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Tidy Towns Success for Ennis

ENNIS has been crowned Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre at this year’s national Tidy Towns competition. The county capital scored an impressive 345 points in the competition, just one point behind the overall winners of Ireland’s Tidiest Town, Glaslough in County Monaghan. Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre is just one of a number of awards that have been scooped by the Ennis entry. Among the prestigious awards won by the local committee of volunteers were a gold medal, regional award and the county award. While the Supervalu Schools Award was presented to entries from Ennis National School and Ennis Scouts.

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Clare IFC Quarter-Final and Relegation Semi-Final Previews

The last four in the race for the Clare Intermediate football title will be known after this weekend’s action while two more teams will move one step closer to dropping out of the second tier. Clare IFC Quarter Final Preview: Shannon Gaels v Coolmeen This should be a spicy local derby with a place in the last four of the championship on the line. As with most derbies, there are plenty side stories to get stuck into and this one is no different. There will be plenty interest in the sideline battle as the 1997 senior county championship winning manager and captain go head to head. Paddy Keane was the man who led his native Sky Blues to victory in Carron that day and is now manager of the Gaels. His opposite number this weekend will be the man who lifted Jack Daly that day with Martin Morrissey now in charge at Coolmeen. On their form in the championship to …

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Clare SHC Quarter Final Previews: Sixmilebridge v Eire Óg

Clare Senior Hurling Quarter-Final Preview: Sixmilebridge v Eire Óg It is a first championship meeting since 2015 for this pair with Sixmilebridge running out comfortable 2-19 to 1-10 winners in that opening round tie. The Bridge have been impressive in their run to the last eight racking up 6-36 in their two championship wins over Clarecastle and defending champions Ballyea. Their new management team of Tim Crowe, Davy Fitzgerald and Paddy Meehan have hit the ground running as they look to capture the title for the fourth time this decade. Their previous wins came in 2013, 2015 and 2017 and if you believe in patterns then another in 2019 could well be on the cards. Eire Óg have also been enjoying a positive championship season after a disappointing Clare Cup campaign saw them fail to gain promotion from Division 1B. They belied that form with a battling victory over Kilmaley in the opening round but lost out to Clonlara a …

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McMahon’s Of Bonavilla Remembered

When Ralph McTell penned those now immortal lyrics of ‘Clare To Here’, it captured that sense of being away from home when there was nothing to keep the emigrant rooted. For Melbourne native John McMahon, the distance to Clare might still be the same as it was in 1864 but the circumstances of his journey compared to that made by his ancestors are light years apart. John’s great-grandfather was born in the townland of Bonavilla just outside the village of Mullagh in West Clare. He was a tenant farmer like the vast majority of his generation, but with 20 acres and a horse at his disposal, Pat McMahon was a little more prominent than most. He and his wife Brigid (neé O’Connor) had four young children with ages ranging from the eldest at 8 years old to the youngest who was just 1 year old at the time of their upheaval. The fact that Pat had a horse to aid …

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Lisdoonvarna people restore Sayed’s faith in humanity

REPRISALS against his brave work in opposing an authoritarian regime saw 30-year-old Sayed Ahmed flee Bahrain and begin a journey that saw him end up in Lisdoonvarna. Home for Sayed, his wife, son and brother has been the direct provision centre at the King Thomond Hotel since April of last year but with refugee status now secured, they are moving to Dublin, where Sayed has a college place and where he expects to get work. He was first arrested in 2006 for being part of a group arranging a protest at his school and from then on, he was in the crosshairs of the authorities in his home country. “From then to 2015, I kept being sent to jail for a few months at a time. I don’t know how often. I might have been arrested 13 or 14 times; it happened at least once every year. But I was lucky. I wasn’t like other people, who have been sentenced …

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Ace efforts from Wesley in Greece

A KILLALOE based tennis coach, who has introduced the sport of tennis to residents of a Greek refugee camp, is urging the public to support charities like Lighthouse Relief who are helping those fleeing war torn countries. Wesley O’Brien, a coach at the Killaloe Tennis Club said while the issue may have gone off the news cycle, it is still a major international crisis that needs continued support. He said rather than sitting on a beach in Lanzarote he wanted to do more with his skills and wanted share the joy of tennis with those less fortunate. In 2018 he got in touch with a number NGOs and was directed to Lighthouse Relief, who work with refugees from Syria, Iraq and Turkey. The charity has a base on the island of Lesvos where they have a first responder team who help migrants fleeing by boat. Their second base is at the Ritsona refugee camp where they cater for more than …

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Victoria proudly flies the Clare flag at the Rose of Tralee

CLARE’S Rose of Tralee Vickie O’Connell is calmness personified. Even with a whirlwind week of public engagements ahead of her, for the moment, the Kilrush woman is ensconced in her own little bubble, living in the now. But that’s certain to change this week as the 28-year-old joins up with the other Roses for the glam and glitter of the international festival that transforms the town of Tralee and catapults the contestants into the public limelight. Vickie, an administrator for membership and real estate at Trump International in Doonbeg, is relishing all the excitement it will bring and cannot wait to hit the dome stage on Tuesday night. “Since my selection as Clare Rose, I’ve started on a journey, an amazing journey to be honest. I’m going to embrace and enjoy every single minute of it.” The journey commenced last March when Vickie was selected from 28 contestants, a record entry for Clare. This week she has been taking part …

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84 Clare pubs close in14 years

ALMOST one in four of the Banner’s pubs closed down between 2005 and 2018. This week, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) produced figures for the amount of pubs operating in each of the 26 counties in the Republic in 2005 and 2018. In the year 2005, as the Irish economy boomed, Clare had 373 pubs. However, last year the figure was down to 289, a drop of 22.5%. During the years in question, pubs had to deal with greater enforcement of drink driving and lower alcohol limits, as well as a very severe recession, while the smoking ban was introduced just nine months before the start of 2005. According to DIGI, the drinks and hospitality sector in Clare still enables 6,682 jobs and €285 million in tourism spend. The average county saw its number of pubs decline by 17.9%, so Clare is on the high side. Limerick was worst hit, with 27.8% of pubs closing and Dublin did …

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