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A scientific experience in the Burren

THE Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark will mark Earth Science Week 2014 in October by hosting a series of events. Earth Science week was initiated in 1998 by the American Geosciences Institute which has been holding events in the third week of October ever since. Geological associations and institutes around the world now participate to promote awareness and education of all aspects of Earth Science. Among the events being hosted by the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark is a fieldtrip for university students looking at climate change in the rocks of the Burren.  There will also be a water tracing project for transition year students from Lisdoonvarna Secondary School, which is being supported by the Clare Caving Club, the Geological Survey of Ireland and Clare County Council.

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Silver surfers making waves

DO you know somebody over 50 years of age who has taken technology in their stride? If so, 2014 Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action wants to know about them. The public has until October 6 to nominate a friend, neighbour or relative who is over 50 and who has embraced technology and made it part of their daily life. Google and Age Action are asking people across Clare to put forward those older people who have taken to the digital world with gusto, such as last year’s overall winner David Lowen. David’s love of music gave him his taste of the online world. Regularly streaming music through sites Spotify, David also learned to shop, bank and book holidays online. Stuart McLaughlin, head of GooglersGive EMEA said, “The awards are about recognising the steps taken by older people in the digital world. Whether it’s connecting with loved ones on the other side of the world, arranging travel plans or using …

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Fr Frank reflects on life in LA and Clare GAA

FR Frank Cassidy revels in a good long silence. Originally from Cusack Road in Ennis, he represented Clare at centre-forward in the 1953 All-Ireland minor football final in Croke Park. Since then, his life has centred on Los Angeles where Fr Frank has served in eight parishes during his 55-year stint on the west coast. While he can comfortably sit in silence, Fr Cassidy is equally passionate talking about his career as a young dual player or his decades as priest in the US. However his 79-year-old, still radiant, eyes exude life when he talks about his love of meditation. Now retired from active ministry in LA, Fr Frank took up meditation 30 years ago. “I’m talking about being absolutely quiet. Getting to know silence and stillness. There’s no doubt about it, it’s very beneficial. Not alone for a person’s spiritual path but for a person’s physical being,” Fr Cassidy reflected last week, a day prior to returning to the …

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Boycott a catalyst for change

THE recent boycott of Israeli goods by Kinvara businesses has been a catalyst for change elsewhere and was a welcome show of solidarity with the people of Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland, Ahmad Abdelrazek. His Excellency Mr Abdelrazek was in the South Galway village with his wife, Rania Abdullah, on Friday to acknowledge the collective action taken by the pharmacy, retailers, restaurants, cafés and salons there, in response to the bombardment of Gaza last month. The boycott was the brainchild of John Griffin, Frank Naughton and Vicky Donnelly, who guided the couple around the village during their short visit, introducing them to business people and members of the community. His Excellency Mr Abdelrazek was welcomed by those who met him and even gave an impromptu address to the busy Kinvara Farmers’ Market. In an interview with The Clare Champion, the ambassador stated that people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were aware of the move …

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Style showcase for Sixmilebridge school

Models from the Holman-Lee agency will showcase the latest fashions from more than 10 boutiques and shops in the Limerick, Shannon and Ennis areas at a fundraising fashion show in Bunratty next week. The event, which will also include displays in beauty and health care and a pre-show punch reception, will be held at the Bunratty Castle Hotel on Thursday next, September 18 with proceeds going to the Sixmilebridge National School Development Fund. “We are really pleased and welcome the presence of the Celia Holman-Lee Agency, the country’s leading model agency, at the upcoming show. It will be a great night of fashion and maybe there will be a few surprises to add to the enjoyment of the evening. It’s the must-go-to event for this autumn; the first winter and autumn show in the area,” according to chairperson of the fashion committee Tanya Walker. Speaking at the fashion show announcement, school principal Gareth Heagney praised Shannon Precision Engineering for “the …

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Open forum on ‘exclusion of women’

A TEN-strong group of women, disenchanted with the Diocese of Killaloe’s plan for men-only deacons, have organised an open forum on the issue at the Dromoland Inn on Monday, September 15 at 8pm. The forum, open to men and women, will be titled Diaconate! An Inclusive Church? On August 15, The Clare Champion revealed that, as deacons, married men could preside over baptisms, weddings, funerals and other ceremonies. However, women cannot train to become deacons. “It will be an inclusive forum for anybody who wants to come and talk about this issue,” Kathleen McDonald, chairperson of Cross Pastoral Council explained. “We have formed a Killaloe Forum on the diaconate. There is a group of 10 women involved in setting up this forum for women and men. It’s to give people an opportunity to discuss this topic. Lots of women and men have been talking in their parishes. This isn’t just a women’s issue,” she stressed. The diocesan office is to …

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Kilkee woman’s HOPE for Kolkata

COMMUNITY is very important to Kilkee woman, Ann-Marie Murray. In particular, two communities, miles and worlds apart – Kilkee and Kolkata. Ann-Marie has been an integral part of The Hope Foundation’s work in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in West Bengal, India, for many years. The Hope Foundation (HOPE) was initially established in 1999 by Maureen Forrest, to raise funds to build a home for the girls from the streets and slums of Kolkata, subsequently called Panditya. Fifteen years on, HOPE now provide funding for over 60 projects, including education, primary healthcare, child protection, children’s shelters, vocational training and drugs rehabilitation. Ann-Marie volunteered with HOPE in 2003 for a six-month programme in the Panditya home. Eleven years on, Ann-Marie is now HOPE’s assistant overseas director and remains surrounded by teenagers in Panditya. They all share rooms and bathroom facilities, with Ann-Marie being on-call for the girls 24 hours a day. Part of the draw for Ann-Marie is living as the rest of …

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The fox is everywhere

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a highly adaptable species, found in nearly all habitats, from salt marshes and sand dunes, to the tops of mountains. It has reddish orange fur, small dog sized, with a thick bushy tail in winter. Foxes have also adapted to life in urban surroundings. Foxes hold territories, the size of which depends on habitat; they can be as small as 0.2 square kilometres in urban areas or up to 40 square kilometres in hill country. Each territory is occupied by a fox family group. These often consist of a pair – dog fox and vixen – and their cubs. However, in areas where foxes are not persecuted and where there is a plentiful supply of food, a family group may contain several adults. Foxes have a very wide and varied diet. On the seashore they eat crabs and dead seabirds, while in upland regions, carrion may be important, particularly during the winter months. In …

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