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New mayor: Ennis can shine after disastrous pandemic

“ENNIS is open for business”, the town’s new mayor Councillor Ann Norton exclaimed as she took the chain of office. The Barefield-based representative was elected as mayor of the county capital at the recent AGM of the Ennis Municipal District. Her vision for her term as mayor is to encourage recovery from the “disastrous effects” Covid-19 has had on Ennis. The founder of Clare Crusaders has also vowed to highlight the issues facing carers during her term in office. She was nominated to take the role by Councillor Pat Daly who stated she “is capable of becoming an excellent mayor”, pointing to her heavy involvement in the local community. The proposal was seconded by Councillor Johnny Flynn who spoke of her leadership qualities while also acknowledging the work of outgoing mayor Councillor Paul Murphy in what has been a “very difficult year”. This is Councillor Norton’s second time as mayor, having previously been elected in 2016, while Councillor Murphy was …

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New development will ‘future proof’ Gaelscoil

A RICH display of music and song greeted the education minister as she visited Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg in Ennis this week to announce a new multi-purpose hall and two Early Intervention rooms. In a socially-distanced ceremony, some of the school’s 481 pupils showcased their talents to a small but appreciative audience including the Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Mary Howard, board of management representatives and parents. Addressing the gathering bilingually, the minister said she was very proud of the work being done. “It’s a very positive day for the school and an endorsement of the very positive work that goes on an ongoing basis,” she said. “There has been very strong commitment from the entire school team. The ongoing engagement with the Department of Education has been very positive. This school has grown and developed spectacularly in the last number of years. That’s a tribute to the excellent work that goes on here on a daily basis.” Príomhoide Dónal Ó …

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Clare schools work together to help create biodiversity app

A CREATIVE cluster, involving three Ennis primary schools, culminated on Friday with the launch of a biodiversity app, writes Jessica Quinn. Cairde an Dúlra, which was developed by David and Colm Forde features artwork by children from St Anne’s School, Knockanean National School and Ennis CBS Primary. The three schools participated in the Creative Cluster, a two-year project that operated under the banner, Spraoi le Chéile. Biologist and environmental consultant, Éanna Ní Lamhna, was the special guest at the launch in John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road, Ennis. Artist, Ana Colomer, was the cluster facilitator for the project, which operated under the wing of the Clare Education Centre and their director, Ray McInerney. Ana explained that the biodiversity app has an orienteering theme and encourages children to learn about animals and trees. “It has two levels, which makes it inclusive and open to all. There are 10 locations on the app and on each location, the children have to enter a …

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Clare designer’s chainmail earns post in British Museum

AN Ennis-based designer has been chosen to showcase her work at the British Museum, writes Jessica Quinn. Laetitia Sorohan told The Champion she is “delighted” to have been selected, among other designers, to sell her pieces alongside the “Thomas Becket Murder and the making of a Saint Exhibition” in London. The exhibition will take place at the British Museum from May 2021 until August 22. Laetitia is the Irish-based French designer behind the locally-based brand NAIIAD Contemporary Designer Jewellery. She explained that her pieces were selected for the British Museum because of the link between her designs, which are inspired by chainmail, and the medieval period on which the exhibit is focused. One of the star objects in the show is an alabaster plaque showing the murder of Thomas Becket, featured on the exhibition posters and book, and has armoured knights wearing what is likely to be chainmail. A selection of Laetitia’s designs have been chosen by the British Museum …

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Fleadh Nua off but past glories set to go online

FOR the second year running Fleadh Nua will not be taking place in Ennis due to Covid 19 restrictions, organisers have confirmed. But Fleadh Nua chairman Frank Whelan is looking forward to the return of the festival in 2022, when he promises it will be bigger and better than ever. In the meantime, he hopes that memories of the great Fleadhannas down through the years will sustain the many lovers of traditional music, song and dance for whom the Fleadh Nua has become a much anticipated annual event. “Those of us who are old enough remember the ‘70s and ‘80s when the Fair Green became a tent village for the last week in May,” said Frank. “Then there were the huge parades and colorful floats winding their way through the narrow streets of the town, with set dancers batterin’ away on the back of a moving truck, and no one ever fell off! But sadly Health and Safety regulations did …

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Makeover mooted for ‘little oasis’ in Ennis that needs some TLC

AN Ennis park, described as a “little oasis” is set for a makeover with plans by the local authority to carry out repairs, cleaning and repainting, writes Jessica Quinn. Calls for the examination and assessment of the park opposite Mill House were made at a recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District. Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy told the meeting that she had been approached by a number of people concerned about the state of the amenity. She said she was “pretty sad to see the state of it”. The councillor called for the park to be examined and assessed for maintenance. “The benches, fencing, lighting and lawns are in very poor condition with the benches being in such a state of disrepair as to render them unusable even on a sunny day,” she stated. She commented that the area provides a “beautiful break” in an urban setting, pointing to the “fabulous” sculpture Memory and Meaning created by Colin Grehan and …

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Date set for Ennis to officially become university town

FIRST day of term for the new Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest has been announced as October 1, writes Jessica Quinn. From that date, Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) will cease to exist, and more than 15,000 students and 1,200 staff across the Midlands and Midwest will be teaching, learning and researching at the newly designated TUS: Midlands Midwest. On this day also, Ennis will become a university town for the first time, given the presence of a campus there, while Athlone, Clonmel and Thurles will also become university towns. The recruitment of a president for Ireland’s first cross-regional university has also begun, with the application process now opened to suitably qualified persons. The inaugural president will be charged with leading transformational change across adjacent regions linked by the River Shannon. Chair of LIT Governing Body Tony Brazil said, “October 1, 2021 will not only be a significant day in the history …

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Ennis family rains supreme in water contest

AN Ennis family are the raining champions following success in a nationwide conservation competition. Green-Schools, in partnership with Irish Water, recently announced the winners of its Water Conservation Photo Competition, with one of the five winning families being from Ennis. The winning entry from Ennis was taken by Áine Purcell of her daughter Róisín and Róisín’s Grandad working together on a rainwater harvesting system. The competition encouraged families all over Ireland to save water by asking students to do water saving activities at home, and for parents/guardians to put a photo of them on Twitter or Instagram. The best five photos were chosen by Green-Schools, with winning families getting waterproof cameras. Other winners for the competition this year included a system to keep plants watered in the summer; a smart way to save water when washing a car, an inventive idea to use the water from a tumble dryer for watering plants; and a family who always saves water washing …

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