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East Clare

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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Celeb Spotting in Quin

QUIN was where all the celebrities seemed to be hanging out in the last week, as locals got to meet with Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson and BBC chat show host, Graham Norton. Graham Norton clearly enjoyed the fun side of being in the village, tweeting that he was #lost and #hungover in Ireland, while posting pictures of a statue of a monk at Quin Abbey stating “Oh Brother where art thou? Any ideas? I’d really like to know”. He also included a second picture, one of a headstone which had Rice written on it, to which he commented, “It never stood a chance, [sic Long] live the potato”. Speaking about meeting the well-known television host, Ger O’Halloran, who runs Abbey Stores in Quin, said Graham came into the shop for a bottle of water. “I had an inkling when he walked into the shop of who it might be. He comes across as being much bigger on television …

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A new take on Mountshannon

Visitors to Mountshannon are to benefit from significant developments made by the local community council, in conjunction with the Aistear Field Committee, as the Aistear Tourist Office opened to the public this week. This is the first of a number of initiatives being rolled out by Mountshannon Community Council this month, which are all geared at increasing footfall in the village, as well as catering for tourism. The tourist office was officially opened on Monday, followed by the launch of the Mountshannon App on Thursday. The opening of an exhibition centre takes place on next Monday. Following the successful rollout of Mountshannon.com, a website featuring upcoming events, community pages, tourist information and historical details pertaining to the area, the local council decided to develop an app. This decision facilitated further discussion and out of this came the idea to provide a tourist office. Tom McNamara, supervisor of the CE scheme in Mountshannon, explained how it evolved from there. “We had …

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Lough Derg swim challenge

Former Irish Ladies rugby star, Rosie Foley and an Ogonnelloe TG4 presentation director will bid to make history by becoming the first two to swim the full 38 kilometre length of Lough Derg from Portumna to Killaloe this Saturday. James Lynch and Rosie Foley estimate it will take them 15 hours of continuous swimming to make the lake crossing depending on weather conditions and other factors. While Mr Lynch will be wearing a wetsuit for the event, Ms Foley, plans to swim without the wetsuit as she hopes to qualify for an attempt at the English Channel in the future. Up to now the pair have been training in pools since January and from late April they have been swimming long distances in the open water, to help them prepare for the event. The two swimmers and their support crews will be leaving Portumna on Saturday morning around 7am will subsequently make their way south along the lake to Killaloe. …

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Bodyke National School Goes Digital

BODYKE National School is taking a giant leap forward as it plans to go digital for the coming academic year, with pupils from the age of five being given a laptop from this September. The board of management, staff, and parents association have decided to embark on a project to ensure that every child from the age of five in this 24-pupil school has a laptop for the coming year. The ambitious proposal comes on the back of the school being one of a number of schools in County Clare to be awarded a Digital Schools of Distinction Award earlier this year. Colm Ó Tuathaill outlined how it came about.  “We sat down as a school, staff and board of management recently and we set about creating a new vision for the school, and that would be an e-learning vision. We could see the benefits of ICT (Information and communications technology) and we were looking at the Department of Education’s …

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