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West Clare

Tourism chair to address Washington forum

LOOP HEAD Tourism chairman Cillian Murphy will be among the speakers at the World Bank Tourism Forum, which will be held at the World Bank Group headquarters in Washington DC next Tuesday and Wednesday. The theme of the forum is Driving Development Through Tourism and among the speakers will be Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank; Aireen Omar, CEO Air Asis and Mauricio Ventura Aragon, the Costa Rican Minister for Tourism. “I did an assignment for my masters on tourism and local economic benefit. One of my tutors puts together part of the programme for the World Travel Market  discussions and was impressed with the Loop Head story and invited me to present it at World Bank Tourism Forum,” Mr Murphy explained. Mr Murphy’s discussion on Wednesday will be moderated by journalist and author Elizabeth Becker and he will be joined by Gabriella Crescini, head client and partner relationships, Swiss Contact; Brian Said, executive director of Visit Philadelphia …

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Sr Mary’s lifetime working with teens

WHEN Sister Mary O’Connell retired from teaching business studies and accounting at Kilkee Community College last year, it marked the end of a 136-year link between the Sisters of Mercy and education in the town. Sr Mary, who completed her Leaving Certificate in 1966, taught in Kilkee since 1980, having had previous stints in Nenagh and Tulla. She served as deputy principal in Kilkee since 2006. “It’s a good stretch. It has been a good life,” Sr Mary reflected recently when The Clare Champion visited. She still lives in the nuns’ house on the Miltown Malbay road in the town. She feels and hopes that she grew into her role since she first decided to enter the order as a teenager. “Who knows what it is really? It’s one thing when you’re 17 and it’s another thing by the time you’re 37. Why wouldn’t it be because we grow and we change. We have another experience and then another one. …

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Plea for end to drink culture

A grieving father has issued an appeal for an end to the “frightening” culture of excess drinking involving some young people. Danny Mungovan, who runs Quilty Holiday Cottages, made the plea at the funeral mass for his son, Stephen (20), who was found by Irish Navy divers in the waters off Spanish Point last week. Addressing the packed congregation in the Star of the Sea Church and hundreds of mourners who stood outside on Sunday last, Danny said his family would never forget the work of all the emergency services, volunteers and neighbours who never stopped walking the shore night and day. This is the second time that tragedy has struck the family. Another son, Michael (22), was killed when he was struck by a train while he was working at Vauxhall Station, South London in October 2000. Stating that both he and his wife, Geraldine, do not drink, Danny said he offered several times to go out and purchase …

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Global award for Loop Head

THE tourism and economic sectors in West Clare received a seismic boost on Wednesday when the Loop Head Heritage Trail won the Best Cultural Heritage Attraction at the World Responsible Tourism Awards in London. The awards are staged each year as part of World Travel Market. Launched in November 2014, the Loop Head Heritage Trail was created by a network of 47 local businesses, now the Loop Head Tourism Network, which is based in the area. Loop Head Tourism Network chairman Cillian Murphy attended the World Travel Market and, speaking to The Clare Champion on Wednesday, expressed his delight at the global award. “I’m very proud of what a group of people have achieved back in Loop Head. Some of the people are involved in the tourism industry but some aren’t and are just involved because they are interested in our heritage. It’s a great validation of where we live and the people we live with and how they view …

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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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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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No sporting chance for Kilrush

THE absence of the Kilrush Sports Complex from the list of 27 sport organisations or council facilities in Clare to receive a portion of the countywide €1.27 million Sports Capital Grants has sparked controversy. Local independent councillor, Ian Lynch claims that because Kilrush is a DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) area and in need of facilities for teenagers, the application should have been prioritised. The Clare County Council-operated Kilrush Sports Complex, which includes an AstroTurf pitch, was officially opened on April 9 of this year. Councillor Lynch says “a very comprehensive application” was submitted by the Kilrush Sports Complex management committee for critical funding. The biggest individual beneficiary from the Sports Capital Grants in Clare was the council-run Active Ennis Sports and Amenity Park in Lees Road, which has received €200,000 in funding. “I am extremely disappointed and angry. West Clare is crying out for facilities for our youth. This allocation of funding will see some areas develop, …

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Connectivity still impeding Kilrush

THE possibility of new businesses setting up in Kilrush or of current businesses expanding is being stymied because of the lack of acceptable broadband connectivity. Kilrush Chamber of Commerce president, Mairead O’Brien, who, along with her husband, is self-employed, and IT specialist, Alan Howard have said the town is standing still economically because of broadband issues. “There are probably up to 100 businesses in Kilrush, from retail to people working from home. We have two small businesses in my house alone but we can’t send or receive invoices. It’s as petty as that. I’m not talking about Netflix. We’re not talking about the domestic issue of the lack of broadband. We’re talking about the nuts and bolts of not being able to receive important invoices or price lists. “Doing business on the internet is just not working. There is not enough broadband connectivity. We’re bumped up on the broadband upgrade list, we’re bumped down on the list but we’re not …

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A special day for Miltown’s 1990 captain

SUNDAY will be a particularly special day for Miltown, St Joseph’s GAA chairman, Gerry Curtin. He will travel to Cusack Park with the club’s senior team for their Clare football final date with Cooraclare. Understandably, he wants to see his beloved club emerge victorious, a result that will see him “hand over the baton of captain of the last team to bring the title to Miltown.” Twenty-five years ago, Miltown last won the blue riband of Clare football, beating Kilmihil in a final played at Cusack Park. “The final score on that occasion was 1-6 to 0-7 and Sean Burke’s goal proved decisive,” he said. Recalling that success, the Miltown chairman said, “We had won the title in 1985 and the guts of that team were still there. A lot of us were coming to the end of the road. It was a tough struggle and Kilmihil had us on the rack in the first half and again in the …

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Cute Kerry hoors do a number on Kilrush

THE Kilrush Tidy Towns Committee may be regretting being so helpful to their counterparts in Listowel, when a delegation from the North Kerry town visited West Clare last spring. The Kerry group arrived in Kilrush, cap in hand, wondering aloud as to the secret behind their hosts’ 2014 win in Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town category. Led by their chairman, Paul Edson, the Kilrush committee were ever so helpful and sang like canaries. Imagine their shock on Monday, when they learned they had been knocked off their perch by none other than Listowel, who improved their 2014 total by 11 points. “We must have given them too much information because they went and dethroned us, the cute hoors,” Paul Edson laughed ruefully. Kilrush did finish second in their category and picked by their eighth successive Tidy Towns gold medal, so it wasn’t exactly a nightmare week for them. “Murt Collins, our vice-chairman, is a Kerry man and he knows the Listowel …

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