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Sunny summer soundtrack on Ennis streets

THE streets of the town have come alive to the sweet sound of music, to the delight of locals and visitors alike, thanks to musician Damien Gormley and some very special friends. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Ennis singer-songwriter is bringing a lively set to the heart of the town, teaming up with the likes of Stockton’s Wing front-man Mike Hanrahan. “When the pubs closed I had two options,” Damien outlined, “sit and get depressed over having no music, or get a live Facebook gig going. I chose ‘option two’. I have played online on Saturday nights for the last 20 weeks and have gained an enormous following, from as far away as Australia tuning in every week. It’s fantastic. The people lifted my spirits and gave me hope.” That support inspired Damien to think beyond the lockdown and, when the economy started to re-open, he decided to get back out performing in real life. “Fast forward to Phase Two, …

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‘We need more dissenting voices,’ says emerging Ennis poet

AT 74-years of age Ennis man Martin Knox admits he left it rather late to start publishing poetry, but the trained chemist is certainly making up for lost time. After a fruitful working life, which took in stints at Syntex, later Roche; as well as teaching at some of the country’s most prestigious educational institutions, Martin made the leap into poetry and has just published his first book. Entitled, Words Without Song: Vignettes of Reflective Dissent and Childhood Reflections, the volume is a collection of over 100 poems which “go against the establishment” and give voice to Martin’s long-standing belief that the purpose of literature is to highlight uncomfortable truths. “Racism, poverty, mental health, corruption, environmental damage, the unequal distribution of wealth, suffering, those are some the main themes of my poems,” he said. “Writers should ask serious questions. For a long time, I didn’t have the time to write. When I retired, I found that time. So many questionable …

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Philadelphia here comes SON

IT’S a case of Philadelphia Here I Come for Ennis musician SON, Susan O’Neill, however she won’t be breaking any Covid-19 travel restrictions. SON has been named among 18 Irish acts who will perform virtually at the Philadelphia Folk Festival on Saturday, August 15, with the support of Culture Ireland. For the first time ever, the festival has dedicated a full day of its programme to performances by Irish musicians. Looking ahead to her performance she said, “It’s really great to be included in the Philadelphia Folk Festival line up this year. Technology can be so wonderful and this is one of the ways it can help us to keep sharing music with music lovers across the world. So glad to be part of it all.” SON began her musical career as the youngest member of the Ennis Brass Band along with joining the Really Truly Joyful Gospel Choir. The critically acclaimed performer is a member of King Kong Company …

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Clean-up appeal amid Covid fears from illegal Ennis encampment

RESIDENTS of an Ennis housing estate are appealing for help from the council in clearing a significant amount of human waste and litter left behind after an encampment that sprang up on a vacant site beside their homes, earlier this month. While a number of caravans left the site beside Castle Rock on the Tulla Road last Tuesday evening, there are still concerns about the hazard posed by the waste, in terms of Covid-19. The area is also expected to be visited in the coming days by judges from the Tidy Towns, prompting further frustration among local residents. Councillor Johnny Flynn who raised the residents’ concerns at a meeting of Clare County Council welcomed the decision of those involved in the encampment to move, and the intervention of Gardaí, said a significant public health issue remains. “Often, we find ourselves incurring a major costs after an illegal encampment,” he said. “In this case, there is a major public health concern …

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Drive for provision of motor-home parking in Ennis

THE Ennis Municipal District is to motor ahead with exploring suitable locations for the development of overnight parking for motor-homes near the town centre. Both Ballyalla and Ballybeg lakes have been flagged as potentially suitable sites for the venture which, if it goes ahead, is expected to result in an economic boost. Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Paul Murphy has led the calls for the facility saying holidaymakers don’t just want to visit seaside locations. He pointed out that the ‘staycation’ market needs to be targeted “particularly in these current times as foreign travel will not be very prevalent for the foreseeable future.” He outlined that the main requirements are a chemical toilet discharge point, regular wastewater discharge and running water. “The fees recouped would be year round and a facility like this would bring additional business to Ennis. Similar facilities currently exist in Cobh and Bantry and have proven to be a great success.” Eamon O’Dea, Senior Executive Engineer replied, …

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Welcome for Ennis’ Direct Provision residents In The Frame

Thirty-two residents of a Direct Provision centre in Ennis have received an unusual gift – unique artworks created for them by local artists. Several artists gathered at Harmony Row bridge in the town last week to present their artwork to the asylum seekers living at the Clare Lodge. It was an idea by the Ennis Welcomes Everyone group to invite County Clare artists to produce a piece of art to be framed and given as a gift to each of the men living in Direct Provision. The project was a huge success as 13 artists responded to the request for a “colourful and uplifting piece”. Each of the 32 men received a piece of artwork. One of the asylum seekers, Godsway Kuffour, said, “I can tell from the artwork I received that the artists and all others who contributed had deep thoughts and affection about us. I lack words to appreciate them. I and many of my friends in the …

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Vandals strike at John O’Sullivan Park

A sledgehammer is believed to have been used in suspected vandalism at John O’Sullivan Park (Lee’s Road) and calls are now being made for the introduction of CCTV cameras in the popular park. Councillor Mary Howard told a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District that “over the past number of weeks there has been evidence of vandalism on the walking trails.” “Since May there has been evidence of young trees, saplings and branches being broken on a walkway locally called Bluebell Alley, there was also evidence of large rocks being both smashed and removed from the trail. This is creating a very dangerous ground surface for trips and falls. This destruction was not witnessed but it would appear to have been done after the park closed at night time as the trail is well used by walkers and runners throughout the day.” She said the damage to the rocks appears to have been caused by a sledgehammer, adding that the holes left …

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Knockanean school development gets green light

A LONG awaited multi-million euro re-development of Knockanean National School has been given the green light by Clare County Council. The plans submitted by the Office of Public Works (OPW) include the construction of eight new classrooms, with an existing four-classroom block built in 2011 retained and integrated into the new build. The new development will not result in an increase in student numbers at the school, with a condition of planning limiting school enrolments to 297 pupils. The number of enrolments can only be changed with another planning permission. According to the planning authority, “In the interests of traffic safety and free flow, the protection of adjacent amenities and to control the intensity of use of the site, it is considered appropriate to restrict pupil numbers to current enrolment levels in order to provide for a qualitative improvement of school facilities.” Councillor Johnny Flynn, part of the project team established to realise the new development, has described the planned …

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