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Loop Head shortlisted for world tourism award

The Loop Head Heritage Trail has been named a finalist in the Culture and Heritage category of this year’s 12th annual World Responsible Tourism Awards. The winners will be announced at a ceremony held during World Responsible Tourism Day at World Travel Market in the ExCeL London Exhibition and Convention Centre on Wednesday next. The 60km Loop Head Heritage Trail takes in 14 local attractions including Carrigaholt Castle and Bay, Bridges of Ross, Kilkee Cliffs and Pollock Holes (WAW Discovery Points), Church of the Little Ark (WAW Signature Point), Bishops Island, Dunlicka Castle, Loop Head Lighthouse, Pilots Memorial and Kilbaha Bay, Grave of the Yellow Men, Rinevella Bay and Submerged Forest, Kilcredaun Churches and Holt Well, Querrin Pier and the West Clare Railway. The Trail was launched by Loop Head Tourism with funding from Clare County Council, Clare Local Development Company, The Heritage Council, Fáilte Ireland and BIM. Brian Coakley, CEO, ActiveMe, based in Kerry, who specialises in digital mapping and the …

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Tourists still entranced by Lough Derg sea eagles

THE local economy benefitted from more than €519,000 thanks to another highly successful summer, with visitors converging in large numbers in Mountshannon to see the successful breeding pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles. The total revenue taken in from May 12 to September 13 this year was €519,800. in comparision, revenue of €508,166 was taken in between July and mid-September of 2014. Speaking to The Clare Champion, Clare heritage officer Congella McGuire said “conservative figures and minimum estimates” suggest that at least 9,000 people visited the White-tailed Sea Eagle Viewing and Information Point at Mountshannon Pier this summer. Last year an estimated 10,000 people were recorded as having visited the amenity over a 10-week period from July 1 to mid-September. Ms McGuire said they are “very happy” with the number of visitors who are coming to the East Clare tourist attraction. She said visitor numbers this summer had not been recorded with the same degree of certainty as last year but …

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Rural GP services struggling

BELEAGUERED rural Ireland is facing another serious crisis, which could see doctors and their GP services being withdrawn in many areas. The warning has been sounded by West Clare-based Dr Michael Kelleher, who is a member of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) Committee. “Rural Ireland has long been neglected by different governments and we’ve all seen the desperate consequences as garda stations closed, post offices were shut down, hospital services were downgraded and so many other critical services were withdrawn from rural communities,” he observed. “This [medical] crisis has being developing slowly over a number of years; cuts that this Government (and the last one) made to the budget for general practice has hit rural GPs harder than most. The population of rural GPs is getting older and as more retire or pass away, there are fewer and fewer young GPs interested in taking on the job when the resources just aren’t available to provide a proper service. Already there …

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Supreme Court refuses Derrybrien appeal

THE Supreme Court has refused, on grounds including it does not make “futile orders”, to declare that planning decisions relating to a windfarm development on a mountain site at Derrybrien did not permit deforestation of more than 115,000 trees. The site was the scene of a massive bog slide in October 2003 when nearly half a million tonnes of peat and debris was displaced, causing considerable damage to the surrounding area and pollution to a nearby fishing river. Following a 2008 decision of the European Court of Justice that Ireland had not fulfilled its obligations under a 1985 EU Directive related to assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, a local residents group appealed in 2009 against the 2005 refusal of the High Court to grant injunctions stopping the deforestation. The Chief Justice said, while the Supreme Court was prepared to approach the appeal “on the assumption the planning permission did not cover or …

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Doolin photograph showcases clean coasts

A Clare castle has featured in a prize-winning photograph in a national competition. Brendan Cullen’s picture of Doonagore Castle, near Doolin, won him third place in the Heritage Section of Clean Coasts’ Love Your Coast Photography Awards, which were held in Dublin. Speaking at the ceremony, a spokesperson said, “Ireland is fortunate to have some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the world. This competition encourages people to look anew at the beaches and coastal landscapes we sometimes take for granted. The overall mission of the Clean Coasts programme is to celebrate and preserve Ireland’s spectacular coast and this competition is central to that effort, as it gives people a chance to show their local coastline at its best.” A gallery of the winning photographs can be viewed online.

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Scout’s honour, it’s Mick’s rope

THE rope ladder used by TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly to gain access to an unauthorised area of Shannon Airport is set for a new life with the scouts in Clare. On Wednesday evening, the infamous ladder was presented to the 1st and 4th Clare Scout Group, following an order by Judge Patrick Durcan made in Ennis District Court. Both Deputies Wallace and Daly were convicted of entering a restricted area of the airport on July 22 last year and during the trial, Deputy Wallace had asked for the rope ladder to be returned to him. This week, Ennis District Court heard an application for the rope ladder, which had been in Shannon Garda Station since the trial, to be forfeited permanently. Karen Kelleher, county programming co-ordinator with Clare Scouts, said they are delighted to receive the rope ladder. “We didn’t know that this was going to happen. All donations to Clare Scouts are always gratefully accepted.” While the …

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Brazilian man ‘savagely killed’ in Kerry

THE trial opened in the Central Criminal Court in Tralee this week of a Kerry man charged with the murder of a Brazilian man, who lived in Gort. The court has heard that Bruno Lemes de Souza was “savagely killed” and his body found weeks later in a drain in a bog near Listowel. John Paul Cawley (22) of Ardoughter, Ballyduff, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr de Souza at Shronowen Bog, Tullamore, on February 16 or 17, 2012. Opening the case before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, senior counsel for the prosecution, Conor Devally said the jury would hear evidence of an extended family living in North Kerry, including a Brazilian man, Wenio Rodriguez da Silva, his partner Sandra Cawley, their two young children, and Ms Cawley’s two brothers, Charlie Cawley and the accused, John Paul Cawley. Arrangements were made with the deceased, who lived in Gort, to call to Mr da Silva’s house at Ardoughter on …

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Tulla Road closed to facilitate water works

Motorists are bracing themselves for traffic disruption on one of Ennis’ busiest routes from this Saturday with the start of a week-long 24-hour road closure. Senior engineer with Clare County Council Tom Tiernan has described the upcoming closure on the Tulla Road to facilitate works by Irish Water as “probably one of the most punishing elements” of the county capital’s watermain rehabilitation project. However, he has insisted that the full closure of the road was the best possible option for both residents and those behind the project, which involves the replacement of leaking pipes. Contractor Ward & Burke Construction Ltd are carrying out the works, which will see the road closed from the roundabout on the Lifford Road to the east side of the Tulla Road Bridge on the Tulla Road. The road closure will be in place from this Saturday until Sunday, November 1 inclusive and diversions are in place. Speaking ahead of the closure, he acknowledged that residents …

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