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Burren Winterage honours generations of farmers

THE Burren winterage festival takes place over the bank holiday weekend. The celebration honours generations of Burren farmers and includes re-enactments of ancient pastoral traditions and Samhain pursuits. For hundreds of years, Burren farmers have marked the end of the summer by herding their cattle up onto winter pastures in the limestone uplands, in the tradition known as winterage and the Burren is one of the only places in the world where it still occurs. Recent years have seen a decline in many rural traditions but one local group is trying to not only ensure the continuation of this important Burren tradition but is celebrating it in a community-led weekend event. Along with the local community, the Burrenbeo Trust is coordinating the 2013 Burren Winterage Weekend, which celebrates the Burren’s farming heritage and the broader significance of pastoral farming in the Burren and beyond. The weekend includes a prize for the best shorthorn heifer, an open farm day, a fancy …

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Cavers to descend on the Burren

THE 29th annual Irish caving symposium (SUICRO 2013) takes place this October Bank Holiday weekend in Hotel Doolin, attracting more than 100 cavers from around Ireland and the UK. The event, organised by the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation (ICRO) and the Speleological Union of Ireland (SUI), will include activities, lectures, demonstrations, trade stands, workshops and DVDs and, for the first time, is open to the public. As well as attending lectures, members of the public can try out caving with qualified guides in some of the Burren’s most beautiful caves and visit ICRO’s rescue store located in Doolin. First-time explorers will be provided with the necessary equipment and will be guided by fully qualified cave leaders. The symposium offers an opportunity to learn about the subterranean world in Ireland and abroad, meet avid cavers and learn about the challenges faced by cave rescuers. “We decided that we would love to open up the store this year to those interested in …

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Ryanair launch eight new Shannon routes

Ryanair has announced eight new routes facilitating 300,000 additional passengers per year from Shannon Airport. The new services will begin in April 2014 and include routes to Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, Nice, Fuerteventura, Krakow, Faro and Munich as well as increased services on the Shannon to Stansted route. The announcement comes after the Government’s abolition of the travel tax in Budget announced last week. Details of the new flights were announced at a conference in Shannon Airport, hosted by Michael Cawley, deputy chief executive and chief operating officer of Ryanair, this Thursday. Shannon Airport Authority chairman, Rose Hynes and airport chief executive officer, Neil Pakey were also be in attendance. Deputy Joe Carey acknowledged the new deal would deliver a significant boost to passenger numbers at Shannon and would also have a positive knock-on impact on tourism-related enterprises in Clare. Following the introduction of independence at Shannon Airport in January, he pointed out passenger numbers from the United States were up …

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Free GP care for 6,000 Clare children

OVER 6,000 new Clare children aged five or under will be able to benefit from free GP care following Budget 2014. Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has stated that 10,709 Clare children will be eligible for free GP care under a new Government family friendly measure. The Department of Health estimates that 43% of children and adults nationally are already covered by a full medical card or GP visit card. Applying this percentage to Clare, 6,104 new Clare children will no longer have to pay up to €50 to visit their local GP once this new measure is rolled out in the county next year. The estimated cost of this new measure nationwide is €37 million and it will also mean 49% of the population are now covered for free GP care. According to Senator Mulcahy, this initiative will have a huge impact on thousands of  families across Clare, who will no longer have to stump up to €50 every time their …

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88% increase in 2014 Shannon-Chicago capacity

UNITED Airlines have announced they will run services between Shannon and Chicago again next year but there will be 88% more capacity on the route in 2014. They started a Shannon-Chicago service this summer, after a number of years without any link to the Windy City, and this week a spokesman said things had gone very well, leading to the decision to increase the amount of capacity next year. The majority of those using the service are Americans and the decision to renew and extend the route will provide a boost to Clare tourism interests. On Wednesday, United managing director sales for Britain and Ireland, Bob Schumacher lauded the 2013 performance. “We are not only returning but returning with a lot more seats on the market and we’re extending the season from mid-May to mid-September. That’s all systems go. We’re very pleased with how it’s performed this year and looking forward to something similar next year.” While declining to give …

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No copy of beach bylaws for gardaí

KILKEE town mayor Paddy Collins has claimed that Kilrush gardaí didn’t have a copy of the Kilkee beach bylaws to consult when they were called by him to the strand races on the local beach on Sunday, September 22. He made the claim at last week’s meeting of Kilkee Town Council, where he also claimed Kilrush gardaí “ignored” the presence of traders on the beach. “We had an issue with traders and parking again this year. I phoned the organisers, who said they had no authority to prevent people coming in or to ask them to leave. So I phoned Kilrush Garda Station on the Sunday at about 12.30pm,” Councillor Collins said at this week’s monthly meeting. “The garda said he’d send out a car. Half an hour later, the car was in town. It didn’t stop, ignored it and just drove past. [Councillor] Elaine Haugh also phoned at 2.30pm. There was a bouncy castle present, which had been removed …

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County Council shortlisted for planning awards

FOUR Clare County Council planning projects have been shortlisted for awards in the 2013-2014 National Planning Awards. The Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary, a major strategic plan for the future development and management of marine-related industry and tourism along Ireland’s largest estuary, is one of the nominated projects. The land and marine-based plan, the first of its type to be developed in the country, was commissioned by a multi-agency steering group comprising Clare County Council as lead authority, Kerry County Council, Limerick City and County Councils, Shannon Development and Shannon Foynes Port Company. The plan has been shortlisted in the Economic Planning Award category. The Shannon Town and Environs Local Area Plan 2012-18 – the first stand alone town plan that has been produced for Shannon – has also been shortlisted for the Urban Design & Place Making Award. The Plan, which was the subject of a public consultation process during 2012, provides a framework for …

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Wallet stolen while on honeymoon

A woman who came to Ennis on her honeymoon at the weekend is appealing to people in Clare for the return of her wallet, which was taken from her handbag here on Saturday. Irish American Lora Murphy and her Danish husband, Lars Moeslund, arrived in Ennis on Saturday to begin their honeymoon. However, after an hour, the couple’s plans had changed. “We had visited Ennis last year briefly and Lars just fell in love with the place. So after our recent marriage, we decided to spend our honeymoon there. We arrived on Saturday at about 1pm and within the hour, my wallet had been stolen and that was the end of the honeymoon,” Ms Murphy said. Ms Murphy was in a busy shop at the time of the incident and gardaí in Ennis are examining CCTV as part of their investigation. “I didn’t notice anything and then the woman who works there pointed out that there were glasses on the …

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