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West Clare

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BELEAGUERED rural Ireland is facing another serious crisis, which could see doctors and their GP services being withdrawn in many areas.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closed, post offices were shut down, hospital services were downgraded and so many other critical services were withdrawn from rural communities,” he observed.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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Gold for Ennis and Kilrush in Tidy Towns

Both Ennis and Kilrush came agonisingly close to winning the national title in the National Tidy Towns competitions, the results of which were announced today (Monday). Ennis (321) and Kilrush (320) have both been awarded Gold Medals, finishing just 2 and 3 marks respectively off the overall competition winner, Letterkenny (323). Mountshannon won Silver and there were Bronze Medals for Ballynacally, Kilkee, Tuamgraney and Quin. Clarecastle won an Endeavour Award, while Ennis, Kilrush and Mountshannon claimed the County Awards. Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, James Breen said, “Regardless of whether or not they have received an award in the national competition, each of Clare’s other Tidy Towns participants are already winners for the huge positive contribution they have made to their localities.” Chairperson of Ennis Tidy Towns Committee, Josephine Cotter Coughlan, stated, “We are delighted with our result this year and to have achieved an increase of seven marks on our 2014 score. The fact that Ennis finished just two …

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The road is reopened at Clonbony Bridge. Photograph by John Kelly

Contractor for Clonbony Bridge

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly the NRA) has announced that a contractor will be appointed this week to undertake remedial works to Clonbony Bridge on the N67 near Miltown Malbay. The Bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic since September 11, following significant flooding in the area. Subsequent inspections of the bridge have indentified structural damage to one of the bridge abutments which has necessitated the closure of the bridge and the rerouting of traffic. Senior engineer, Clare County Council, Tom Tiernan, commented, “Clare County Council is conscious of the disruption that the closure has caused for local businesses in Miltown Malbay, as well as local residents. However, the continued closure has proven to be necessary on foot of inspections that have deemed the bridge structure to have been compromised.”

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