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Primary schools to focus on EU

Primary schools  in Clare are being urged to sign up by next Friday for the Blue Star programme. Blue Star is an exciting education initiative for primary school students across Ireland. The programme aims to introduce pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community to the EU, what it means and how it works. It has already been rolled out successfully in over 200 schools since 2011, and the intention is to increase this over the coming three years. All schools are eligible no matter how big or how small. Joe Bishop of European Movement Ireland, who manages the programme said, “We want to encourage schools to sign up by next week’s deadline, so that we can start to send all the information out as soon as possible. We have lots of free resources, advice and support available, including a great curriculum guide developed by teachers themselves. “We’re delighted that previous participating schools have been so positive about the Blue Star Programme. …

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From Jones Road to the Somme

2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of the World War I and Clare’s first All-Ireland senior hurling triumph. These two diverse events have their own historical importance but an interaction between them is highlighted by the story of Newmarket hurler, John Fox. Fox featured at right half-back on the Clare team that defeated Laois by 5-1 to 1-0 in the 1914 All-Ireland final. A year later, he joined the British Army. He is the only Clare man to have won an All-Ireland senior hurling medal and to have fought in World War I. Fox later sold his cherished Celtic Cross. His All-Ireland medal was purchased by the late Kevin Keogh from Newmarket. When John Fox died in 1967, Mr Keogh generously returned the medal to the possession of the Fox family from Knocksaggart. John Fox – The Man Born in Newmarket-on-Fergus in 1892, John Fox died in June 1967. He was the longest surviving member of the 1914 Clare …

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Schools to raise the heartbeat

Against a backdrop of 295 people dying from cardiovascular disease in Clare in 20131, the Pumped Schools’ Video Awards have been launched to encourage young people to create mini-movies on a heart health theme. The competition, supported by Bayer in partnership with the Irish Heart Foundation, the Federation of Irish Sport and RTÉ news2day, invites participants to explore the science behind physical activity, diet and smoking, the impact of these on health and well-being, and produce compelling 90-second videos that inspire viewers to act. With a prize fund of €10,000, there are three categories in which to enter – Smoking Stinks, Active Teens — Healthy Hearts and Weighty Matters. The awards are open to all post-primary students between the ages of 12 and 16 years with the winner of each category winning €3,000 for their school’s sports department and each individual student receiving a €100 voucher. More information can be found at www.pumped.ie. The closing date for entries is January 16.

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Attention – RDF needs you

Reserve Defence Forces numbers in Clare are to get a boost as part of a recruitment campaign now underway nationwide. E Company 1 Infantry Battalion, headquartered in Abbey Street, Ennis, is holding an open day/information day on this  Saturday and is inviting young men and woman to go along to see what army life is all about. “There have been a lot of changes in the Defence Forces in the past couple of years and we need to start recruiting again in Ennis and the county for the local Clare unit,” said company commander, Commandant PJ McCarron. E Company is the only RDF unit in Clare. “We have personnel from Gort as well but mostly from Clare of course. It’s the only unit in Clare and the headquarters is in Ennis,” Cmdt McCarron explained. “We have seen a lot of changes from the old LDF – the Local Defence Force – to the FCA and, now, the Reserve Defence Forces. …

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Beware the haunted side of Clare

AUTHOR and blogger, Ann O’Regan, who specialises in writing about ghosts and hauntings, has advised that Carrigaholt Castle is best avoided this Hallowe’en week – or, indeed, at any time. A room in the 15th-century, five-storey Loop Head peninsula castle has remained sealed since the 1920s and has not been tampered with since an exorcist was found dead the morning after attempting to enter the chamber, she says. What the writer describes as a “malevolent spirit” is believed to reside in the room. Ann O’Regan, who writes for spookyisles.com, says that even paranormal investigators won’t venture near Carrigaholt Castle. “I’d know a few of the paranormal groups around Ireland and I don’t know any of them that have gone near it. That is the kind of room that is best left alone, to be honest with you. If you want to open it, fine, but wait until I’m at the other end of the country before you do it,” she …

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Slowing speedsters in Clare estates

Clare County Council is enlisting the assistance of the public in putting the brakes on speeding motorists by identifying housing estates that could benefit from the introduction of new speed limits. The council’s call follows a circular from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, requesting local authorities to introduce new measures to reduce vehicle speeds in estates and residential areas. Five people have lost their lives on the roads in County Clare this year. The public consultation process is being welcomed by Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, John Crowe, who emphasised the importance of road safety. “Road safety is something we all play an important role in, so I would encourage everyone to make their voices heard by submitting their opinion on what estates should be included. It’s a worrying time but, if we have learned anything over the last few years, it’s that we all have the power to make a big difference. “Vulnerable road-users, such as the …

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Jason fine tunes the art of bodybuilding

A TOONAGH man spent five months weighing every item of food that passed his lips in a regime so strict, he said it tested his physical and mental ability. The gruelling, and lengthy, process was to prepare him to stand in front of an audience, wearing little more than fake tan and a smile, with every muscle in his body aching. “It is not for everyone,” Jason Morris told The Clare Champion, after coming second in his class at the Natural Bodybuilding Federation of Ireland competition held in Cork recently. The 31-year-old is understating matters. “I had to diet for 20 weeks to get my body in the shape that I was in on the day of the competition. This involved weight training, cardio, weighting out and keeping records of every piece of food that I put in my body, right down to a single salad leaf. The last six to eight weeks of the prep tested me, mentally and …

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Kilmurry McMahon wives on the move

Clare ICA is to spearhead a countywide survey to determine the scale of population movement in parishes. At a meeting in Doonbeg last week, which was organised to examine the role of rural women in the West Clare community, Clare ICA PRO, Mary Neylon said a count she carried out in June found that 92% of married women in Kilmurry McMahon came from outside that part of the parish. Ms Neylon was one of the speakers at the West Clare Family Resource Centre-organised meeting, which heard from several people on the challenges facing women in the county. The meeting heard that, while these figures pertained to one community of 165 households, it is likely that other parishes in West Clare would have comparable figures. In 19% of cases, both spouses had settled in the community, having moved from elsewhere. Ms Neylon feels if a bigger count or survey was carried out in Clare, the findings could be revealing. “I think …

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