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West Clare

Lighthouse shines as a tourist attraction

Loop Head lighthouse has consolidated its position as one of West Clare’s best tourist attractions. Figures for the period April 3 to August 31 show that 23,000 people visited the lighthouse, a 13% increase on the entire figure for 2014. This is the historic landmark’s fifth year of operation. 47.5% of the total visitor figure up to Sunday, August 30, is represented by Irish visitors, with Germany, North America, UK, France and Italy collectively accounting for 42.2% of the overall figure. Clare County Council, which manages Loop Head Lighthouse in conjunction with the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), says the facility will remain open daily (10am-6pm) until October 4. For the first time ,meanwhile, the attraction will be opened to the public during weekends in October. Councillor James Breen, cathaoirleach of Clare County Council said, “The 19th century West Clare landmark is certainly benefiting from its designation as a Signature Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way and as one …

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Getting lost in the music at Moyasta

MAIRÉAD Considine can’t help but admit to clear pride at the fact that Moyasta will host up to 70 traditional music musicians this weekend for the 13th Crotty Galvin Festival. Her native townland, Shragh, is just a couple of miles away and it was while at primary school there that her love of music was honed. Mairéad attributes this to Yvonne Griffin, who taught her at Shragh National School. “She is definitely responsible for me playing and she is probably responsible for my career path as well. She was such an influence and so passionate. She used to teach me at break time,” Mairéad, who teaches at Ennistymon National School, recalled. This weekend’s festival commemorates the seismic contribution made to traditional music by the Crotty brothers and Nell Galvin. “Growing up, Peadar would have been one of the musicians you would have wanted to play beside. I would also have known of his younger brother, PJ. When you’re young, you …

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Search continues for Japanese couple

Gardaí have issued an appeal for information on the movements of two Japanese tourists, for whom a land and sea search in ongoing in Kilkee. Eiji Takagi (63) and Ushio Azaki (61) checked out of their hotel in Spanish Point on Saturday morning and have not been seen since. The alarm was raised on Tuesday after their red Hyundai hired car was spotted in Kilkee, still in the same place where it had been parked a couple of days earlier. Concerns were heightened when it was established that they did not turn up for a flight from Shannon on Monday. A search was initiated along the northern section of Kilkee Bay on Tuesday evening but discontinued as darkness fell. The search resumed on Wednesday but was hampered by rough seas in the morning. The search resumed yet again in the afternoon and was called off when light faded. It is understood that the search on the shore and in the …

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Charlie fundraising for Kenyan project

KILKEE man Charlie McGrath is fundraising for a volunteer working trip to Kenya next January. While in Mombasa for a fortnight in 2016, the retired fire fighter, who operates a fuel business in Kilkee, will spend his time working with a Ray of Sunshine Foundation building project. As part of his efforts to raise €3,000, Charlie is organising a concert with TR Dallas in the Kilkee Bay Hotel on Friday night. “It’s all in aid of building a rescue centre in Mombasa, Kenya. It’s in support of the work of Dr Rory O’Keeffe, from Ennis, who is the medical supervisor in that centre. This is my third trip to Kenya,” Charlie told The Clare Champion. “The first time I was there, we built a rescue centre for blind children. We then built an extension to an overcrowded school and this time we’re building a medical centre for children who have been through difficult times. “It’s taking 200 volunteers to complete this …

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Tesco’s plans for petrol station in Kilrush

A PLANNING application has been submitted by Tesco Ireland Ltd for a four-island petrol filling station in Kilrush, which would include a shop and a forecourt and the addition of a three-armed internal mini-roundabout. The planning application was received by Clare County Council on July 29 and also seeks permission for underground storage tanks, a circulation area, “access and egress provisions, advertising signage, modifications and relocation of permitted totem, provision for air and water, landscaping, boundary treatment and all associated site development works”. Additional works that are also listed include the reorganisation of part of the existing car park to accommodate the proposed development. In November 2008, Kilrush Town Council granted planning permission to Tesco to build the four-island petrol station. However, Kilrush traders appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála. In 2009, An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for the petrol station because of traffic safety and access concerns. Planning permission had twice been granted by Clare County Council, …

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Áine Mae enjoying life on the airwaves

Áine Mae O’ Mahony, station manager with Kilkee-based Raidió Corca Baiscinn (South West Clare Community Radio), recently celebrated her first year at the helm of one of the most inclusive community radio stations in Ireland. One year in, Áine Mae feels she landed her ideal job, is still enjoying the buzz and is supported by dedicated staff and a dynamic volunteer corp. Áine Mae epitomises a can-do attitude. Previously a successful restaurateur, losing her sight seven years ago meant she had to reinvent herself and refocus her career goals. With a lifelong interest in radio, she returned to education, completed a certificate in radio programming and then a two-year technology course with the National Learning Network. She had found her real passion in radio and got involved initially on a voluntary basis and then worked as a broadcaster and producer with community and commercial radio stations. A temporary producer role with RCB instilled a long-lasting love of community radio. After …

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On the right trail at Loop Head

Loop Head Heritage Trail has received a major boost as a sustainable tourism attraction. The trail has been named a finalist in one of the world’s foremost tourism and travel award schemes. The trail has been shortlisted in the ‘Culture and Heritage’ category of this year’s 12th annual World Responsible Tourism Awards. The winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by World Travel Market, at the ExCeL London Exhibition and Convention Centre in November.

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Double inquest hears of domestic tragedy

“DOMESTIC dispute – she stabbed me, I stabbed her”, were among the last words spoken by a man who died on the same evening as his wife in Kildysart, shortly before last Christmas. This was outlined at an inquest in Ennis into the deaths of South African couple, Cornelius and Angelique Billing. The inquest also heard that the couple’s two small children were hysterical in the aftermath of the stabbings and one of them was on Kildysart’s Main Street calling for help, as her mother was mortally wounded nearby. The jury heard evidence from gardaí, ambulance and fire service personnel, as well as Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis. Garda John Cahill said that on December 17 of last year he began work at noon and at around 6.25pm, he got a call to go to a fire at a hardware store in Kildysart. While on the Main Street, he saw a woman staggering in the direction of AIB. She …

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