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North Clare

EDEN Award for Burren Food Trail

The Burren Food Trail has been selected as the Irish winner of this year’s European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) award. The prestigious EU-wide competition is designed to encourage and promote a more sustainable form of tourism development and The Burren Food Trail was one of four destinations shortlisted earlier this month. The Trail now joins other Irish destinations such as Loop Head, Mulranny and Cavan Town in demonstrating best practice in various aspects of sustainable destination development. Launched by the Burren Ecotourism Network and the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark and as the Mid West’s first food trail in 2013, the Burren Food Trail is supported by an innovative schedule of food events taking place every Monday from May to October. The events showcase the region’s cuisine and provide a unique food experience in the amazing landscape that is the Burren. Members of the Food Trail place an emphasis on the use of local ingredients and are committed to …

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Very positive CSO tourism data

Central Statistics Office (CSO) latest tourism data shows that the number of overseas visits to Ireland between February and April 2015 increased by 13.5% compared to the corresponding period last year. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe and Minister of State, Michael Ring, have said the continued strong growth in tourism is contributing to our economic recovery and the creation of jobs across the sector. Minister Donohoe said, “As we enter the peak months for tourism, it is very encouraging that the growth trend witnessed in recent years is continuing in 2015 with a very strong performance for the first four months of the year. Thankfully the growth is not confined to any particular market with good growth being displayed by all of our key target overseas markets. Our overseas marketing efforts will continue in the months ahead to ensure the momentum is maintained, that jobs continue to be created and that tourism continues to pay its part …

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Holy show at Ennistymon Communion

A video, in which a woman claims to have been asked to leave the church in Ennistymon ahead of last Saturday’s First Holy Communion ceremony there, has been posted online. Thousands of people have now viewed the footage in which a woman claims that she is being denied entry to the church because of what she is wearing. She accuses the Parish Priest, Fr Willie Cummins, of making a scene. During the video Fr Cummins does not respond to the woman. She claims she is being discriminated against because she is a Traveller and that the priest allowed “settled women with a lot shorter clothes” to enter the church. A statement from the Parish of Ennistymon, released through the Galway Diocese, of which it is part, stated it has a dress code specifying “reasonably modest attire”. “Together with many parishes and similar institutions throughout the world, the Parish of Ennistymon has a dress-code for participants in liturgical celebrations. The code is not onerous and is …

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Pupils teaching a prince about the Burren

Windswept, and waiting hours on the side of a limestone hill took little out of four young experts, on hand to educate the future king of England on the local area when he visited the Burren on Tuesday. The local children, all graduates of the Burrenbeo 20-week Ecobeo educational programme, instructed Prince Charles on archaeological, historic, geological and ecological features of the local landscape. The sight of the helicopter accompanying the royal motorcade as it weaved towards the Nagle farm in Pullaghcarron eased the boredom of waiting to meet the heir to the British throne for the primary-school pupils. Watching it, 12-year-old Eoin McNamara, a pupil at Carron National School, revealed his hopes for the historic arrival of the Prince of Wales in the Burren. “I keep expecting it to be like the Olympics, when the Queen parachuted out of the helicopter,” he said. His classmate, Aoife McNamara, was philosophical about her upcoming brush with royalty. “He is just a person, …

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North Clare woman witnesses historic handshake

A North Clare business woman was one of 150 guests invited to attend a reception in NUI Galway, honouring the first official joint visit of the Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall. Birgitta Curtin described the event as “very special”, especially given that she witnessed the historic first meeting and handshake between Prince Charles and Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams. Deputy Adams described their handshake “as a symbol” of the progress that has been made since the Prince’s first visit to Ireland in 1995. Birgitta described the atmosphere as “very relaxed” adding that she “didn’t know it was going to happen”. “Of course then it dawned on me that this was extremely significant,” she recalled. While the handshake and brief introduction, witnessed by Birgitta, lasted just 30 seconds, the pair later held a 10-minute private meeting. Prince Charles, in his first speech of the couple’s four-day visit to both sides of the Irish border, told the …

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Stone mad for farming prince

Burren farmers are a breed apart; a fact the Prince of Wales learned for himself during his jovial visit to the area on Tuesday. The heir to the British throne visited the lands of father-and-son farmers, Pat and Oliver Nagle, at Pullaghcarron and while there, tried his hand at the unusual form of dry stone walling undertaken in the Burren. It involves standing the stone upright rather than laying them flat. His Royal Highness needs more practice if he is to become as adept as Oliver and Pat, who have been upgrading the walls on their farm for the past five years, as part of the Burren Life Farming for Conservation Programme. One Burrenbeo conservation volunteer, Richard Morrison was particularly charitable in relation to the Prince’s efforts: “I think we could have prepared him a bit better by giving him a better stone and a better place.” Richard might be right. Tuition was brief before Prince Charles laid a flat …

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Pupils well up to scratch

PRIMARY-school pupils from South Galway and North Clare were among the award winners at the National Scratch programming finals held in Dublin Castle recently. CreativeComputerLab in Gort; Coder Dojo, Kinvara and New Quay National School were each represented in the final 25, out of more than 800 entries from across the country. The national competition is run by the Irish Computer Society and Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, Lero. Scratch is a visual programming language and online community developed by MIT, where people can create their own interactive stories, games and animations. It encourages children to learn computer programming and share their projects online on the Scratch server. The Scratch finals are held in conjunction with TechWeekIRL, which is a week-long technology festival held in Dublin Castle. CoderDojo, Kinvara was a finalist in the after-school section in the junior infants to first class category. Ariel Gorman developed an animated storybook of Dr Seuss’ book, entitled Oh The Places You’ll Go, in …

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Ennistymon students hone their skills

TRANSITION-Year students from Ennistymon joined more than 200 secondary-school students from Galway, Mayo and Roscommon at GMIT recently to participate in the Future Skills project, supported by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Access Service. The group from Ennistymon Vocational School was the only one from Clare to take part in the project this year. During the project, the students completed workshops with the assistance of business volunteers from companies including Hewlett Packard, Electronic Arts, AVAYA, SAP, Cambus Medical, AIB, Supermac’s and Top Oil. They explored employment opportunities based on their own interests and examined ways to access these opportunities through their education. Deirdre O’Connor, access officer at GMIT, informed the students of the courses available at GMIT and also advised them of the support that the access office provides for them on the campus. GMIT’s Future Skills is now in its sixth year and comprises three phases. The project begins with a local business volunteer visiting the students and teaching a …

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