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Regional

Finding the heart of the Burren Lowlands

THE Burren Lowlands initiative saw its first major victory on Friday when a new tourism office was opened in Gort. In January, a small group of people living and working in Gort and its hinterland got together to stimulate job creation, rural and urban rejuvenation in the area, sustainable tourism and greater appreciation of arts and heritage. Two hundred people turned out when they held a public meeting in the Lady Gregory Hotel in April, aimed at getting ideas and input from the wider community and reversing the decline that has seen the town become one of the worst hit in the country in terms of the recession. At that meeting, ideas were put forward as to how this ambitious transformation could be achieved. “This really started at that meeting,” said local man and Galway County Councillor, Gerry Finnerty, one of those behind the Burren Lowlands project. “People said they felt there should be a tourist office in the town …

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Crocodiles, cooks and circus stars in Ennis

This year’s Ennis Street Festival line-up is branching out in new directions, as it introduces Ennis Sounds Good, a parallel music festival, and offers the public a modern take on dancing at the crossroads. The festival takes place from July 4 to 6 and this year’s latest addition, Ennis Sounds Good, will mean the fun and spectacle of Ennis Street Festival continues. With 36 gigs across 15 venues, it is sure to be a success. Highlights include Mikey and the Scallywags, Drizzle, Skazz, The O’Malleys, DJ Will Softly, Keith McDonald, Buck Tailor, La Orquestra Kalamares, blues, folk, ska, salsa, world music, Spanish music, trad and more, culminating in a big festival music finale on Sunday, July 6. One of the other new elements to this year’s festival is a 21st-century interpretation of the traditional custom of dancing at the crossroads. Through participation in modern art forms and dance, dancing at the crossroads will take place in O’Connell Square with the Ennis …

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Star to shine on Doolin Heritage weekend

The Star of Munster will  shine in Clare this Sunday as part of the Doolin Heritage Weekend. The band will perform at a céilí in the marquee at Hotel Doolin on Sunday at 8pm. The weekend’s events will raise funds for heritage projects in Doolin. The heritage weekend starts on Saturday at 11am in Hotel Doolin, with talks on archaeology, conservation and local history. The weekend is organised by Doolin Heritage, a voluntary group made up of people living in the area, who are working to create awareness of the heritage of the area, including monuments and buildings of archaeological and historical significance. One of the projects the group has been working on is the restoration of the old medieval church ruin in Killilagh. Without fundraising initiatives such as the heritage weekend, this work could not be carried out. “This year for the first time as part of the heritage weekend, a night of music and dance is being organised. …

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MS sufferer loses free drugs

THE HSE has been accused of “pulling the carpet from under the feet” of a Doonbeg Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sufferer, following the withdrawal of a free drug. Angela Fitzpatrick has also questioned why the HSE didn’t make the necessary arrangements to pay for an alternative drug before it decided to withdraw the reimbursement of Fampridine from her husband, Nick, under the GMS and other schemes from July 1 next. Nick, who was  diagnosed with MS 12 years ago, at the age of 48, has been taking Fampridine, otherwise known as Famprya, for the last 18 months. “It was a huge shock to us when our pharmacist informed us the drug would be withdrawn and, if we wanted it, we would have to pay between €300 and €500 a month, which isn’t viable for us and other MS sufferers who are on a limited income. “It is scary because his body has got used to this drug now. It would have …

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West Clare demands one-third share of budget

THE first chairman of the new West Clare Municipal Authority is seeking at least 33% of Clare County Council’s budget to be spent in the west and north of the county. Councillor PJ Kelly was elected chairman of the body at last Friday’s AGM, attended by all eight of the recently elected county councillors, who serve in the enlarged West Clare constituency. The meeting also decided to restrict to six the number of the public who can attend the bi-monthly meetings, while senior engineer, Cyril Feeney, acknowledged the council is facing challenges in adequately staffing the district, which stretches from Loop Head to Ballyvaughan. Councillor Kelly produced figures which he said proved Clare County Council collected millions of euro in rates from West Clare. “The county council takes in €36.2m in rates. Ennis takes in €5.4m and Kilrush €0.7m. That comes to a grand county-wide figure of approximately €42m. One establishment in West Clare, ESB Moneypoint, pays €13m. That is …

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County Nursery also a refuge for women

A WOMAN who married a West Clare farmer, in response to a News of the World advertisement, took shelter in the County Nursery in Kilrush after she was kicked out of the family home, it has been revealed. This, according to Kilrush and District Historical Society, gives credence to the belief that the County Nursery, which is what the mother and baby home was known as, may have doubled as a refuge for women who were victims of domestic violence in the 1920s. Kilrush and District Historical Society has unearthed details from a court case which suggests this could have been the case. At a Kilrush District Court sitting in 1928, it was stated that a woman who sued her husband for a separation allowance had married him in response to an advertisement in the News of the World. Historical society PRO, Paddy Waldron told The Clare Champion that the court sitting he refers to, details of which were published …

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Trump may face ‘battle royale’ over right-of-way

DONALD Trump’s company, TIGL Ireland Enterprises Limited, could end up before the circuit court in Clare for “a fully-fledged battle royale” civil case, if progress is not reached over a right-of-way at Doonbeg Golf Club. The American business tycoon purchased Doonbeg Golf Club and its lands earlier this year, for a reputed €15million, but it has emerged that a negotiated settlement with the previous owners, prior to the sale, provides for a right-of-way on these lands. This settlement was not implemented by the previous owners, Doonbeg Golf Club Ltd, and legal proceedings have been issued against them as a result. Ennis Circuit Court heard on Tuesday that the settlement reached in May 2013, providing a right-of-way on lands now owned by Mr Trump, was never signed or implemented by the then owners, Doonbeg Golf Club Ltd, prior to the sale. James McNulty of Ballinagun, Cree, one of the parties to the settlement, has taken a civil action against Doonbeg Golf …

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Sun shining on Clare business and tourism

As the State exams drew to a close this week, Met Éireann issued a status yellow ‘high temperature warning’ for County Clare, with temperatures on Wednesday reaching between 26 and 28 degrees Celsius. According to Met Éireann, the maximum temperature recorded at the Shannon Airport weather station on Tuesday was 25.8 degrees Celsius. By midday on Wednesday, temperatures had already reached 24 degrees and the warm weather is forecast to remain into the weekend, with Thursday, Friday and Saturday to each hit 20 degrees, though there will be some cloud cover. This is not just good news for those out enjoying the fine weather but also for businesses here. “In Lahinch, every car parking space was filled,” Michael Vaughan, owner of Vaughan Lodge and former president of the Irish Hotels Federation, said on Wednesday afternoon. “I see people parked on verges and the beach is thronged, so there are plenty of visitors to the area but I am not certain …

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