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East Clare

Campaign continues to re-open Tulla Bank of Ireland branch

A CAMPAIGN to have the Bank of Ireland in Tulla re-opened is gaining momentum. The branch was one of 101 nationwide which were closed temporarily in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Branches in Kilkee and Miltown were also shut down, as Bank of Ireland said it needed to switch focus to priority services. Members of the Killaloe Municipal District are to send a letter to the regional manager seeking the restoration of services, while a petition is circulating in the town and a Facebook campaign ‘Open Our Bank’ has been set up. Sheila Vaughan of Vaughan Supply said the concern locally is that the bank has used Covid-19 as an opportunity to close the Tulla branch permanently. “Bank of Ireland saw its chance and moved very quickly to close the doors,” she said. “The move is anti-rural, especially when so many small businesses are finding things tough.” Ms Vaughan said that while many services can be conducted on-line, the lack …

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Tendering time frame outlined for nine Clare local transport routes

THE National Transport Authority (NTA) has confirmed that Clare Bus will be eligible to tender for nine local transport routes, while the two parties enter into a mediation process to resolve a dispute over funding. The accessible transport provider has had its fleet parked up since the end of March, which it controversially lost 12 routes to two new providers. Since then, its Feakle-based staff have been paid through the Wage Subsidy Scheme and intensive political efforts to resolve a row over arrears the company says it is owed continue. The NTA has now sought expressions of interest for nine Clare routes and has told The Champion that it estimates that the process of appointing a service provider will be complete by mid-August. Ger Hoey, Chairperson of Clare Accessible Transport (CAT) who operate Clare Bus said he is hopeful that a speedy mediation process will increase its chances of being able to make a competitive tender. “We would prefer to …

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Details emerge of rare ‘plague stone’ outside Quin

HOLY wells have long been a source of comfort in times of trouble, and in East Clare a monastic site, sacred to sixth century saint, has not only a well, but also a rare ‘plague stone,’ believed to cure disease. “Luchtigern, a sixth century local saint was said to be able to cure any type of pestilence,” explained Quin historian and writer, Michael Houlihan. “His church and holy well stand on the northern shore of Fenloe Lake, a few miles southeast of Quin village. Keeping in mind that vaccines did not become commonplace until the mid to late nineteenth century, any type of contagion or airborne sickness took a huge toll on the local population. People did what they could to seek some kind of intervention. Many reached out to the saint.” As a resident of the East Clare village, Michael has long been aware of the folklore of St Luchtigern. His current research on the holy wells of Clare …

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Crafty Whitegate ladies turn talents to fundraising masks

TWO crafty Whitegate ladies are putting their skills to good use by producing a range of handmade fabric face masks, and raising funds for Raheen Community Hospital in the process. Mum and daughter Geraldine and Aoife Burke, who have both studied textile design, have made over 150 masks to-date and the items, which are machine washable and have a slot for filters, are available in local shops. Once the road map for reopening Ireland was announced, and guidance provided recommending the wearing of face coverings in settings like shops and public transport, Geraldine and Aoife drew on their design and crafting skills and began to get creative. Raheen Community Hospital is a facility that is close to the hearts of everyone in East Clare and for the Burkes, it is particularly special. “My father-in-law, Billy Burke, was in Raheen for nine years,” Geraldine explained. “He was a wonderful man, with a larger than life personality. The care he received at …

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Mountshannon film-makers plan production in County Clare

LOCKDOWN has been a creative time for a family of film-makers living in Mountshannon. Not only have father and son Terence and James Ryan been working on three projects – including one tipped to be shot in Clare – Terence’s wife Susan Morrall, a scientist and screen-writer, is also making PPE for Raheen Community Hospital. The family, which also includes award-winning director Kit, have long links to East Clare. Terence and Susan have lived in Ireland for two decades and Terence’s father, who was from Clonlara but emigrated to England, came to live in Mountshannon for the final five years of his life. “Ireland was always home and we visited every year,” Terence, a director, writer and producer, said. “I grew up in South Kensington but came home to go to school in Tipperary and it was the best thing I could have done.” The family will probably be best known for their award-winning production Property of the State, released …

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Féile Brían Ború called off as Covid-19 restrictions continue

THE latest East Clare festival to fall foul of the Covid-19 restrictions is the hugely popular Féile Brían Ború, which organisers have decided to call off in the interests of public health and safety. Chairperson of East Clare Tourism and member of the organising committee, Arlene White, said that while the decision had been a tough one to make, hopes had been gradually fading over the last couple of weeks. The 2019 festival took place on the second week in July, and in the context of the roadmap for re-opening the economy, organisers couldn’t envisage a similar gathering on the shores of Lough Derg in just over five week’s time. “Last year, we had 2,000 people for the fireworks display, and we just couldn’t have crowds of that size in the context of the coronavirus restrictions,” Ms White explained. “Our organising committee also arranges the Killaloe St Patrick’s Day parade, and once we had to call that off, we started …

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Mountshannon Arts Festival takes to the airwaves

THE Mountshannon Arts Festival will take place this weekend, but not in its traditional format. The creativity and ingenuity of the organisers mean that key elements of the festival programme will now transfer online, on-air and to a special ‘sound sanctuary’ on the shores of Lough Derg. Faced with the restrictions associated with the Coronavirus, the committee has devised an innovative new programme. Among its highlights will be an exhibition of photographs on the theme of ‘Identity’, on the windows of a premises in the town, as well as a ‘The First Sanctuary of Free Sounds’ a special installation located at the harbour. On YouTube and Facebook, next Saturday and Sunday, there will be a specially commissioned conversation between former Wexford hurling captain Diarmuid Lyng and theatre-maker Timmy Creed. As part of the re-worked festival programme, Scariff Bay Community Radio has stepped in to support on-air events on Sunday. Among those will be an interview with musician and foodie Mike …

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East Clare wind farm planning application to be lodged in June

PLANS for a multimillion Euro East Clare wind farm are to be lodged next month, The Clare Champion has learned. Coillte has confirmed that it is currently finalising an application for 19 turbines on a 750 hectare site, around a-mile-and-a-half from Bodyke, on the slopes of Slieve Bearnagh. The proposal, which will seek 30-year permission for The Carrownagowan Wind Farm, will be lodged directly to An Bórd Pleanála as strategic infrastructure. “Our project team is targeting a submission date towards the end of June and this will be advertised prior to final submission,” outlined Andy Fox, Community Engagement Manager with Coillte. Mr Fox also noted that a detailed brochure on the project had recently been widely distributed across East Clare, and that consultations were continuing, in line with the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. The site is described by Coillte as an appropriate location to access the national grid via the substation at Ardnacrusha. The company also notes it is designated …

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