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North Clare

Family appeal for new home

A homeless family, living in emergency accommodation for the past three and a half months, is begging Clare County Council to house them, as they cannot find suitable private, rental accommodation locally. Martin Mongan, his 21-year-old partner, Kathleen Delaney, and their two young children are currently living in one bedroom in a bed and breakfast in Lahinch. “It has been very, very hard. There is a lot of moving. Where we are now, we leave at about 12 noon or 1pm and we have to be gone until about 8pm or 9pm. My parents and brothers would collect us if the weather is bad but we have a double buggie and, in the fine weather, we walk down to Lahinch and wait there until we get collected,” Martin explained. “Then we wait with my parents in their house in Miltown Malbay and then, at night, we come back again. We have breakfast here and that is good and then, within …

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North Clare GP takes High Court action against HSE

A North Clare-based GP has launched a High Court action over the Health Service Executive’s decision that he does not qualify for payments under a scheme designed to ensure services are provided to medical card-holders in rural areas. The action has been brought by Dr Liam Glynn, a GP working out of Ballyvaughan and Fanore, arising out of a decision by the HSE earlier this year that he no longer qualified for payments under a scheme known as the Rural Practice Allowance. The scheme applies where a doctor lives and practices in a centre with a population of less than 500 people and where there is not a town with a population of 1,500 or more within a three-mile radius of that. He provides medical services  from Ballyvaughan Medical Centre and Fanore Dispensary, and makes numerous house calls to patients every week. The HSE in correspondence with Dr Glynn said its decision was based on the fact that Dr Glynn …

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Keeping the Burren tidy

The North Clare business community is getting involved in keeping the roads and laneways of the Burren tidy through a scheme rolled out by the Burren Ecotourism Network (BEN), and supported by Clare County Council and the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark Over 30 businesses have already signed up to the Adopt a Hedgerow Scheme, which sees participants clearing, monitoring and reporting on litter in the protected landscape of the Burren. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark is providing training and materials to BEN under the GeoparkLIFE project to ensure that adopt a hedgerow becomes a long term scheme that will inspire other business communities in other parts of the county. BEN says the scheme will be extended in June to include the reporting of invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Dogwood, which can negatively impact on native species that have been part of the Burren ecosystem for millennia. “Each of the participating businesses, which are all members of our network, is taking …

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Clare emigrant makes immigration his business

It is all coming full circle for Doolin-man Lorcan Shannon. The young North Clare emigrant has recently opened his own immigration law firm in midtown Manhattan. Lorcan deals mainly with new visa applications but since opening his Broadway offices he has also worked with undocumented Irish eager to legalise their situation. It is in this area he has encountered a recurring anomaly. “One thing that comes up that is kind of curious is that often people might not realise that their parents are U.S. citizens from way back. They don’t realise that citizenship is quite often something that is acquired at birth if certain conditions are met. There are people who have come to our office who were citizens but who thought they were living here illegally. That is not uncommon so you have to explore every option and get as much information from the person as you can because often they think something is nothing but it is a …

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Kinvara's picturesque harbour area. Photograph by John Kelly.

Tourism buoyed by new ferry service

A NEW sea service bringing tourists from Galway City to the Burren will be launched this weekend. The company behind the initiative believes in the region of 4,000 tourists a year could be brought to North Clare and South Galway on the sailings, as planned, but that there is capacity to expand the service. MacMara, a newly-formed marine and coastal ecotourism company based in Kinvara, will launch the routes at the pier in the village on Saturday. The company will run daily crossings from Galway Port across the bay to Kinvara and Ballyvaughan on alternate days, as well as coastal trips plying the bay. The foundation for the tourist-orientated ferry was the feasibility study for the Ballyvaughan Bay Hop, a community-led sea commuter service from Ballyvaughan to Galway City. Gwen Ryan was the driving force behind that project and is now involved with MacMara. “We had very positive feedback from the Bay Hop. There was a lot of interest in it but that interest was mainly from leisure travellers and people …

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Lisdoon to get the Baden-Baden Treatment

LISDOONVARNA could be the Baden-Baden of Ireland, a local hotelier has claimed. The German town rose to international fame when it was used as a base by the English soccer team, as well as players’ wives and girlfriends, during the 2006 Fifa World Cup. The spa resort in the foothills of the Black Forest welcomes millions of day visitors and hundreds of thousands of over-night tourists each year. Marcus White of White’s Hotel Group, which owns the Hydro Hotel, the Imperial Hotel and the Burren Castle Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, believes the North Clare town could boom in a similar fashion, if the town’s spa wells are developed. Lisdoonvarna became a popular resort in the early 1800s because of the spa wells and its waters, containing minerals reputed to have health restorative effects. Mr White last week announced deals with German tour operators that would see 60,000 additional bed nights filled in North Clare. “I have talked to Government officials. I …

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A sunny start of tourist season

A COMBINATION of good weather, the Wild Atlantic Way and a public holiday saw huge numbers of people flock to the Clare coast at the weekend. Tourism providers across the county are reporting one of the busiest Easter weekends in recent years. One prominent hotelier said it was “more like August than April”, which meant that seasonal staff could be hired over a month earlier than usual. Attractions across the county also recorded high visitor numbers, with the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, Bunratty Folk Park and Craggaunowen all recording increases this year compared to last. “It was a super weekend,” John Burke from the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point and Hotel Doolin stated. “We had a surge in customer numbers. People just want to flock to the coast to cool down and it was great to see it pick up so early in the season. It has allowed us to recruit earlier in the year. Normally, seasonal staff wouldn’t …

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Lisdoonvarna company to feature on TV

The Burren Smokehouse, based in Lisdoonvarna, is to feature in a new documentary series being produced by ITV. Wild Ireland, a primetime six-part series, sees presenter Christine Bleakley returning home to Ireland to travel the length of its 1,500-mile west coast – the longest continuous coastal route – known as the Wild Atlantic Way. The series is devised by Big Mountain Productions, a Newry-based production company, but supported by Tourism Ireland, within their strategy to highlight the Wild Atlantic Way around the world. The Burren Smokehouse will feature in the first episode of the series to be broadcast on ITV and UTV Ireland on Monday April next from 8pm to 8.30pm. ” As a Wild Atlantic Way Food Ambassador for Fáilte Ireland, we hope this wonderful exposure will help us grow the 30,000 visitor figure at our visitor entre, said Birgitta Hedin-Curtin.

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