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Lifestyle

Save the last dance for Strictly

THE final Strictly Come Dancing will take place in the Armada Hotel on Saturday, November 22 and again the following Saturday, November 29. This will represent the fourth staging of the event, which raises money for the provision of the building of house in Cherven, Belarus, for young adults who have left the nearby orphanage. Primary organiser, Edel Smith has been involved in helping the Cherven orphans for many years. This final series of Strictly will result in the finishing touches on the house in Belarus. Ten couples have dedicated their time and energy over the past few months to prepare for Strictly, while Christina Cawte has given her time and energy over the past four years in helping the dancers to get ready. “She is such a brilliant person, who strives so hard to bring out the best in all our couples. Christina is an amazing choreographer, who should be so proud of what she has accomplished. Charlie Killeen …

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Michael looks to a positive future

ON the morning of May 17, 2012, the course of Michael Lorigan’s life changed forever. He remembers nothing about the single-vehicle accident near Cranny Cross on the Kilrush-Ennis road but, these days, he is reconciled with accepting and dealing with the consequences. The now 25-year-old from Kilmurry McMahon, who was hospitalised for three and a half months, has been left partially-sighted, along with an acquired brain injury. Ironically, if you didn’t know about his injuries, you wouldn’t guess that Michael had been badly injured. “I was told in the hospital that it’s a hidden disability. I’ve met a lot of people and, to look at me, they would never think I have a sight problem. There are certain things that I see and some things I wouldn’t,” he explained. One source of relief is the fact that he was on his own in the car. He doesn’t know how he would have coped if he had a passenger. “Thank God. …

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Cyril’s prophetic words

THE Clare Champion supplement for the All-Ireland hurling final of 1995 contains a fine interview with the most senior member of the squad, Cyril Lyons. At the end of the interview, in a very thoughtful observation, Lyons, a man who has given sterling service to Clare hurling as a player, manager, selector and coach, expressed the opinion that the GAA in the county ought to capitalise on this golden opportunity of an All-Ireland appearance, to promote hurling among youngsters. “Young boys and girls, who are just beginning to play the game, will be very excited about seeing Clare in an All-Ireland final and clubs must nurture this enthusiasm. Now is the time to prepare for the future,” he said. It is now very evident that the Clare victory of 1995 marked a watershed in the fortunes of Clare hurling. Some may argue that Clare should have won more All-Ireland trophies since 1995. But when one compares Clare’s All-Ireland appearances and …

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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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