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A night of nostalgia for St Michael’s residents

Clare Roots Society is to extend its work in publishing and recording the history of the county, after completing its programme in Ennis. Its latest publication, St Michael’s Villas (Ennis) A History and Miscellany, was launched by Mayor of Ennis Johnny Flynn at the Temple Gate Hotel last week. It was a night of nostalgia and storytelling and a great reunion of past and present residents of the estate, which was opened in 1953. It was also a night to recall the names of deceased residents, who were remembered at a special ‘Celebrating Our Story and Remembering Our Dead’ mass in Ennis Cathedral earlier in the evening, celebrated by Fr Tom Ryan, Shannon, a son of St Michael’s. All the speakers at the launch congratauled St Michael’s Villas native Cora McNulty (the former Cora Hahessy), who documented the publication, which captures the history of a strong and vibrant community as well listing the wonderful achievements by many of its residents. Among …

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From ‘Champion to bestsellers list

CLARE-born journalist, Ann O’Loughlin has seen her debut novel, The Ballroom Café, go to number four on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list, even before its official launch in the UK and Ireland last Thursday. The Ballroom Café is set at the height of the recession in Ireland in a crumbling mansion, where two elderly sisters, Ella and Roberta O’Callaghan, live alone with their secrets, memories and mutual hatred. Long estranged by a dark family tragedy, they communicate only by terse notes. But when the sisters are threatened with bankruptcy, Ella defies Roberta’s wishes and takes matters into her own hands, converting the mansion’s old ballroom into a café. Much to Roberta’s displeasure, the café is a hit and the sisters are reluctantly drawn back into village life. But Ella finds herself reliving painful memories, when Debbie, an American woman searching for her birth mother, begins working at the café. The sisters find themselves caught up in an adoption scandal that …

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Pat Daly is new Mayor of Ennis

THE newly elected Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District, Councillor Pat Daly, has expressed his gratitude for the vote of confidence placed in him by the councillors of the district. The Ennis native said he was proud, grateful and humbled at his election, which was unanimously agreed by his colleagues at the annual general meeting of the district council. Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy nominated her Fianna Fáil colleague to be mayor, seconded by independent councillor Ann Norton and supported by councillors Mary Howard, James Breen, Paul Murphy and the outgoing mayor, Johnny Flynn. Councillor Tom McNamara sent his apologies for not being able to attend the AGM, as he is recovering from an operation at present but he also supported his Fianna Fáil colleague. Councillor Mary Howard was elected as deputy mayor. In his opening address, Councillor Daly noted, “I once had the honour to be named Mayor of Clare but to be named mayor of my own town is …

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Family home ‘wrongfully demolished’

THE High Court has found that consultant engineers and Limerick County Council were responsible for the wrongful demolition of a family home during the construction of a new dual carriageway between Limerick and Nenagh. Brian and Mary O’Shaughnessy described the destruction of their single storey two bedroom old Irish farmhouse, The Hollows at Annaholty, Birdhill, County Tipperary on September 6, 2006 was a nightmare. The site was never used for the new road. Giving judgment, Mr Justice Donald Binchy, who said it was “abundantly clear” what happened “was not down to any single act”, found the consultant engineers, which was a joint venture called RPS Scetauroute, was 70% responsible while the local authority was 30% responsible. A third party which carried out the actual demolition was found not to be negligent in the matter. The O’Shaughnessys sought damages for alleged negligence from several parties, including Limerick CC/The National Roads Authority, who it was claimed were both responsible for the operation, …

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Tipperary man missing

GARDAÍ in Ennistymon are seeking the public’s assistance in tracing the whereabouts of 30-year-old John Ryan, missing from Faranaderry, Templemore. John is studying computers at Limerick IT and residing in Bunratty. He is is described as 5″10, slim build, short brown hair and has green eyes. He was last seen at Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, driving a green Volkswagen Golf on the evening of June 7. He was wearing a light grey cardigan, black t-shirt, blue jeans and white runners. Anyone who has seen John or who can assist in locating him is asked to contact Ennistymon Garda Station on (065) 7072180, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

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Higgins has sights on Labour Dáil seat

EAST Galway Labour Senator, Lorraine Higgins has been selected as the party’s candidate in the constituency for the 2016 General Election. Senator Higgins is the Seanad Labour Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade and was nominated to the Seanad by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in 2011. She had run in the general election earlier that year but was narrowly beaten. Last year, she ran as the Labour candidate in the Midlands-North-West constituency in the European Parliament election. Speaking at the Labour Party convention in her home town of Athenry on Friday, Senator Higgins said she planned to win a seat in Dáil Éireann. “In regard to the question of whether or not I can win, the simple answer is yes. The perception that Galway East is not Labour heartland no longer applies. At the last election, we turned that thinking on its head, when the party received almost 8,000 first-preference votes, enough for me to take a seat next time …

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The Castle brings village back to life

MORE than 40 craftspeople, artists and antique dealers have already taken retail space in the newly-opened arts, antiques and craft centre and restaurant at the former Coach House pub in Clarecastle. The Castle, a three-storey building, has been given a €1m restoration through the partnership of antiques expert, Paul Walsh – who operated in the nearby Antique Loft premises across the road for many years; coach operator, PJ Keogh, of PK Travel; and tourism and accommodation specialist, Emelyn Heaps, of Renaissance Resorts. Walsh also had a successful antiques business in Kilcolgan, County Galway, which he sold two years ago, thinking to retire and spend more time indulging in his hobby of horse-training. However, his friend, Emelyn, had other ideas. “Emelyn said to me, ‘Your building would make a great craft building’ but I told him it’s not big enough on its own. It might be okay for crafts but it’s not big enough to make it a draw for people. …

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Miltown Teamster honoured in the US

MILTOWN Malbay’s Dan J Tobin was inducted into the International Labour Hall of Fame last week. Dan emigrated to the USA in 1890 with his brother. He was responsible for founding the Transportation Union in the USA, which became the famed Teamsters. The award was accepted by his grandson, Vincent Tobin on his behalf. Vincent is finishing a book on Dan’s life at present. Dan was the son of John Tobin (weaver and shopkeeper on Main Street, Miltown Malbay, formerly of Torr) and Bridget Kennelly of Leeds, Miltown Malbay. He was born on April 3, 1872 and emigrated to Boston, aged 18. His cousins, from his mother’s side, still reside in Miltown. The unrest in Ireland at the time he left, and the social injustice he experienced, gave Dan a great sense of social justice and a determination to fight for the rights of the working man, who at that time was badly treated in the USA. Dan’s father was …

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Council support for peace park

A Clare Peace Park Initiative to erect a First World War memorial in honour of the Clare men who served and died in the conflict has been granted planning permission. The development, which will now proceed in partnership with the council, is on 0.1 hectares of land at Causeway Link, across the road from Glór, in Ennis and will consist of three standing stones, with inscriptions, which will be surrounded by about 100 square metres of paving with pathways in and out of the memorial site. The group’s chairperson, Dr Keir McNamara, is pleased that the initiative has been granted permission and would welcome further sponsorship to ensure the project can get off the ground as quickly as possible. “If we could get in the last bit of money we need, there’s no reason it couldn’t be completed by the end of this year. If we have a slower response to the fundraising effort, we would probably be looking at the middle of …

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Vinyl makes a comeback in Ennis

THE heyday of vinyl is well past, having been overtaken many times – by cassettes, themselves long antiquated; CDs, downloads and streaming. While there is no doubt that both collecting and listening to the old-style records is now a niche interest, it’s a niche that isn’t without its devotees and apparently the numbers of fans of vinyl are actually going up. Sinéad Nic Síoda is running the Record Break Café in Ennis and in her store she stocks vinyl from stars of decades gone by but, surprisingly, there are also very recent releases. For example, U2’s most recent album, Songs of Innocence, which was controversially released on iTunes last September, is there on vinyl, while for the not insignificant sum of €300 you can buy a limited edition collection of all Eminem’s work. Slim Shady on vinyl, who’d have thought it? There is little problem getting new records, Sinead says, and she believes there is more interest in them now. …

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