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Paddy Cole shares love of Lahinch in new autobiography

AS HIS book The King of the Swingers climbs the best selling Irish books chart this Christmas the veteran musician Paddy Cole has revealed that he put the finishing touches to it in Lahinch, where he has a holiday home for years. The acclaimed saxophonist also penned a poem, during lockdown, about his love of the Banner County. The memoir was written, during lockdown, with Galway author Tom Gilmore. With both of them cocooning on different sides of the country, most of the interviews were done via Skype. “However, when the first lockdown was lifted, Tom and myself met in Lahinch over a weekend and the finishing touches were put to the book at Lahinch Golf Club,” Paddy said. Known to music fans as ‘The King of the Swingers,’ Paddy has been an international star for almost 70 years and his book lifts the lid on his showbiz exploits at home and abroad. The autobiography reveals the secrets of his …

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Larry’s empowerment legacy

PARTEEN native, Larry De Cleir is a man of many parts. A psychotherapist, who spent two decades in the Irish army, he is also a talented singer-songwriter, whose work ranges from personal reflections to commentary on politics and society. With a CV like that, his retirement is probably set to be a fairly active one. The role of retiree is one that Larry is still getting used to having signed off, just last week, after a 13-and-a-half year stint as Project Leader with Bedford Row, an initiative that supports prisoners and families in Clare and Limerick. “I was involved with the project for a long time before that,” he explains. “I was counselling and getting clients from the project. Before that, again, I was involved, in very early days meeting workers with the Hospitality Centre in Limerick Prison, where the project started up. I was aworking with South Hill Outreach and we had a step-down [service] going on, so I …

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Spanish Point Golf Club rewards Doreise’s tranformation

A WEST Clare woman’s dedicated efforts to boost her health and fitness have secured her a top prize in an annual wellness initiative run by Spanish Point Golf Club. Doreise Power, who is from Quilty and now lives in Mullagh, took part in a ten-week initiative running alongside Operation Transformation from January to March this year. While the pandemic put paid to plans for a gala presentation night, a lower-key presentation was made recently to a delighted Doreise. Mervin Hehir of Spanish Point Golf Club said the local Operation Transformation initiative was aimed at making a difference to people in the dark months of the year, and about creating activities for the whole community. “The golf club is community owned and we wanted to take away any suggestion that clubs are stuffy places,” he explained. “That’s why, last year, we decided to run a 10-week programme alongside Operation Transformation on RTÉ. We really wanted to help people learn about fitness …

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Tributes pour in as Edna O’Brien turns 90

Tuamgraney-born author Edna O’Brien celebrated her 90th birthday this week to huge plaudits from the global literary world. President Michael D Higgins described the novelist as one of the finest chroniclers of Irish life. Widely regarded as Ireland’s greatest living writer, Ms O’Brien marked her birthday with the delivery of the TS Eliot lecture on Eliot and James Joyce for The Abbey Theatre. The piece was recorded at the Irish Embassy in London and broadcast on Tuesday evening (December 15). Ms O’Brien’s debut novel The County Girls convulsed 1960s Ireland with its honest representation of female sexuality and small town communities. Despite the reaction, Ms O’Brien in an interview in 1970 with RTÉ expressed warm feelings fro the county. “I would not want to have come from anywhere else despite certain inconveniences which I haven’t omitted to remember,” she said. In more recent years, The Country Girls trilogy has taken its rightful place in the canon of 20th century Irish …

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Bunratty woman ‘jumps the gate’ to create line of children’s books

CREATIVITY, and an eye for a gap in the market, has inspired a Bunratty woman to ‘Jump Over the Gate,’ by developing a line of children’s books. Interior designer Edel Moloney has branched into children’s publishing, alongside a creative team featuring writer Róisín Meaney and illustrator Louisa Condon. The new company, called Jump Over the Gate, has created what Edel describes as “Ireland’s coolest puffin, Puffin Paulie, who resides in his burrow at the Cliffs of Moher”. “We’re three women with complementary skills,” notes Edel. “We’re very excited about the potential of this project.” Puffin Paulie Goes West is the first of two planned books, which will be accompanied by merchandise including a soft toy and T-shirts. The book, which is available, fittingly, at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, features Paulie on the back of his motorbike whizzing along the west coast, playing tunes, surfing the waves, cleaning some beaches and having lots of fun. his wonderful and entertaining …

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Tara’s play creates waves on air

IMAGINE a typical rural shopkeeper in the Ireland of yesteryear. “I picture him wearing a brown shop coat with ballpoint pens in his top pocket,” says actor and journalist, Jim O’Brien of Ogonnelloe. “He lives over the shop, and the shop is his life.” Now imagine that his merchandise is of a very specialised variety. This shopkeeper’s trade is not in groceries or other domestic essentials. His customers come from far and wide to purchase accoutrements of every kind, from small nuclear weapons to solar-powered chainsaws. All of them are tailored to the client’s exact needs. The only thing that links them is the fact they are all ‘plot unblocking devices’. This is the kind of shop – or rather ‘emporium’ – that is at the heart of an award-winning radio play recently produced and aired on Scariff Bay Community Radio. Its writer Tara Sparling devised the fantastical plot in a post on her popular blog (Tarasparling.com) and was encouraged …

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Fundraising for Gort Square revamp steps up a gear

THE iconic statue of Christ the King in the heart of Gort will be the focal point for a rejuvenated town centre, as a local fund-raising campaign has been intensified to provide upgraded seating, planting and paving. The Burren Lowlands Group, which works with 16 local parishes in North Clare and South Galway, has just teamed up with a local business woman to run a fund-raising raffle to boost efforts to cover the cost of enhanced paving around The Square. The Dolly Tub, which is a new business based in Peterswell and run by Susanne Orsford, has donated five gift boxes containing had-made sanitisers, balms, soaps and candles. “We have extended our fundraising efforts because, while we’re very grateful for all of the support received to-date, we need a little more money to really get the project right,” explained Kathleen Bell Bonjeau of Burren Lowlands. “We had hoped to have the second phase of the redevelopment complete by Christmas, but …

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Mountshannon man leads the way in tackling problem plastics

A MOUNTSHANNON man’s cutting-edge research into positive uses for waste plastics, has secured more than a quarter of a million euro in backing from the Welsh government. Dr Alvin Orbaek White, who works at Swansea University, has pioneered a technology that changes waste plastic into valuable compounds for the energy industries, reducing plastics pollution in the process. The research will be instrumental in addressing the global transition to more efficient, cleaner energy resources and providing a new life for waste plastics, keeping them out of land and sea. A past pupil of Waldorf Steiner School in Raheen and later, Scariff Community College, he credits his inspirational work with the passion instilled in him by a number of his former teachers. “I had some great teachers. At Scariff Community College, TJ O’Halloran was really passionate about Science, and Pat Sweeney instilled a love of Maths.” His college years were spent at NUI Galway where he undertook his Bachelor’s degree, before obtaining …

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