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North Clare

Ennistymon Mart sold to Aldi

CLARE Marts has already sold Ennistymon Mart to discount supermarket, Aldi for a price tag believed to be in the region of €1.5m, despite strong opposition from the local IFA committee and local traders. Members of Ennistymon IFA staged a protest before a Clare Marts Board meeting in Ennis on Tuesday night, but the Clare Champion has learned Clare Marts is proceeding with the controversial deal. Clare Marts would not confirm the identity of the buyer or any of the terms and conditions, which it considers as “commercially sensitive information”. However, it is understood that the mart has been sold to Aldi subject to planning permission, which could take a number of years to secure. Aldi has also declined to comment on the deal. It is also expected that any planning application lodged by Aldi to Clare County Council will be vigorously opposed by some local traders and residents in the North Clare town. Fifteen sales have been held in …

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Cliffs of Moher centre in line for web award

THE Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience website has been shortlisted for another major digital award just weeks after finishing as a runner-up in the eircom Golden Spider Awards. www.cliffsofmoher.ie has been shortlisted for the Samsung Digital Media Awards ‘Best in Travel & Tourism’ category, the winner of which will be announced on February 21. The Cliffs of Moher website was launched in July 2013 having undergone a revamp that introduced a number of new features, including of an interactive guide to the visitor attraction and 360 degree panoramic views of the Cliffs and Visitor Centre. “The website is designed to have a high visual appeal with full screen background images and exciting video and 360 degree image content bringing the site alive. It can be viewed on mobile devices including smartphone and iPad. Visitors planning their trip have use of an interactive map with suggested walking routes and can even book their tickets online at a discounted price. The website …

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Doolin Coast Guard unable to launch

By Nicola Corless THE Doolin Unit of the Irish Coast Guard has been left unable to launch after a high spring tide and stormy conditions washed boulders onto the slipway and into the channel used to get out to sea. Although the Doolin crew cannot launch, the Coast Guard helicopter and the unit on nearby Aran Islands are responding to calls. Mattie Shannon, station officer with the Doolin Unit of the Irish Coast Guard, stated, “The boulders have washed up again and all the gravel the council had put in, that has been washed away. That will all have to be redone because there is no access to the slipway currently and there are a couple of big boulders on the channel, so we couldn’t launch. “At the moment, conditions are rough but even if the sea calmed down, we still couldn’t launch because of the boulders in our path.” The coast guard is currently building a new station at …

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Clare’s Blue Flag beaches under threat

THE damage caused to coastal areas by the recent  storms may leave a question mark over the future status of Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards locations, it has emerged. Clare’s Blue Flag beaches are Cappa, near Kilrush; Kilkee,  White Strand, Doonbeg; Fanore, in addition to Ballycuggeran and Mountshannon on Lough Derg. The issue will be high on the agenda  will be discussed at the annual Blue Flag and Green Coast Award conference in Dublin, on Wednesday. The conference will be attended by coastal  local authority representatives, as well as Blue Flag and Green Coast Award jury members. Annabel FitzGerald, coastal programmes manager, An Taisce said, “There are some serious concerns for some candidate Blue Flag and Green Coast Award beaches that have been left devastated by the recent storms particularly where infrastructure such as access roads, carparks and other amenities have been destroyed.” These are among the 32 imperative criteria required to achieve Blue Flag status. She added, “Local Authorities work …

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Photo Gallery-Flood and storm damage in West and North Clare

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Geopark shortlisted for international tourism award

THE management and promotion of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark as a sustainable destination has been officially recognised by one of the world’s foremost tourism and travel award schemes. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has confirmed the Geopark is one of 18 finalists for its 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, just two months after the Clare destination was shortlisted for a top honour in the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are one of the highest accolades in the global travel and tourism industry, recognising sustainable tourism best practices in businesses and destinations worldwide, ranging from local destinations to global hotel groups, international airlines, luxury tour operators and small eco-lodges. Award applications were received this year from 56 countries, representing all continents. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark has been shortlisted alongside Bonito (Brazil) and Temes SA in Costa Navarino (Greece) as Destination Award finalists for “showing commitment to supporting and …

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Rás to ‘kick start’ Lisdoonvarna tourist season

THE North Clare economy will get a “huge boost” later this year after Lisdoonvarna was selected as one of the stage ends in this year’s An Post Rás. On Wednesday, it was revealed the 2014 of the race will travel anti-clockwise around Ireland, beginning in Dunboyne on Sunday, May 18 and featuring stage end finishes in Roscommon, Lisdoonvarna, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Clonakilty, Carrick-on-Suir, Baltinglass and Skerries. Billy Archbold was Rás stage-end organiser when it last stopped in the North Clare town back in 2008. He will be involved again this year. “This is a huge boost. It kick starts the the tourist season. So many people know Lisdoonvarna for the matchmaking festival, which is world-renowned but there are 11 other months of the year and there needs to be something else. There is a huge spin off publicity-wise in terms of radio, press and television coverage as a result of the Rás,” he said. Mr Archbold expects between 400 and 500 …

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Mart sale could spark boycott

FARMERS in North and West Clare may boycott the majority of marts in the county if Ennistymon Mart is sold, a local representative has said. The possible sale of the town-centre site to a discount retailer has provoked anger among the farming community in the mart’s catchment area of Ennistymon, Kilshanny, Doolin, Liscannor, Miltown Malbay, Mullagh, and Inagh. Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association will meet on Wednesday next to discuss what action to take in relation to the possible sale. “I expect that members will look at a peaceful protest outside Clare Marts in Ennis and maybe we will contact Aldi too because they should know that local people aren’t very happy about this,” said Tom Clair, vice chairman of the Ennistymon branch of the IFA. “There is outrage in the area. We want the mart here to stay open. If this goes ahead now, there won’t be a place for a farmer to park his bicycle in his …

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