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Local link to dinosaur discovery

A PALAEONTOLOGIST who lived and worked in North Clare is among a team of scientists whose research, published this week, suggests that all dinosaurs had feathers. The evidence presented by Dr Maria McNamara and her colleagues changes the previously-accepted hypothesis that only one group of dinosaurs had feathers. Dr McNamara is a palaeontologist in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork. From Clonmel, she previously lived in Moymore and was employed as a geologist in the Burren Geopark, where she worked with about 20 primary schools, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and the Burren Outdoor Education Centre. Dr McNamara was approached over a year ago, while working in the University of Bristol, with dinosaur fossil specimens from a site in Siberia. She has been key to discovering the first-ever example of a primitive plant-eating dinosaur with feathers and scales. Previously, only advanced flesh-eating dinosaurs were known to have had feathers, so this new find …

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Spire repaired at Church of Ireland in Spanish Point

THE small Church of Ireland community in Spanish Point has recently completed a €22,000 renovation job on their Christ Church spire. While they received a €10,000 grant to complete the project, church committee spokesperson, Judith Ironside says that without the support of the broader community, the project would not have been possible. “We’d like to emphasise that the local community has been our mainstay. Everybody has been so supportive. The half a dozen or so of us couldn’t possibly contemplate doing anything without that support. We really do value that community spirit,” Judith told The Clare Champion. “We had to make a decision about what to do about the spire so we were faced with trying to get a lot of money. Earlier in the year, I saw there was a grant going for heritage buildings. We were lucky enough to get a grant, which made it possible for us to contemplate finding the other 50% to match the grant,” …

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Water supply alert in Kildysart

The HSE, in conjunction with Irish Water and Clare County Council, have advised that  the Kildysart public water supply is not suitable for drinking until further notice. Approximately 1,500 customers of the Kildysart public water supply and the Coolmeen group water supply are affected by the water notice. The precautionary measure has been  introduced due to water discolouration caused by increased manganese levels in the public water supply. Water will be provided via tankers at Kildysart Secondary School and outside the Hilltop Bar in Coolmeen from 10am to 12 noon on this Wednesday. Water tankers will also  be located at the school from 10am to 11am and 6pm to 7pm on Thursday and Friday, and at the Hilltop Bar in Coolmeen from 12 noon to 1pm and 8pm to 9pm on Thursday and Friday. People are advised to boil water obtained from tankers before consumption. A spokesperson for Clare County Council said, “In the interest of public health, it is recommended that all users on the Kildysart public water supply and …

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Time travel feel at Craggaunowen Festival

Re-enactors dressed in costume spanning the Iron Age and early Medieval period to the 16th century will add a time-travel feel to a  special Lughnasa celebration being organised by Shannon Heritage at Craggaunowen visitor attraction near Quin over the bank holiday weekend. John Ruddle, chief  executive Shannon Heritage said, “The ancient pagan festival of Lughnasa marks the first day of autumn and the start of the harvest season. The event will be staged by Claíomh Living History Group whose members have many years of experience as historical interpreters and living history specialists.” Visitors to Craggaunowen will have the opportunity to celebrate Lughnasa on Sunday and Monday August. “Claíomh Living History Group will add a time-travel feel to the event, giving visitors a glimpse of what living conditions were like for Hiberno-Norse families living in a Crannóg. On display will be a range of replica Viking Age clothing, artefacts, weapons and silverwork,” Mr Ruddle continued. A number of showcase events from …

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Call for European standard camp site for Ballyalla Lake

The development of a European standard campervan site off the motorway at Ballyalla Lake is among the ideas put forward in a recreational and sports submission to the Ennis and environs draft local area plan. In a 12-point submission, Councillor Johnny Flynn has given a lot of attention to injecting investment into the lake area, just a few miles from Ennis town centre. He wants consideration to be given to the provision of outdoor camping, motorhome and cabin/club sleeping accommodation in that area. Proposing a physical connection from Lees Road to Ballyalla Lake, the Fine Gael councilllor wants the “designation of lands at Lee’s Road, Drumcliffe and Ballyalla for an integrated connected sports and physical recreational hub for land and water-based sports and environmental activities.” This would include the development of a junior sailing training centre. Councillor Flynn has further called for the restoration of lake amenities that have fallen into disrepair.  

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Broadford Man dies at Lahinch beach

A South-East Clare community is in mourning this week after a Broadford pensioner died suddenly at Lahinch beach on Sunday afternoon. He has been named locally as Patrick O’Connell, Doon Road, Broadford. The 72 year-old man was paddling in shallow water about six to eight inches deep when he collapsed suddenly and fell down with what is believed to a suspected heart attack shortly after 3 pm.The incident took place about 30 yards out from the shoreline at the north end of the Lahinch promenade. According to Lahinch Search and Rescue secretary, Tomsie O’Sullivan two women and a man pulled the man in from the water on the beach where one of them, who was a qualified nurse proceeded to give Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Mr O’Sullivan recalled he was contacted by the Valentia Coast Guard service to confirm that an incident had taken place that required assistance and he confirmed this with two lifeguards who were aware of what had …

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Sisters celebrate slimming success

A health scare prompted two North Clare sisters to shed 11 stone 11 pounds between them in just nine months. Ann O’Sullivan and Bernie Bennis, both from Ennistymon, joined Slimming World in Ennis last October after a trip to the doctor showed the toll Ann’s weight was having on her health. “Initially, I didn’t realise I had put on so much weight. I got a terrible shock when I stepped on the weighing scales on October 9. What happened was like everyone else, you get married, you are cooking, you are picking at food and my GP said it was time to do some bloods. We did the bloods and my cholesterol was just slightly over 5. That is how it happened. “I went back to get the results of my cholesterol and it had jumped to 6.4. So she gave me an ultimatum saying I had to either had to drop the weight or take the medication,” Ann recalled. …

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Shannon Aerospace on the up

SHANNON Aerospace saw a boost in profitability in 2013, according to newly-filed accounts. The profit recorded for the year was €1,119,000, which was more than nine times the 2012 figure. The company was involved in a serious dispute with workers over pensions earlier this year, with industrial action almost resulting. Regarding the pension scheme, the accounts state, “The company operates a contributory defined benefit pension scheme. At the end of 2013, the net pension deficit calculated by the scheme’s actuary had decreased to €15.69 million (2012: €17.79 million). The company has maintained its contribution rate at 13.3% of pensionable salary, up to a salary cap of €50,000. Since the year-end, the company have ceased contributions to the defined benefit pension plan and will replace it with a defined contribution benefit plan for its employees. Management are currently in negotiations with the company’s workforce regarding the structure of this new scheme.” The accounts state that the number of workers at Shannon …

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