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Saddest call for Atlantic rower

SURROUNDED by crashing waves, miles from any sign of civilisation, oarsman Sean McGowan made the one call he wished he would never have to make – to tell his wife goodbye. Twenty-three days before, Sean had set out on an epic journey to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean but with his boat taking in water after being caught up in the tail end of a storm, his thoughts were only with his wife and four children. Thankfully, both Sean and his boat, Tess, made it out of the storm in one piece to carry on the exhausting journey and return to his family. This Saturday at the Clarecastle Regatta, Sean will recall just some of his amazing adventures from his time at sea.It is now just over a year since Sean made it to Antigua  in the West Indies after 118 days at sea. He said, “I didn’t mark the anniversary, it just takes so much out of you …

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Water-based amenities sought by 2020

THE development of a ‘Venice in Ennis’ with water-based amenities, a League of Ireland soccer team, pedestrianisation, covered streets and a third-level education campus are just some of the facilities the people of Ennis want to see in their town by 2020, according to a recent project.Earlier this year, researchers from the UL Practicum Programme set out to investigate what vision the people of Ennis have for the town for 2020. This would then be used to support the development of a plan for Ennis as a hub town in line with the National Spatial Strategy.The study, Ennis 2020 People, Place, Potential, was carried out in partnership with Ennis Town Council and the University of Limerick and was supported by Clare Active Citizenship Network.The opinions of over 300 people were accessed during the research, the results of which were outlined at this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council.Dr Chris McInerney of the University of Limerick explained the study provides perspectives …

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Too late to change Icarus’ location

ICARUS won’t be landing at a new home at the Clareabbey roundabout, despite calls from Councillor Mary Howard to relocate the famous sculpture on the roundabout leading into the town.Speaking at this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council, Councillor Howard stated, “This sculpture is of incredible importance having been created by John Behan, who has worked in the United Nations among other places. “Ennis has a really nice skyline that is very pleasing to the eye and I believe that if Icarus was nicely lit, it would be lovely to see on the gateway into Ennis.”However, Eddie Power, town clerk explained it is intended to relocate Icarus to the Rocky Road roundabout on the western relief road, as decided by the council previously.“The appointment of a contractor to carry out the necessary supporting foundation for this sculpture has been approved. It is intended that the work to facilitate the relocation of this sculpture is to commence shortly,” he said.Councillor Tommy …

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Digital school status for Bansha

BANSHA National School in Doonbeg was recently awarded Digital National School status for the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in teaching and learning. An awards ceremony was held recently at the school and was attended by pupils, teachers and parents.Bansha National School is a three-teacher school situated at the western end of Doonbeg parish. The award was achieved with board of management support, led by chairperson Paddy Flanagan, through grants from the Department of Education and Science, fundraising and the implementation of ICT policy in the school by staff members.The school is now equipped with computers, laptops, interactive whiteboards, data projectors, digital cameras and visualisers.

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Towing proposal removed from bylaws

CONTROVERSIAL plans to allow Ennis Town Council to tow away vehicles parked in market bays on trading days have been removed from new casual trading bylaws, which were adopted this week by the local authority.Members of the council unanimously voted to remove the bylaw, with Councillor Johnny Flynn describing the proposed tow-away system as “a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. Councillor Frankie Neylon argued the plans would prevent people from coming to do their shopping in the town.However, while it was agreed to remove the bylaw allowing for the towing away of vehicles, town manager Ger Dollard warned that cars could still be removed by gardaí if they are deemed to be causing an obstruction and that warning signage for motorists would be placed in the market areas.Mr Dollard told councillors the current bylaws are “unsatisfactory” dating back to 1988 and he urged that the new casual trading bylaws be adopted.Councillors also opposed plans to create a Christmas tree selling …

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Inaugural Ennis Fringe Festival

The inaugural Ennis Fringe Festival of the Arts will be launched next week and will see a host of artists, musicians and photographers showcase their wares at a variety of venues across the county town.Organised by a small committee of artists, the event aims to help provide artists with a space to exhibit their work while at the same time encouraging the visiting public to support local businesses such as the participating venues include cafes, restaurants and pubs.The festival will kick off on Thursday, July 14 in the Beehive Cafe on O’Connell Street, where there will be a contemporary photographic exhibition featuring photographers Tommy Kelly, Patrick Ryan and David Cremins.A painting exhibition will go on display in Cafe Roma, featuring David O’Rourke, Kevin Quinlan, Sinéad Slattery, James Halley, Hilary Gilmore and Philip Brennan.On Friday, July 15, the official opening of the festival will take place at No 8 Carmody Street at the Custom Tattoo and Art Gallery from 7pm, where …

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Twists and turns of new labyrinth to benefit St Anne’s pupils

THE children of St Anne’s School were ‘a-mazed’ this week at the launch of their very own garden labyrinth. The garden project has seen the creation of a labyrinth at the school, with principal Caroline Lodge saying that this will be of great benefit to the children.“At St Anne’s School, we are very lucky to have the outdoor space to develop a project such as the children’s labyrinth. We already have an extensive multi-sensory playground and are seeking to develop the school grounds to meet the needs of our pupils. We like to involve the pupils and parents in gardening projects throughout the year and the labyrinth will provide us with a magical and unique area for the children to benefit from,” she explained.She added that a labyrinth is an ancient pattern that has been found throughout the world in many forms and sizes. They are different from mazes, as there is only one path that leads to the centre …

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New mayor to honour those who have made a difference

ENNIS’ newly elected Mayor Michael Guilfoyle wasted no time in outlining his plans for his year in office, announcing moments after his election this week that he intends to honour people who have made a difference in the town.Speaking after taking the chain of office on Monday, he said, “With the support of the members of the council, I would like to see a return of civic recognition for people who have made a difference to the town. In the next couple of months, I would like people who have made a difference, whether this year or 20 years ago.”At the mayoral election, Councillor Guilfoyle, who lost his seat on the council in 2004 and regained it again in 2009, was likened to that other Turnpike man Muhammad Ali, with Councillor Frankie Neylon describing him as “The Comeback Kid”.“They say people from the Turnpike are great fighters and you proved that when you came back,” said Councillor Neylon.Councillor Guilfoyle was …

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