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A broad welcome for new tourism policy

The Government’s new tourism policy launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Paschal Donohoe has received a broad welcome in Clare and the Mid-West. The tourism industry as a whole accounts for 4% of gross national product (GNP) and now supports almost 205,000 jobs – equivalent to 11% of total employment in the country, some 54,000 of which are in the hotels sector. Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, chair of the Shannon branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), acknowledged the important support provided by the Government in ensuring tourism remains at the heart of Ireland’s economic policy and in recognising the valuable role played by tourism in growing the Irish economy and generating increased employment. Ms Fitzgerald Kane stated that hoteliers in Clare look forward to working with the Government to achieve the targets set out in the tourism strategy, including plans to grow overseas visitors to 10 million per annum by 2025. This would increase annual revenues from overseas visitors …

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Maureen calls time on pulling pints

WHEN a young Maureen McMahon started pulling pints behind the bar in Derry Honan’s pub in 1970, it was all down to political pull. “When Maureen came here first, it was very much a Fianna Fáil pub. The owner, Derry Honan was a Fianna Fáil senator then and his wife, Treas was a senator later on,” said Maureen’s husband, Michael Daly, as she bowed out after 44 years behind the bar in what is now Dan O’Connell’s Bar in Abbey Street. “The clientele was different at that time. It was Tadhg Wynne that got me the job here, and he was a very strong Fianna Fáil supporter. When I first came into Ennis I stayed with Tadhg in Parnell Street and he got me the job here. He was a lovely man. I used to cycle out home to Connolly then on my days off and then cycle back after visiting my father and brother, Pat Joe McMahon and sister, …

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Niamh McMahon

Niamh McMahon’s food diary

As Niamh McMahon comes nearer to her Weightwatchers goal weight, read her food diary below: Tuesday March 10th Breakfast 7:15 Two poached eggs with a slice of porridge bread and a green tea. Mid Morning 10:00 A Weightwatchers bar and a coffee. Lunch 12:30 Two slim bagels toasted with banana and Weightwatchers yoghurt and a bottle of water. Dinner 17:00 Home made chicken curry with loads of vegetables with brown rice and a pint of water. Snack 20:00 A bowl of sugar free jelly and two tablespoons of natural yoghurt and a green tea. Wednesday March 11th Breakfast 7:15 Two crumpets with a teaspoon of jam and a green tea. Mid Morning 12:00 A coffee and a Weightwatchers ginger cookie. Lunch 14:00 A bowl of pepper soup and two slices of soda bread and two glasses of water. Dinner 18:00 Stir fry vegetables with three baby potatoes and a glass of water. Snack 20:00 Weightwatchers taytos and green tea. Thursday …

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A life of pain for Aoife

AOIFE Sage longs for just one day without pain. The 11-year-old Sixmilebridge girl wakes up in the morning in pain and goes to bed in pain. In addition to suffering from Hypermobility Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (HEDS), which involves the partial dislocation of her joints, she has been diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS). HEDS is a type of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which is an inherited connective tissue disorder that affects approximately one in 5,000 people. The condition can affect every system in the body leading to a wide range of apparently unconnected symptoms, including joint pain and hypermobility, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal issues and heart complications. With overlaps in the two syndromes, her mother, Susan admits it can be hard at times to distinguish what condition is causing her daughter the most difficulty. “Aoife has pain every day, which varies in intensity. Some days she can’t even hold a glass of water. Sometimes when she goes to walk, her legs …

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60 years of basketball in Ennistymon

Ennistymon basketball folk will celebrate 60 years in existence this spring. The club held a major event for the golden jubilee back in 2005, culminating in a tournament dinner attended by a large number of past and present members, among them some of the club founders from 1955. This year’s celebrations will be more modest and will be marked on the court with the 23rd Frank Gallery Tournament, to be held at the Inagh Community Centre on Easter Saturday, April 4. This tournament sees past and present players, male and female, come together for the weekend to acknowledge Frank Gallery, a key personality, player and coach of the Claremont Admirals. Further details of this year’s tournament will be released next week when teams are finalised. The longevity of this event is testimony to the respect that Ennistymon basketball people have for their past members. The 60th anniversary was also highlighted in the Cascaders club float at the Ennistymon St Patrick’s …

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Remembering baby Eimer

EARLY one morning in January 2013, midwife Liz Canny set off from her home in Quin for the University Maternity Hospital in Limerick. Her husband Aidan was driving because Liz, who was 34 weeks pregnant with their third child, had woken up earlier and knew her baby was on the way. “I knew I was in labour and the baby was early and I had to get to the hospital. I remember meeting a colleague of mine when we arrived at the hospital and she said ‘you must be breech’,” Liz recalled. “When we went into the labour ward and they couldn’t find a heartbeat, I knew straight away that it wasn’t good. They brought in the scanner and that’s not a good sign. Then they told us, ‘there’s no heartbeat’ and a consultant came in. It’s a bit surreal and you think ‘this isn’t happening’ and ‘how did this happen’. They were able to tell us from the scan …

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The solar eclipse

Despite the generally overcast skies over County Clare this morning, in a number of locations people did witness the solar eclipse phenomenon. The moon almost fully blocked out the sunlight, the first time that has occurred in this part of the work since 1999. Our image was taken by local photographer, Jarek Dudek in the Woodstock area of Ennis, who was delighted to get a break in the cloud to capture the event.  

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Council hears of Tourism Ireland’s work in US

Representatives of Clare County Council, who are in New York for the St Patrick’s Day period, met with senior executives from Tourism Ireland this week. They were briefed on Tourism Ireland’s extensive promotional programme for 2015, which is in full swing right now. Tourism Ireland aims to build on the success of 2014, which was the best year ever for tourism from the United States, with visitor numbers increasing by +13% over 2013 – 134,000 additional American visitors during the year. Tourism Ireland’s Alison Metcalfe said, “Our ambition for 2015 is to grow visitor numbers from the US by a further +6% and we look forward to working closely with our valuable industry partners, in both the US and Ireland, to achieve that target. The outlook for 2015 is very positive, particularly given that the number of airline seats from the United States to Ireland is set to grow by +14% in the peak summer season months, making it that much …

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