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Kim finds a voice with debut novel

KILSHANNY-based Canadian, Kim Hood  has been shortlisted for The Bookseller’s inaugural Young Adult Book Prize for her debut novel, Finding A Voice. The competition was open to writers in Britain and Ireland and the winner of the £2,000 prize will be announced in March. “Basically, it’s a story about friendship. A girl, who is 13, is basically a caregiver for her mother, who suffers from mental illness. Life isn’t going so great for her, between home and school where she kind of has the reputation of being ‘the weird kid with the weird mother’. She volunteers in the special education wing and she meets a character called Chris, who has cerebal palsey and cannot talk. It’s basically about how they both develop a voice through their friendship,” Kim said of the book. Writing for young people comes quite easily to her, she says, while her own teens, difficult as they were, have given her a useful insight. “When I started …

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Santa flying high at Shannon

A very merry Christmas, with an anticipated 15% increase in passenger numbers from 12 months ago, kicked off at Shannon Airport at the weekend, as 2,000 children and parents got to meet Santa in the skies. In an initiative to thank the public for its support over what has been a year of strong growth, as well as raise some much needed funds for two local charities, Shannon Airport, in partnership with Ryanair, made Christmas come early for the excited children as 12 flights took the skies over Saturday and Sunday. Among those getting to savour this special moment were special needs children from the Clare Crusaders Clinic, St Gabriel’s School in Limerick and Mirmear Autism Unit in Tipperary. Demand for the ‘free flights’, the booking fee for which goes to charity, was so high that they booked out in all of 12 minutes, when they went up for grabs two weeks ago. The airport is readying itself for its …

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Tourism award for Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way has won the Best Tourist Attraction at the third InBusiness Editor’s Choice Awards. A number of leading Irish companies and individuals were recognised at an awards ceremony in Dublin, to honour outstanding achievement in the Irish business community. All the winners were selected based on the broad criteria of growth, profile of business, range of services and customer care. The Government, via Fáilte Ireland, had provided for a significant investment of €10 million this year for the route (stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale) to bring it alive and boost its attraction for overseas visitors. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring said, ‘This award is the latest accolade for an initiative, which has proved to be a huge success to date. As someone from the west, I have seen first- hand the enthusiasm out there for this project and it’s not only amongst tourism businesses but also in the wider …

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Pauline heads Kilrush RNLI callout

Newly appointed lifeboat operations manager at Kilrush RNLI, Pauline Dunleavy, had her first callout in charge, when an alert was received on Sunday morning. The lifeboat was launched to reports that a plane flying overhead had observed an indication that a fire may have broken out in the cargo hold. In these circumstances it is standard procedure to launch the lifeboat and it gave Pauline a chance to see how fast the lifeboat can be launched and the response of the volunteers in times of emergency. The lifeboat was launched at 9.20am and kept a presence on the river before they learned that the flight, which was en route to France, had landed safely at Shannon Airport and they were stood down. Commenting on the callout, Pauline Dunleavy said, “During my first callout in this new role, it was great to see the lifeboat crew respond to an emergency from the other side. I had the opportunity to see the …

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Following the heritage trail at Loop Head

AT last week’s launch of the Loop Head Heritage Trail, Trea Heapes and Frances Bermingham unveiled details of their heritage audit of the three parishes that primarily make up the Loop Head Peninsula. Working in conjunction with the Heritage Council, they have come up with an 872-item inventory for the parishes of Kilkee, Carrigaholt and Kilballyowen. This audit was separate but complements the Loop Head Heritage Trail, which includes 18 attractions on the peninsula. Both will be used to help tourists experience Loop Head in some detail. “It’s an inventory of all items of heritage on the Loop Head Peninsula. You’re talking about nearly 90 townlands. In some townlands there isn’t even a house in it. That’s from Baltard, west of Doonbeg, down through Tullaher Bog, to Poulnasherry Bay and then west to Loop Head. There was mainly three parishes in the audit – Carrigaholt, Kilballyowen and Kilkee. About 400 odd of the 872 are recorded monuments,” Trea Heapes explained. …

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Brian Boru Crown returns to Killaloe

A new Brian Boru Millennium Crown, which is being used as part of a nationwide drive to raise thousands of euro for cancer research, was taken to the birthplace of its namesake this week. The crown, which is part of the Jewels for Cures cancer initiative, was transported from the Hunt Museum for a few stops at historical landmarks connected with Brian Boru in East Clare, by the brainchild of the charity drive, Alison McCormick. Ms McCormick had originally intended to auction the crown but then decided to donate it to the Irish people, as a gift to mark the commemorations marking 1,000 years since Brian Boru’s death at the Battle of Clontarf. This project raises funds for the Cancer Clinical Research Trust (CCRT), which was set up by Professor John Crown in 1997. Members of Killaloe Ballina Féile Brian Boru committee and the High King’s direct descendant, Lord Inchiquin, Conor O’Brien were present to mark this historic occasion at …

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Bringing a ray of sunshine to abused children

THE Clarecastle-born director of a charity, bringing hope to very young children in Kenya whose lives have been blighted by sexual abuse and prostitution, is appealing for people to help build a refuge for the children. Ray of Sunshine Foundation director, Olive Halpin, and patron, RTÉ’s Derek Davis, will launch the 2016 building project with a fundraising Festive Night of Food and Fashion in the Inn at Dromoland next week. Children in Kenya, who have been abused and some trafficked in the sex trade from as young as three years old, are relying on the charity to bring some light and hope into their darkness. “These children have been abandoned when they are of no more use to the people who abuse them and they are left deeply scarred, physically, emotionally and mentally, having experienced only the world’s ugliness,” Ms Halpin said. She added, “The Ray of Sunshine Foundation is working to show them beauty and a future. These beautiful …

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Tulla student called to the Somme battlefield

A TRANSITION-year student from Tulla has been chosen to represent his county in a research project that will see him visit the Somme battlefield in Northern France next summer. Nathan Peer was selected from entrants across Clare to represent the Banner County in the History Teachers Association of Ireland’s inaugural Adopt a WWI Soldier Project. The competition was open to students with an interest in history who were in either transition year or fifth year in the Republic of Ireland or in years 12/13 in Northern Ireland. The competition includes a research project between now and the summer and will culminate in a trip by 32 selected students from each county to the Somme battlefield in June 2015. The idea behind the project is that each student will “adopt” a soldier from his/her native county who died in the First World War. They will carry out research about the soldier through archival material and by talking with living relatives. When …

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