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Lots of love from Santa

Dear children, I’m delighted that you sent so many lovely letters to The Clare Champion to pass on to me. I know County Clare very well; it’s one of my favourite places in the world and sometimes, if my reindeer get tired, I land my sleigh at Shannon Airport to give them a well-earned rest. It is wonderful to read that all of you understand how important it is to care about others and have reminded me to bring presents for your younger brothers and sisters or other family members. I’ve gone down through my naughty and nice lists and see that all the Clare children have been very good. At the moment, the elves are very busy loading the sleigh with gifts for children all over the world. It’s a lot of weight for the reindeer to pull, even if they do fly through the night sky, but don’t worry, I’ve yet to fail to make the magical journey from …

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The great Christmas tree throwing championship

The countdown has begun to the Irish Christmas Tree Throwing Championship, which takes place at Active Ennis Tim Smyth Park in Ennis on Sunday, January 4. All proceeds raised by the fourth annual event will go towards ISPCC Childline. The championship, which is based on age-old lumberjack traditions and is commonplace across Germany and Austria, will see members of the public competing to achieve the longest distance for throwing a standard 1.5 metre tree. John O’Dea from Limerick and Gary O’Growney from Dublin share the Irish record having both thrown their trees a distance of 10.2 metres, which is just under 2 metres short of the World Record currently held by Klaus Pubnaz, who hurled a tree a distance of 12 metres at an event in Germany four years ago. Last year’s U-12 section was won by Soran Drayas (9.2m), who finished ahead of second placed Aoife O’Gara (7.86 m). This year’s winner will once again receive the Irish Christmas …

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Orange weather alert

County Clare remains on alert for high winds following a night of bad conditions across the county. Met Éireann says it’s status orange wind warning remains in place, while Clare County Council has urged residents in coastal areas to remain vigilant. There have been no reports of damage but the ESB is dealing with a power outage in the Ennistymon area, which should be restored by 1pm

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‘Champion Short Story Competition Launched

THE Clare Champion Short Story Competition has just been launched and entries for the ninth annual contest are now being sought. Open to second level students, the  long running competition has gone from strength to strength each year, with in excess of 270 entries received last year from secondary school students across the county.  Short stories can be on any subject and should be approximately 1,000 to 1,500 words long. There are two entry categories for the competition, Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate, but entries are open to those from first year to sixth year students. Full details are on posters that are being sent to schools this week. The first prize in each category is €300, second prize is €200, and third prize is €100. There are also awards for those highly commended and all those shortlisted will have their stories published in The Clare Champion. The Clare Champion short story competition aims to recognise the talents of young …

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Didi making Christmas visit to Haiti

WHITEGATE resident and volunteer with NGO Amurtel, Didi Ananda Prama Driscoll returns to Haiti this month to continue her work with those displaced by the 2010 earthquake that devastated Port Au Prince. Didi has been visiting the region each year over the Christmas period hoping to bring some joy to those who have been devastated and thrown into poverty since the earthquake struck four years ago. “I was last there a year ago to see how all the children in the children’s home were doing and trying to figure out a programme to increase the amount of protein that these kids could get because that’s what they are missing,” she explained. The charity developed a Moringa plantation that year and Didi is now returning to see how this is developing. “Moringa is a tree and its leaves are really rich in protein. The interesting thing is it tends to grow in very dry areas and in areas where people are …

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Humanitarian Peadar back on TV

THE RTÉ One TV series What in the World?, presented by Kilkee man, Peadar King, started its eighth series this week, with a programme concentrating on Russia. The four-part series continues today (Monday) at 11.15pm, this time focusing on South Korea, followed by programmes at the same time on December 15 and 22, featuring South Sudan and Togo. “The series looks at issues around globalisation, poverty and human rights in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We have covered 40 countries across a whole range of issues. This year we wanted to go to Russia because it’s so close to us and we know so very, very little about it. We hardly ever see Russian people on television and we very seldom hear Russian voices on radio, although it’s closer to us than the United States,” Peadar  told The Clare Champion. He believes that Irish people have a narrowly defined view of Russia. “The dominant images we have of Russia come …

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Food, glorious food but not for pets

Most of us are now thinking and planning for the festive season. Next to gifts, food and drink play a huge part in our celebrations, so we need to make sure our pets are looked after as well. Chocolate is a harmful food for pets. Most adults know this but it is the responsibility of adults to make sure children know too. Keep little ones from giving chocolate to pets and do your best to supervise. Cats are especially sensitive to sage. It can cause stomach upset and central nervous system problems, so be careful with the sage and onion stuffing. Chocolate, coffee and caffeine all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, these can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. …

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Medieval Ennis has visitor potential

SHANNON Heritage is to be asked to look at the potential of developing a medieval visitor attraction in the lanes of Ennis. Ennis Mayor, Councillor Johnny Flynn, proposed the move at the December meeting of the municipal district committee, saying, “In light of the success of the Shannon Heritage section of Shannon Airport Group in the development and management of heritage properties,” that they should be asked to look at the potential of setting up a medieval streetscape attraction. He said he would like to see an urban heritage visitor attraction using the medieval streetscape, as seen around Chapel Lane and the community centre. Councillor Ann Norton backed the suggestion and said having received a presentation from Shannon Heritage, she thought, “They seem to be very open to ideas and suggestions and probably would be interested in looking at it. I think there is a lot of opportunities there and the Shannon Group are open to ideas”. “Ennis is a …

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