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Christmas gets cracking at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

‘TIS indeed the season now that one of the region’s top Christmas experiences has opened its doors for another year at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The annual Christmas event is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and over 31,000 people are expected to visit the site for this perennial favourite. Now firmly embedded in the heritage of County Clare, the event creates seasonal employment in the local community, with 50 additional staff enlisted this year to help create this magical experience. Commenting on the extensive preparations that go into the annual event, Susan Murphy, General Manager, Shannon Heritage said, “We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and passionate team at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park who have worked tirelessly to prepare the park for this special event. It’s a labour of love for them with preparations beginning as early as June. “A massive amount of planning and commitment has gone into the event from ensuring our light display is energy efficient, to building all …

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MacDara’s vision for bi-lingual Ennis inside 10 years

MACDARA Ó Conaola is a man with a vision. Recently appointed  Language Planning Officer for Ennis he believes the county capital has the potential to become a bilingual town within the next decade. He feels Ennis and Clare has the capacity to become a “beacon” to the rest of the country in changing how people view Irish, a language which, he laments, is currently “hanging by a thread”. Speaking to The Clare Champion recently MacDara talks about, amongst other topics, his work in Ennis, infectious passion for the Irish language, involvement with the hit movie The Banshees of Inisherin and love of music. Growing up on Inis Oírr completely bilingually MacDara says he was “very fortunate” in his upbringing. However he acknowledges, that for others, there can be a “negative attitude” towards Irish. This is something he wants to counteract, urging people to embrace the language in whatever little way they can and encouraging younger generations to engage. He tells …

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Over €750,000 for Clare to develop two key outdoor amenities

TWO of Clare’s top outdoor amenities will share funding worth €768,204 under the Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors initiative. A sum of €500,000 has been allocated to develop the Cliffs of Moher North Coastal Walk, with another €87,304 going to the Cliffs and Burren Geopark for upgrade works. Meanwhile €180,900 has been allocated to Ballycuggaran/Two Mile Gate in the east of the county for the upgrade of facilities there. Minister Heather Humphreys launched the Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors initiative today, a five-year strategy aimed at developing outdoor recreation nationwide. Deputy Joe Carey said that the funding for the Cliffs of Moher looped walk is particularly significant and he had made a strong case to Rural and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys in support of an application from Clare County Council for funding under the ORIS scheme. “With the backing of local landowners, the IFA and the Clare Local Development Company, the council is ready to proceed with this project and can meet ten …

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Enjoying myself at the sunflower farm.

Daisy’s 2022 Diary

This might just have been my busiest year yet of travel, photoshoots and meet-ups with friends and while I’ve turned 13, I promise I am not a difficult teenager! Well, that’s another year over and it was special for me. Yes, I’m officially a teenager, having celebrated my 13th birthday in May. I don’t feel any different. I’m still busier than ever visiting my favourite places and modelling my lovely outfits as befits a superstar. I seem to have packed so much into this year that I get dizzy even thinking about it. My first major photo shoot was for Valentine’s Day. I’d just got a beautiful dress from my favourite couturiers, AG Dog Fashion and we wondered how best to show it off when we spied a stall in Galway, The Pine Rack, selling home made boxes; not much more than a week later, I had a lovely kissing booth with heart cutouts, painted and all. We quickly decided …

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Carrs in the driving seat at Shannon Mr and Mrs event

ANDY and Clara Carr were the winners of the Mr and Mrs fundraising event, jointly run by Wolfe Tones and Shannon Musical Society on Friday. MC for the night was Aodán Fox, and he said it was a great success. “It was a super night, really, really good. There was great support, a great turnout, and the reaction was fantastic. It went down a bomb,” said Aodán. Of the winning couple, he said, “Andy is a former chairman of the GAA club. Clara was a bit nervous about getting up on the stage but they were great. They were voted winners on the night, it went by an audience vote. That’s how we raised the funds, the audience could buy votes. “After the first round we opened up the polling booths and they could buy the votes from them. It was a fun night, a lot of laughs. “There were eight couples, they really got into the spirit of it, …

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New executive head chef takes over at Clare resort

TRUMP International Golf Links and Hotel has appointed a new executive head chef to direct culinary operations at the Doonbeg resort. Ian Chambers who can boast over 25 years of experience working in five star luxury hotel brands, cruise ships and Michelin star restaurants in the Middle East, UK, Ireland and South East Asia, is the man taking charge. “A few of my career highlights over the past 25 years have included been being part of the team and gaining our fourth rosette when I was working in Chapter One,” says Ian, referencing the popular Dublin restaurant. “Working in conjunction with celebrity chefs Nobu and Jon Ashton on Crystal Cruises has been another highlight,” he adds. Ian has also cooked for the emperor of Japan while at the Sofitel Manila Plaza as well as various famous musicians and actors. “I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to work at Trump Doonbeg after returning home to Ireland after 24 …

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Brewery and Smokehouse feature in new craft beer podcast

BEER, craft brewing, sustainability and food pairings are among the topics of a new podcast series from the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland (ICBI), supported by Bord Bia. Clare features strongly in the new limited edition podcast series, which is entitled ‘Craft Community, the Local Irish Beer Podcast’. Peter Curtin and Birgitta Hedin Curtin, of The Roadside Tavern, Burren Brewery and The Burren Smokehouse are ideally placed to provide expert insights and tips on food pairings and beer styles. They share their culinary and brewing secrets in Episode Five of the series, alongside the proprietors of The Dungarvan Brewery and The Whitefield Brewery. Hosted by beer sommelier and award-winning drinks writer, Susan Boyle, the podcast series aims to raise awareness of the Irish craft brewing sector and to encourage people in Ireland to find out more about the craft beers being produced locally.  Over six episodes, host Susan will be joined by some of Ireland’s leading craft breweries on themes including sustainability, branding, craft production, and business development. The weekly episodes will …

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Clare GAA star to feature in Shannon Mr and Mrs fundraiser

SHANNON Musical Society and Wolfe Tones are coming together for a fundraiser, which tests how well couples know each other. Entitled ‘Mr and Mrs’, it will be held at Wolfe Tones at 8pm on November 18 and Karen Barrett, chairperson of Shannon Musical Society, said it will be a very fun night. “It’s based on a TV show that was on in years gone by. A couple are brought onto the stage and then one of them is brought away while the other person is asked a series of questions. “The partner comes back and is asked the same questions and hopefully give the same answers! “There’s another round when they’re given a paddle, one side of it is pink and the other blue, they switch it over for the appropriate answer.” Karen said that there are some couples with links to the two organisations. “It’s a bit of fun really and while it’s a fundraiser for Wolfe Tones and …

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