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Lisdoonvarna says I do

Lisdoonvarna is set to benefit from a massive tourism campaign, launched by Tourism Ireland just hours after the yes vote in the marriage referendum was announced. The campaign, ‘Ireland says I do’ which features a short video of The Outing LGBT festival in Lisdoonvarna, is being rolled out to nine markets, including Britain, the United States, Canada, the Nordic Region, Australia, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. Lisdoonvarna voted a resounding yes to the marriage equality referendum, polling just over 59% in favour. According to the tally taken at Ennis Courthouse on Saturday, 419 yes votes were counted in the Lisdoonvarna National School polling station, compared with 286 no votes; thirteen were spoiled. Of the valid votes, 59.4% were in favour of changing the constitution to allow marriage between two people regardless of sex. Marcus White, from the White Hotel Group said, “Bookings have already been flooding in – it is going to be one of the busiest on record. Publicity …

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Clare raises nine Blue Flags

An Taisce has awarded a record nine prestigious International Blue Flag to County Clare’s beaches, as well as two Green Coast Awards. The Blue Flag award is a prestigious environmental eco-label awarded to more than 80 beaches and a small number of marinas in Ireland.   The award represents high standards in water quality, environmental information and education, environmental management and safety, services and facilities. The Flags were presented  by Alan Kelly TD. Minister for the Environment Community and Local Government, at a ceremony held at Ballinskelligs Beach in Kerry. Blue Flags were awarded to Whitestrand, Miltown Malbay, Ballycuggernan, Whitestrand Doonbeg, Mountshannon, Cappa, Fanore, Spanish Point, Kilkee and Lahinch. Speaking following the award ceremony, Councillor John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, expressed his delighted that Clare had for the first time been awarded 9 blue flags, as well as Green Coast Awards for beaches at Bishops Quarter at Ballyvaughan and Seafield, Quilty. Councillor Crowe also noted the significance of Clare’s …

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Clare Rose hopes to blossom

Clare Rose Ava O’Mahony will hope to blossom this weekend, when she takes to the stage with 55 other hopefuls from all over the world, looking to securing her place at The Dome for the Rose of Tralee International Festival in August. The 25-year-old Ennis woman, a finance graduate of University of Limerick, will be hoping to clinch one of the 23 places up for grabs in the three consecutive selection nights, hosted by RTÉ presenter Dáithí Ó Sé in The Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, starting this Friday. Ava impressed the judges last month at a county final, hosted by TV3 weatherman Deric Ó hArtagáin. The regional festival highlights will include the official opening in the Civic Plaza on Friday night, the vintage car parade of Roses and their Rose Buds followed by a street party on Saturday and the annual visit to Abbeyleix and Castle Durrow on Sunday. Roses representing 28 counties in Ireland, 13 regions in the United States, Scotland …

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Bridget is right on trend

ENNIS hair stylist Bridget Haren proved that she’s a cut above the rest by coming home from the World Hairdressing Championships in Malaysia with the gold medal in the ‘progressive cut and colour’ section of the competition. But there was no resting on her laurels for the owner of Altamoda Hair on Woodquay in Ennis. When she returned from Kuala Lumpur, it was straight back to work. “I arrived back in Ireland on Tuesday night and I worked 12 hours on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” Bridget said. Her world championship-winning progressive cut and colour was fashioned on a mannequin and following days of preparation, she had 30 minutes to complete the cut. “I rehearsed what I was going to do in five easy steps for myself, so when I went on to the floor, I just had to keep my head and make sure that I didn’t make any mistakes. It was only 30 minutes but it was fierce …

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EDEN Award for Burren Food Trail

The Burren Food Trail has been selected as the Irish winner of this year’s European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) award. The prestigious EU-wide competition is designed to encourage and promote a more sustainable form of tourism development and The Burren Food Trail was one of four destinations shortlisted earlier this month. The Trail now joins other Irish destinations such as Loop Head, Mulranny and Cavan Town in demonstrating best practice in various aspects of sustainable destination development. Launched by the Burren Ecotourism Network and the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark and as the Mid West’s first food trail in 2013, the Burren Food Trail is supported by an innovative schedule of food events taking place every Monday from May to October. The events showcase the region’s cuisine and provide a unique food experience in the amazing landscape that is the Burren. Members of the Food Trail place an emphasis on the use of local ingredients and are committed to …

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Celebrating Africa Day in Ennis

AS MANY as 40 African countries are represented in Ennis, according to the town mayor. Councillor Johnny Flynn was attending the Africa Day Celebrations in Ennis last week and welcomed the contribution made by all the people of the African communities in the town and throughout Clare. Africa Day marked 52 years of the African Union and African Independence and provided an opportunity for all Africans – including those who have made Ireland their home – and non-Africans to celebrate Africa, its people and their potential at a time of both great turmoil and opportunity for the continent. The day was marked on Wednesday afternoon last at the Civic Building in Drumbiggle, with food, music, poetry and the planting of an oak tree in the grounds at Waterpark. The community event shared some aspects of the rich heritage of a number of African countries and created an opportunity for everyone to enjoy some time together on a special occasion. “There …

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Darren’s delight at yes outcome

ENNIS man Darren McMahon, who canvassed for a yes vote in his home town and in Galway where he now lives, was delighted that his native county supported his search for equality. A total of 58.3% of the Clare electorate voted yes in the Marriage Equality Referendum. While Darren did have some rough experiences while canvassing, he found that many people in this county were supportive. “A yes vote won’t harm anyone but a no vote could have destroyed people,” he reflected when speaking to The Clare Champion. “I was incredibly proud of the result in Clare. It was one of the highest yes votes outside of the big cities,” he pointed out. A bit nervous in the days leading up to last Friday’s vote, Darren was one of many people tallying at Ennis Courthouse early on Saturday morning. “The first box that I tallied, I counted seven no votes in-a-row. I was saying I had misjudged this one and …

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Ó Sé immortalised by Kilbaha sculptor

WHEN Kilbaha sculptor Seamus Connolly was commissioned to create a larger-than-lifesize bronze statue of legendary Kerry footballer, Páidí Ó Sé, he immersed himself in the life of the West Kerry man, who died suddenly in December 2012. Eight months of patient, creative toil carried out at his forge in Kilbaha was revealed in Ventry recently , when a huge crowd gathered for the unveiling of the statue. Another former Clare manager, Mick O’Dwyer, who has a statue of his own standing in Waterville, helped to officiate, along with Páidí’s son, Pádraig Óg. Prior to hauling his life-like depiction of Páidí to West Kerry from West Clare, Seamus was visited by the committee who commissioned him. “I’d already had an indication that the committee were very happy because they had seen it in the clay. I work with a certain amount of direction but after that, it’s up to me. Just before we make the moulds, when it would still be feasible to …

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