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Ennis

A night of nostalgia for St Michael’s residents

Clare Roots Society is to extend its work in publishing and recording the history of the county, after completing its programme in Ennis. Its latest publication, St Michael’s Villas (Ennis) A History and Miscellany, was launched by Mayor of Ennis Johnny Flynn at the Temple Gate Hotel last week. It was a night of nostalgia and storytelling and a great reunion of past and present residents of the estate, which was opened in 1953. It was also a night to recall the names of deceased residents, who were remembered at a special ‘Celebrating Our Story and Remembering Our Dead’ mass in Ennis Cathedral earlier in the evening, celebrated by Fr Tom Ryan, Shannon, a son of St Michael’s. All the speakers at the launch congratauled St Michael’s Villas native Cora McNulty (the former Cora Hahessy), who documented the publication, which captures the history of a strong and vibrant community as well listing the wonderful achievements by many of its residents. Among …

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From ‘Champion to bestsellers list

CLARE-born journalist, Ann O’Loughlin has seen her debut novel, The Ballroom Café, go to number four on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list, even before its official launch in the UK and Ireland last Thursday. The Ballroom Café is set at the height of the recession in Ireland in a crumbling mansion, where two elderly sisters, Ella and Roberta O’Callaghan, live alone with their secrets, memories and mutual hatred. Long estranged by a dark family tragedy, they communicate only by terse notes. But when the sisters are threatened with bankruptcy, Ella defies Roberta’s wishes and takes matters into her own hands, converting the mansion’s old ballroom into a café. Much to Roberta’s displeasure, the café is a hit and the sisters are reluctantly drawn back into village life. But Ella finds herself reliving painful memories, when Debbie, an American woman searching for her birth mother, begins working at the café. The sisters find themselves caught up in an adoption scandal that …

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Pat Daly is new Mayor of Ennis

THE newly elected Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District, Councillor Pat Daly, has expressed his gratitude for the vote of confidence placed in him by the councillors of the district. The Ennis native said he was proud, grateful and humbled at his election, which was unanimously agreed by his colleagues at the annual general meeting of the district council. Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy nominated her Fianna Fáil colleague to be mayor, seconded by independent councillor Ann Norton and supported by councillors Mary Howard, James Breen, Paul Murphy and the outgoing mayor, Johnny Flynn. Councillor Tom McNamara sent his apologies for not being able to attend the AGM, as he is recovering from an operation at present but he also supported his Fianna Fáil colleague. Councillor Mary Howard was elected as deputy mayor. In his opening address, Councillor Daly noted, “I once had the honour to be named Mayor of Clare but to be named mayor of my own town is …

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The Castle brings village back to life

MORE than 40 craftspeople, artists and antique dealers have already taken retail space in the newly-opened arts, antiques and craft centre and restaurant at the former Coach House pub in Clarecastle. The Castle, a three-storey building, has been given a €1m restoration through the partnership of antiques expert, Paul Walsh – who operated in the nearby Antique Loft premises across the road for many years; coach operator, PJ Keogh, of PK Travel; and tourism and accommodation specialist, Emelyn Heaps, of Renaissance Resorts. Walsh also had a successful antiques business in Kilcolgan, County Galway, which he sold two years ago, thinking to retire and spend more time indulging in his hobby of horse-training. However, his friend, Emelyn, had other ideas. “Emelyn said to me, ‘Your building would make a great craft building’ but I told him it’s not big enough on its own. It might be okay for crafts but it’s not big enough to make it a draw for people. …

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Council support for peace park

A Clare Peace Park Initiative to erect a First World War memorial in honour of the Clare men who served and died in the conflict has been granted planning permission. The development, which will now proceed in partnership with the council, is on 0.1 hectares of land at Causeway Link, across the road from Glór, in Ennis and will consist of three standing stones, with inscriptions, which will be surrounded by about 100 square metres of paving with pathways in and out of the memorial site. The group’s chairperson, Dr Keir McNamara, is pleased that the initiative has been granted permission and would welcome further sponsorship to ensure the project can get off the ground as quickly as possible. “If we could get in the last bit of money we need, there’s no reason it couldn’t be completed by the end of this year. If we have a slower response to the fundraising effort, we would probably be looking at the middle of …

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Vinyl makes a comeback in Ennis

THE heyday of vinyl is well past, having been overtaken many times – by cassettes, themselves long antiquated; CDs, downloads and streaming. While there is no doubt that both collecting and listening to the old-style records is now a niche interest, it’s a niche that isn’t without its devotees and apparently the numbers of fans of vinyl are actually going up. Sinéad Nic Síoda is running the Record Break Café in Ennis and in her store she stocks vinyl from stars of decades gone by but, surprisingly, there are also very recent releases. For example, U2’s most recent album, Songs of Innocence, which was controversially released on iTunes last September, is there on vinyl, while for the not insignificant sum of €300 you can buy a limited edition collection of all Eminem’s work. Slim Shady on vinyl, who’d have thought it? There is little problem getting new records, Sinead says, and she believes there is more interest in them now. …

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Ennis gas leak ruled out

FIRE services in Ennis and Bord Gais employees were called to The Square in O’Connell Street this Friday morning following a suspected gas leak. The top of O’Connell Street was cordoned off and checks were made in the surrounding area. Clare Fire Service later confirmed that no gas leak was found and the likely cause of the odour was from the town drains, adding that the O’Connell Street drains were flushed out by the fire personnel.

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Stephen’s the bee’s knees

A 12-year-old Ennis National School pupil represented his county at the Munster Spelling Bee final in Cork. Stephen Cahill was runner-up at last Friday’s event, which was part of an overall Eason literacy and reading initiative that aims to inspire children to develop a greater appreciation of words in a fun and educational way, and to encourage them to perfect their spelling and pronunciation skills. Stephen went head to head with Michael O’ Donnell from Tipperary, who was crowned Munster champion and will go on to represent his province at the Eason Spelling Bee All-Ireland final. Four provincial winners will then battle it out for the 2015 Eason All-Ireland Spelling Bee Champion title and for the chance to win a library of books for their school.

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