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Flood of appointments as Clare salons ride post-lockdown wave

AN Ennis hair and beauty salon expects to see 200 people in its first week back trading following a relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions across the country. Monday saw the return of hairdressers and other personal services, alongside other measures including the phased reopening of retail and the resumption of religious services in churches. Bridget Haren Hair and Beauty Salon on Woodquay opened at 9.30am on Monday to welcome its first clients in months, with staff on site since 8am busily preparing to ensure everything was in place. Perspex screens, mask wearing and sanitiser is the new normal when it comes to getting a hair-cut. Bridget told The Champion, “It’s going great so far, there’s a good buzz and everybody is really happy and delighted that Ennis is opening back up again. “It’s great for everybody and next week we’ll have the retailers joining us in bringing a lot more atmosphere to the town. “Everything is by appointments only and we …

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Tragic teenager remembered with fundraising drive for Water Safety Ireland

THE sister of an Ennis teenager who tragically died in a drowning accident has described as “amazing” the response to a fundraising effort for Water Safety Ireland in memory of her brother. Danielle Kenneally’s brother Jack was just 15 when he and his friend Shay Moloney lost their lives after getting into difficulty swimming in a disused quarry. She decided to raise funds for WSI and create water safety awareness through her new business as she wanted to do “anything to save another family going through what we went through.” Danielle and her best friend Chantell Keane co-founded home fragrance business Wix and Wax last year, and this month they have decided to donate all profits from a specially created ‘Daisy snap-bar’ to WSI in memory of Jack. “I wanted to do something in his memory, and we have a bit of platform with the business to promote awareness of water safety. Now that we have the nice weather there will …

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IT upgrade makes Ennis a university town

THE announcement this week that Ennis is to become a university town has been described as “fantastic news” for the county capital and the entire region. The green light has been given for a new Technological University in the Mid-West and Midlands. Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has designated Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology Ireland’s next technological university. LIT’s Ennis campus on Bindon Street will fall under the remit of the new institution. Announcing the designation of the new TU on Wednesday Minister Harris TD said, “This is another hugely important day for higher education in Ireland and in particular for the Midlands and Mid-West regions. “The higher education landscape is rapidly evolving and the people of the Midlands and Mid-West will henceforth be at the heart both geographically and practically of that evolution. “This new technological university designate will increase higher education access, provide enhanced research-led teaching and …

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Cara says guide dog changed her life

AN Ennis woman who lost her sight at the age of 20 has described getting a guide dog as “life changing” as she urged people to support this Friday’s national Guide Dog Day. 39-year-old Cara Gibbons got her first guide dog, Uri, in 2013 describing him as “my rock”. Uri has since retired as a guide dog, though he is still with Cara, and she is now training with two-year-old Sadie. The Master’s student told The Clare Champion that having a guide dog has given her a freedom she never experienced while using a cane. “What I’ve found since having a guide dog, now I go for a walk just to go for a walk. I would never have done that with a cane, it was purely getting from A to B. Now I have that freedom of being able to leave the house and say I’m just going for a walk. It’s such a simple thing for so many …

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Man charged over major cash seizure in Clare’s county town

GARDAÍ have arrested and charged a man in relation to the seizure of almost €37,000 in cash in Ennis on May 4. As part of an ongoing operation targeting criminal activity in the county, Gardaí from the Clare Divisional Drugs Unit stopped a car on the Drumbiggle Road, Ennis, at around 8.30pm. Gardaí carried out a search of the vehicle and discovered nearly €37,000 in cash that was wrapped in cling film. A man, aged in his late teens, was arrested at the scene and brought to Ennis Garda Station where he was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984. He has since been charged and is due to appear before Ennis District Court this evening.

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Claire’s passion for African dance earns her international acclaim

ENNIS woman Claire O’Meara describes herself as “just a girl who fell in love with a dance and a culture”, and that love has now brought her to international acclaim. Claire is a Kizomba dance instructor, and she has just been named as the Kizomba ambassador for Ireland, joining an elite group of performers and instructors promoting the dance globally through festivals and international workshops. Claire has been dancing Afro-Latin for over 20 years after living for 10 years in Florida. She stumbled across Kizomba at a salsa dance club in Limerick and was instantly hooked. Kizomba is a dance which is native to Angola in West Africa. It is a new genre of music hailing from the late ‘70s early ‘80s influenced by Semba music and Zouk from Carribean French Antilles. Claire specialises in Angolan culture and the roots of the dance which has become a global phenomenon and is danced in all corners of the world. It is …

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Update sought on Clarecastle/Ballyalla link

THE recent announcement of €200,000 funding for a walking and cycling route linking Ennis to Clarecastle has been described as “very positive”, with more funding being sought by the local authority for future projects. Once complete it is intended that people will be able to access the route at Clareabbey, bringing them to the Quin Road. In light of the funding, Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy, at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, sought an update on efforts to create a greenway/blueway from Ballyalla to Clarecastle. Eamon O’Dea, Senior Executive Engineer, responded, “The Ennis Municipal District has submitted the “Connecting and Co-creating Ennis” project to the NTA for Active Travel Funding in 2021 with the intention of phasing the works over a number of years. “Some the elements of works identified in the project, will require the completion of the Mobility Plan for Ennis to show the justification for the proposed higher cost works. “The EarthRoute “Banks of the Fergus …

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Estate with 30kph zone is being abused as ‘rat run’

A RESIDENTIAL area of Ennis which had been a pilot location for 30kph speed limit zones is being used as a rat run with “unbelievable” speed. Increasing traffic has lead to local fears of potential accidents in Castlewood Park and residents are seeking the erection of speed ramps at the entrance and exit to their estate. Councillor Mark Nestor highlighted the issue at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District where senior executive engineer Eamonn O’Dea confirmed a review will be carried out while also stressing the need for driver behaviour change. “Residents are very much concerned that the area is being used as a rat run to get from one estate to a main shopping area of the town quickly,” said Councillor Nestor. He added that the level of on-street parking is adding to the danger. “A lot of residents there don’t have their own driveway and there are quite a lot of children living in the area. “What …

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