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North Clare

Burren Winterage honours generations of farmers

THE Burren winterage festival takes place over the bank holiday weekend. The celebration honours generations of Burren farmers and includes re-enactments of ancient pastoral traditions and Samhain pursuits. For hundreds of years, Burren farmers have marked the end of the summer by herding their cattle up onto winter pastures in the limestone uplands, in the tradition known as winterage and the Burren is one of the only places in the world where it still occurs. Recent years have seen a decline in many rural traditions but one local group is trying to not only ensure the continuation of this important Burren tradition but is celebrating it in a community-led weekend event. Along with the local community, the Burrenbeo Trust is coordinating the 2013 Burren Winterage Weekend, which celebrates the Burren’s farming heritage and the broader significance of pastoral farming in the Burren and beyond. The weekend includes a prize for the best shorthorn heifer, an open farm day, a fancy …

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Cavers to descend on the Burren

THE 29th annual Irish caving symposium (SUICRO 2013) takes place this October Bank Holiday weekend in Hotel Doolin, attracting more than 100 cavers from around Ireland and the UK. The event, organised by the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation (ICRO) and the Speleological Union of Ireland (SUI), will include activities, lectures, demonstrations, trade stands, workshops and DVDs and, for the first time, is open to the public. As well as attending lectures, members of the public can try out caving with qualified guides in some of the Burren’s most beautiful caves and visit ICRO’s rescue store located in Doolin. First-time explorers will be provided with the necessary equipment and will be guided by fully qualified cave leaders. The symposium offers an opportunity to learn about the subterranean world in Ireland and abroad, meet avid cavers and learn about the challenges faced by cave rescuers. “We decided that we would love to open up the store this year to those interested in …

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Call for Lahinch beach to be more accessible

MONEY allocated this week for work at the promenade in Lahinch should be used to make the beach accessible for people with disabilities, according to the county’s Centre for Independent Living (CIL). The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine announced it is providing €333,000 for capital works projects in marine leisure and tourism infrastructure in North Clare. This funding will go to two projects, the upgrade of the promenade in Lahinch and the redevelopment of Liscannor pier, and will be 75% funded by the department, with the remainder coming from the local authority. Responding to the funding announcement, Clare CIL is calling on the local authority and public representatives to ensure the development on the promenade in Lahinch is suitable for people with disabilities and wheelchair users. Clare CIL wants Lahinch beach to be made more accessible with the new funding. The 2000 Equal Status Act and 2005 Disability Act states that public places must be accessible for people …

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Burren to host international tourism conference

A MAJOR international conference focusing on sustainable destination development through partnership, balancing conservation and tourism will be held in the county later this month. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark LIFE programme will host the conference at The Falls Hotel and Spa, Ennistymon on October 17 and 18. The event will feature contributions from leading local, national and international experts on sustainable tourism, including representatives of Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism (France), Solimar International (USA), Cultural Site Research and Management (USA), Tourism Ireland, the Office of Public Works and Fáilte Ireland (Ireland). The conference announcement comes just days after the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark was shortlisted in the Best Destination for Responsible Tourism category of the 10th annual 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. Commenting on the background to the conference, Carol Gleeson, manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark LIFE programme said, “LIFE is designed to explore how best to develop and manage sustainable tourism …

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Two clare attractions in line for world tourism award

TWO County Clare attractions have been shortlisted for the 10th annual 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and Loop Head Peninsula have been shortlisted alongside six other sustainable tourism destinations and organisations in the Best Destination for Responsible Tourism category. They are the only Irish attractions to make the list. Tourism destinations in Brazil, Bhutan, Austria, Lithuania, Kenya and Wales have also been nominated in that category. Loop Head Tourism chairman Cillian Murphy expressed his delight at the West Clare peninsula’s nomination. “Four years ago, we set out our stall to become one of the pre-eminent responsible tourism destinations in Ireland. We have achieved much since then, with both the EDEN award in 2010 and more recently being awarded the Best Place To Holiday In Ireland by The Irish Times,” the Kilkee businessman said. “The Loop Head Peninsula has made the jump from being relatively unknown to being a nationally recognised holiday destination and …

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History made as Burren receives EU award

  THE  Burren made history this week after it was awarded a European Diploma of Protected Areas Award, the first of its kind in Ireland. Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, accepted Ireland’s first ever ‘European Diploma of Protected Areas Award’ on Friday from the Council of Europe for the sustainable management of the Burren. Professor Michael Usher, Chairman of the Group of Specialists for the European Diploma of Protected Areas, presented the award to Minister Deenihan in the Michael Cusack Centre, Carron. Created in 1965, the award recognises the work being undertaken to conserve some of Europe’s most outstanding natural and semi-natural areas. To date, 72 diplomas have been awarded and are held in 28 European countries. On July 10, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to award the European Diploma for Protected Areas to the Burren. This recognises the European significance of the area, which has remarkable natural values, a …

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Lahinch attracts surfing talent

THE West Coast Surf Club, based in Lahinch, held its annual longboard surf competition last weekend, hosting some of Ireland’s best male and female surfers. More than 65 contestants competed for national men’s and women’s longboard surfing trophies. Surfing has been going from strength to strength in recent times, with North Clare residents Peter Conroy, Fergal Smith and Ollie O’ Flaherty all making international headlines for their big wave surfing achievements. Last year, Peter was nominated for the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Award – the award for the biggest wave surfed by anyone worldwide. The previous year, Ollie was also nominated. Peter said this year’s longboard competition “shows just how much talent there is in Irish surfing, as well as it being a fantastic event for the community of West Clare”. “The competition turned the whole town into a festival with live music bands and deals in local pubs and restaurants that hosted their own theme in conjunction with …

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George snaps up wildlife photography award

A North Clare photographer was named the overall winner at the British Wildlife Photography Awards held in London this week. George Karbus, who has lived in Lahinch for the past nine years, attended the ceremony in Mall Galleries in London where he picked up the top accolade. In doing so he had to pass on the opportunity to go to another awards ceremony in Hong Kong where his images featured in the final five in two categories in the Red Bull Illume Photography Awards. Mr Karbus won the top prize at the British Wildlife Photography Awards with an image of a dolphin underwater entitled In the Living Room. “The photograph was taken in the most intimidating and surf-heavy spot on the Coast of Northern Ireland. I encountered this playful dolphin that suddenly started to surf the deep tube inside the waves. Each time the dolphin got into the wave, I dived underneath, held my breath and waited for the moment …

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