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Tag Archives: Mountshannon

Christmas at the coalface of Syrian crisis

BACK in 1995, Mountshannon woman Ann McNamara decided to leave her job with an insurance company and work with Concern in Bangladesh for a two-year period. More than 20 years later, she is still working with an organisation responding to crisis situations. An assistant country director with GOAL, based in Antakya on the Turkey/Syria border for six months, Ann says spending Christmas away from home and family has become the norm. “Over the 22 years I have been overseas, I have probably spent two or three Christmases back in Ireland,” she says. “This is normal for me. It’s so crazy here you don’t even realise it’s Christmas.” Ann initially worked with Concern for 11 years as a regional HR advisor, before working with Oxfam and then Save the Children UK in South Sudan. She returned to Concern in 2011 to work as an assistant country director in Liberia for two years and then spent one year in Lebanon. “I finished my …

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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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Lifeguards rescue 32 people in July

ONE person per day was rescued by a lifeguard in Clare last month, as 32 people were rescued during July. A total of 16 people were rescued from the water, the highest number in July for any county nationwide and Clare’s water safety officer, Claire McGrath, has praised the tremendous work of lifeguards. The figures published by Irish Water Safety also confirmed that a further 16 people were rescued from crafts, while there were 16 children who were reported as being lost for a period of time. Irish Water Safety said more than 1,100 accidents were prevented, as a result of positive actions by lifeguards. Speaking to The Clare Champion, Ms McGrath said it was a testament to the dedicated work of lifeguards in the county that more than 1,100 accidents were prevented and so many people were rescued. “The beaches in Clare are extremely busy and the lifeguards do a tremendous job,” she said. “We have a number of lifeguards …

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Top bathing water standards in Clare

Ireland’s bathing waters are of still of a very high standard, even if they are a bit cooler than popular European holiday destinations, according to the EPA. Around three-quarters of all Irish bathing waters (128 coastal and 9 inland waters) met the new stricter standard of ‘Excellent’ quality based on an assessment of data for the period 2011-2014. Eleven bathing waters in County Clare achieved the ‘Excellent’ standard rating, including Ballyallia Lake, Ballycuggeran, Bishopsquater, Cappagh Pier in Kilrush, Fanore, Kilkee, Lahinch, Mountshannon, Lough Derg, Spanish Point and White Strand – Doonbeg and Miltown Malbay. Current water quality at most sites around the country is extremely good with only a few problems having been reported to SPLASH (splash.epa.ie), the national bathing water website. The website has an interactive, colour-coded map that allows people to check out any of the 137 EU identified bathing waters. Peter Webster, senior scientist at the EPA and author of the 2014 Bathing Water report commented, “Despite …

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Holy Island in public ownership

Clare County Council has announced a comprehensive plan relating to the future tourism development and visitor management of Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) on Lough Derg. At a ceremony in Mountshannon today, the Local Authority confirmed it has acquired 41 acres on the island which, together with the two acres already in the ownership of the Office of Public Works (OPW), now means that the entire island is in public ownership. The Council also announced its intention to procure professional experts to prepare a Visitor Management and Tourism Development Plan for Holy Island which will provide a framework, in consultation with key stakeholders, for tourism development and visitor management of the Island, whilst also ensuring the cultural heritage and natural assets that contribute to the Island’s uniqueness are maintained and protected. Still used as a burial ground, the ruins and buildings still standing on Holy Island date back as far as the 7th century when the monastic site was established by …

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Killaloe Coastguard rescue four men

Killaloe Coastguard rescued four men following two emergency calls on Lough Derg on Friday evening. The thirty second callout this year was to two men on board a small lake boat near Two Mile Gate on the Clare shore. The duo had been on board a cruiser, which was anchored at Two Mile Gate, but due to the strong wind and rough water they got into difficulty. A friend raised the alarm and rang emergency services. Killaloe Coast Guard launched their rib while a land crew went to Two Mile Gate by road. Within 15 minutes of being paged, the Killaloe Coast Guard crew had taken the two men on board their rescue boat and brought them safely back to the cruiser. After returning to base and standing down, the crew heard a call for help on their VHF radio on CH16. The crew were then tasked by Valentia Coast Guard to relaunch and make their way to Mountshannon where …

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Clare raises nine Blue Flags

An Taisce has awarded a record nine prestigious International Blue Flag to County Clare’s beaches, as well as two Green Coast Awards. The Blue Flag award is a prestigious environmental eco-label awarded to more than 80 beaches and a small number of marinas in Ireland.   The award represents high standards in water quality, environmental information and education, environmental management and safety, services and facilities. The Flags were presented  by Alan Kelly TD. Minister for the Environment Community and Local Government, at a ceremony held at Ballinskelligs Beach in Kerry. Blue Flags were awarded to Whitestrand, Miltown Malbay, Ballycuggernan, Whitestrand Doonbeg, Mountshannon, Cappa, Fanore, Spanish Point, Kilkee and Lahinch. Speaking following the award ceremony, Councillor John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, expressed his delighted that Clare had for the first time been awarded 9 blue flags, as well as Green Coast Awards for beaches at Bishops Quarter at Ballyvaughan and Seafield, Quilty. Councillor Crowe also noted the significance of Clare’s …

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Sea eagles cause economy to soar by €500,000

THE East Clare economy soared by an extra €500,000 last year, thanks to the lure of the first successful breeding pair of white-tailed sea eagles in the country in over a century. Clare County Council, which funds the popular White Tailed Sea Eagle Viewing and Information Point at Mountshannon Pier, confirmed the facility generated more than €500,000 for the local economy in 2014. A visitor survey conducted last year found that 43% of people reported the attraction of the sea eagles was the primary factor influencing their decision to visit Mountshannon. More than 10,000 people flocked to the shores of Lough Derg between mid-July and September 2014 to catch a glimpse of the eagles which had nested on Bushy Island, off Mountshannon Bay. A person from Northern Ireland on a sabbatical completed a visitor survey of those attending the viewing and information point. Dr Allan Mee of the Golden Eagle Trust acknowledged that some day trippers visiting Mountshannon last year …

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