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Sean saddles up for 4,000km cycle

Kilmihil exile, Sean O’Neill  is preparing for a 4,000km cycle from Alaska to Vancouver. The 36-year-old has been based in Vancouver for around 12 years and, speaking from there , he outlined his plans for the cycle. “Basically, I’m going to head off in about four weeks from Vancouver on a ferry along the BC coast and that’ll take about four or five days,” he said. “I’ll get as far as Anchorage and fly from there on to Prudhoe Bay, which is at the very, very top of Alaska, way up there, right on the Arctic Ocean. That’s where I start and it’s all the way back to Vancouver. “It’s over 4,000 kilometres. It’ll probably take about two months or something. The first 500 miles of it should be fairly interesting, there isn’t a sinner really. It’s kind of like a gravel road for 500 miles and it’ll be about 10 or 12 days of just me, a bunch of …

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Querrin Children talk about China

Querrin National School children highlighted various aspect of  Chinese everyday life to visitors, as an end of year project, in the past week. According to school principal, Geraldine Keating the choice of China as a country to research came as a result of a couple of observations from the children. First their wonder at the thousands of products with the ‘made in China’ label and second their interest in technology. With that in mind they decided to begin the journey of learning about the country. Each child in the senior room (3rd to 6th class) selected their own topic from industry, agriculture, technology, space, customs, traditions, religion, food, music, transport, clothing and sport. The junior room (junior and senior infants, first and second class) were involved in group work that included researching animals, types of cars, dress and food. The classroom was transformed into a sea of red, colour, music and Chinese aromas. Children and staff dressed in Chinese red and/or …

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Fr Brian’s work in Glenstal Gardens

Gardens, it is said, are a reflection of heaven on earth, and a new book about Glenstal Abbey gardens would seem to emphasise such a view. The Benedictine Community arrived in Glenstal from Belgium in 1927 and Fr Brian Murphy began to carry out restoration work in the garden in 1986. Now he has defined his life’s work in the garden, by writing an illustrated history of Glenstal Abbey Gardens in a new book. Although in County Limerick, Glenstal Abbey was home to Fr Bernard O’Dea from Inagh, who was the first Irish monk to join the Benedictine community at Glenstal, after it had been founded by the Belgian monks from Mardesous Abbey in Belgium in 1927. He became the first prior at Glenstal and, to this day, several members of its community are from County Clare. Fr Murphy’s work is a garden book with a difference, as not only does it engage with many matters of horticultural interest, but …

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The infants of Aylroe cillín remembred

History was made in West Clare last weekend last when mass was celebrated for the first time in Aylroe cillín, the infants burial place on the hill overlooking the Shannon Estuary. The mass was celebrated by retired Mill Hill Missionary, Fr Tom McGrath, a native Labasheeda, who is attached to the Kilmurry McMcMahon-Labasheeda parish. There was a large attendance of locals and people from surrounding areas at the mass, which was at the request of the landowner, Professor Michael Hayes, who organised it with Pat Clancy. All were welcomed to the mass by Fr McGrath, who spent 40 years with the Mill Hill Missionary Fathers in western Kenya. The cillín, or chidren’s burial ground on the Hill of Aylroe, contains in excess of 100 children’s graves, all unidentified, going back centuries. The ground is overgrown with gorse and furze and is overlooking the River Shannon. Fr McGrath thanked the attendance and had special prayers for the unbaptised children, the forgotten …

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Foynes Tower controls flying once again

THE clock at Foynes historic air traffic control tower, will be turned back to the glorious early days of aviation on July 5 and 6 next, as the 75th anniversary of the first ever commercial transatlantic flight is celebrated. Organisers of the Foynes-Shannon 75th Anniversary Air Show, which will mark the landing in July 1939 of the Pan American Airways Yankee Clipper flying boat that brought the first commercial flight across the Atlantic, have confirmed that the restored ATC tower at the facility will be the control base for the spectacular air show. Officers from the Air Traffic Control base at Shannon Airport will transfer over to the historic Foynes base for the two air show extravaganzas, which are set to be attended by over 10,000 people. The two spectacular displays will amount to the biggest air- show of the year in Ireland, as more aircraft than any other such event in the country will take to the skies and …

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Fr Harry gives his take on faith

Former Clare hurling manager, Fr Harry Bohan features prominently in a new book edited by former RTÉ broadcaster, John Quinn. Entitled Credo Personal Testimonies of Faith, the publication features interviews conducted in 2013 by John Quinn, who travelled around Ireland to meet a host of well-known personalities. He asked them questions about the God they believe in and why they believe; the origins of their belief; doubts they have encountered in dealing with mystery; how central belief is to their life and work; prayer-life; the afterlife; faith mentors and much more. The answers he received were spontaneous, honest and rich in diversity. Offering a fascinating insight into belief and its practice, Credo includes contributions from former Clare hurling manager, Harry Bohan; former Meath football manager, Séan Boylan; Benedictine nun and international leader for peace and justice, Joan Chittister; actor, Frank Kelly, politician, David Norris; writer, Alice Taylor; GAA commentator, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and many more. Each interview was conducted face to …

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Clare’s German links on new app

Ardnacrusha ESB Hydroelectric Station and Fanore Cemetery are featured in the newly launched German Traces in Ireland, a free, downloadable app that marks locations in Ireland with German connections past and present. Ardnacrusha,  on the river Shannon, a huge undertaking for the Irish State in 1925 and a milestone in Irish history, was built by the German firm Siemens-Schuckert. Writer Francis Stuart, controversial for his links with Nazi Germany, is buried at Fanore Cemetery in Craggagh. Written by journalists Fintan O’Toole and Ralf Sotscheck, and produced by the Goethe-Institut Irland, the map-based German Traces app highlights 20 locations around Ireland with connections to German people and stories; from Handel’s Messiah at Fishamble Street in Dublin to the children of Operation Shamrock in Glencree, County Wicklow to the Ballinderry Sword at the National Museum. Artists, writers and historical figures such as Agnes Bernelle, Imogen Stuart, Heinrich Böll, Aloys Fleischmann, Richard Castle and Friedrich Engels also feature with details of their Irish-German …

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From Luton to Lissycasey

In his half a century in the priesthood, Lissycasey parish priest Fr Joe Hourigan cites his four years in Luton as a seminal time in his life. Originally from Limerick, Fr Hourigan has been parish priest in Lissycasey since 2000, having moved from Ennis, where he was based in the cathedral for 21 years. On coming home from England, he served in Ruan and Dysart for four years. However, it’s his time in Bedfordshire, 1968 to 1972, that helped shape his outlook on life. “In a sense, my growing up was a very kind of sheltered life. The Luton experience was very big for me. I found it a great joy. I was full of energy and I had loads of scope for contact with people. I became my own person there,” Fr Hourigan told The Clare Champion. He feels that he broadened his horizons in England. “For me, it was a great growth experience and I had a kind …

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