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Famous sherpas visit West Clare

THE world’s most prolific climbers are currently in Ireland speaking about their death-defying experiences in the Himalayas. Nepalese heroes Mingma Sherpa and Pasang Sherpa have travelled here to speak about their efforts to rebuild the renowned Rolwaling valley area since the devastating earthquake struck on April 25, 2015. They adressed an enthusiastic gathering at the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point on Saturday night last. The community have been working tirelessly to rebuild their village and their livelihoods and they are hoping to promote tourism in Nepal through Ascent Himalayas, Nepal Tourism Board and the Nepal Ireland Society. Tourism is the key back bone of Nepal’s economy and is a much needed source of foreign currencies, especially in the aftermath of the unprecedented natural disaster that crumbled the country’s economy and shattered the livelihoods of those living in the mountains. Climbing is currently changing dramatically in Nepal, with many sherpas setting up their own companies instead of working for western-based ones. …

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Samaritans answer more calls for help

THE local branch of the Samaritans is busier than it has ever been in its 33-year history. The Ennis and Clare Samaritans answered 52,376 calls in 12 months and details of the increase in the use of the Samaritans service throughout the country were revealed in the 2014-15 Impact Report covering the organisation’s work in Ireland. According to the report, more than 652,166 calls for help were answered by Samaritans volunteers across the country in the last year. The Ennis and Clare branch answered on average more than 140 calls a day. Calls to the Samaritans have gone up by a massive 60% since Samaritans launched a free to caller number 116-123 in March 2014. The launch of the free number is due to a partnership between the Samaritans, telecommunications service providers, the Government and the National Office for Suicide Prevention. Angharad Harding, director of the Ennis and Clare Samaritans, said, “The increase in calls show that many people in …

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Number of same-sex marriages to build slowly

2015’s referendum has made marriage possible for thousands of gay and lesbian people but it’s unlikely that there will be a surge of same-sex marriages in Clare in 2016. Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan said, “I think there’s certainly going to be an uptake but I would say it’s something that’s going to build slowly. So far, our experience is that a lot of people are seeking small intimate venues, unusual venues as well.” Mr Vaughan added, “I have colleagues who have gone into the market, not so much in Clare yet, but I know it’s something that will certainly add to the business of hotels. Personally speaking, I don’t think it’ll be a huge boom immediately; colleagues haven’t noticed that as yet.” Kilrush man Brian Sheehan, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), said there are reasons why there won’t be lots of gay couples marrying immediately. “We know that about 2,000 couples have had civil partnerships …

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Clare seeking a bigger slice of holiday market

The Holiday World Show 2016 at the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin from Friday, January 22 to Sunday 24  will provide a forum for face-to-face interaction with over 1,000 travel and tourism professionals, representing over 50 countries. Clare exhibitors targeting the 30,000 expected attendees at this year’s Holiday World Show include the Aillwee Cave, Bunratty Castle Hotel, Clare Tourism, Doolin Cave, Doonbeg Community Development, Great National Hotels & Resorts, Shannon Ferries and Visit Ennis The RDS venue will be transformed into a hub of exotic, vibrant, multi-cultural activity; from the Americas to Asia, Europe to Africa, visitors can literally experience the locations on offer in a way that is not possible on the internet. A one-stop shop of inspiration and advice, the 2016 show is sure to broaden the horizons of those seeking their ideal break. Whether you’re seeking that once-in-alifetime trip, planning a well deserved family holiday or making plans for a romantic getaway, the Holiday World Show is the must-attend event of the year.

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Christmas at the coalface of Syrian crisis

BACK in 1995, Mountshannon woman Ann McNamara decided to leave her job with an insurance company and work with Concern in Bangladesh for a two-year period. More than 20 years later, she is still working with an organisation responding to crisis situations. An assistant country director with GOAL, based in Antakya on the Turkey/Syria border for six months, Ann says spending Christmas away from home and family has become the norm. “Over the 22 years I have been overseas, I have probably spent two or three Christmases back in Ireland,” she says. “This is normal for me. It’s so crazy here you don’t even realise it’s Christmas.” Ann initially worked with Concern for 11 years as a regional HR advisor, before working with Oxfam and then Save the Children UK in South Sudan. She returned to Concern in 2011 to work as an assistant country director in Liberia for two years and then spent one year in Lebanon. “I finished my …

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Charities to gain from Christmas swims

SEVERAL fundraising swims and walks will be held across Clare on Christmas Day and on St Stephen’s Day. The Kilrush swim will take place at Aylevaroo beach at 11.15am. Proceeds go to Kilrush RNLI and Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation. Contact Therese on 086-8717452 for sponsorship cards. Meanwhile the 12th annual swim in Gortlass Lake, Kildysart will again take place on Christmas Day at 12noon. All funds raised are donated to the cancer centre in Kilkee. Contact John O’Connell on 087-9672442. Doonbeg GAA club will host a Jack and Jill Foundation fundraising swim at the White Strand at 12.30pm on December 25 while the GAA clubs in Killaloe and Ballina will benefit from the Christmas Day swim at Two Mile Gate on 12.30pm on Christmas Day. More information is available from Christy McGrath on 061-376245. The annual Christmas Day swim will take place at Flaggy Shore, New Quay on Christmas morning while a swim will be held at Fanore on …

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A Christmas wish for ‘undocumented’ Irish

Senate Spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora and Chair of the Ireland America Association, Mark Daly has called on the Government to ensure 2016 is the year the 50,000 undocumented Irish can come home to see their loved ones. “With 50,000 Undocumented Irish in America, we estimate that approximately 500,000 people in Ireland, that includes mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and other family members are affected by the lack of Immigration Reform in the United States,” said Senator Daly. “There has been little progress made in 2015; humanitarian visas were not made available, despite my request that the Government ask for President Obama to include such a provision in the Executive Action which is now being challenged in the supreme court. People should be given access to humanitarian visa, this would allow them to return to the US if they need to travel home to Ireland to be with family members in times of distress, illness or bereavement. “I am …

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Christmas trees take flight

Members of the public are being invited to attempt to break a Guinness World Record this festive season. The challenge related to the Irish Christmas Tree Throwing Championship takes place in Active Tim Smyth Park, Ennis, from 1pm to 3pm on  Sunday, January 3. The championship, which is based on age-old lumberjack traditions across Germany and Austria, will see members of the public competing to achieve the longest distance for throwing a standard 1.5-metre tree. 2014 winner, Gary O’Growney from Dublin and 2013/2015 winner John O’Dea from Limerick share the Irish record At 10.2 metres. This is under two metres short of the world record held by Klaus Pubnaz, who hurled a tree a distance of 12 metres. Last year’s U-12 section was won by Shane Kenny, while the ladies section was won by Audrey Kavanagh (4.1m). The proceeds raised by the event will go towards the West Clare Mini-Marathon Cancer Centre. Organised by Clare County Council in conjunction with …

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