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Vinyl makes a comeback in Ennis

THE heyday of vinyl is well past, having been overtaken many times – by cassettes, themselves long antiquated; CDs, downloads and streaming. While there is no doubt that both collecting and listening to the old-style records is now a niche interest, it’s a niche that isn’t without its devotees and apparently the numbers of fans of vinyl are actually going up. Sinéad Nic Síoda is running the Record Break Café in Ennis and in her store she stocks vinyl from stars of decades gone by but, surprisingly, there are also very recent releases. For example, U2’s most recent album, Songs of Innocence, which was controversially released on iTunes last September, is there on vinyl, while for the not insignificant sum of €300 you can buy a limited edition collection of all Eminem’s work. Slim Shady on vinyl, who’d have thought it? There is little problem getting new records, Sinead says, and she believes there is more interest in them now. …

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Woodstock Hotel to reopen

FIFTY jobs are to be created at Woodstock Hotel, after the Choice Hotel Group bought the upmarket 67-bed hotel on the Shanaway Road, Ennis, for a reported €1m-plus. The hotel is to re-open on a phased basis, starting in the middle of next month, with the bar, lobby and bedrooms available to guests, while €750,000 in refurbishments are carried out to allow the hotel facilities – including its function/conference room, leisure centre (complete with 15-metre pool), restaurant, meeting rooms and spa – to be fully open for business by the end of September. Regional group general manager, Darragh Brady is currently in Ennis, overseeing the start up and recruitment of around 50 staff for the hotel. “It’s a fantastic hotel and we’re getting great support from local people, who are delighted to see Woodstock Hotel reopening as part of the Choice Hotel Group,” he said. The Choice Hotel Group is the largest four-star operator in Ireland, with over 1,300 rooms …

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Clare young scientists to the fore

BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition have revealed that over the past five years, the participation rate of County Clare secondary schools is 78%. Considered to be Ireland’s premier STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) event for schools, it has been a happy hunting ground for Clare entrants. In fact, Clare students have returned home with a total of 41 awards, which confirms the high calibre of entries submitted across the county each year. BT unveiled the statistics as it called on students across Clare to submit an entry to the 2016 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Now in its 52nd year, the exhibition is synonymous with offering young people a platform from which they can explore and discover the world they live in through the subjects of technology, social and behavioural science, biological and ecological science or chemical, physical and mathematical science. Mari Cahalane, head of the BT Young Scientist, said, “It’s encouraging to see that the majority …

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Actors looking out for the men

Three leading Irish actors have joined in a campaign to highlight the often overlooked issue of domestic violence against men. Amen Support Services Ltd.’s new Break Your Silence awareness campaign, is being supported by Fair City actors Bryan Murray, Una Crawford O’Brien and Caroline Harvey. The awareness campaign is funded by Cosc, the national office for the prevention of domestic, sexual and gender based violence. AMEN is an organisation, which provides a confidential helpline, information and support service for male victims of domestic abuse. This issue is of growing concern, as thousands of men suffer in silence at the hands of their abusive partners. In 2013, AMEN received over 4000 helpline calls, with over 1,000 new men seeking support and information. For many of these men, speaking to AMEN was the first crucial step to possible safety for them and their families. Through this campaign, AMEN is aiming to encourage victims that, should they be in an abusive relationship, they …

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German travel bloggers in Clare

Thousands of people in Germany and elsewhere around the world are set to read all about Clare and the Wild Atlantic Way, following the recent visit of two well-known German travel bloggers. Martin Merten and Carolin Steig, whose blog is called We Travel The World, were here as guests of Tourism Ireland. Martin and Carolin travel the world, showcasing their real-time journeys and broadcasting their stories and experiences through their writing, photos, video and engaging social media. They were here to experience Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way by campervan, so they could inspire their readers and followers to come and discover Ireland for themselves. During their time here, the bloggers visited the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin. Zoë Redmond, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Central Europe, said, “Martin and Caolin’s blog is very popular, so their visit was a fantastic opportunity to create a major impression on their followers, as they explored the Wild Atlantic Way and shared their experiences. They have …

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County Fleadh on track for Kilrush

FIFTY-five years ago this month, the West Clare Railway was trundling towards Moyasta from Shragh when the driver started pumping the breaks. The train was packed and en route to the County Fleadh in Kilrush, which will be held in the town again later this month. Among those on board were the U-14 Shragh Flagellate and Accordion Band. The Whelan brothers, Frank and Joe Joe, were seated on the train when it ground to a sudden halt. “We heard the hooter blowing and we just pulled up,” Frank recounted. “I stuck my head out the window. There was a cow on the track with the calf sucking the cow. We sat there until the cow walked away when the calf was finished.” Their adventurous journey to Kilrush wasn’t over. The train pulled into Moyasta Station and was next due in Kilkee. However, a technical issue in Kilkee meant the West Clare Railway couldn’t turn there. “The roundabout in Kilkee wasn’t …

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Yeats auction raises €10,000 for tower

A LETTER from Maud Gonne donated to the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society made €5,200 at a special auction held at Yeats’ tower on Sunday last. A Salthill couple secured the letter, beating bids from Dublin and Washington. In total, €10,000 was raised for the reopening of Thoor Ballylee, the former summer home of WB Yeats in South Galway. The auction took place from the rooftop of the tower by local auctioneer, Colm Farrell MIPAV, acting as Yeats himself. Enid McAleenan donated Maud Gonne’s autobiography; Servant of the Queen, originally owned by her aunt, Eileen McAleenan. The book contains a letter from Gonne to McAleenan, where she tells her about the importance of living a full, adventurous life and to stand up for a free Ireland. Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, was beaming at the end of a very successful auction. “The power and generosity of the local community is remarkable. Like Maud Gonne’s advice in her letter, they …

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When the Wolf gave up the sofa

THERE are lots of theories on how wolves decided to interact with humans. Did we ‘adopt’ the cutest or the abandoned wolf cubs? Highly unlikely, as we now know, with scientific research, living with a sociable wolf as a family pet is next to impossible. Domestic dogs evolved from a group of wolves that came into contact with European hunter-gatherers between 18,800 and 32,100 years ago; this wolf has since died out. Can you imagine 32,100 years ago trying to hunt to feed your family, let alone a large wolf, who could kill you over a meal. The hunting hypothesis, that humans used wolves to hunt, doesn’t hold up. Humans were already successful hunters without wolves, more successful than every other large carnivore. People have a long history of eradicating wolves, rather than trying to adopt them. Over the last few centuries, almost every culture has hunted wolves to extinction. The most likely explanation is that they probably domesticated themselves. …

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