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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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Put your coastline in the frame for photography prize

CLARE’S amateur photographers are being urged to put the county’s coastline and waterways in the frame as Clean Coasts’ launches its annual ‘Love Your Coast’ photography competition. The competition has opened to submissions from Clare photographers for its 13th year. The Love Your Coast competition asks amateur photographers to capture and celebrate the uniqueness of our coastal communities, environments, or waterways such as its stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, epic cliff faces, and raging rivers. Clare has some of the most spectacular coastlines in the world and Clean Coasts want to encourage people to get out their cameras as they explore the Irish coast and capture its beauty. 2021 saw Clare photographer Mike Orth win second place in the Wildlife and Underwater category for his photo entitled Compass by Cave Light that was taken at the entrance to Donegal Point Cave in Kilkee, County Clare. Moreover, Gavin Sheehan with the picture titled Finavarra Under the Night Sky and Piotr Machowczyk with the photograph Mighty Cliffs of Moher were shortlisted …

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Volunteer spirit at Ennis IWA charity shop rewarded

“OUR volunteers are the backbone of what we do,” says Tina Nagle, shop supervisor at the Irish Wheelchair Association’s charity shop in Ennis’ Elevation Business Park. Tina was speaking to The Champion as the shop’s team celebrated scooping an impressive four national awards from the Irish Charity Shop Association, including Volunteer of the Year for Margaret Hurley. And she revealed the success of the Ennis shop, which has expanded to 3,000 square feet at its base on the Clon Road, is set to become the model for any new shops to be opened by the charity in the future. According to Tina they were “thrilled” to receive accolades from the Irish Charity Shop Association at their recent awards ceremony in Dublin. As well as Margaret’s national Volunteer of the Year award, selected from charity shops all over Ireland, volunteer Hasibullah Darwish was runner up in the Volunteer throughout Ireland category; Teresa Marshall received a special Volunteer Recognition award and Tina …

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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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Teenagers extend bikes’ life cycle in community project

A GROUP of local young people recently completed a Clare Youth Service Upcycling Project in collaboration with the Gardai. The teens overhauled bikes, first stripping them down and then repairing and enhancing the two wheelers. “The idea is two-fold,” said Joe Saunders of Clare Youth Service. “One is in relation to climate change, just not to be discarding good materials. Raw materials from bicycles just go into landfill a lot of the time when they can be upcycled. “The second thing then is to give some skills to the young people as well, in relation to repair and reuse of materials and then cycling skills and safety, that’s why the Guards were involved, and they generated some of the raw materials and gave some instruction. So it covered a range of objectives.” His colleague Thomas O’Hara was involved in the first such project in 2017, and in 2021 it got going once more. “I had another group in 2021 that …

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Flaggy Shore Solstice stroll to raise money for RNLI

A beautiful 8km Summer Solstice stroll in the Flaggy Shore, Bellharbour, New Quay, will take place on Tuesday night, June 21, to raise much needed funds for the RNLI Lifeboats. Meeting at New Quay Church car park at 7.15pm participants will be guided the short distance to parking in Mairtin Fahy’s meadow field on the Flaggy Shore. The stroll will leave at 8pm and take walkers down by the lake where poet Seamus Heaney was inspired to write one of his most famous writings, Postscript. There will be time out for healing and reflection on the shore as well as black pudding and brown bread. Let the spirit of the Burren rock into the heart and soul inside in you as stroll in the finest landscape in the World between the mountain and the sea on the shores of Galway Bay. Donations can be made on the night to the RNLI Lifeboats. For further nformation contact Joe Queally on 087 …

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Bunratty gets craic-ing with Ceilí in the Kitchen

VISITORS to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park will be transported back to a time of traditional Irish hooley, through the attraction’s brand-new show.  Céilí in the Kitchen, which takes place in the Corn Barn, on the grounds of the 26-acre folk park, will feature music from top Irish musicians, dancers, and singers in the West of Ireland along with a traditional dining experience.  Shannon Heritage Brand Marketing Manager Adrienne O’Flynn said, “We are very excited to launch Céilí in the Kitchen. “A brand-new stage has been built by our team here in Bunratty as a backdrop to our new story. Céilí in the Kitchen is aimed at capturing the hearts of our audience and transporting them back to rural Irish life in the early 20th century. “In the olden days, a céilí or seisiún in an Irish kitchen would see friends, neighbours, and family all come together for a night of food, lamentations, music, singing and dancing. “The response from …

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Go Wild on Loop Head this weekend!

THE natural beauty of Loop Head and its rich biodiversity will be showcased this weekend through a wide range of activities. Wild Loop Head’s Nature Weekend 2022 will take place on June 18 and 19 and draws on a number of diverse attractions on the peninsula. It is supported by the efforts of Loop Head Peninsula Together, Purecamping, Carsten Krieger Photographer and Author and sponsored by Wild Atlantic Hemp and Hemp4Soil. On June 18, the day will begin at 10am with a walk and talk hosted by Cormac McGinley of Cormac’s Coast, observing the Loop Head bird colonies such as fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and choughs. Tickets are €25. McGinley has degrees in zoology and marine biology, and is an expert on all coastal wildlife, running tours and talks around the Cliffs of Moher all year round. This will be followed by a talk by Mary Kate Bolger of Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt at 2pm at Halla Eoin Kilbaha, while Kilkee Sub-Aqua …

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