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GALLERY: Saddling up for the 400th Spancilhill Fair

The historic Spancilhill Horse Fair returned on Thursday having been cancelled for the last two years due to the pandemic. It was almost mothballed permanently, due to insurance issues, but in April, an eleventh hour intervention by Clare County Council secured its future and paved the way for celebrations this year to mark the 400th anniversary of the world renowned horse fair. Thursday’s event was as busy and colourful as ever, as our photos show.

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GALLERY: Donations instrumental to school’s music programme

TRADITIONAL music frequently reverberates through Scoil Chríost Rí in Cloughleigh, with instruments that the school has received through an instrument appeal run by Councillor Mary Howard. The latest haul was brought to the school last Friday morning and music teacher Karen Vaughan said that the instruments received over the years have made a huge difference, giving children access to music that they wouldn’t otherwise have had. “It’s fantastic. Mary Howard set up an instrument donation scheme for us many years ago, on the back of a wonderful visit we had from the Phoenix Twinning Committee Band. “They came from America on a visit, we had a band here and when the two came together something magic happened. “Mary was here that day and she said will we set up an instrument donation scheme because there must be loads of instruments around the county not being used. “Over the years I’ve been championing traditional music here in the school and I …

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GALLERY: Pupils and teachers celebrate growing school ‘Together’

THE “wonderful addition” 44 children from Ukraine have made to Ennis Educate Together school has been highlighted by principal David Quinn at the school’s recent celebration day. The event also presented an opportunity to showcase the quite literal growth of a new project which has resulted in a sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, planted for every pupil in the school. As well as welcoming the school’s new enrolments, the day was a celebration for the entire school and offered an opportunity for families to visit for the first time since Covid-19. On the day Ennis Educate Together’s youngest pupil Oleksandr  and oldest pupil Melisa helped raise the school flag with its newly designed logo featuring new school colours, chosen with input from the children. Mr Quinn explained, “The children’s voice is very important in our school. Last year we surveyed the children in third to sixth classes to choose our schools colours and to add them to our school …

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GALLERY: Shannon set to party again after first festival finishes

LIVE entertainment is back and the Shannon Summer Music Festival took place in the Town Park on Saturday, offering entertainment to young and old throughout the day. Organiser Chris Walshe was happy with the event, despite some less than ideal weather. “It was great, despite the weather we still had a good turnout. We had a very good turnout early in the day for the children’s entertainment, we had face painting, balloon modellers and the kiddie’s discos. We got a bad bout of rain for an hour or two, but people drifted back then for the live music. “For a finish we probably had 150 and 200 out in the Park. Everyone was there enjoyed it, the musicians were delighted and it was nice to have the opportunity to have a big production like that in Shannon and to show off the Park as a venue.” It featured a number of local musicians and he said the day was the …

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GALLERY: Patience crucial to Clooney-Quin’s U15 triumph

U15A hurling final Clooney-Quin 2-16 Cratloe 2-11 Clooney-Quin relievedly made the perfect start to 2022 when finally holding off an obstinate Cratloe with the last four points to cement a first U-15A Hurling title since 2019 in Cusack Park on Saturday afternoon. Having agonisingly suffered championship final defeats at Under 13B, 14A, 15B and Minor A in 2021, two of which were in Cusack Park, Clooney-Quin deservedly made full amends last Saturday to further enhance their growing underage influence. In essence, Clooney-Quin possessed the better balance and having been the most consistent team in the competition throughout, there were some excellent displays in particular on Saturday from Darragh McNamara, Jerry O’Connor, Sean McNamara, Matthew Corbett, Cathal Leamy, Sean Cassidy and captain Patrick Finneran. Cratloe, U-14B champions from 2021, were greatly reliant on Marc O’Brien and it was easy to see why as the towering centre-forward possessed pace, power and an ever-present threat to favourites Clooney-Quin. Morris Ryan, Tadhg Lohan, Cian …

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GALLERY: Ennistymon v Whitegate U15C hurling final

The scoreline of 1-20 to 3-4 is a little misleading but there was no doubt about the merits of victory as Ennistymon cooly picked off the last eight points to finally cement a much-needed Under 15C crown over Whitegate in Clareabbey. Having laid the groundwork by only trailing by the minimum at half-time with the conditions to come, initially it didn’t quite pan out how Ennistymon would have wished for. Despite being on top, Ennistymon were duly pegged back by timely goals through Daragh Pearl and Whitegate talisman Jake Gibbons to ensure only a two point advantage for the North Clare side entering the final ten minutes. Indeed, it had to take a superb save from goalkeeper Liam Marrinan to somehow deny Gibbons once more and cling onto their advantage at 1-12 to 3-4. That stop proved inspirational as Ennistymon regrouped and got back on the frontfoot with successive points through Donncha O’Dwyer (3), Eoin Devanney (2), Eoin Byrne, Louis …

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GALLERY: U15B hurling final between Clonlara and Clarecastle

A devastating finish of four final quarter goals saw Clonlara sink Clarecastle in truly dramatic fashion on their way to the U-15B title in Cratloe. The interval switch of centre-back Harry Hodgins would ultimately be decisive as trailing by five nearing the turn of the final quarter, he would dramatically fire two goals in the space of just four minutes to completely flip this decider on its head. Now soaring in confidence, further goals through Dan and Mark Hogan would remarkably complete a late 14 point turnaround which did certainly skew the final scoreline. Along with the impact of Hodgins, the lively Darragh Dillon, who scored the opening goal and set up two more, along with Ciaran Howard were Clonlara’s main protagonists in an unprecedented final win. And yet it was arguably Clarecastle midfielder Harry Doherty’s almost incredulous powers of fielding, especially from puck-outs that will live longest in the memory bank from this seesaw final. Doherty and excellent chief …

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GALLERY: President visits Clare branch of Samaritans

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina visited the local branch of the Samaritans on the Kilrush Road in Ennis last week, as it celebrated its 40th anniversary. The Samaritans provides confidential emotional support to people experiencing feelings of distress and despair, including feelings that may lead to suicide. The current local director Margaret McMahon said Gardai had been at the branch well in advance of the visit, and around the Tuesday of the week before the Presidential visit it had been confirmed he would be coming. On the day he presented certificates to two of the longest serving volunteers. “One of them, Teresa, is one of the founding members and has 40 years of service, while another one, Mary, has 39 years,” said Margaret. Speaking about the visit, she said that they had shown him their premises, while they found he was familiar with the charity. “We brought him in and showed him our visitors room, the operations …

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