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First Dates star defends himself after online slating

ENNIS man Timmie Murphy has been slated on social media over the last week, following his appearance on First Dates Ireland. However, in an interview with The Clare Champion, he said the cyberbullies’ views are not upsetting him, while he pointed out he did not set out to hurt his date on the show, Donegal man Richard McNeil. While Richard was obviously very keen to meet Timmie again, the 34-year-old, who is now based in Dublin but is originally from Golf Links Road, ruled it out.   Much of the online criticism of Timmie came because he urged Richard to say if he wanted to meet again first, even though his own mind was already made up. However, Timmie said he really thought there was little chance Richard would want to see him again. “I was as honest as I could be. I genuinely thought he would have said no to me. We got on but we got on as …

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Clare library plans progress

THE development of the new flagship €8.5 million County Library project in Ennis is moving ahead, with confirmation that the local authority will soon be seeking approval from the Government to apply for planning permission. It is expected that, subject to approval from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, the planning application will be made in either March or April. It is hoped that the main building development near Glór will begin on site next year, with construction anticipated to take 18 months. Liam Conneally, director of service with Clare County Council for housing, culture, sports and amenities, outlined, “The project is subject to ongoing cost reviews and stage approvals, as per the guidelines issued by the department. “Stage two is due to be submitted to the department in late February 2017 to seek approval to proceed to submission of a planning application in March or April. The date is subject to department approval to proceed.” A full …

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Tracing descendants of ‘bride ship’ girls

IN 1852, Winifred Ward left Ennis and boarded a ship, along with other workhouse orphans, with the hope of starting a new life in Australia. Efforts are now being made to find her descendants here in Clare so that they can connect with their overseas relations. Plans are also underway to make a documentary about the orphan girls who travelled to Australia on these so called ‘bride-ships’, and to celebrate their lives with a remembrance service next year. The Mountbellew Workhouse Orphan Girls Project has been working on bringing the descendants of these girls together and to ensure that their legacies are not forgotten. Genealogist Paula Kennedy explains that one of the descendants of Winifred, who may have spelt her surname Warde, has been in contact with the project team and is eager to make a connection with her Clare cousins. “We are currently working on a project, tracing the descendants of the immigrants of the Palestine Ship, which left …

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New Year's Eve at St Enda's Well, Slieve Elva, Fanore. Tom Doherty of Doolin Coastguard lights a torch to leave inside the well chamber, in memory of all who have lost their lives at sea over the past year, Looking on are, Celina Kennedy, David Courtney, former Coastguard helicopter pilot, John Galvin, MD Clare Champion and Joe Queally of the RNLI. Photograph by John Kelly.

New Year’s wonder on Slieve Elva

Once you reach a certain age, New Year’s Eve should be spent in front of the telly, watching whatever rubbish is on, but sometimes you want to do something completely different. This New Year’s Eve, I found myself in a car, heading for Fanore in the company of Joe Queally, RNLI stalwart and Dave Courtney, a former Coastguard helicopter pilot. Our mission was to climb Sliebh Elva and light candles for the souls lost at sea and for our own families. Even leaving Ennis, the rain was coming down but by the time we hit Fanore and joined Doolin Coastguard, Tom Doherty and his partner Celine Kennedy, it was coming down like stair rods. I confess, I wasn’t well prepared. I forgot to bring my waterproof trousers and had to borrow a pair from Tom. My boots weren’t best suited to the conditions either. I really needed wellies to properly deal with the lakes of water that flooded the trail. …

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Maureen 100 years and counting

MAUREEN Cronin, a woman of indomitable spirit, had more birthday cards than Christmas cards to open this year. The writer and poet turned 100 on Christmas Day but hosted her big party a few days earlier in the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis. Surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a big number of other family members and friends, Maureen enjoyed a wonderful occasion. Born on December 25, 1916 in the musical and cultural heartland of Sliabh Luachra, the former Maureen O’Carroll made history in the education system when she defied the marriage ban for women by carrying on working for 12 months without pay, then continuing her career until well after the ban was eventually lifted in 1958. When Maureen married Sean Cronin, she wast teaching in County Limerick. After she was married, she went back to the school and continued to work without receiving a salary. For many she was a pioneer but in an interview a couple …

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TV documentary on Tulla Céilí Band

AN hour-long bilingual documentary, to be broadcast on TG4 on St Stephen’s night, tells the remarkable story of the Tulla Céilí Band. The Tulla Céilí Band tells the story of the band, which has been around for more than 70 years, and also offers a broader and more seamless social history of the times, revealing a tradition that has been handed down from father to son, along with exploring how this tradition was quite often slighted but yet continued to survive in an impatient and quickly changing environment. Directed by John O’Donnell and narrated by Doireann Ní Bhriain, the film explores the Tulla Céilí Band, both past and present, and looks at how their particular style and sound was forged and maintained over the years. When the band set out in 1946, no-one would have guessed that their unique sound would find a home in the hearts of many from Camden Town to Carnegie Hall, along with practically every dance …

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Bruni returns home after a year

BALLYNACALLY woman Maretta O’Hehir, who lives in the townland of Ballycorick, was stunned last week to discover that her missing cat, Bruni, had returned home after 54 weeks on the missing list. The seven-year-old black cat went missing on December 4, 2015 when he escaped from a cage while on a trip to Ennis. “He flew across the road, climbed a seven foot wall and into somebody’s garden. He was traumatised after getting an injection. I searched every place. I tried that evening and for several days afterwards. He wasn’t used to traffic and had no road sense whatsoever,” Maretta said of Bruni, one of two cats she again keeps at home. “I got them around the time Nicolas Sarkozy became president of France. His wife was Carla Bruni, so I called the female Carla and I called him Bruni,” she explained. Maretta, one of Ireland’s most celebrated sopranos, was about to feed Carla when she discovered that Bruni was …

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Santa cleared for Irish air space

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross has confirmed that permission has been granted by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) for Santa Claus to enter Irish air space this Christmas Eve. There had been worries that Storm Barbara may have interfered with the big man’s travel plans, but the IAA have assured themMinister that Mr Claus is good to go. It is believed that Mr Claus will be accompanied with a team of nine reindeer and a large flying sleigh, however it is not yet known whether he will be accompanied by Mrs Claus, who is sometimes in charge of navigation. In addition Minister Ross said that the Coast Guard had issued a special Christmas Navigation Warning for all Irish coastal waters and the Irish Sea. Minister Ross said, “I have been informed that a large, jolly man on a low flying sleigh, assisted by reindeer and perhaps some elves, will be entering Irish air space tomorrow evening. I …

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