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70th anniversary of Okeanos shipwreck

IN January 1947, the Okeanos, a Panamanian-owed steamship, made its way from the River Plate in South America (now the area of Argentina and Uruguay) to Limerick, delivering grain to the firm Ranks, whose grain silo was a well known landmark on the docks in the city. Captain Lampraidos and the other crew members were mostly Greek natives. My father, Eamon Ginnane, tracked ships as they came and went along the Shannon Estuary from his farm in Rahona. In mid-January, he spied the Okeanos on its way to Limerick and saw the ship again a few days later, anchored off Carrigaholt Bay, noting the difference in its height out of the water, since its cargo of 5,000 tonnes of grain had been deposited in Limerick City. On the night of January 13, the Okeanos hit the rocks at Kilcredaun Point and sounded her siren. As soon as the siren sounded, the first on the scene were local farmers from the …

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President recalls Holocaust victims

President Michael D. Higgins has focused on one of the most terrible atrocities ever committed against a section of society, ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday. “Today, on Holocaust Memorial Day, we remember the victims of the Nazi Holocaust – the millions of innocent men, women and children who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis because of their ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliations or their religious beliefs. “On this day we pause and remember the atrocities committed in that short space of time in the middle of the 20th century, as we remember the unspeakable horror unleashed on millions of people under a regime built on fear, hatred, prejudice and convulsive cruelty. “In remembering, we are inviting each other to pay heed to the small and dwindling number of powerful voices of those who experienced and survived the Holocaust in person. Voices that implore us to never forget, and to learn the lessons history teaches us,” President …

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First Dates star defends himself after online slating

ENNIS man Timmie Murphy has been slated on social media over the last week, following his appearance on First Dates Ireland. However, in an interview with The Clare Champion, he said the cyberbullies’ views are not upsetting him, while he pointed out he did not set out to hurt his date on the show, Donegal man Richard McNeil. While Richard was obviously very keen to meet Timmie again, the 34-year-old, who is now based in Dublin but is originally from Golf Links Road, ruled it out.   Much of the online criticism of Timmie came because he urged Richard to say if he wanted to meet again first, even though his own mind was already made up. However, Timmie said he really thought there was little chance Richard would want to see him again. “I was as honest as I could be. I genuinely thought he would have said no to me. We got on but we got on as …

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Clare library plans progress

THE development of the new flagship €8.5 million County Library project in Ennis is moving ahead, with confirmation that the local authority will soon be seeking approval from the Government to apply for planning permission. It is expected that, subject to approval from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, the planning application will be made in either March or April. It is hoped that the main building development near Glór will begin on site next year, with construction anticipated to take 18 months. Liam Conneally, director of service with Clare County Council for housing, culture, sports and amenities, outlined, “The project is subject to ongoing cost reviews and stage approvals, as per the guidelines issued by the department. “Stage two is due to be submitted to the department in late February 2017 to seek approval to proceed to submission of a planning application in March or April. The date is subject to department approval to proceed.” A full …

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Tracing descendants of ‘bride ship’ girls

IN 1852, Winifred Ward left Ennis and boarded a ship, along with other workhouse orphans, with the hope of starting a new life in Australia. Efforts are now being made to find her descendants here in Clare so that they can connect with their overseas relations. Plans are also underway to make a documentary about the orphan girls who travelled to Australia on these so called ‘bride-ships’, and to celebrate their lives with a remembrance service next year. The Mountbellew Workhouse Orphan Girls Project has been working on bringing the descendants of these girls together and to ensure that their legacies are not forgotten. Genealogist Paula Kennedy explains that one of the descendants of Winifred, who may have spelt her surname Warde, has been in contact with the project team and is eager to make a connection with her Clare cousins. “We are currently working on a project, tracing the descendants of the immigrants of the Palestine Ship, which left …

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New Year's Eve at St Enda's Well, Slieve Elva, Fanore. Tom Doherty of Doolin Coastguard lights a torch to leave inside the well chamber, in memory of all who have lost their lives at sea over the past year, Looking on are, Celina Kennedy, David Courtney, former Coastguard helicopter pilot, John Galvin, MD Clare Champion and Joe Queally of the RNLI. Photograph by John Kelly.

New Year’s wonder on Slieve Elva

Once you reach a certain age, New Year’s Eve should be spent in front of the telly, watching whatever rubbish is on, but sometimes you want to do something completely different. This New Year’s Eve, I found myself in a car, heading for Fanore in the company of Joe Queally, RNLI stalwart and Dave Courtney, a former Coastguard helicopter pilot. Our mission was to climb Sliebh Elva and light candles for the souls lost at sea and for our own families. Even leaving Ennis, the rain was coming down but by the time we hit Fanore and joined Doolin Coastguard, Tom Doherty and his partner Celine Kennedy, it was coming down like stair rods. I confess, I wasn’t well prepared. I forgot to bring my waterproof trousers and had to borrow a pair from Tom. My boots weren’t best suited to the conditions either. I really needed wellies to properly deal with the lakes of water that flooded the trail. …

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Maureen 100 years and counting

MAUREEN Cronin, a woman of indomitable spirit, had more birthday cards than Christmas cards to open this year. The writer and poet turned 100 on Christmas Day but hosted her big party a few days earlier in the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis. Surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a big number of other family members and friends, Maureen enjoyed a wonderful occasion. Born on December 25, 1916 in the musical and cultural heartland of Sliabh Luachra, the former Maureen O’Carroll made history in the education system when she defied the marriage ban for women by carrying on working for 12 months without pay, then continuing her career until well after the ban was eventually lifted in 1958. When Maureen married Sean Cronin, she wast teaching in County Limerick. After she was married, she went back to the school and continued to work without receiving a salary. For many she was a pioneer but in an interview a couple …

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TV documentary on Tulla Céilí Band

AN hour-long bilingual documentary, to be broadcast on TG4 on St Stephen’s night, tells the remarkable story of the Tulla Céilí Band. The Tulla Céilí Band tells the story of the band, which has been around for more than 70 years, and also offers a broader and more seamless social history of the times, revealing a tradition that has been handed down from father to son, along with exploring how this tradition was quite often slighted but yet continued to survive in an impatient and quickly changing environment. Directed by John O’Donnell and narrated by Doireann Ní Bhriain, the film explores the Tulla Céilí Band, both past and present, and looks at how their particular style and sound was forged and maintained over the years. When the band set out in 1946, no-one would have guessed that their unique sound would find a home in the hearts of many from Camden Town to Carnegie Hall, along with practically every dance …

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