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East Clare singers face ‘brutal’ Voice battle

Two East Clare singers are among those battling to survive what has been described as a “brutal format” in The Voice of Ireland competition this Sunday night on RTÉ 1. Kate Purcell and Sarah McTernan have made it through to the live knockout stage, with folk singer Purcell warning they face a “brutal format” in the next stage. With 36 acts whittled down to just 12, the judges now face the task of picking their favourites. Each coach pitch three contestants against each other but there is only space for one from each team to go through. Tulla’s Kate Purcell is part of Westlife star Kian Egan’s team. She performed a powerful rendition of Rihanna’s We Found Love to advance through from the blind auditions. She next sang Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn in the battle round. While the 48-year-old mother-of-two would love to qualify for the quarter-finals, she says she has already achieved her initial ambitions. “Performing live on stage in …

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Katie and Caitlin cook up a storm

Caitlin McInerney and Kate Hehir from the Inagh-Kilnamona Youth Club were among the big winners at the fourth annual Clare Youth Service Masterchef cook-off, held at St Flannan’s College in Ennis. The duo created a delicious golden chicken with braised greens and potato gratin. Along with their granny’s apple cake, the dish secured the judges’ approval as well as a range of culinary-related prizes from Clare Bar Supplies and the Ennis Bookshop. A feature of this year’s event was the return of previous winner, 20-year-old Amber Pierce as a judge. Since winning the 2012 competition as a 17-year-old, Bodyke’s Amber has gone on to pursue a professional career and is currently working in Dromoland Castle’s prestigious five-star kitchen. She commented, “I felt honoured to be asked back to judge this year’s competition and it  helped me reflect on how far I had come in my own career path since I was a participant. I hope this year’s entrants can see …

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Niamh McMahon reaches her target weight.

Niamh reaches her Weightwatcher target

Food Diary Tuesday March 17 Breakfast 8:00 One poached egg with a bagel and a tomato and one bacon medallion with a green tea. Mid morning 11:00 Weightwatchers yoghurt a mandarin and a coffee. Lunch 13:30 Home made vegetable soup with a slice of porridge bread and a pear with a pint of water. Dinner 17:30 Two baby potatoes with vegetables and a slice of turkey with a pint of water. Snack 20:00 Green tea. Wednesday March 18 Breakfast 7:15 Two crumpets with Weightwatchers jam and a green tea. Mid morning 12:00 A coffee and a Weightwatchers cookie. Lunch 14:00 A bowl of pepper and tomato soup with a slice of soda bread and a diet coke. Dinner 17:30 One potato with vegetables and a gammon steak with a pint of water. Snack 20:00 A green tea with a Weightwatchers bar. Thursday March 19 Breakfast 7:15 30g of porridge with skimmed milk and water and a green tea. Mid morning …

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Hotelier on the crest of Clíona’s wave

HIS was the plight of hospitality workers the world over, he was never free on weekends. Donal Minihane, manager of Hotel Doolin, always wanted to go to a writers’ festival but couldn’t get away to attend one. Undeterred, he decided the solution was to organise one in his own hotel. So not long after he set about writing his first novel, he set off to the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin to get some advice on starting the Doolin Writers’ Weekend. “The idea for the writers’ weekend came from the fact I always wanted to go to a writers’ festival but I work in a hotel, so I thought I will never be able to go to one unless I have one here. I approached the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin about the writers’ weekend and when I was there, I noticed a flyer about their Novel Fair and decided to enter that,” Donal outlined. He was one of the …

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Visiting Baha’i holy place

ENNIS man Alan Keane and his wife, Trish visited one of the Baha’i faith’s most sacred places at Mount Carmel in Israel recently. Alan served for a time in the Baha’i world centre in Haifa, in a voluntary capacity and was invited back for some consultancy work “It was really wonderful being there again and meeting up with people I hadn’t seen for years,” Alan said. “I very much enjoyed accompanying Alan on his trip,” said Trish. “It was so spiritually uplifting to be close to the Baha’i holy places, remembering all those who asked to be remembered and basking in the sacred atmosphere of the beautiful gardens,” Trish said. The world centre of the Baha’i faith is staffed primarily by volunteers from all over the world.

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‘Champion opens a window into family life

AN intriguing project, based on information gleaned from the pages of The Clare Champion, will look at life and death in County Clare in the early part of the 20th century. The Biographical Index of The Clare Champion 1903-1934 project is a collaboration between the Clare Roots Society and Clare County Library. Clare Roots Society is looking for volunteers to assist in the collection and recording of biographical notices published in The Champion for the years 1903 to 1934. This information will create a searchable index to be made available on the Clare Library website for public access when completed. A similar project was undertaken some years ago for Clare Champion issues published for years 1935 to 1985 and the index is available online. The project will complete the index for all Clare Champion publication years, 1903-1985. The editions of the newspaper can be on microfilm spool, microfiche and hardcopy, located in the Local Studies Centre, Ennis, where the review …

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FG MEPs seek Yes vote in marriage referendum

Fine Gael MEPs are calling for a Yes vote in the upcoming Marriage Referendum. On May 22, Ireland will become the first country in the world to put same-sex marriage to a popular vote. Speaking from the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness (Midlands North West), Brian Hayes (Dublin), Deirdre Clune and Seán Kelly (Ireland South) encouraged voters to stand with the 10 other EU countries that have extended equal rights to same-sex couples to marry. They reiterated Ireland’s strong record when it comes to defending human rights and promoting equal opportunities for all citizens, including the LGBTI community. The European Parliament has made extraordinary progress in the advancements of anti-discriminatory laws for LGBTI citizens across Europe, they said. Ten EU Countries have already extended equal rights to their LGBTI citizens to marry: Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the UK (excluding Northern Ireland), Slovenia and Sweden.

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A broad welcome for new tourism policy

The Government’s new tourism policy launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Paschal Donohoe has received a broad welcome in Clare and the Mid-West. The tourism industry as a whole accounts for 4% of gross national product (GNP) and now supports almost 205,000 jobs – equivalent to 11% of total employment in the country, some 54,000 of which are in the hotels sector. Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, chair of the Shannon branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), acknowledged the important support provided by the Government in ensuring tourism remains at the heart of Ireland’s economic policy and in recognising the valuable role played by tourism in growing the Irish economy and generating increased employment. Ms Fitzgerald Kane stated that hoteliers in Clare look forward to working with the Government to achieve the targets set out in the tourism strategy, including plans to grow overseas visitors to 10 million per annum by 2025. This would increase annual revenues from overseas visitors …

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