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1.4m visitors to Cliffs in 2016

THE Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is now Ireland’s second-best performing tourist attraction after Fáilte Ireland this week published the list of Ireland’s best performing tourism attractions in 2016. The North Clare tourist attraction experienced the most growth in the top five Irish attractions, having jumped by 14% to 1,427,166 visitors in 2016. The most popular fee-paying attraction remains the Guinness Storehouse, which experienced a 10% jump in visitors last year, welcoming 1.6m visitors through the gates. Fáilte Ireland’s annual list of Ireland’s top visitor attractions details the attractions registering strong growth, which is reflective of the strong tourism growth experienced during 2016. Among Ireland’s free-to-enter attractions, the National Gallery of Ireland continues to lead the way with numbers up 5% to more than 755,000. The top five fee-paying attractions during 2016 were Guinness Storehouse; Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience; Dublin Zoo, 1,143,908 (+3%); National Aquatic Centre, 1,037,992 (+4.5%) and the Book of Kells, 890,781 (+6%). Another Clare attraction features …

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Preparing Lough Derg Blueway

THE Blueway concept is coming to Lough Derg in the summer of 2018. This will provide an opportunity to showcase the lake area, increase the recreational use of the lake by residents and visitors, generate additional tourism into the area and add value to the existing tourism services. A recent series of Blueway capacity building workshops, for local tourism providers and communities, have helped to shape this local Blueway initiative. These workshops were well attended and a lot of valuable information was gathered from this consultation process.  There will be one more Blueway Development workshop on  June 20 at the Abbey Court Hotel in Nenagh at 7pm.

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New Kilmaley NS extension

SUNDAY last was a red letter day for the Kilmaley community, as Bishop Fintan Monahan performed the official opening of the local national school’s extension. Following mass, there was an opportunity for teachers, pupils and the wider community, along with past pupils returning for the event, to take in a special exhibition commemorating the history of the school through the generations. A presentation by pupils gave an understanding of school life today, a modern approach to learning in a modern environment. An arts display received a lot of positive comment. However, a photo display of school life past and present was the big attraction, with attendees pointing to themselves, other family members and friends. Outside, there was a tree planting ceremony representing all pupils pre 1966 and 1966-2016. A family fun day with athletics and novelties rounded off the activities.

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Landmark ‘asylum seekers’ court decision

THE project manager at the Clare Immigrant Support Centre in Ennis has described this week’s Supreme Court finding that the ban on asylum seekers joining the working force is unconstitutional as “very significant”. The ban was appealed by a Burmese man who lived in Direct Provision for eight years, prior to being granted refugee status. The court adjourned making a formal order for six months, to allow the Dáil to address the issue. Ireland and Lithuania are the only EU member states with indefinite bans on the right to work, while the working group report to government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision, recommended that the right to work be brought in. The Irish Government has yet to implement the recommendation. “This is a very significant and welcome decision by the courts,” Orla Ní Éilí, who has worked in the Clare Immigrant Support Centre for 24 years, told The Clare Champion this week. “I remember in 1996, …

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Duke of Kent visits Kilrush

THE Duke of Kent visited Kilrush RNLI station in Cappa on Tuesday as part of a two-day tour of lifeboat stations in Clare, Tipperary and Kerry. The Duke has been president of the RNLI since 1969. The 81-year-old arrived in Kilrush by helicopter, which landed in the local GAA field. There was a sizeable garda presence en route to Cappa and the roads were closed from shortly after 3pm, while Prince Edward was at the lifeboat station. His Royal Highness was greeted by the volunteer lifeboat operations team, lifeboat crew members and the local fundraising branch. As part of the visit, Kilrush RNLI showcased local Irish dancing, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, hand-crafted traditional Irish currach building and a selection of local pottery from the Brothers of Charity. The Duke was particularly taken with the display of brush dancing. Also in attendance were representatives from Kilrush GAA, focusing on the partnership between the GAA and RNLI working together to …

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Sign up for Heritage Week

INDIVIDUALS and groups around Clare are being encouraged to to get involved in National Heritage Week 2017 by registering an event in their community before next Wednesday. National Heritage Week – the theme of which is ‘It’s In Your Nature’ – takes place nationwide from August 19 to 27. Coordinated nationally by the Heritage Council, more than 450,000 people are expected to participate in over 2,000 heritage events. Each year events range from night-time bat walks, wildlife walks and lectures, classical music and poetry recitals, traditional music sessions, storytelling, historical re-enactments, and local history walks and talks. Congella McGuire, Clare Heritage Officer said, “Clare County Council encourages people to view Heritage Week as an opportunity to display their own area of heritage, be it natural, built or cultural, to the broader public. She explained, “Events can be held at a variety of venues, such as monuments and historical sites, parks and gardens, woodlands, wildlife reserves and inland waterways, schools, libraries and heritage …

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Following Blue Flag beaches on Twitter

Clare County Council will provide updates on conditions at the county’s Blue Flag beaches on its Twitter and Facebook accounts from Saturday next. The updates will feature latest sea, water quality and weather conditions, as well as tide in and tide out times for Ballycuggeran (Killaloe), Cappa, Fanore, Kilkee, Lahinch, Mountshannon, Spanish Point, Whitestrand Doonbeg and Whitestrand Miltown Malbay. The updates coincide with the commencement of lifeguard cover at County Clare beaches this June Bank Holiday Weekend. Lifeguard cover will be provided at Clare’s Blue Flag beaches from 11.00am to 7.00pm this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Cover will continue on Saturdays and Sundays during the month of June, while there will be full-time time cover at these locations as well as at Bishops Quarter (Ballyvaughan) and Seafield Quilty during the months of July and August and the first two weekends of September.

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Funds available for community groups

Community groups and environmental organisations across the county are being enouraged to submit applications for funding under the Local Agenda 21 (LA21) Environmental Partnership Fund 2017. Clare County Council, which administers the Fund in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, says the financial support scheme is aimed at community projects that help to increase local levels of environmental awareness and help communities become more sustainable. “This Fund promotes sustainable development by assisting small scale, non-profit environmental projects at local level,” explained Karen Foley, the council’s environmental awareness Officer. She added, “Projects should focus on environmental awareness and actions which complement national environmental policies such as those on waste, biodiversity, climate change, air, water and sustainable development. “A wide variety of projects and schemes have been supported under the fund in previous years, including community gardens and allotments, compost schemes, rainwater harvesting, biodiversity projects, waste prevention and reduction initiatives, educational initiatives and environmental exhibitions. Lists of …

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