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East Clare

Tulla Comhaltas Members Stay In Tune Despite Crisis

TULLA Comhaltas are making sure younger members stay in tune, while their regular music lessons and band practice sessions remain suspended as the Covid-19 crisis continues. The organisation, which has up to 100 members in the under-18 age category, has been inviting its junior musicians to record performances in their homes and share them on the Tulla Comhaltas Facebook page. The activity has proven hugely popular with audiences worldwide and has been instrumental in keeping young musicians busy and learning while the lock-down continues. The initiative is the brain-child of Youth Officer Aisling Hunt, who, up to the advent of the crisis, had been busy training junior members for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the All-Ireland Fleadh. “At the moment, there are no individual lessons going on, no group practices and no sessions,” she explained. “We don’t know if or when the Fleadh will take place. That was scheduled for August in Mullingar, but it’s now postponed. Our young members had …

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St Anne’s Virtual Community Offers Support for Students

LIKE thousands of schools across the country, St Anne’s Community College in Killaloe remains closed in a bid to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. And while the 500-strong student body are following the new rules of social distancing and staying apart, they are coming together online to keep their spirits up and to avail of support and guidance in these challenging times. School Chaplain Karol Torpey, who lives in Feakle, told The Champion that the school’s social platforms have come to fore in the current crisis. “Our Facebook page, Humans of St Anne’s Community College, is now operating as a virtual chaplain’s office. It’s a way of getting as much support and advice to people as possible and of gauging how people are feeling.” The importance of staying apart in order to protect the vulnerable is one key message that the school has been promoting across its social channels: “We have been working hard to get the message of …

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Children Urged to Remotely Capture Grandparents’ Memories During Covid Crisis

AN EAST Clare historian is urging children and families to make the most of the current break in our daily routines by documenting the memories and recollections of older generations. While visiting grandparents is banned, as the over-70s cocoon themselves against the Coronavirus, Dr Tomás MacConmara has published an easy-to-use guideline so that children can record phone conversations and learn about life in a by-gone era. The Tuamgraney native believes that now is an ideal time to enhance children’s understanding and appreciation of their grandparent’s lives, and for the older and younger generations to stay connected. “This is an idea I’ve had for a long long time, well before Covid-19,” Dr MacConmara explained. “I’ve always felt there was a tremendous value for younger people to be connected to older generations and tremendous insights that could be achieved from that simple process of talking to and, more importantly, listening to our older people. It was part of our culture for centuries …

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Clare Bus Join Covid-19 Crisis Reponse

CLARE Bus is continuing to serve the community of East Clare during the Covid-19 crisis, despite the fact that the National Transport Authority (NTA) has appointed alternative operators to its routes under the Local Link scheme. The Feakle-based service has joined the East Clare Covid-19 Community Response Group, saying its drivers have invaluable local knowledge and are ready to help the public as and when required. Following a dispute over funding levels for the accessible local transport service, and despite intensive negotiations involving four of the constituencies TDs, on Friday last, the NTA unveiled new operators on 12 routes previously served by Clare Bus. Three routes have gone to the company ranked in second place in last year’s tendering process, while nine went to another company on an interim basis for three months. Clare Bus had secured all 12 routes in the NTA procurement process at the end of December but declined to sign contracts until it secured an assurance …

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Milan's Duomo

Bridgetown woman sends stark warning from Milan

By Fiona McGarry A SOUTH-East Clare woman, living in Northern Italy, has pleaded with the Irish people to take Government guidelines on social distancing seriously in order to contain the spread of Covid-19. Rachel Turner, originally from Bridgetown, has been living in Milan for more than a decade and said people here should be taking every possible precaution to avoid contracting and spreading the coronavirus. As the death toll in Italy surpasses that of China, Rachel told The Clare Champion the mood is very low and people are desperately missing their normal lifestyles, after more than a month of severe restrictions on movement. Earlier this month, Italy put around 16 million people into lockdown. Under the measures, people are forbidden to enter or leave the region of Lombardy, where Milan is the main city. “We had a neighbour taken away in an ambulance this morning and the apartment block disinfected,” Ruth said. “The death toll is very high for Milan …

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Tulla school unlocks history as time capsule is opened

THERE was plenty of nostalgia in the air on Wednesday last when past and present school pupils got together in Tulla to open a time capsule that had been under lock and key for a quarter of a century. The capsule had been stored away in Bank of Ireland since February 1996 as part of the 20-20 Vision project to mark the European Nature Conservation Year 1995. Past pupils of fifth and sixth classes who attended the Convent of Mercy in the ‘90s, and put the capsule together under the guidance of Sr Eileen Callinan, gathered at St Mochulla’s this week to revisit their childhood visions for the Tulla of 2020. As anticipation grew in the packed hall at St Mochulla’s Principal Brian Culloo set the scene with a description of the key moments of 1995. He raised a cheer among current day pupils for his references to the beginning of the comedy ‘Fr Ted’ and Clare’s All-Ireland hurling victory. Coincidentally, two …

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O’Callaghan’s Mills Hall leaps into new era

ON Saturday February 29, the village of O’Callaghan’s Mills will be putting the Leap Day to good use, by holding a community celebration to launch their refurbished community hall. The building has served as a gathering place for nearly 50 years – and before that housed the local national school, which dates back to the 1840s. The get-together will mark the culmination of community work by generations of dedicated local people. In 1974, when the school moved to a new building, a Community Development took over the premises, and now a recently reinvigorated community council has taken the helm. Chairperson Eamon Cooney and PRO Pat O’Brien, who both attended national school in the old building, are part of a dedicated committee who have driven fund-raising efforts over the last seven years and upgraded facilities significantly. With much change in the village over the years, the modernised hall is an invaluable asset. “Many of those who were on the Development Association …

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Kayakers Rescued on Lough Derg

TWO kayakers were rescued after getting into difficulty on Lough Derg this morning. The alarm was raised shortly after 9am when they got into difficulty, and the Killaloe Coast Guard, the RNLI, a unit from Shannon’s Rescue 115 and three units of the National Ambulance Service attended the scene. The kayakers, who entered the water in Garrykennedy, were found by Rescue 115 and were later saved by an RNLI lifeboat. It is understood the pair fell victim to the strong currents and were taken way off course from Garrykennedy. The kayakers were treated at the scene once ashore and one of the individuals was taken to hospital for further treatment.

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