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WATCH: Dancing with Dusty in Clare’s magical underwater world

Kevin Corbett spoke with members of the Burren Sub Aqua Club about their fantastic experience with Clare’s famous dolphin Dusty on a dive off Miltown. See our video below TEN days on from their magical underwater encounter with one of Clare’s most famous marine residents, Jennifer and Jessica Smith are understandably still buzzing. The sisters, from Sixmilebridge, found themselves on RTE news last week after their interaction with Dusty the Dolphin was filmed while on a dive off Miltown Malbay with Burren Sub Aqua Club. Escaping the exam pressure that May typically brings, Jennifer, in her first year of mechanical engineering in Galway, and Jessica, a Leaving Cert student in St Caimin’s, Shannon, took to the pristine waters for a bit of relaxation with dad Finbar and other members of the club. Then, quite literally out of the blue, who should appear but Dusty the Dolphin. Jessica told The Champion, “We’ve only ever seen her once prior to this, the …

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North Clare blackspot is likely to be subject of an oral hearing

A SENIOR Clare County Council official has said that the local authority expects there to be an oral hearing into plans for Blake’s Corner in Ennistymon. At Tuesday’s meeting of West Clare Municipal District, Senior Engineer Sean Lenihan said, “We published the CPO last June, submissions were to be received by An Bord Pleanála in September, there were 12 or 13 submissions all of which are receiving the required attention both from ourselves and the Board. “We are getting ready for an oral hearing, we imagine there will be an oral hearing, but that’s subject to the Board’s decision. They have alluded to the fact that there will most likely be one, but they haven’t actually given us a date.” He said they had thought there would have been progress by this stage, but it should come within three months. “We were hoping to have news by the end of April, which was last Friday, but what we got from …

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Exclusive: Púca artist hopeful he can win Clare town over

THE artist involved in a controversial public sculpture commission for Ennistymon has insisted there is nothing malevolent about his proposed Púca, and that it has real potential to attract and engage visitors, writes Fiona McGarry. Aidan Harte told The Champion that despite the Council’s decision to pause the project in response to public objections, he is hopeful that people will come to appreciate the design of the 2m high artwork. Mr Harte, who has studied sculpture in Florence in Italy, has told Clare County Council he is fully prepared to visit Ennistymon to engage with local people. “We can’t railroad or ignore people’s views,” he said. “This piece certainly isn’t disrespectful. Art is a matter of taste and I can understand that people don’t want art they don’t like, but this is an impressive piece when you see it in the flesh. “I think people will come to appreciate the craft that is involved. I’m more than willing to come …

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Ennistymon mum, Brianna enjoys the sweet taste of success

ENNISTYMON mum, Brianna Turner is enjoying the ‘sweet’ taste of success having been chosen a top winner in the recent nationwide search by banana importer Fyffes to find a new mouth-watering dessert that has a banana as its key ingredient. Responding to the invitation fronted by celebrity cook, Donal Skehan, Brianna was amongst a large group of what the popular television presenter called ‘creative and inventive meal-makers’ who accepted his challenge to design a desert that could become a meal-topping choice on tables around Ireland and abroad. A graduate of Ballymaloe Cookery School, Brianna has had a passion for food and cooking from a young age when she used to make scones and apple tarts with her grandmother Pauline. Over the years she has honed her skills working as a chef in the Michelin Star Bluehill Restaurant in Manhattan and more recently in Chez Panisse, California. Brianna is now a full-time mum to 15-month old son Alo, while her partner …

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Matchmaking festival film puts Clare on centre stage

HOT on the heels of the huge publicity boost for North Clare created by the TV show ‘Smother’ and the two-part documentary ‘The Burren: Heart of Stone,’ Lisdoonvarna is set for a visitor boost this summer after inspiring a movie on the world-famous matchmaking festival. Entitled, ‘As Luck Would Have It,’ the movie premiered on the Hallmark Channel last week. It stars Irish actor Allen Leech, who played Tom Branson in the hugely popular ‘Downton Abbey,’ and US actress JoAnne Garcia Swisher from the Netflix series ‘Sweet Magnolia’. The film’s plot revolves around JoAnne’s character, Lindsey, who travels to Ireland to acquire land to build a resort. She decides to enter the local matchmaking festival to prove her investment and win over a handsome local. The film is one of two major television productions to reference the festival in recent years. The multi-award winning ‘Schitt’s Creek’ features a Singles Week in the series four finale, with a serious nod to …

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Public consultation starts on Cliffs Of Moher 2040 strategy

AN extensive public consultation process has commenced as part of the development of a sustainable long-term masterplan for the Cliffs of Moher. Clare County Council is working, with consultancy firm Haley Sharpe Design, to prepare the Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040. The focus of the work to date has been on preliminary research, on-site investigations, and desk-top studies to understand the challenges facing the Cliffs of Moher and to identify potential opportunities for helping to realise future aspirations. A four-month consultation process involving local communities, organisations, businesses, and residents, to facilitate participation in this listening process commenced this week. The process includes online workshops, feedback sessions, focus groups, written submission and surveys. “The consultation phase of the strategy is a key stage of the process,” explained Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council. “Initial meetings have taken place this week with a series of other meetings and workshops to follow over the next three to four months,” he …

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Tom up to scratch as he collects national coding award

A NORTH Clare student is proving he is up to scratch when it comes to computer technology. Tom Dandoy, a third year coding student at CBS Ennistymon has been presented with an award in the National Scratch Coding Competition after developing his very own computer game. Tom’s game Spaceship Battles 3 is the final game in a trilogy that he has developed using Scratch programming which he has been learning in school. He was one of 34 finalists from 215 entrants in the competition which is being held as part of Technology Week, a nationwide festival of technology driven events aimed at students, parents and the public. On Wednesday the winners of the competition were announced, with Tom receiving an award for ‘Best Technical Sophistication” after impressing the judges with his game. Tom has been learning Scratch programming for game design at Ennistymon CBS since first year in his coding class with teacher Sean Murphy. All Junior Cycle students in …

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Burren Ecotourism Network encourage local clean ups for Earth Day

EARTH Day is celebrated each year on April 22. Established in 1970, the objective of this global campaign is to highlight environmental issues around the world, and how local communities are getting involved to provide solutions. So what does Earth Day mean to the Burren? The Burren Ecotourism Network has joined forces with other community groups in the region to tackle head-on the crisis of litter management. “We have taken inspiration from Earth Day to launch an awareness campaign to better manage and ultimately prevent litter in the Burren,” states Jarlath O’Dwyer, CEO of the Burren Ecotourism Network. “We are looking at a variety of approaches including organised clean-ups, pro-active social media campaigns as well as working with Clare County Council and established networks such as Clean Coasts and Leave No Trace.” The members of the Burren Ecotourism Network have been focused on keeping their local patches litter free over the years through the Adopt a Hedge Row and this …

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