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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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New protocols for flying Tricolour

The National Flag may now be flown by night as well as by day as long as it is properly illuminated, preferably by spotlight, in accordance with amended protocols. Senator Mark Daly, who is a member of the Governments All Party Consultation Group on the Decade of Commemorations chaired by the Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, worked with the Taoiseach’s Department and the Thomas F Meagher Foundation to amended the previous guidelines. Senator Daly commented “protocol are created from precedent, the research of the history of the Tricolour shows that the first time the tricolour flag was flown by Thomas F Meagher was on Mach 7, 1848 and it flew continuously day and night until removed by the authorities. “The second occasion it was flown was from the GPO on Easter Monday 1916 and again it flew day and night until the end of the Rising. The protocols and guidelines have been changed to reflect the history and …

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97-year-old Patrick to lead Ennis parade

THE oldest Patrick in County Clare has been tracked down to fulfil an important duty. He is 97-year-old Patrick ‘Pakie’ Wall from Ballydineen, Kilmihil, and he has been named the grand marshall of this year’s Ennis St Patrick’s Day Parade. Patrick was selected to be grand marshall 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 will be followed by approximately 50 groups representing the many aspects of life in the county. More than 10,000 people are expected to line the streets of the county capital on March 17 for the annual event. The theme of this year’s parade is Clare County of Culture, in recognition of the celebration and promotion of Clare as a County of Culture in the lead-up to the hosting of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis this August. Patrick’s daughter, Carmel Bohannon, described her …

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‘Champion gets to the Roots of history

The strength of The Clare Champion’s roots in the very fabric of the county’s history was emphasised at an event celebrating the completion of an innovative project. The Clare Roots Society has been working in conjunction with The Champion, collecting and recording biographical notices for the years 1903 to 1934. As a result of the hard work of dedicated volunteers, the project is now complete, resulting in about 7,000 biographical notices being collated. The information has been donated to Clare Library and the online version is now live on the library’s website. To celebrate the completion of the project, a function was held recently at The Old Ground Hotel. Editor of The Clare Champion, Austin Hobbs told those gathered that the newspaper was delighted to be involved with the project. He said the newspaper has played an important part in people’s lives over the years in Clare. “We have seen evidence of this in the amount of letters, and these days …

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Lotto millionaires ‘tick off bucketlist’

A CLARE couple, who won over €1 million in the EuroMillions last month, plan to use their winnings to go on an exotic holiday and help a local charity. The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, bought their winning ticket in The Spar shop on the Limerick Road in Ennis, opposite St Flannan’s College, on Tuesday, February 23. They scooped a €1,026,063 prize with a €6 Quick Pick ticket in the EuroMillions, with the numbers: 23, 25, 32, 37, 42 and star number 1. Collecting their prize from the National Lottery headquarters on Thursday, the lucky couple said they made a bucket list together a few years ago and are now looking forward to ticking off a few things, including an exotic holiday. They also say they plan to make a donation to a local charity which means a great deal to their family. “We’re living the dream we never imagined would come true. We were so excited that we …

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Loop Head Lighthouse reopens

Loop Head Lighthouse is to reopen to the public on Saturday. Clare County Council, which manages the facility in conjunction with the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), says the historic lighthouse will remain open daily (10am-6pm) until October. The popular tourist attraction attracted 26,932 visitors during 2015. The figure represents an increase of 6,564 or 32% on 2014 visitor numbers. Loop Head Lighthouse is a landmark location on the Loop Head Heritage Trail which was named winner of the ‘Culture and Heritage’ category of the 2015 World Responsible Tourism Awards. It is also one of 12 lighthouses which make up Great Lighthouses of Ireland, a new all-island tourism initiative, and is one of two Signature Discovery Points in County Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way. Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, James Breen said the lighthouse has become “a key driver” of visitor numbers to the Loop Head Peninsula since it was first opened to the public in …

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