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North Clare

Clare castles take regional restaurant awards

Two Clare restaurants took home top regional accolades from the Irish Restaurant Awards 2014. The Dining Room at Gregan’s Castle, Ballyvaughan was named best hotel restaurant in Munster while best customer service in the province was deemed to be in Earl of Thomond at Dromoland Castle Hotel. Kilkenny Restaurant Campagne took home the prize of Best Restaurant in Ireland and Neven Maguire, Head Chef of MacNean House and Restaurant, was crowned Best Chef in Ireland at the Irish Restaurant Awards 2014 in association with the Sunday Independent LIFE Magazine, on Monday. Over 900 restaurateurs and industry players turned out to attend Ireland’s biggest ever restaurant awards where regional and All-Ireland winners were announced. Pádraic Óg Gallagher, President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said: “This year’s awards have been the biggest, brightest- and the best. They are the awards everyone wants to be associated with, and everyone wants to be a winner. As a testament to their success, we’ve seen …

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Maasai warrior comes in peace to Clare

PUPILS from St Tola’s Primary Schools in Shannon and Tubber National School in The Burren learned about Kenyan tribal life from a  Maasai warrior this wek. For four years school-to-school connections have been established through the Becomeafriend.net project between Irish schools and traditional Maasai schools in Kenya. The children and teachers have been sharing information about their lives, culture, wildlife, health, creativity and passtimes with primary schools and on Tuesday Timothy Ole Mosiany visited the  two Clare schools to give pupils a first hand account of life in his tribe. During the visit to Shannon and Tubber, he talked with pupils from junior and senior cycles, who found out more about life back in Kenya and how it compares with their own. Timothy said, “I’ve had a wonderful experiences in all the schools here, the children are so bright and so welcoming.” The children treated Timothy to wonderful singing and dancing and he taught them how to do the world …

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Women to hit the surf for Lahinch weekend

Two to three hundred women will take part in a special sporting festival in North Clare this weekend. Mermaids, the Irish Surfing Association’s national women’s weekend takes place in Lahinch and will feature surfing, yoga and belly dancing among other things. The Mermaids weekend is an opportunity for women of all ages to learn to surf or to improve their skills – under the watchful eyes of some of Ireland’s top female surfers. Skilled female surf instructors, alongside past and present female members of the Irish Surf team aim to give participants a fun, safe and inspirational surfing experience. “We would expect 200 to 300 women and girls to take part depending on the weather then we have a team of the top women competitive surfers in the country who will come along and help with the teaching. They are role models within the sport and they will bring all the information you would need whether you are starting out …

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One million Germans to view Doolin

North Clare’s more picturesque spots will be seen by about a million people in a television documentary airing in Germany next month. A crew from ARD, a national German TV network, is in Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland, filming for the documentary along the Wild Atlantic Way. The documentary will be called Weltreisen meaning World Travel. Footage captured in Clare includes the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, as well as the Weltreisen crew enjoying a surfing demonstration in Doolin. The 45-minute programme will air in July. This year, Tourism Ireland is placing a major focus on the Wild Atlantic Way in its promotions around the world. The Wild Atlantic Way is being highlighted on television, in print, online and at international tourism fairs. “We are delighted that the crew from ARD agreed to create this documentary featuring Clare and the Wild Atlantic Way. The programme will be seen by around one million potential holidaymakers for Ireland …

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Neasa MacCormack

Neasa slam-dunks poetry competition

A Lisdoonvarna student will represent Ireland in the United States next year, after winning a poetry competition. Sixteen-year-old Neasa McCormack, from Doolin, took part in the Irish finals of the Brave New Words Poetry Slam, which was broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1’s Arena programme on Monday. Neasa has now earned her place on a team of five people from Ireland, who will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, next summer, to take part in an international poetry performance competition. English teacher, Helen Bradshaw explained how students from Mary Immaculate got involved in the competition. “We heard about it from Stephen Murray with www.inspireland.ie. He organises poetry workshops. In transition year, pupils have the opportunity to develop their obvious talents, as well as explore other interests and experiment with new things. “Stephen lives in Kinvara and he sent an email and we said, why not try it out? The curriculum is so broad that you don’t get to promote poetry-writing, as such, within …

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Burren water springing up in Aran Islands

Caves under North Clare and South Galway could extend 30 miles under Galway Bay and reach the Aran Islands, researchers have discovered. Rain falling in the Burren and filtering through the limestone appears to be then travelling in underground rivers to the coast and under Galway Bay, before emerging in springs on Inishmaan, and in the bay itself, according to work by a group from NUI Galway. Geologists have found large networks of underground rivers hidden under the seabed and, while the current research project is wrapping up, additional funding would enable them to identify targets in the subsurface that could be drilled out and water abstracted from them to supply the Aran Islands. “I would never suggest there is an unending supply of water you could hit there, but there is good potential for hitting a water resource that might augment the water that falls on Inishmaan, or that might help with dealing with water supply on the smaller …

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Lahinch regains Blue Flag

The prestigious International Blue Flag has been awarded to seven of County Clare’s beaches, including Lahinch which lost its Blue Flag status in 2013. Despite the extensive storm damage caused along Clare’s coastline earlier this year, Blue Flags have been awarded to Fanore, Kilkee, Cappa, White Strand (near Doonbeg), Ballycuggeran, Mountshannon and Lahinch. The flag is awarded to hundreds of beaches and a small number of marinas across Europe each year. The award challenges local authorities and beach operators to achieve high standards in the four main categories of water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety. Anne Haugh, Director of Services for Transportation, Environment and Emergency Services with Clare County Council expressed confidence that Clare could increase its complement of Blue Flag beaches from 7 to 8 in 2015. “White Strand near Miltown Malbay was not considered for a Blue Flag this year due to the ongoing construction of a new community-based Lifeguard Training Centre by Irish Water Safety. …

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Pride on the line in joint fundraiser

The playground in Lahinch, which was badly damaged by storms earlier this year, will be one of the beneficiaries of a white collar boxing event taking place in Ennis next month. Tide versus Pride is being organised as a joint fundraiser for Lifford AFC and Lahinch Playground Rescue Fund. Lahinch playground has been closed for months because of the severe storm damage and the committee behind it are hoping to have it reopened before the summer. “We need to get the ground works finished in it to install the accessible equipment. We wanted to do this before the storm damage and had started fundraising for that but if we don’t have a playground, we can’t get more equipment. Accessible equipment is quite pricey. It would be about €20,000 for that alone, just for the equipment and its installation,” said committee member, Nicola Hartigan. “Unfortunately, the playground is still closed and we have signs up indicating that but people are not …

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