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East Clare prepares to mark centenary of Glenwood Ambush

AS EVENTS in the War of Independence are commemorated across the country, communities in East Clare are preparing to mark the 100th anniversary of the Glenwood Ambush in the New Year. On January 20, 1921 at about 4pm, a motorised patrol of ten armed Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Black and Tans, travelling from Sixmilebridge to Broadford, approached the back gate of Glenwood House. Waiting for them, concealed behind the walls of the Glenwood estate was a group of approximately 37 armed volunteers, from the East Clare Brigade of the IRA, led by Michael Brennan of Meelick. As the patrol passed by the gates, a fusillade of gunshots struck the patrol. Six RIC and Black and Tans were killed, two were injured and two escaped unhurt. One IRA volunteer was injured. The ambush party then withdrew through the forest and mountains to the East of Glenwood, towards the village of Oatfield. The surviving members of the patrol made their way …

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Drama on air as Scariff Bay gets set for feast of radio plays

WITH the normally vibrant amateur drama circuit among the casualties of pandemic restrictions, a new creative initiative aims to bring some of the best local acting, writing and directing talent to the airwaves early next year. Scariff Bay Community Radio together with The Clare Drama Festival have launched the inaugural Clare Drama Radio Play Festival, which will be broadcast on the community station in the spring. The station will also work with local national schools to bring short plays, written by pupils, to the airwaves. The Clare Drama Festival is one of the most popular and longest-running in Ireland and its loss, along with the cancellation of all other theatrical events, has been a huge loss to East Clare. “The amateur drama circuit like so many other cultural activities has been in hibernation since March this year,” said Eoin O’Hagan, PRO of Scariff Bay Community Radio. “Several festivals had been up and running and with the lockdown were forced to …

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Creative trio breathe new life into Ennistymon venue

THE working from home revolution, prompted by the pandemic, has inspired a creative trio to make the move to the Banner county, where they hope to breathe new life into a much-loved North Clare venue. Kymann Power, Áine Leech and Diarmaid Keane who are all digital creatives, with a strong interest in arts, culture and music, have made Daly’s in Ennistymon their new home. The three have been reaching out to musicians and those in the arts with a view to using their digital skills to support them in finding new audiences online and on social media. “Before the pandemic, I was working from home in Dublin,” explained Áine, a Westmeath native. “I was tired of looking at the four walls and got out just before lockdown.” Clare was the destination of choice according to Kymann. “I had travelled here with Áine a few times and when we were looking for a base in the west of Ireland, we happened …

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McKernans weave strands of success in Tuamgraney

SUCCESS came as something of a surprise to husband-and-wife team Anke and Eugene McKernan, who set up their woollen mills in Tuamgraney in the 1980s. “We really didn’t plan it,” Anke told The Champion. “We were originally weavers, but realised that it was the market for hand-crafted scarves that was really going best for us. In 1995 we replaced our handlooms with a 120-year-old cast iron shuttle loom, and in 2012 we purchased our first knitting machine. We just couldn’t have imagined how the business would grow.” Now, McKernan Woollen Mills, produces over 500 different product lines which combine the crafts of weaving and knitting in innovative designs, textures and styles. With 70% of the pre-Covid business coming for export channels – to countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, the US and Canada – the company has had to switch gears to some extent because of the pandemic, and put more of a focus on retail business in outlets including …

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Fourth generation remembers legacy of ‘martyr’ Alphie Rodgers

SCARIFF businessman Mike Rodgers still lives in the house where his famous granduncle was born. Pictures of Alphie Rodgers and his family hang on the wall of the house in The Square where the man who was to become one of the legendary Scariff Martyrs came into the world in 1897. Alphie was one of a family of four and grew up alongside his brother Gerald – Mike’s grandfather – and his sisters Gertie and Kathleen. As respected shop-keepers, with a wide and loyal customer base, the family could never have imagined the devastation the events of the War of Independence would bring to their home. “Alphie was a bit of a golden boy,” Mike told The Champion. “We have letters that he sent when he was a pupil at Rockwell College, thanking his mother for sending him sweets. He was as good boy, but must have had a strong personality too.” Alphie was just 23 when he was fatally …

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Scholarship success for Kilmihil’s Anna Marie

A FORMER student of St Michael’s Community College, Kilmihil, has secured a college scholarship worth €20,000. Last week, Dr Martin Naughton and his wife Carmel announced the winners of the 2020 Naughton Foundation Scholarship Awards giving Anna Marie Meaney a welcome boost for her third-level studies. Anna Marie has accepted a place at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), where she is currently studying Biomedical Science. The West Clare woman joins 35 exceptional Irish students who were awarded third-level scholarships in the areas of engineering, science, technology and maths. Anna Marie will receive her funding award in tranches of €5,000, over the four years of her studies. As part of the awards scheme, St Michael’s Community College will also receive €1,000 to support science education. Clare has a proven track record in the awards competition, with Caitríona Ní Riordáin from Colaiste Mhuire, Ennis, taking last year’s top prize. Traditionally the awards are presented by founding patrons, Dr and Mrs Naughton, …

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Plans to further enhance 12 O’Clock Hills attractions

THE development of the stunning 12 O’Clock Hills walking trails in East Clare is to be marked in special calendar to be launched for the Christmas market. The calendar will include panoramic views from the hills, as well as the popular beauty spots along the routes, and mark the seventh anniversary of the creation of the three popular walking trails which are among the jewels in the crown of tourism locally. Funds raised by the calendar will go towards the part restoration of a ruined farmhouse in the area, as well as the creation of a carved wooden sculpture – both of which are set to add to the attractions along the Hills trails. The restoration of the house known locally as Mary Anne’s is made possible with 80% grant funding from the Heritage Council in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The stone farmhouse was reasonably intact up February 2014 but Storm Darwin blew the …

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Scariff students get set to contribute to new plan for Clare

LOCAL geography has come to life for second years at Scariff Community College, where students are making a submission to a review of the County Development Plan. Under the guidance of teacher Darina Sheridan and with support from Carmel Brislane, a planner with the council, the students are making their voices heard on the future of the school’s catchment area of Scariff, Mountshannon and Whitegate. Geography teacher Darina sees the call for submissions to the plan, which will cover 2022-2028, as an opportunity for some real-world learning. “I had looked that the plan previously with a Transition Year (TY) group and realised that there was potential here for the students to look at their own areas and to get to know then and what kind of amenities they would like to see,” she explained. Working with Clare County Council, Darina began to develop practical exercises built around the submission. “We have had Zoom calls with Carmel, which were great,” she …

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