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East Clare

Visitors flock to eagles viewing platform

MORE  than 2500 visitors have so far flocked to see the White Tailed Sea Eagles viewing and information point  in Mountshannon since it was officially opened on July 4 last. Located at Mountshannon Pier and funded by Clare County Council, the new tourism development features telescopes and information and displays about Ireland’s largest and most spectacular breeding birds, including the first of the species to be born in the country in 110 years on Bushy Island in Lough Derg. The facility is being operated by the Mountshannon Eagle Group, Mountshannon Community Council and the Golden Eagle Trust, and will remain open until the end of September. Congella McGuire, Clare Heritage Officer said the introduction of the viewing point has further increased public interest in the local White Tailed Sea Eagle population without disturbing them in their natural habitat. “Since the birds first arrived in Mountshannon three years ago, the council has worked closely with the Golden Eagle Trust and the local …

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Edna’s birthplace ideal as writer’s retreat

CLARE TD Michael McNamara has called on the State to acquire Drewsboro House, the birthplace of acclaimed author Edna O’Brien, with a view to turning it into a writer’s retreat and museum. In a letter to the newly appointed Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys TD, Deputy McNamara highlighted the cultural significance of the house, which is located in Tuamgraney. The property, which consists of 7.025acres, failed to sell at auction earlier this month and the Clare TD believes if the State were to acquire the property it would represent “good value for the State”. “The primary importance of Drewsboro is cultural. Readers of The Country Girls and many other Edna O’Brien novels are very familiar with the house. In her memoir Edna describes her childhood home as ‘a large two storey house with bay windows, and could be approached by two avenues an old and a new’,” he stated in his letter to Minister Humphreys. He …

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First Interclub Junior Regatta at Cullaun Lake

CULLAUN Sailing Club, based in Kilkishen, hosted its first ever inter club junior regatta on Sunday last. Participating in the event were sailors from Cullaun Sailing Club, Killaloe Sailing Club and Foynes Yacht Club. Across the three clubs there were over 40 junior sailors represented on the water for the day ranging from 10 to 18 years of age. Commenting on the regatta Jim O’Sullivan of the Cullaun Sailing Club said, “this is the first time an event like this has been organised and judging by the skills and quality of the sailors it looks like it won’t be the last”. This was a mixed fleet of boats with a Portsmouth Handicap being used to calculate the overall winner. There were Lasers, Feva’s, Visions, Omegas and RS200 boats all competing for line honours at the event. Layla Benfredi of Cullaun Sailing Club came in first overall in her Laser and was closely followed by Sean Hynes and Mike O’Dea also …

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Bird flies in for Scariff Harbour Festival

Broadcaster, journalist and documentary presenter, Charlie Bird  will mark the 20th anniversary of the first IRA ceasefire in Northern Ireland at the opening of the 2014 Waterways Ireland Scariff Harbour Festival this August Bank Holiday weekend. For over 10 years from the start of the peace process, Charlie Bird was RTÉ’s contact with leading republicans. “This was one of the big dates in the history of the peace process, leading to the Good Friday Agreement,” said Charlie Bird. “I was one of three journalists given the statement by the IRA and the only one to have been given an audio copy of an IRA member reading out the statement. They have now been given to the National Museum in Dublin and, in time to come, will be on display,” he added. The idea for the very first festival in Scariff in 2003 stemmed from the Good Friday Agreement and the foresight of the North South Ministerial Council and the Arts …

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Bush priest on walkabout in Bodyke

He  is known as the Mandiago priest in his adopted home in The Gambia but for the next few months, Fr John (Jackie) Sharpe, CSSP, will be in Bodyke parish. He celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination over the weekend. He has already celebrated his 50 years of service in the Shrine Church he built at Kunkujang, The Gambia in March but his official golden jubilee date falls on July 5. A native of County Tipperary Fr Sharpe’s connection with East Clare goes back to 1965 when he first met Bodyke man, Bishop Michael Moloney, in The Gambia. Having been there since 1937, Bishop Moloney extended him a céad míle fáilte. Reflecting on his 49 years in Africa, Fr Sharpe sits in his Bodyke living room looking out at the beautiful view, content with what his retirement has to offer. He came home in 2009 on sabbatical, after spending nearly 45 years in The Gambia without a break. He was sent …

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Water leak leads to dry pub

We’re all familiar with the ditty, The pub with no Beer, but a  busy pub and restaurant in East Clare was without a proper water service last weekend, after a major leak occurred in Whitegate. Publican at the Half Barrel, Batt O’Riordan and his local representative, Councillor Pat Burke, were surprised that Irish Water did not consider the “major leak” to be an emergency. They were equally surprised when Irish Water said they could not come out until Monday and advised them to contact the local authority emergency number. The issue was reported on Saturday evening. A member of Clare County Council assessed the situation that day but was not in a position to repair the leak. Irish Water did come out on Monday morning and repaired the leak. In the meantime, the Half Barrel operated its business with the assistance of a neighbour who was able to run a hose to their water tank. Batt O’Riordan said Irish Water …

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Edna O’Brien’s Birthplace remains unsold

THE birthplace of renowned author Edna O’Brien has failed to sell at auction after the guiding price of €300,000 to €350,000 was not reached. The property went to public auction on Tuesday in the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis. The highest bid placed on the property was €200,000 and came after approximately six bids from two separate bidders. On this basis Noel Corcoran Auctioneers, of  Tipperary town withdrew the house from auction. They remain open to offers on the property and it has not been withdrawn from the market. By Carol Byrne

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A great fair at Spancilhill

AS usual, they came from far and near for the annual Fair of Spancilhill on Monday, and that was only the horses and ponies, as well as a number of donkeys for good measure. The glorious weather brought out a big number of dealers and buying and selling was brisk throughout the day.  The quality of the animals at the fair was described as being very good and this was reflected in the prices that were achieved. The fair also attracted quite a number of visitors, who were happy to observe  the time-honoured  traditions associated with showing the animals to prospective buyers and the bartering and hand slapping. Judging by the 2014 fair, the event famed in song by Robbie McMahon, has a strong future and will continue as an important part of the heritage of County Clare.

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