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‘Champion brings a warm glow to ‘Frozen’ windows

THE retail community in Ennis have created a series of magical, sparkling windows allowing the public to dip into the world of Christmas fantasy. Their imagination was inspired this year by the theme of The Clare Champion’s annual window display competition, Frozen in Ennis. This is the 11th year of the competition and entrants were invited to, once again, give free rein to their creative sides and they certainly Let it Go. The wide interpretation of Frozen in Ennis, inspired by the 2013 Walt Disney film, the highest grossing animation movie of all time, was reflected in the glittering shop fronts all around the town. Since its release last year, Frozen has become a firm favourite with children of all ages. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, it tells the story of a fearless princess who sets off on an epic journey along with a rugged iceman, his loyal pet reindeer and a naive snowman, in …

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HSE under fire over €2,500 Christmas tree

THE HSE has come under fire for its decision to spend in the region of €2,500 on the Christmas tree outside the acute hospital in Dooradoyle, Limerick. Councillor Ann Norton highlighted a claim that €2,500 was spent purchasing a massive Christmas tree for University Hospital (UHL). Describing the expenditure as a “waste of money”, Councillor Norton claimed it should be possible to purchase a good Christmas tree for €200. She stated that this money could be put to much better use in hiring nurses to try and reduce the long waiting times for people on trolleys in UHL. While acknowledging that it is important to create Christmas spirit, she said patients would prefer to see a smaller Christmas tree but better care, when they had to attend the emergency department. “I am not against the principle of putting up a Christmas tree but it is important that the HSE gets its priorities right. Which is more important, spending money on …

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Marking International Migrants Day

On International Migrants Day (today), the Government has been asked to give undocumented migrants the chance to regularise their status. The appeal has come from Barnardos and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), as a group of undocumented parents and children meet outside the Dáil to mark International Migrants Day 2014 and to call on the Irish government to give hope to the undocumented migrants, including thousands of children, who have made Ireland home. Mostofa, who lives undocumented in Ireland with his 4-year-old son, said, “I work here, I contribute, but because I am undocumented I am afraid all the time. This is the only home my son has ever known. How can I tell him he has no future here? Thanks to President Obama, the undocumented Irish in America have hope this Christmas. I hope the Taoiseach will soon give hope to the undocumented in Ireland.” New research estimates there are up to 5,100 undocumented children in Ireland. These children …

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Nellie Galvin, third nurse from the left, on the day she was presented with her Military Medal by General Plumer in France in 1918.

A Champion nurse of the Great War

Growing up, I was always distantly aware of Nellie Galvin’s war record. My father’s Aunt, she served as a nurse in France during World War One and was awarded a medal for bravery. After completing her nursing career, she ran The Clare Champion for many years until her death in 1967. Beyond that, I had little information about her. I’m told she never talked about her wartime experiences and was famously reluctant to even have her picture taken. I didn’t know if we even still had the medal until a couple of years ago, when on a visit to my aunt Maura, she showed me a couple of medals in a drawer. She knew nothing of their story, beyond the fact that the medals had belonged to Nellie and her brother, Michael, who also served in the war as a chaplain. Although she was in great spirits that day, within a fortnight, a sudden heart attack took Maura from us …

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Never Forgotten at Christmas

Special occasions can be very difficult for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, but there are things that the bereaved can do to make things a little easier, the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has advised as Christmas Day draws near. People who are bereaved should plan ahead and keep things simple, as a way of coping with their loss this Christmas, according to Dr Susan Delaney, clinical psychologist and bereavement services manager at the IHF. A recent IHF survey on attitudes to death and dying in Ireland revealed that 53% of the adult population suffered bereavement in the last two years – that is more than one and a half a million people who will be missing a family member or friend this festive season. “There is something about Christmas that intensifies all our emotions. The hype begins in October and builds up in the weeks before Christmas, often making make it a very difficult time …

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Following the heritage trail at Loop Head

AT last week’s launch of the Loop Head Heritage Trail, Trea Heapes and Frances Bermingham unveiled details of their heritage audit of the three parishes that primarily make up the Loop Head Peninsula. Working in conjunction with the Heritage Council, they have come up with an 872-item inventory for the parishes of Kilkee, Carrigaholt and Kilballyowen. This audit was separate but complements the Loop Head Heritage Trail, which includes 18 attractions on the peninsula. Both will be used to help tourists experience Loop Head in some detail. “It’s an inventory of all items of heritage on the Loop Head Peninsula. You’re talking about nearly 90 townlands. In some townlands there isn’t even a house in it. That’s from Baltard, west of Doonbeg, down through Tullaher Bog, to Poulnasherry Bay and then west to Loop Head. There was mainly three parishes in the audit – Carrigaholt, Kilballyowen and Kilkee. About 400 odd of the 872 are recorded monuments,” Trea Heapes explained. …

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Couple raise €11,100 in memory of Sophie

DONATIONS totalling over €11,000 have been collected by a Clare couple, who were motivated to raise money for two charitable causes, after the tragic death of their baby daughter. Sophie O’Brien, who was born on May 6 last with a serious defect in her heart, died less than four weeks later on June 2 with her family in Ballina, Killaloe. Darren O’Brien, Scariff, and his wife, Pamela, decided to speak publicly after their daughter’s death to raise awareness of the condition and also to ensure Sophie’s legacy lives on by raising money for two charitable causes. Darren and Pamela are thrilled with the generosity of people who have helped them to raise €4,000 for the Ronald McDonald House behind Crumlin Hospital, where they stayed for three weeks. The funds raised will be used to help finish off renovation works in the Ronald McDonald playroom, which can cater for about 10 or 12 children. They also raised €7,100.83 for the new €4.5 million …

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Light up a memory on Milford tree

MILFORD Hospice is encouraging people to remember someone special this Christmas by dedicating a light on Milford’s Christmas tree. A light  can be lit  to remember both living and deceased relatives and friends who won’t be with us this year. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Light Up A Memory event, an important fundraiser for the Hospice. More importantly, the event is an opportunity to pause and reflect, remembering perhaps a person who has died, a son or daughter who has emigrated and is unable to come home this year, or someone who, for some other reason, may not be able to spend this special time of the year with us. “It’s an occasion that offers a memorable start to the season and since Light Up A Memory began in 1999, it has offered great comfort to so many people,” said Pat Gilmartin of Milford Hospice Friends. “At this time of the year, many people come to remember their loved ones …

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