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East Clare

Hopes for salvation of East Clare tourism season

HOPES continue to be expressed that the tourism season in East Clare can be salvaged to some degree, despite the severe blow dealt to the region by Covid-19. Chairperson of East Clare Tourism Arlene White said the season to-date “has not been a total washout” and that the potential of the area to offer people activities in nature and at uncrowded locations continued to be realised. “It is nothing like it should be, naturally,” she said. “People are out and about walking and kayaking though and it’s not quite bad as people had feared.” There is a widespread acknowledgement that, when it comes to accommodation, self-catering providers are faring best. “In some cases,” Arlene said, “demand is out-stripping supply and self-catering is booming.” That situation contrasts with the plight faced by traditional Bed and Breakfast accommodation. “I do know of some in East Clare who have decided, for the protection of their own health, that they won’t open this year,” …

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Henchy’s Cross ‘a danger’

SAFETY concerns over a junctions on the main arterial route into East Clare have been raised by local representatives who have described it as one of the most dangerous in the county. Henchy’s Cross on the R352, close to Clooney, was described by the Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe Municipal District as a “blackspot” and the site of a number of accidents. Councillor Pat Hayes told the most recent meeting of the area committee that it is time for the authority to take action, now that responsibility for the location has come back into the Killaloe district. “This crossroads is one of the most frequently used junctions onto the R352 and it’s also one of the most dangerous,” the Fianna Fáil member told the meeting. “It has been the scene of several accidents and I have had one myself at this location. It’s a danger for those coming out onto the main road, as well as for those using the R352, …

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Last stone of Drummin Castle preserved for the future

THE last remaining stone from a 16th century castle in South-East Clare has been cleaned and mounted on stone to display unusual carvings. A carving, initials and a date of 1579 was discovered on a late-medieval carved window-head at the site of Drummin Castle, near Ardnacrusha. The carving was located in the wall of a shed, but was previously covered with several layers of whitewash. The owners of the site, Gerard and Rose Reid decided that the site and stone was so important it should be remembered in some fitting way and they placed the carving on a stone mounting as a display. Martin Breen and Risteárd Ua Cróinín visited the site last December, having previously surveyed the castle remains back in December 2002 as part of the OPW survey of towerhouses and castles in Clare. During the survey in 2002, Mr Breen recalled the then owner, a Miss Long, the aunt of the present owner Gerard Reid, allowed them …

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New walking trail developed for 12 O’Clock Hills

THE jewel in the crown of tourism in South East Clare has been enhanced even further, with the development of a third walking trail at the 12 O’Clock Hills, which is set to open to the public this weekend. The new 13km route is a looped trail, and sets out from the new car park at Belvoir Trailhead. It initially takes the same route as the two current Red and Blue trails. It then turns right at the exit from the Crag River Walk section at Crag Bridge. From here, the trail continues for approximately 200m on the public road, and then takes a right turn down an old Famine road (marked with an information board). A left turn takes the walker up an old boreen which links to a Coillte-generated road. Further along this road, there is a left turn and uphill climb of 252m to whet a hill walker’s appetite. This hill is known locally as Loughavarra in …

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Mediation starts this week between Clare Bus and NTA

A PROCESS to resolve a dispute between the providers of long-running accessible bus service for Clare and the National Transport Authority (NTA) will get under way before the end of the week. News that the mediation process with Feakle-based Clare Bus will start on Friday was confirmed to Fianna Fáil Deputy Cathal Crowe. A mediator was appointed in the long-running dispute in May, following claims from Clare Bus operators Clare Accessible Transport (CAT) that they have been owed money since last summer. In the meantime, new operators were appointed to 12 routes in Clare as part of the Local Link service. “This mediation process is a significant breakthrough and as late as last week, I had sought an update from the Transport Minister on when it would begin,” said Deputy Crowe. “I’m delighted now to receive confirmation that it will begin on July 31. I strongly hope this is the beginning of a resolution in this dispute, which has been …

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Trees to be removed over traffic concerns at Killaloe estate

THERE is relief for residents of a South East Clare residential estate following a successful appeal to remove trees which were said to be causing “a serious road traffic hazard”. The ash and sycamore trees have been in situ for several years at the entrance to Shantraud Woods on the Limerick side of Killaloe, but in more recent times have been causing an obstruction for motorists, because of their size. Following a notice of motion, tabled by Councillor Tony O’Brien, Clare County Council has now agreed to remove the trees, in the interests of road safety, before the end of the year. Outlining the situation at the July meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, Councillor O’Brien said that the trees had become a problem for local residents, exiting and entering the estate from the Limerick side. “The trees have become a major obstacle for drivers,” he said. “There is now a serious road traffic hazard as the trees are severely …

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Coillte defend track record on East Clare wind farm consultation

THE developers of a multimillion euro wind farm planned for a site in East Clare have defended their track record in consulting with the local community. At a presentation to local councillors, Coillte outlined a detailed Community Engagement plan, which includes more than 2,000 house calls to those likely to be affected by the Carrownagowan Wind Farm, proposed for the north west slopes of Slieve Bearnagh, around a mile-and-a-half from the village of Bodyke. The meeting between representatives of the forestry service, who own the 750 hectare site, and propose to build 19 turbines, with a maximum tip height of 169m, took place at the request of Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe Municipal District, Councillor Pat Hayes who questioned the adequacy of the communication process. Responding to these concerns, a representative of Coillte explained that a process of engagement with the community had started in March of 2018, focusing on those living within 2km of the development site and involving over 2,000 …

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Quin woman secures cover for break-through treatment after public campaign

A QUIN woman has secured access to vital cancer treatment, after she and her husband went public about their health insurer’s initial refusal to cover the cost. Maria Meade had surgery, earlier this year, for an aggressive form of cancer and was recommended to start a course of the break-through drug Pembrolizamub. While her insurer, Laya, refused to cover the €150,000 cost of the immunotherapy treatment, citing  guidance from the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), the National Centre for Pharmaeconomics (NCPE), the company has now agreed to fund the drug on a three-month trial basis. Maria will start treatment next week. “Laya have agreed to cover the cost for three months,” Tom Meade explained. “There will then be a review and a report from Maria’s consultant oncologist, but we would be hopeful that there will be cover for ongoing treatment.” Earlier this month, the couple contacted politicians and the media over fears of the impact that missing out on the …

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