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Breaking News

Marathon of masses planned for festive season

IT IS set to be a Christmas like no other. Level 3 restrictions have allowed religious ceremonies to resume and the popular Christmas tradition of attending mass will be a very different this year. Between the parishes of Ennis and Doora-Barefield alone, an unprecedented 33 masses will be celebrated over two days in seven churches. “We are of the firm belief that people want to come to Christmas mass and we will respond to that demand,” said Fr Tom Ryan, Co-PP of the Abbey Cluster. “We have to have social distancing and capacity restrictions, so our solution is to increase the number of masses. We’ll start on Christmas Eve at 4pm and finish with mass at midnight. On Christmas Day, we’ll have first mass at 7am and the last one at 6.30pm. We have the man power.” The two parishes, who alongside Clarecastle and Ballyea, and Quin, Clooney and Maghera make up the Abbey Cluster, are stopping short of issuing …

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Doireann Scoops Book of the Year Award

KILNAMONA’s Doireann Ní Ghríofa has taken the prestigious An Post Book of the Year 2020 award. A Ghost in the Throat her first prose work, was described as “a strikingly original combination of essay and auto-fiction”. Poet Doireann was unveiled as the winner during part of a special television show aired on RTÉ One, hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan, last night (December 10). The award winning book has received widespread acclaim for weaving together two complementary stories, that of the narrator and the life of eighteenth-century poet Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill. Read our full profile with Doireann here. Doireann is a native of Galway. She was raised in Kilnamona and now lives in Cork.

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Clare farmer’s biodiversity win

JOE Melody, a dairy and purebred suckler farmer from Bunratty, has been named the 2020 National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year at this year’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards. The National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award recognises a farmer who is farming sustainably by encouraging biodiversity and protecting the environment. Joe farms 360 acres in partnership with his father. Around 260 acres of the farm is used for the purebred suckler cows, their calves, and rearing the dairy replacement heifers. He is an active participant in the Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS), where habitats such as Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP) and Traditional Hay Meadows (THM) are preserved. He is passionate about biodiversity and is aware of the importance of maintaining these habitats for birds and wildlife. The farm borders the Shannon estuary with over 3km of riverbank. The riverbank is immersed in reed bed that intersperses with salt marsh, all of which …

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Barbers return to shave the day

DECEMBER 1 couldn’t come quickly enough for hundreds if not thousands of Clare men whose hair had grown feral since the beginning of lockdown. Ennis barber Micheál Malone has been welcoming customers back and says business has been quite brisk. “It has been very busy, it’ll be very busy for this week, people are getting Christmas haircuts as well.” Customers are very happy to finally get tidied up and get a part of their routine back. “They’re delighted to get back and to see us as well, it’s a bit of normality as well. Six weeks is a long time with people getting a haircut every four weeks.” In business for the last 25 years, he says this has been by far the strangest and most difficult one. “We’ve only worked for six months of the year really, to be honest about it. It has been strange for the staff as well, you’re not seeing them. The first lockdown was …

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Shannon Tree of Hope Vandalism ‘devastating’

A TREE of Hope planted in Shannon Town Park in October was vandalised last weekend. The tree was planted by the local Darkness Into Light group and its chairperson Brenda Leahy was very upset by the vandalism. “Devastated, absolutely devastated. I couldn’t believe it when I got the call to say it had been damaged and there were kids seen around the park. It’s terrible.” Each year Shannon, like many other towns and villages, hosts a Darkness Into Light Walk in aid of Pieta House, but with that being cancelled, the Tree of Hope was planted instead. “Some people were concerned that it might be damaged but we said we’d go ahead with it, and hopefully it wouldn’t be. It was just to give a symbol of hope, it was some place for people to go and remember their loved ones or to reflect.” Having lost her husband to suicide, Brenda said the tree had a special personal meaning to …

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Restrictions hampering SVP Christmas effort in Shannon

FOR some it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for other it’s just the most expensive and stressful. Christmas is when the Mary Immaculate Conference of St Vincent De Paul in Shannon is at its busiest, helping the many local people who struggle to meet the financial demands of the season. Mary Corry has been involved in it for the last 25 years and she says that 2020 has posed very difficult challenges. “We’re not really doing visits at the moment, we just send vouchers to people. It’s much more difficult because we don’t meet to discuss cases or that sort of thing. Yet people’s needs remain the same, they’ve increased a bit I’d say. “ We haven’t been able to have a collection which is a huge drawback for us. We won’t be able to get food, we used to get an amount of food from the schools and the Giving Trees (positioned at local churches). We …

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Wind power making waves

THE use of wind energy is seen as an important step in reducing carbon emissions and Clare is now seeing an increasing number of applications for turbines, which is not sitting well with those living near proposed sites. New national guidelines are due on windfarm development, and when they are finally introduced are likely to offer added protection for householders. A draft document includes a prohibition on development within 500 metres of anyone’s home or within a multiple of four times a turbine’s height. For example a turbine of 175 metres – and at least one of this size would be included in a West Clare development for which planning permission is being sought – would have to be at least 700 metres from the nearest person’s home. The size of the turbines (the tallest building in the Republic of Ireland is less than half the height of the Miltown proposal) means they attract controversy, while there are concerns about …

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Wynona goes on the run for mental health charity

ON December 12, Ballycasey’s Wynona Grant will be undertaking a massive challenge, all for youth mental health charity Jigsaw. At 5am that morning Wynona will begin a 12-hour run, continuing until 5pm that evening, with only minimal stops for bathroom breaks and to refuel. It’s a massive challenge for the 27-year-old, who works in digital marketing and has just qualified as a personal trainer and running coach. Running for 12 hours would be impossible even for many very fit people and it’s clear that Wynona is in fantastic shape, although she only really started running seriously a few years ago. “I kind of got into it about two and a half years ago, so not that long in the grand scheme of things. As a kid I would have exercised a lot, I played camogie and football for Wolfe Tones and soccer for Bunratty FC and stuff like that, but like a lot of people when I went to secondary …

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