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Councillors condemn GAA Sky deal

THOSE at the top of the GAA have lost all touch with the grassroots and put money before all else, it’s been claimed by  Clare County Council members.  Several of the speakers at the April meeting are former players or involved in local clubs. Several councillors spoke out against the GAA-Sky deal, including vice-chairman of the county board, Joe Cooney, while Mayor of Clare, Joe Arkins, described it as the “thin end of a wedge that’s going to get a lot, lot thicker as time goes by”. Councillors Cooney, Arkins and Michael Kelly put down a motion calling on the GAA to ensure that all of Ireland be able to watch games, without any additional cost. The three were bitingly critical of the decision to award Sky exclusive rights to games. The mayor said that huge numbers of people have developed the GAA, helping in all sorts of ways, but many will now be denied the chance to watch intercounty …

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Cycle challenge to honour Seamus Mullane

HUNDREDS of cyclists will set off from Ennis this month for a very special fundraising event to remember an avid member of a local cycling club who died suddenly last year. This year’s Dolmen Challenge Tour is being dedicated to the memory of the late Seamus Mullane, a keen cyclist and member of Dolmen Cycle Club. The father of four was also known to many through his work with Aer Lingus in Shannon and more recently the court service in Ennis. As part of the cycle, the participants will pass the Mullane family home in Kilnaboy and will mark a minute’s remembrance at the nearby graveyard. The cycle will take place on April 27, leaving from the Woodstock Golf and Country Club on the Shanaway Road at 10am. As well as honouring the life of the late Mr Mullane, the event will also raise money for the valuable work of Doolin Search and Rescue. According to John Colleran of Dolmen …

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Mary Coughlan to launch Ennis Women’s Shed

RENOWNED Irish singer Mary Coughlan will visit Ennis this month where she will officially launch the Ennis Women’s Shed, the first such organisation in Europe. The launch will take place as part of Ennis Men’s Shed’s first national conference to be held in the county capital. The conference, titled ‘No Man is an Island’ will take place on April 25 and 26 in the West County Hotel. Frank McNamara, facilitator, Ennis Men’s Shed explained, “As the Men’s Sheds were set up to enhance or maintain the wellbeing of the participating men, this conference entitled “No man is an island”, will explore how this objective can be attained using the concept of men’s sheds.” It is hoped that the “No man is an island” conference will show how the men’s shed can be used as a tool to enhance the men’s wellbeing, both mentally and physically.” This conference will be opened by Councillor Mary Coote Ryan, Mayor of Ennis and will …

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Unveiling Clare Champion Short Story winners

THE Clare Champion annual second level short story competition winners will be announced at a function in the De Valera Library in Ennis on this Thursday evening. The 2014  competition attracted  a record of over 270 entries from  schools all over the county, as well as south Galway. Mr John Galvin, Clare Champion managing director, will present the prizes to all the shortlisted students  in both the junior and senior categories.  

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Ennis Friary re-opens

Ennis Friary, the old Franciscan Friary on Abbey Street has now re-opened for the 2014 tourist season. And visitors to the historic site this Easter will have a chance to see the results of recent restoration works of the medieval ‘passion panels’. Last year saw a record number of both locals and foreign tourists visiting the heritage site. And so far this year there has already been an increase in visitor numbers since the Friary opened at the beginning of the month. The Office of Public Works, who manage the site, are encouraging local families as well as visitors to the town to go along during the Easter holidays to witness the ‘passion panels’ These panels were carved for a royal tomb built by the McMahon family in the 1400s and show in exquisite detail various scenes of story of Easter including Christ’s betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection. There has also been renewed local interest in the site due to the …

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Closing the door on 30 years at the Old Ground Hotel

HE FOUND it a hard decision to close the doors on 30 years of meeting stars of the silver screen and the entertainment world and talking to people from all corners of the globe. But now that he has decided to step down from his post as night porter at the Old Ground Hotel, Joe Shannon is slowly getting to grips with his new lifestyle. While Ennis slept, Joe was busy looking after the requirements of hotel guests, during his long career in the well-known establishment. Some looked for food, others preferred a drink and many joined Joe for a late-night chat. Being a native of Ennis and with his knowledge of the town and county, he was often a mine of information for visitors trying to trace their Clare roots. Joe’s association with the Old Ground Hotel goes back to 1985, when he received a phonecall from John Woods, another Ennis man, who was head porter at the time. …

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Podge delivers crucial 35 minutes for Clare

INTRODUCED at half time, Podge Collins made an invaluable contribution to Clare’s promotion winning second half display in Creggan. The All-Ireland winning All-Star hurler kicked two crucial points from play and along with players like Shane McGrath, his brother Seán, Ciaran Russell and Dean Ryan, the UL student worked exceptionally hard on and off the ball. Speaking afterwards Podge said that the passion evident in the dressing room inspires him. “You can tell by the way lads talk in the dressing room, before games and at half time, how passionate they are about it. I know it doesn’t sound too glamorous after winning the All-Ireland hurling but it’s absolutely huge, especially in my house. It’ll be a happy house for the night,” he laughed. Collins acknowledged that it took him a few minutes to get up to the pace of the game after his introduction for Jamie Malone. “Coming up to Antrim we didn’t really know what to expect. I’d …

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Bunratty girl is volunteer of the year

By Owen Ryan   A CLARE teenager was one of two named as All Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year at the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards. Sixteen year old Elysha Ní Chuláin is from Bunratty and is currently a fifth year student at Coláiste Íde in Kerry. She was honoured for her volunteering activities with Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Hospital in Crumlin and Barretstown Camp in Co Kildare. At five Elysha was diagnosed with a brain tumour and was hospitalised in Crumlin for ten years. During that time she underwent chemotherapy and several surgeries, which have left her with permanent kidney damage and without sight in one eye. Speaking on Tuesday she said she was delighted to win the award. “They announced Dayna Ní Shíocháin, the other winner first and I was delighted for her but I was getting a bit worried that I’d be in tears if I didn’t win. When they called out Coláiste Íde I …

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