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The Maiden Aunt arrives in Kildysart

By Peter O’Connell KILDYSART Drama Group will present their production of Jimmy Keary’s The Maiden Aunt in the local community centre this Saturday and Sunday. This is the third time that the Kildysart players have staged a Jimmy Keary play.  They produced the world premiere of Too Close to Home in 2007 and Fortunes and Misfortunes in 2010.   Last year the group enjoyed enormous success with their production of A Wake in the West which, like this years production, was directed by Colin McMahon. “Last year was our biggest success to date. I’d say we turned away hundreds of people. We just didn’t have the room for them so we’re trying to keep up with that standard now which isn’t easy,” the play director told The Clare Champion. Some who attended last years play thought that they had wandered into a funeral home. Anybody who entered the hall by the rear door, were met with a ‘body’ which  was …

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Clare woman’s Ukraine war fear

AS international attention focuses on the crisis in Ukraine, one Clare woman has a powerful but unenviable insight into the political crisis. Lena Madden was born and reared in Ukraine but has lived in Ireland for the past 12 years. She is an Irish citizen but both her parents still live in Ukraine. Divorced and in different cities, they are on opposing sides of the political and ideological divide. “One of them is based in a Russian-speaking region and the other one is based in a Ukrainian-speaking region, so I have two stories and they are totally different. Things have polarised in both areas,” Lena told The Clare Champion. “My biggest fear is that war will break out,” she said. In late November, protestors took to the streets of Kiev after the Government decided not to sign an agreement fostering greater integration with the European Union. Instead, it announced it would begin looking to improve co-operation with Russia. On February …

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Helping to reawaken Irish America

By CAROL BYRNE CATHAL Goan, former head of RTE, will launch Irish America Reawakening: The Eoin McKiernan Story a book at Foras na Gaeilge in Dublin on Wednesday next. Eoin McKiernan was the son of Clare emigrant Delia Nagle from Lahinch, and founded the Irish American Cultural institute (IACI), which poured millions of dollars into the Irish economy over the latter part of the 20th century. His daughter, Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler has chronicled his life and achievements in a new book entitled Irish America Reawakening: The Eoin McKiernan Story, currently available in Ennis. Eoin’s mother was from Tullygarvin in Lahinch but he was born in New York City, and studied at the Irish Cumman na Gaeilge in New York and won a scholarship to study at Rosmuc. Eoin was a fluent Irish speaker and worked passionately for the language revival. He was on the faculty at the State University of New York and the president of what would become the …

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Pets can help you be healthier and happier

Our pets need to be companion animals, well socialised with people and our homes to be of benefit to us. Dogs and cats kept outside don’t offer us the same companionship and quite often they themselves suffer by not being invited to live indoors with us. Being part of the family has beneficial effects on humans and animals alike. Spending quality time with a dog, cat or other animal can have a positive impact on your mood and your health. Pet owners, on average, are better off than non-pet owners, especially when they have a higher-quality relationship with their pets. For some active people, that includes playing games, walking and exercising with your dog. For others, who can’t get outside, just petting your dog or cat can help you feel connected. Even talking to a budgie can help. Pets can help you in other ways, too. A healthier heart: Your dog may make you less likely to get heart disease …

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Sonia ‘Sunny’ Jacobs.

Former Death Row inmate coming to Ennis

By Owen Ryan SOME suffering is unavoidable in life but it takes a ferocious amount of ill luck to be faced with an ordeal as horrific as that which Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs endured. The American spent five years on death row and 17 in jail, after being in the wrong place at the wrong time, while it was worse for her partner, Jesse Tafero, who ended up in the electric chair. Sunny was eventually exonerated and, remarkably, she ended up marrying Peter Pringle, an Irishman, who had also been sentenced to death in 1980 after the killing of two gardaí. He was exonerated in 1995. Both have written books about their imprisonment and are due to write one together, while Sunny will be in Glór on Sunday, March 9 as part of the Sunday Symposium on the theme of Dealing with Adversity, alongside DJ Carey; Billy Keane, journalist and author, and Michael Murphy, cancer survivor. Sunny’s life changed forever in …

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Seeking forgiveness in Mountshannon

SLIABH Aughty Drama Group will present their production of Unforgiven, by playwright John McDwyer, this week as they prepare to go on the amateur drama circuit. The play follows the group’s traditional leaning towards comedy and this production has plenty of humour. It tells the story of brothers, PJ and Seamy, in rural Ireland, whose lives up to now have revolved around movies, puzzles and unrequited love. When it opens, the two brothers are waiting for their father to die and the elder of the two brothers, PJ, has set his sights on marrying his neighbour, Mary, once his father is eventually out of the picture. Matters are complicated by another brother, who lives in America but returns home for the funeral. He was in love with Mary before leaving and settling in America 25 years previously. PJ is vying for Mary’s attention and Seamy holds a watching brief, while PJ plans his happily ever after. Director, John Allen said, …

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National award for lifesaving Great Dane

THE  lifesaving exploits of a Great Dane will be fittingly honoured with a national award this weekend. Charlie’s ability to detect when a three year-old Killaloe child is going to have a seizure, will be officially recognised by the Irish Great Dane (IGD) club at a national ceremony in Dublin. The club wanted to honour Charlie following the phenomenal response to Clare Champion story highlighting the unique bond between the dog and Brianna Lynch, which enabled him to detect her frequent seizures, up to 20 minutes before the start of each episode. The once-off award, which has never been presented to any other dog previously, will be presented to Arabella Scanlan and Charlie as the Great Dane Open Show in the National Show Centre, Dublin this Saturday. Claire Daly of the IGD said the club were delighted to present Charlie with the award following the huge national and international reaction to the Clare  Champion story. “The club is 51 years …

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Councillor Cathal Crowe makes the victory sign through the worn-out sole of his shoes after the 2004 Local Elections.

John Kelly photo in Junior Cert book

A PHOTOGRAPH by John Kelly of  holed  leather shoes worn out by  Councillor Cathal Crowe canvassing before the 2004 Local Elections has  ended up in a civics textbook, which is currently on the Junior Certificate syllabus. Councillor Crowe’s old shoes also form part of a display depicting Clare’s political history at the County Museum in Ennis. Shortly after becoming the youngest councillor in the country to secure a seat on Clare County Council in June 2004, the 21- year-old Fianna Fáil Councillor was captured by Clare Champion photographer John Kelly making the “V” victory sign through the worn out sole of his shoes. A few months earlier, the University of Limerick student, who was more used to trainers than leather shoes, made the short trip into Limerick City where he bought the famous shoes from his future wife, who had a summer shop in a well know city shoe shop at the time. With the benefit of hindsight, Councillor Crowe …

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