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North Clare

Stone mad for farming prince

Burren farmers are a breed apart; a fact the Prince of Wales learned for himself during his jovial visit to the area on Tuesday. The heir to the British throne visited the lands of father-and-son farmers, Pat and Oliver Nagle, at Pullaghcarron and while there, tried his hand at the unusual form of dry stone walling undertaken in the Burren. It involves standing the stone upright rather than laying them flat. His Royal Highness needs more practice if he is to become as adept as Oliver and Pat, who have been upgrading the walls on their farm for the past five years, as part of the Burren Life Farming for Conservation Programme. One Burrenbeo conservation volunteer, Richard Morrison was particularly charitable in relation to the Prince’s efforts: “I think we could have prepared him a bit better by giving him a better stone and a better place.” Richard might be right. Tuition was brief before Prince Charles laid a flat …

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Pupils well up to scratch

PRIMARY-school pupils from South Galway and North Clare were among the award winners at the National Scratch programming finals held in Dublin Castle recently. CreativeComputerLab in Gort; Coder Dojo, Kinvara and New Quay National School were each represented in the final 25, out of more than 800 entries from across the country. The national competition is run by the Irish Computer Society and Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, Lero. Scratch is a visual programming language and online community developed by MIT, where people can create their own interactive stories, games and animations. It encourages children to learn computer programming and share their projects online on the Scratch server. The Scratch finals are held in conjunction with TechWeekIRL, which is a week-long technology festival held in Dublin Castle. CoderDojo, Kinvara was a finalist in the after-school section in the junior infants to first class category. Ariel Gorman developed an animated storybook of Dr Seuss’ book, entitled Oh The Places You’ll Go, in …

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Ennistymon students hone their skills

TRANSITION-Year students from Ennistymon joined more than 200 secondary-school students from Galway, Mayo and Roscommon at GMIT recently to participate in the Future Skills project, supported by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Access Service. The group from Ennistymon Vocational School was the only one from Clare to take part in the project this year. During the project, the students completed workshops with the assistance of business volunteers from companies including Hewlett Packard, Electronic Arts, AVAYA, SAP, Cambus Medical, AIB, Supermac’s and Top Oil. They explored employment opportunities based on their own interests and examined ways to access these opportunities through their education. Deirdre O’Connor, access officer at GMIT, informed the students of the courses available at GMIT and also advised them of the support that the access office provides for them on the campus. GMIT’s Future Skills is now in its sixth year and comprises three phases. The project begins with a local business volunteer visiting the students and teaching a …

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Loos-ing its Wild Atlantic Way

A public representative has called for Lahinch to be taken off the Wild Atlantic Way, in what he described as an “extreme” response to a lack of adequate public toilets in the seaside resort. “It is time the council peed or got off the pot, we are eight years waiting for toilets,” Councillor Bill Slattery told a meeting of the West Clare Municipal District on Tuesday. The Fine Gael councillor had called for an updated report on plans to provide “much-needed toilet and shower facilities on Lahinch Promenade”. “The present facilities are sub-standard and totally unacceptable,” he said, highlighting that Clare County Council disposed of the old toilet block for a figure in excess of €400,000, with a commitment that the money would be ring-fenced for the provision of a new facility. Councillor Slattery claimed, “The toilets had to close on Monday at 4pm, the Monday of a bank holiday weekend, because the pipe was all backed up. The sewer …

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A personal look at the Burren

THE unique attractions of the world famous Burren are highlighted in the first personal DVD of the area, which was launched in the Burren Centre, Kilfenora last week by Killimer native, Professor Michael O’Connell of University College, Galway. Entitled Clare’s Wonderland, The Burren the DVD is based on a book of the same name compiled by Br Sean MacNamara, Ennis. The hour-long DVD is a personal account of the Burren by Br Sean, who has been a regular visitor to the Burren for almost 50 years. It contains pen pictures of some famous men associated with the Burren, including Brian Merriman; John Philip Holland, Liscannor; Michael Cusack of Carron; Paddy Nolan, Gleninsheen, who discovered the Gold Collar in 1932; Charles Lucas, who wrote the first account of the natural history of the Burren; Micho Russell of Doolin and Frederick J Foot, a native of Dublin, who produced a botanical map of the Burren and the first worthwhile list of plants …

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Burren Food Trail Shortlisted in EU Competition

The Burren Food Trail is among four Irish finalists of this year’s EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) competition. The Burren Food Trail will be vying with Wild Atlantic Way So Sligo Food Trail, Cong Food Village and West Waterford for the top accolade, the winner of which will be announced on May 22. The theme of the 2015 competition ‘Tourism and Local Gastronomy’ and the four Irish locations chosen are currently preparing for on-site assessments during the week of Monday, May 11 when they will be visited by a panel of expert adjudicators. This assessment will allow each applicant an opportunity to provide further evidence of their Tourism and Local Gastronomy destination of excellence. Held every two years, EDEN focusses on a different aspect of tourism each time with the winning destination to receive a promotional photo shoot to market itself as well as €5,000 towards highlighting its attractions. The winning entry will also represent Ireland at a ceremony and …

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Eddie’s new take on Irish legends

THREE books by Crusheen author Eddie Lenihan have simultaneously hit the shelves, telling new stories of Fionn Mac Cumhaill. Speaking about the creative process behind his books, Eddie says it takes him quite a bit of time but that it is important to get some other perspectives on the work. “You can only do it gradually. The one I’m doing now, Foreign Irish Tales for Children, you’d be interrupted and interrupted and then when you have it finished, you’d have to go over it all again or give it to someone else and ask them what they think of this, give them a chance. “The problem is what I think is funny, someone else might be scratching their head at. It’s like Mrs Brown’s Boys, I think it’s a disgusting, repulsive programme, whereas Mary [his wife] loves it. Humour is a very strange thing.” He doesn’t see any problem with giving new adventures to ancient Irish heroes. “You might be …

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Crusheen man wants billboard removed

A Crusheen man has gathered approximately 300 signatures to get a billboard on the southern outskirts of the village removed. Michael Hickey believes the billboard at the railway bridge is no longer relevant and that it is having a negative impact on the look of the village. “I was moved to start the petition after passing the billboard on foot with my kids and seeing the torn pieces of posters strewn all over the briars and gathered behind the stone wall at the foot of the billboard,” he said. The poster currently on the billboard is one advertising Clare County Council’s own ‘Respect the Banner’ anti-litter campaign. “It is a joke at the moment because there is an anti-litter poster on the billboard and there are lumps of torn poster up in the briars,” Mr Hickey added. A spokesperson for Clare County Council stated that a person had contacted the local authority in February regarding the billboard. “Their concern related …

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