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North Clare

Clare’s famous matchmaking festival cancelled again

THE Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the impact of Covid-19, it has been confirmed. The event, which takes place in the north Clare town every year and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from across Ireland and the world, had been due to take place across the whole month of September. Festival organiser Marcus White said, “As the Government have advised that there should be no large-scale indoor events until the whole population has been vaccinated, this year’s Lisdoonvarna Festival has regrettably been cancelled.” He noted that many people, especially younger ones, will not be fully vaccinated before the end of September. “All our events are staged inside including the country music marquee which can accommodate up to 2,000 people which is not permissible under current guidelines,” said Mr White. “We would not be able to manage the very large crowds that normally throng our small town for a month.” …

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scattery island

Scattery Island’s heritage opened to the world

HISTORICAL tales of Viking invaders, salvaged ships and seafarers are among the exciting items that have been compiled as part of a new heritage website for Scattery Island. Inis Cathaigh (SIHG) sits snugly on the Shannon Estuary, 2km from Kilrush, and is the site of a sixth century monastery founded by St Senan. According to historical record, the island has been occupied since the 5th Century. This long and noble history is showcased on the new website, which highlights many items of historical and archaeological interest. For those who love history, folklore, legends or just a good story, this community archive website showcases and celebrates the long and varied past of Scattery Island. The island is also a place of great natural beauty. It is home to the ruins of seven churches, a round tower, sacred well, Napoleonic battery, lighthouse, and the remains of the last settlers’ homes and village. SIHG was set up in 2012 with the aim of …

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Pandemic pause allows Sea World to take refurbishment to the next level

NEW facilities will be available to the public at Lahinch Sea World when it reopens in 2022, after an ambitious regeneration project. In a statement, the board of the amenity outlined how, thanks to a significant fundraising boost, it has now secured money for a new children’s learner pool and other enhancements as part of a total of investment of €5.8m. The board has credited the pandemic with creating a “window of opportunity” to pursue every possible funding stream, enabling them to respond to the concerns that arose last year when it was feared that the children’s pool would have to be left out of the refurbishment project. “The board of Lahinch Sea World are happy to be able to confirm that a new children’s learner pool will now be included in the redevelopment,” the statement said. “The Covid-19 pandemic has left a devastating impact on our society and economy, but the closure of construction for the first four months …

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Dermot in awe of amazing space

Star architect Bannon’s new TV series showcases, impressive and lovingly restored Kilrush project this Sunday HOLIDAY accommodation with a difference in West Clare will feature in a new television series with Dermot Bannon this weekend. On Sunday at 9.30pm Dermot Bannon’s Super Small Spaces on RTÉ One will showcase The Merchant’s House and Store overlooking the Market Square in Kilrush. The property provides two unique heritage holiday homes in the heart of Kilrush having been lovingly restored to preserve their heritage, while also offering 21st century comforts. Paul Gleeson of The Merchant’s House and Store told The Champion that the well-known architect isn’t the only famous face to have stepped inside the historic building. In 1963 The Dubliners performed in the back bar when the building was in the hands of the McDermott family. “Taking part in the show was a good experience and everyone was excited to meet him. “When Dermot came here he said it was like he …

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North Clare school seals Cruinniú deal with movie

A MAGICAL tale of a seal, who takes female form and begins a new life in a small coastal community, has been brought to life at Fanore National School in a short film to celebrate Cruinniú na nÓg. The 20-minute movie, ‘The Magic of the Sea – Draíocht na Mara’, has been five weeks in the making. Editing will soon now underway ahead of nationwide celebrations to mark youthful creativity, taking place on Saturday, June 12. With the support of the Creative Schools initiative, 27 pupils from Fanore had been taking part in acting classes, drumming workshops and music lessons and soon, they will see their skills come together on screen. “We applied during lockdown last year to become a Creative School and were delighted that our application succeeded,” said Bríd Queally, Principal of Fanore National School. “Our mentor under the programme is Majella Perry and she has helped us to introduce a range of different kinds of art to …

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Debate rages over Púca of Ennistymon

WHILE plans for a landmark sculpture in Ennistymon have been paused, there has been no let-up in the debate over the proposed Púca. In recent days, celebrities, artists, historians, folklorists and an MEP have weighed in, in support of Aidan Harte’s proposals for a 2metre high half-man, half-horse on Lower Church Hill. Opposition to the bronze structure has also ramped up in recent days with an online petition under the heading of ‘The People of Ennistymon say NO to the Puca statue’. As of Wednesday lunchtime, it had gathered 244 signatures and is set to be forwarded to Clare County Council by the end of the week. Offers of alternative accommodation for the statue have come from all over Ireland, with folklorist Eddie Lenihan proposing that Crusheen might provide a suitable home. “It may not be the púca as portrayed in Irish folk tradition, but it is a fine piece of sculpture nonetheless,” he said. “Crusheen has grown enormously in …

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Ennistymon grateful for heritage gate funding

A PROJECT aimed at ensuring the survival of a part of Ennistymon’s heritage has been granted funding. Ennistymon Tidy Towns plan to carry out a survey of the area’s remaining hand-forged gates with the aim of identifying which of these historic items can eventually be restored. Grant funding for the survey has been awarded to the local group under the recently announced Community Heritage Grant scheme 2021. Brendan P Lynch, chairperson Ennistymon Tidy Towns told The Champion, “This is a great recognition of the group’s involvement in the heritage of the area and in turn will form part of our heritage entry into the national Tidy Towns competition. The Ennistymon Vernacular Gates Survey will, he said, look at all remaining hand-forged gates in the town of Ennistymon and surrounding hinterland and record these to the standard of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH). “This survey will then be used to identify a select number of gates to be conserved …

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Clare student’s recipe for success at national enterprise awards

A CLARE student has taken second prize in the Intermediate Category at the National Final of this year’s Student Enterprise Programme. Mae Kivlehan, from Scoil Mhuire Ennistymon, was awarded for ‘Tried & Tested, which was a cookbook with a compilation of recipes from sports stars, celebrities and locals. The winning student worked under the guidance of her teachers, Laura Garvey and Caitriona Hynes. The finals of the Local Enterprise Office initiative were broadcast virtually on Friday from Croke Park with An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Ambassador Derval O’Rourke speaking with host RTE’s Rick O’Shea, as students and teachers watched on from across the country. The Junior Category was represented by The Art Co from Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon and the Senior Category was represented by Portable Pouches from St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point. Praising the winning students and all those representing Clare at the National Finals, Padraic McElwee with Local Enterprise Office Clare said: “This is a proud day for …

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