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Horses and hard work keep Tom young at heart

By Peter O’Connell HE doesn’t look 90 and can’t quite believe that he is. Tom Whelan, originally from Doonbeg, has been living and working in O’Dea’s Road, Kilrush for several decades. He has shod thousands of horses since training as a farrier with Barry’s in Kilrush many decades ago. These days, Tom still tips away in his forge across from his house. “Tis a pity,” he laughs when the 90-year figure is mentioned. “Hard work. A lad that sits down gets seized up. It’s like a car or a tractor that’s idle. It seizes up,” Tom replied when asked how he was in such fettle. “I was always on them,” he added, pointing to his finely polished work boots. Tom has been around horses since he was knee high to a foal. When he was growing up in rural West Clare, everybody had a horse. They were essential. “Everyone had a horse,  a pony and an ass. Creamery, ploughing and …

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