge in the number of people putting romance to the top of their post lock-down priority lists. “Certainly, the restrictions are making life difficult. So many people have lost their jobs and the lack of social opportunities is making people very lonely,” he said. “It’s very hard on people living alone in small apartments at this time. In the last two to three weeks, I’ve had a definite increase in the number of people coming forward to ask for help in finding a partner and there’s a greater urgency too in their calls and letters.” Mr Daly, who claims credit for around 3,000 marriages over his half-a-century of match-making, said the unprecedented change in people’s lifestyles …

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