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Pandemic puts brakes on Matt’s cycling bow

August was to have been a memorable month for young Matt Griffin. The 15 year-old Ennistymon teenager was to have made his national bow at a major cycling event in Austria but the Covid-19 pandemic has put the brakes on that happening. “It’s a pity. We were looking forward to the event and its very disappointing that the Austrian cycling event has been cancelled. I suppose health comes first in situations like that,” concedes his father, Matthew. The youngster’s metoric rise in cycling circles is driven by desire and a dedication which sees him make a 220 round trip to Kanturk in North Cork for training spins with the local youth cycling club. But distance is no barrier as his father Matthew fulfils the taxi driver role, ferrying him to and from the training sessions. Before the pandemic brought travel to a halt, Matt would make the trip a couple of time each week. “He can be a bit lazy …

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No mad dash to Lahinch on Monday

THERE was no mad dash into the water at Lahinch on Monday, when a further easing on the Covid-19 restrictions allowed people to travel within their own county. Local hotelier Michael Vaughan said there was increased activity at the resort, but not too much. From his perch at Vaughan Lodge Hotel he could observe a quiet golf course, in stark contrast to last year when numbers were good, and the Irish Open in July was the highlight. Michael said on Monday people were essentially coming to Lahinch “to watch”. He described as “eerie” the atmosphere around Lahinch, with people there but no restaurants, pubs or hotels open to cater for them. He said some people might even be “spooked” at the idea of travelling too far from home, having been confined to 5k. Michael intends to reopen on July but doesn’t expect this 22-bed hotel to be sold out. “I should have one-third occupancy and my target for the season …

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Greywater project a winner for Lisdoonvarna students

TWO students from Mary Immaculate Secondary School have, quite literally, shown that you can muddy the waters and be rewarded for your efforts. The Grey Area Within Greywater is the title of a project by Alice Davoren and Emily Cullinan that has won the Junior Water Category at the national Young Environmentalist Awards, which were. Now in its 21st year, the awards, hosted by ECO-UNESCO, recognise the efforts made by young people aged 10 to 18 years old across Ireland who have worked towards improving the environment. Alice and Emily’s project looked at the effects of using greywater on the chemistry and the earthworm population in soil. Having found that it had a negative effect on the population of earthworms, they created an awareness campaign to highlight the damaging effects of greywater on biodiversity in the soil. Both second year students, who come from the Kilfenora are, had entered a project in the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition in …

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Love still blooming in a time of lock-down

LOVE in a time of lock-down is still continuing to flourish, with many prospective couples using old-fashioned methods to get acquainted, according to match-maker Willie Daly. The Lisdoonvarna love guru told The Champion that the extraordinary times we are living through have seen a surge in the number of people putting romance to the top of their post lock-down priority lists. “Certainly, the restrictions are making life difficult. So many people have lost their jobs and the lack of social opportunities is making people very lonely,” he said. “It’s very hard on people living alone in small apartments at this time. In the last two to three weeks, I’ve had a definite increase in the number of people coming forward to ask for help in finding a partner and there’s a greater urgency too in their calls and letters.” Mr Daly, who claims credit for around 3,000 marriages over his half-a-century of match-making, said the unprecedented change in people’s lifestyles …

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Sculpture in memory of famous 1828 march

A stone sculpture commissioned by Cumann Staire is Dúchais Chora Finne and  created by Kilnamona sculptor Michael McTigue has recently been erecdted in Corofin. It is in memory of the famous march of the local forty shilling freeholders, led by Fr John Murphy PP of Kilnaboy Rath and Corofin,  into Ennis in July 1828, in support of Daniel O’ Connell’s election. With the famous Burren terrain depicted in the background, the monument shows Fr. Murphy on his horse and gig followed by the local 40 shilling freeholders carrying tree branches in support of O’ Connell. St. Bridget’s Church, the first architect designed Catholic Church in the Killaloe Diocese since the reformation, built by Murphy in 1822, features in the background. It was here that Murphy made his famous speech in the Irish language to his parishioners seeking their support for O’Connell and Catholic Emancipation. This speech was widely reported both locally and well beyond the area and was witnessed by …

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Michelin Success for Clare Chefs

History was made this week when a North Clare pub secured its first Michelin Star, the first public house to receive the accolade in the country. The Wild Honey Inn, in Lisdoonvarna owned and run by prominent chef Aidan McGrath and his partner Kate Sweeney was awarded a Michelin Star in the 2018 Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland earlier this week. This wasn’t the only Clare success at the awards event, as Sixmilebridge woman, and head chef at the Five Fields restaurant in Chelsea, London Marguerite Keogh retained the Michelin star she received last year at the same event. The Wild Honey Inn has been a Michelin Bib Gourmand holder since 2010 and becomes the only newcomer to join what is now an 11-strong list of Michelin Star restaurants in the Republic of Ireland. Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland, said, “It’s such good news that Ireland has its first pub with a Michelin …

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Media traverse the Burren

A media group from Germany, Spain and the US are in the Burren this week to experience and sample one of Ireland’s best tourism and gastronomy destinations. Included in the visiting group is Frances Folsom who writes for the Boston Globe and Dallas Morning News, which have a combined circulation of over two million. The trip, organised by Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with Tourism Ireland, will allow the journalists to enjoy the vast selection of seasonal and local produce on the County Clare leg of the Wild Atlantic Way. Welcoming the group to Ireland, John Mulcahy, Fáilte Ireland’s head of Food Tourism, said, “We welcome the opportunity to showcase our island, and indeed The Burren, with its range of food trails, festivals, farmer’s markets. “With the emergence of a distinctive Irish cuisine, our intention is clear; Ireland aims to become one of the world’s hottest new culinary destination and we want to highlight this to our visiting media where they …

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