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From the Burren to Belarus, 30 years after Chernobyl disaster

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Burren Chernobyl Project is holding a fundraising walk in Ennistymon next Sunday (April 24, 2016). Nicola Corless spoke to Brother Liam O’Meara, director of the project, about the organisation’s work and his full-time involvement with it for the past 15 years.   Brother Liam is a Limerick man, reared on the border with Tipperary close to Galbally. He studied primary teaching at Mary Immaculate College and taught for four years in Limerick before becoming a Christian Brother in 1981 and working in schools in Cork. He moved to Ennistymon in 1986, the same year as the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Liam taught happily in the three-teacher CBS primary school in the North Clare town until 1999, when he dedicated himself fully to working with the Burren Chernobyl Project. The organisation was founded in 1993, with projects kicking off the following year. It was then …

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Chasing tourism opportunities in Dublin

Clare tourism businesses were in Dublin this week to attend the high-profile Meitheal, Fáilte Ireland’s largest trade fair. Organised by Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with its sister agency Tourism Ireland this year’s event brought over 310 overseas buyers into the country to meet with 455 Irish tourism businesses. Last year’s Meitheal event resulted in over 2,650 new business contracts being signed, including almost 900 contracts with international operators who had never programmed Ireland before. At this year’s event, there were up to 40 tour operators in attendance who have not previously had Ireland on their books – predominantly from China, India, the Gulf States and South Africa. Speaking at Meitheal, Fáilte Ireland’s CEO, Shaun Quinn, said, “By bringing both overseas and Irish operators together eyeball to eyeball, we managed to generate deals and contracts which will ensure significant additional tourism activity next year – including in County Clare”. “Whether at the trade fair, or through our tailored trips around the country, for the overseas attendees, Ireland certainly impressed our overseas guests and …

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App to help with Census 2016

The Central Statistics Office has launched a helpdesk and app designed to give people help and support as they prepare to make their mark in Census 2016. According to Deirdre Cullen, CSO senior statistician,“By participating in the census, we are helping to shape our understanding about life in Ireland in 2016, and show how Ireland has changed since the last census was taken in 2011. The census is also a fundamental part of our national heritage and collective knowledge. The 2016 census will take place exactly one hundred years to the day since the Easter Rising began, and the results will be of great interest to the historians of the future as they look back and reflect on life in Ireland in 2016”. The Census 2016 helpdesk can be called on 1850 2016 04 and an online helpdesk is available on http://census.ie/helpdesk/ The census app is available on Apple and Android and can be found by clicking on the store …

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John calls time on O’Dea’s

THE claim many years ago by Samuel  Johnson that “there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn” springs to mind when  looking back on nearly 80 years of trading in O’Dea’s pub, Ennis. Over that period, the popular O’Connell Street premises carved out a niche for itself in the licensed trade of the capital town. Like most pubs, it has many a story to tell with its characters – and there were many of them – the great music sessions and the sing-songs, now almost exclusive to a family-run pub like O’Dea’s. But it has run its race with the decision of proprietor, John O’Dea, to retire from  the licensed trade entirely and consider other options for 66 O’Connell Street. Last weekend, as patrons ordered their last drinks, they looked back on great times in O’Dea’s but, at the same time,  expressed their disappointment at …

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Specsavers staff to ‘Climb for Crumlin’

Specsavers Ennis’ fundraising activities will reach new heights next week as staff participate in a stair climber challenge to raise much-needed funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. As part of the newly launched ‘Climb for Crumlin’ campaign, Specsavers staff member Tony Power will embark on the epic journey of climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp and employees and customers across the country will go the distance on stair climber machines. Customers in Ennis are invited to drop in to their local store on Saturday, April 16 and show their support by taking part in the climb or making a donation to the worthy cause. Alternatively, customers can purchase and complete their very own wish card which will be delivered to the monks at Everest Base Camp. Wish cards cost €1 and Specsavers will match every €1 raised from these cards, with all funds going to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. Having exceeded its initial fundraising target, Specsavers recently announced …

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Tony shows his support with 48-hour fast

A former bank manager is banking on Clare people to join him in a 48-hour fast to raise funds to support the growing number of cancer patients in the county. Tony Finucane came to Ennis to work in Bank of Ireland as a clerk in 1977 and remained with the same bank until his retirement in 2012, which included 15 years as a manager. Over the years, the Newcastle West native worked all over the county, in Ennis, Shannon and Miltown, until his last post in Tulla. The 66-year-old is appealing to locals to join him during his 48-hour fast, which starts on Wednesday, April 6 at 8pm and runs until Friday, April 8 at 8pm. “Anyone is welcome to join me on the fast for a number of hours to raise money for Sláinte an Chláir. An acquaintance of mine got cancer in February 2015. The centre provides fabulous support and services for people who have cancer and their …

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Daithí’s on top of the world

ONE of the most interesting tunes you’ll hear on the radio this year is Ballyvaughan musician, Daithí Ó Drónaí’s Mary Keane’s Introduction. The track features Daithí’s grandmother, who is in her 90s, talking about having “several boyfriends” in her youth, resisting efforts to be set up with a Carron farmer and how she met her future husband in Kilfenora. Her words and laughter, combined with her grandson’s dance music, make for a sound that is absolutely unique and the track won Daithí a nomination for the Choice Music Prize Song Of The Year award. If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s well worth looking up on YouTube or Spotify. Speaking about it last week, Daithí said he wanted to push the limits of dance music a little, and do something with a strong theme. “That track was a weird one. I was writing a new EP and I had just finished a very strong pop album. I was getting a …

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St Patrick’s Day parades in photos

Thousands of people turned out to enjoy St Patrick’s Day parades in towns and villages all over County Clare.  The biggest parade was in Ennis where Pakie Wall from Kilmihil – the oldest Patrick in Clare – was grand marshal. We capture all the excitement and colour of the parades in photos. ENNIS:   GORT: KILLALOE: TULLA: SHANNON: KILRUSH: LISDOONVARNA:

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