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John calls time on O’Dea’s

THE claim many years ago by Samuel  Johnson that “there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn” springs to mind when  looking back on nearly 80 years of trading in O’Dea’s pub, Ennis. Over that period, the popular O’Connell Street premises carved out a niche for itself in the licensed trade of the capital town. Like most pubs, it has many a story to tell with its characters – and there were many of them – the great music sessions and the sing-songs, now almost exclusive to a family-run pub like O’Dea’s. But it has run its race with the decision of proprietor, John O’Dea, to retire from  the licensed trade entirely and consider other options for 66 O’Connell Street. Last weekend, as patrons ordered their last drinks, they looked back on great times in O’Dea’s but, at the same time,  expressed their disappointment at …

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Specsavers staff to ‘Climb for Crumlin’

Specsavers Ennis’ fundraising activities will reach new heights next week as staff participate in a stair climber challenge to raise much-needed funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. As part of the newly launched ‘Climb for Crumlin’ campaign, Specsavers staff member Tony Power will embark on the epic journey of climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp and employees and customers across the country will go the distance on stair climber machines. Customers in Ennis are invited to drop in to their local store on Saturday, April 16 and show their support by taking part in the climb or making a donation to the worthy cause. Alternatively, customers can purchase and complete their very own wish card which will be delivered to the monks at Everest Base Camp. Wish cards cost €1 and Specsavers will match every €1 raised from these cards, with all funds going to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. Having exceeded its initial fundraising target, Specsavers recently announced …

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Tony shows his support with 48-hour fast

A former bank manager is banking on Clare people to join him in a 48-hour fast to raise funds to support the growing number of cancer patients in the county. Tony Finucane came to Ennis to work in Bank of Ireland as a clerk in 1977 and remained with the same bank until his retirement in 2012, which included 15 years as a manager. Over the years, the Newcastle West native worked all over the county, in Ennis, Shannon and Miltown, until his last post in Tulla. The 66-year-old is appealing to locals to join him during his 48-hour fast, which starts on Wednesday, April 6 at 8pm and runs until Friday, April 8 at 8pm. “Anyone is welcome to join me on the fast for a number of hours to raise money for Sláinte an Chláir. An acquaintance of mine got cancer in February 2015. The centre provides fabulous support and services for people who have cancer and their …

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Daithí’s on top of the world

ONE of the most interesting tunes you’ll hear on the radio this year is Ballyvaughan musician, Daithí Ó Drónaí’s Mary Keane’s Introduction. The track features Daithí’s grandmother, who is in her 90s, talking about having “several boyfriends” in her youth, resisting efforts to be set up with a Carron farmer and how she met her future husband in Kilfenora. Her words and laughter, combined with her grandson’s dance music, make for a sound that is absolutely unique and the track won Daithí a nomination for the Choice Music Prize Song Of The Year award. If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s well worth looking up on YouTube or Spotify. Speaking about it last week, Daithí said he wanted to push the limits of dance music a little, and do something with a strong theme. “That track was a weird one. I was writing a new EP and I had just finished a very strong pop album. I was getting a …

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St Patrick’s Day parades in photos

Thousands of people turned out to enjoy St Patrick’s Day parades in towns and villages all over County Clare.  The biggest parade was in Ennis where Pakie Wall from Kilmihil – the oldest Patrick in Clare – was grand marshal. We capture all the excitement and colour of the parades in photos. ENNIS:   GORT: KILLALOE: TULLA: SHANNON: KILRUSH: LISDOONVARNA:

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Pakie heads Ennis parade

Ninety-seven-year-old Patrick ‘Pakie’ Wall from Ballydineen, Kilmihil, was the focus of attention at this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Ennis when he assumed the role of Grand Marshall. Patrick was selected following a nomination process through Clare County Council for the oldest Patrick in Clare to join Mayor of Ennis Pat Daly in leading the parade in a horse-drawn carriage, which was followed by approximately 50 groups representing the many aspects of life in the county. Ahead of the parade, a Certificate of Recognition was presented to Mr Wall outside the offices of Áras Contae an Chláir. The presentation was made by Anna Whelan, who is a fifth class pupil from Ballyea National School where Pakie attended from 1923 to 1931. Fifth class from Ballyea National School went on to win Best Parade Float/Group for their showcase of their All-Ireland winning Irish drama “1916-Eirigh amach na Casca”.

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A chance to sink teeth into Stoker tourism

Businesses in Clare could benefit from the county’s links to a book by Bram Stoker, a great-grandnephew of the Gothic novelist has said. Ivan Stoker Dixon pointed out that Bram Stoker “sourced and set” The Snake’s Pass, a precursor to Dracula published in 1890, in County Clare. Mr Stoker Dixon believes the county, especially the tourism industry, could capitalise on its links with the author, describing the current situation as a “lost opportunity”. “The potential [if properly managed] could render County Clare many rewards, such as a Bram Stoker Trail, with talks and storytelling sessions; insight and assistance to academic Irish studies, schools, drama and so on; also, horse-drawn car rides along the coast roads, as Bram Stoker did, soaking up the atmosphere for his novel,” he said. The London resident also points out that there is “a thriving twice-yearly Bram Stoker festival at Whitby, Yorkshire, which not only adds to their attractions but prolongs their season from early spring …

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Read all about the 1916 Rising

TO commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Rising, Clare County Library has developed book promotions on the theme for both children and adults. More than 800 books have been published on the subject, with almost 500 currently in print. The two reading promotions feature selections of the best of the currently available books on the Rising. The adult books selected are non-fiction and include general introductions, biographies of the individual leaders, first-hand accounts of particular battles, details of the rebellion in particular parts of the country and accounts of the civilian experience of the insurrection. Historical fiction is the perfect way for young people to get inside the skins of children of the same age from other times and give them a real understanding of major events in the past. The collection of books specifically chosen for children and teenagers will introduce them to, and immerse them in, one of the most important events to ever happen in our country’s …

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