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North Clare

Lyrical new Burren documentary to air on RTÉ

HEART of Stone is the title of a visually stunning two-part series to air on RTÉ One at 6.30pm next Sunday. The Burren is a place full of intrigue and mystery to Lahinch-based film-maker Katrina Costello, who has been working there for over 13 years. “It is not a landscape that gives up her secrets easily, but in every fold of rock and around every corner there is always a new surprise,” she remarked. Heart of Stone captures the raw and complicated beauty of the Burren using intimate natural history photography and the spontaneous insights of a cast of local contributors. Narrated by Brendan Gleeson, the piece takes audiences on a journey through the ages, tracing the genetic story of the Irish people. It tells the story of the Irish hunter-gatherers and reveals what became of them. It asks if prehistoric farmers irreversibly altered this landscape and if modern Irish society is descended from those who first lived here over …

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Sam sharpens focus on starting knife making school in Clare

“I CAME over to Dublin from Ghana for what was meant to be six months, to help my friends set up a restaurant and plan a menu, then I blinked and found five years had gone by.” Sam Gleeson is reflecting on the road that has led him to Ennistymon and how he has come to set up a knife making business that last week won him a prestigious national craft award with a €10,000 bursary. Using metal and woodworking techniques, and using found and reclaimed materials, even washed-up ocean plastics, he creates beautiful, distinctive knives for culinary use. The plan now is to open a teaching facility in Ennistymon to share his bladesmith craft with others and Sam plans to use his bursary to attend a forge-welding course in the US and take his own skills to the next level. “Reclaimed wood and plastic goes in the handles,” he says, “but what I’m becoming known for is making my …

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Thriller stars share love of North Clare landscape

STARS of RTÉ’s hit drama Smother have shared their impressions of the rugged North Clare coastline, and its role in creating the atmosphere for what has been described as a ‘Celtic Noir’ thriller. Thomas Levin and Hazel Doupe, who play father and daughter Carl and Ingrid Jensen, were among the stellar cast involved in RTÉ’S Smother which was shot last year in the Lahinch area. The six-part series follows the fortunes of the Ahern family in the aftermath of the suspicious death of patriarch Denis. His wife Val (Dervla Kirwan) is in a new relationship with Carl, but Denis seems to be able to keep his grudge against them going from beyond the grave. After being cast as Carl, Thomas, whose TV credits include the Danish hit Borgen and Channel 4’s Norskov, travelled to Ireland to join the cast. “It was my first time in Ireland and North Clare and it was fantastic waking up and going to work there …

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Motorists to be warned of pedestrians on Ennistymon walk

SAFETY improvements are to be made at a scenic walk, along the River Inagh, in Ennistymon, following a request from local Councillor Shane Talty. Tabling a notice of motion to the most recent meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, the Fianna Fáil member urged officials to address an issue at Shrohill on the Falls River Walk. “The river walk was developed with the assistance of CLÁR funding and it’s been a fantastic sanctuary for many throughout Covid,” he said. “The problem, at the moment, is that those using the walk have to emerge onto the road and there are very dangerous bends before they go back onto the walk.” Councillor Talty thanked Senior Executive Engineer (SEO), Enda McNamara, for his reply which undertook to install safety signage to warn motorists of the presence of pedestrians in the Shrohill area. Cathaoirleach of the West Clare Municipal District, Councillor Joe Garrihy also welcomed the news. “This is a popular walk,” he …

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Ten years in, Clare-based network is a world leader in sustainable tourism

THE Burren Ecotourism Network is celebrating its 10th anniversary, marking a decade of growth, achievements and awards which have seen it become a worldwide leader in sustainable tourism. The network which now consists of nearly 70 tourism businesses has grown from 18 founding members when it was launched by Darina Allen and then Mayor of Clare, Councillor Christy Curtin at Gregans Castle Hotel on March 3, 2011.   Members range from operators like Burren Fine Wine & Foods and Marie McGauran’s Burren Walks to iconic tourist attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher. Businesses include those from hospitality, food, farming, activities, culture and heritage sectors, all committed to sustainable tourism in the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark. During the 10 years that followed the network continued to develop, with new members joining and initiatives in food and sustainability. This has contributed to the tourism group being widely regarded as ‘best in class’, with regular invitations to share the Burren story …

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Inspirational Ennistymon lady celebrates her 106th birthday

AN ENNISTYMON native, who is one of Ireland’s oldest citizens, will celebrate her 106th birthday on Friday, January 29. Nellie Jude formerly lived in Newquay on The Flaggy Shore, where she is much loved by her neighbours. She moved back to North Clare after a long career in England where she trained as a nurse and where she and her husband, Ernest Arthur Jude, ran a number of very popular pubs in London and Essex. Christened Helen Garrihy in January 1915, she is the daughter of Michael and Helen Garrihy (née Vaughan). Nellie had 12 siblings and, at the age of 19, went to train as a nurse in England at The Royal Chest Hospital. She married Ernest Arthur Jude from Cambridgeshire and had two children, Phil and the late Jenny. Along with Ernest, Nellie went into the pub trade, proving to be a very popular and respected landlady. “She was as great character in the pub, but you certainly didn’t ruffle …

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Gort Community School unveil plaque to fondly-remembered past pupil

GORT Community School (GCS) recently celebrated a quarter of a century providing education in North Clare with the launch of a commemorative CD, entitled ‘Le Chéile’. The recording features past and present students and staff, and includes guest tracks from We Banjo 3, the Kilfenora Céilí Band and Séan Keane. Seán’s late wife, Virginia, had been a teacher at the school. The launch, which was performed by Séan Keane and Katharina Baker, was streamed live on Facebook because of the restrictions around the pandemic. On the day of the event, the school was also delighted to welcome Mary and Flan Noonan to unveil a plaque in memory of their daughter Eimear, a past pupil, who died in a tragic accident, while working as a teacher in France in 2017 Eimear was described by the school community as a very valued student, especially in the music department. As well as her love for Irish and French, Eimear was at the heart of …

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Crusheen train stop back on track with Green minister

THE prospect of trains grinding to halt for passengers at Crusheen have taken a turn for the better with the appointment of Green Party leader Eamon Ryan to the transport portfolio. The new Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport is also Minister for Climate Action and Communications Networks and his dual role has given people living in the Crusheen area hope that the Limerick to Athenry/Galway train will once again stop in the village. Such a development would be of benefit to those who have to commute to Galway or Ennis and Limerick for work, business or study. Journey times would be slashed, as well as reducing the stress associated with road travel. Michael O’Doherty, spokesman for the Crusheen Rail Stop campaign group, said directing people from cars onto trains would not only help them achieve huge savings in the long run, but would also reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint. Back in 2010, the then Minister for Defence and Clare …

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