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Wheels coming off Ennis cycle plans

A SPOKE has been put in the wheel of plans to improve cycling and pedestrian facilities in Ennis, with claims that it will make the county capital less attractive for business and may even lead to job losses. Clare County Council has lodged part eight plans in relation to three Ennis Active Travel Town schemes at various locations and are currently inviting submissions from the public. The controversial plans are increasing concerns about how the proposals will effect businesses. Prominent Ennis businessman, Brian O’Neill, owner of the Rowan Tree, is objecting to proposals under the Clareabbey to Ballymaley section of the scheme, which involves the loss of nine parking spaces for the development of an “active travel amenity hub” close to his business. In a submission to the council, he voices his “full support” for the development of safe and defined cycling routes and amenities in Ennis and the county. However, Mr O’Neill argues that the plans “will negatively effect …

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Political alliance to remove poster cable ties

GETTING rival political parties together to form a government has been proving difficult enough in recent weeks. However, calls are now being made for politicians to cross the divide and come together to tackle a real bind. And their common foe? Cable ties that have been left all over the county on poles after the removal of election posters. Councillor James Breen has led the call for something to be done to remove the ties, which he says are still visible all over the county. “I took down any one I ever put up when I ran for election. What action is being taken to ensure that these are removed?” he asked. Councillor Ann Norton agreed, adding that the issue of posters being left up by candidates and even election posters re-appearing in previously checked areas is also a concern. The Clare Champion reported last month that Councillor Mary Howard had reported that up to 200 of her election posters …

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John calls time on O’Dea’s

THE claim many years ago by Samuel  Johnson that “there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn” springs to mind when  looking back on nearly 80 years of trading in O’Dea’s pub, Ennis. Over that period, the popular O’Connell Street premises carved out a niche for itself in the licensed trade of the capital town. Like most pubs, it has many a story to tell with its characters – and there were many of them – the great music sessions and the sing-songs, now almost exclusive to a family-run pub like O’Dea’s. But it has run its race with the decision of proprietor, John O’Dea, to retire from  the licensed trade entirely and consider other options for 66 O’Connell Street. Last weekend, as patrons ordered their last drinks, they looked back on great times in O’Dea’s but, at the same time,  expressed their disappointment at …

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St Flannan’s students hoping for blast off

FOUR Clare students have taken one giant leap by coming first in their category for a major international competition ran by NASA. The St Flannan’s students have come top in the senior small team category in the NASA/Ames Space Settlement Design contest. They now have a chance to present their ideas in front of an audience of scientists and those in the space industry at the International Space Development Conference in Puerto Rico next month. Some of the biggest names in space exploration will be at the five-day conference, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Eoghan Keane, Kieran Maher, Sean Donnelly and Jason Herbert designed a settlement for thousands of people in the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter. Their innovative design, orbiting around the dwarf planet Ceres, features agricultural, residential and industrial areas to support 10,000 people. The students worked with teachers John Conneely and Grainne O’Brien, with support from Michael Horgan, on the project. As well as facing …

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Snail mail take 45 years to reach Ennis

ENNIS businesswoman Mary Kelly, who operates a stationery and card shop on O’Connell Street, was rather surprised last week when a letter posted in Dublin 45 years ago dropped through her letterbox. The letter was addressed to the late Philip Reidy, the former owner of the premises. Along with his wife, Agnes Henchy Reidy, he ran a newsagency business from the building. Mr Reidy passed away in 1977. “The envelope was perfectly intact and the address was written in a nice fountain pen. The postal mark was April 7, 1971,” Mary told The Clare Champion. “I didn’t open it because there is a son of that man living in Celbridge. He said to me ‘open it’ but I said ‘no, no you have to open it’. It felt like it could have been a relic or a ten shilling note,” Mary mused. Celbridge-based Philip Ó Ríada, who is currently abroad, insisted however that Mary open the letter sent to his …

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Mini roundabout proposal for traffic problems

TRAFFIC levels are leaving residents of Corrovorrin and St Senan’s Road in Ennis “frustrated”, a meeting of local councillors has heard. Among the solutions suggested was a mini-roundabout in the area. Councillor Ann Norton, at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, asked that a traffic survey be carried out at the exit of Corrovorrin and St Senan’s Road to investigate the viability of the traffic-calming measure. She commented, “Residents in the area are quite concerned and frustrated; there is quite a lot of traffic.” Eamon O’Dea, senior executive engineer, told the meeting that a proposal funded by a Low Cost Safety Scheme went through a public consultation process for traffic-calming and was withdrawn at approval stage at Ennis Town Council, as approval was not forthcoming from the councillors. He explained, “The key issue in the withdrawal of the previous proposal was the position of the local shop to the junction and the requirements under road design guidelines that eliminated …

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Fleadh to return to Ennis in 2017

The decision of the Ardchomhairle of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann to stage Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2017 in Ennis has been warmly welcomed in County Clare. Hosting the world famous traditional music event for two years in a row is a mammoth challenge but one that we embrace with open arms, according to Mícheál Ó Riabhaigh, Cathaoirleach of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2016. “On a Sunday morning during Fleadh Nua in 2010, Frank Whelan, Rory Casey, Pat Liddy and I first discussed the idea of bringing the Fleadh back to Ennis. Little did we realise then, the time and effort it would take to have it back in Clare for the first time in nearly 40 years. To have the Fleadh back twice in consecutive years is beyond our wildest dreams,’ he continued. “Right now, it’s full steam ahead in Ennis to make this year’s All Ireland the greatest ever. We are learning a great deal in a very short …

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Olivier Award nomination for Ennis actresss

An Ennis actress is in good company as a nominee for one of the world’s most prestigious theatre awards. Denise Gough has been nominated in the Best Actress category for the Olivier Awards, along with Hollywood actresses Nicole Kidman and Gemma Arterton. Denise, from College Green, has been nominated for her performance in Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places and Things. Critics have been raving about her performance, describing it as “career changing”, “astonishing” and “emotionally shattering”. She has already won the Best Actress Award at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2015 for the same part and was nominated for the Best Actress Award by The Evening Standard for her “career-defining performance” as an actress whose life has spun recklessly out of control because of her addiction to drink and drugs. When she was named best actress for the Critics’ Circle Awards, she admitted almost giving up acting before she got the part with the National Theatre. Now she is the toast …

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Ennis Players pay tribute to Friel

Ennis Players celebrate the life of world-acclaimed playwright, Brian Friel, with a production of The Loves of Cass Maguire on its 50th anniversary. It is poignant that the Players are performing this play in the year of Brian Friel’s death and the Players believe they were the last amateur drama group in Ireland to receive a written license from Friel to perform the play, just two months before his passing. Glór Theatre – from Wednesday, next to Saturday, February 27 – will be the venue for the latest production of the award-winning Ennis Players. Allen Flynn, director, explained, “This is a very powerful play, both humorous and sad, but ultimately uplifting. Friel’s play deals with identity, the notion of truth and communication and how memories, both public and private, enable us to ride the highs and lows of life. “Throughout the play, images from the past flood into Cass’s head and the story unfolds when, after 51 years in America, …

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Cathal putting his life back in order

AFTER losing his wife Jackie to cancer in England, Cathal Shanahan moved back to Clare and started to put the pieces back together, living and working in an area he had left decades before. The grief hit him hard and fast after Jackie’s death but, having set up a business in Ennis, lost weight and taken up exercise, he feels he is making a good fist of things again. “She was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had the treatment for that, she had chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and then radiotherapy. That was fine. She had about 10 months then until it came back. When it came back it was only ever going to be palliative, it had spread. She passed away about two and a half years after that. That’s two years ago this August,” he says. Watching his wife dealing with terminal cancer was very difficult. “It was very tough but we were very lucky as well. With Jackie’s work …

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