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North Clare

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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Call for rural roads to be ‘returned’ for cycling and walking

A CALL has come from the new Cathaoirleach of the West Clare Municipal District for local and secondary roads to be given back to local communities to provide safe places for people to cycle between local towns and villages. Councillor Joe Garrihy told the June meeting of the district that, during lockdown, record numbers of people had been able to safely walk and cycle and get to know their localities. “I saw people of every age out cycling,” he said. “My 14 year-old son learned how to cycle on roads he wouldn’t have been able to travel previously. We are all aware of how dangerous North Clare roads can be. Lately, people have been able to cycle and walk in a safe manner. We also have a vast number of roads in the district which poses a challenge in terms of maintenance.” Reacting to a council response outlining the complexity of making his motion a reality, Councillor Garrihy said he …

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Sheepdogs demonstrate social distancing in the Burren

WITH strict Covid-19 social distancing guidelines still in place, John Davoren has trained his famous sheepdogs at Caherconnell cashel fort in the Burren to demonstrate the concept. It makes for interesting viewing in an online Facebook video for those who might be contemplating visiting the award-winning visitor attraction after it reopens next week. The Border collies separate the sheep into small groups and get them to stay there no matter what distractions there might be. Farming in an area where his family has lived for centuries, John began training dogs, teaching a variety of dogs to work with both sheep and cattle when he was a teenager. Unable to open for 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic put the country into lockdown, John now has everything at the ready to allow visitors walk through the ancient stone fort and see the sheepdog demonstrations without any worries of being too close to anybody else but family members. His unique enterprise attracts people …

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Painting the Falls in reopening countdown

THERE’S been something of a silver lining for the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon since the Covid-19 restrictions imposed on the construction and hardware sector were lifted almost two weeks ago. “Were able to hire a cherry picker and go ahead with the outside painting ourselves. Myself and my brother, John took it on and our father, Dan looked after the lower bits. It was no bother and it saved us a fair bit of money,” said the hotel’s general manager. Michael is passing on the opportunity to partially reopen the Falls on June 29, when the lockdown will be further relaxed to allow cafés and restaurants providing on-premises food and drink operate, where they can comply with social distancing measures and have strict cleaning in operation He said they are planning to reopen on July 20 but are awaiting details of regulations that will impact how the hotel operates. Meanwhile, he’s happy to report that the reservation desk has been …

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Gardaí seek help in tracing missing man

GARDAÍ in Ennistymon are seeking the public’s assistance in tracing the whereabouts of Michael Healy, 35 years, who was last seen in the Doolin area on Tuesday, April 28 Michael is described as being 5 foot 10 inches in height with a stocky build. He has brown hair, a beard and also wears glasses. When last seen, Michael was wearing a dark (charcoal colour) knee-length jacket, a white shirt with a red stripe, blue jeans and blue Asics runners with white soles. He was also carrying a black backpack. Michael’s family are very concerned for his welfare. Anyone with information on Michael’s whereabouts is asked to contact Ennistymon Garda station on 065 707 2180, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

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