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Post-Covid ‘staycation’ hopes for East Clare tourism

TOURISM operators in East Clare have said they remain cautiously optimistic in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 lock-down, which has brought the sector to a standstill for now. The season would normally begin around Easter, and tourism providers are currently coping with a raft of cancelled tour bookings, as well as the shelving of key events and activities. Hope is being drawn, however, from the anticipated demand for ‘staycation’ breaks once the restrictions on movement are lifted, and from the development of key projects including the River Shannon Tourism Master Plan 2020-2030, which is currently in draft form and open for public submissions. “A good season in East Clare would be starting around Easter,” noted Arlene White, Chairperson of Tourism East Clare. “What we are now seeing instead is the cancellation of bookings for months ahead. It’s very tough for everyone, but we understand the need for the restrictions and we are hoping that 2020 won’t be a complete …

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Pat Costello: A Man For All Seasons

BY Bríd Costello THE world of traditional music lost one of its staunchest champions with the passing of Patrick Joseph Costello earlier this month. A well-known broadcaster and musician, Pat went by almost as many names as he had passions. Known as Patrick, Paddy, Packie, P, Daddy or Grandad, depending on who he was speaking to at the time, he was a polymath whose breadth of knowledge touched a vast number of subjects ranging from mechanics and information technology to art, poetry and philosophy. And what he didn’t know, he was eager to learn. Born in 1947, in the parish of Moycarkey, County Tipperary, Pat was the firstborn child of Molly and Jerry Costello. He developed a love for music at a very early age and often reminisced about his first instrument – an upturned biscuit tin and a pair of knives. “There was always rhythm. It was never noise,” says his sister Peggy, adding their mother Molly bought Pat …

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Ogonnello comes together ‘virtually’ to remember 1916

THE community of Ogonnelloe have vowed not to be beaten in their efforts to celebrate the anniversary of the 1916 Rising this weekend. While the ongoing lock-down means that a production of a commemorative show entitled ‘O’Gonnelloe Remembers’ could not be publicly performed, the feast of music, song and poetry will now be released on Facebook next Sunday night at 8pm. The show sees people from around the parish taking on the roles of leading revolutionary figures in what is described as an “emotionally-charged” remembrance of the Rising. All week long, amateur actors have been getting into costume and capturing themselves on camera phone. Their performances are now being edited alongside archival and drone footage by Tubber man Brian Ruane, a professional videographer and editor. Sunday night’s release is eagerly anticipated locally and is set to bring back happy memories of a major commemorative event which took place locally in 2016 to mark the Rising’s centenary. Director Louise Donnellan said …

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Kilkee play Zooms into homes

IN what is believed to be a first, the Kilkee Playwright Festival will be bringing an award winning play directly into people’s homes using the increasingly popular app Zoom. Hot Potato Production’s play Just Guff by Jim Ward has been adapted for audio with script development and direction by Jenny Bassett. It will be broadcast into homes via Zoom this Saturday, April 11, at 8pm. And the good news for people looking for entertainment during the lock-down is the broadcast can be accessed for free. Director Jenny Bassett explains, “I used Zoom prior to Covid-19 and was amazed just how easy it was to use. No downloading, just click on a link just before the scheduled time and a page opened up and I was in a virtual meeting with people from around the world. I was also surprised at the sound quality, I immediately thought how it could be used for broadcasting a performance. “Shortly afterwards we were  restricted …

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Second plane carrying vital medical equipment lands at Shannon

A second Qatar Airways cargo plane carrying vital medical equipment from China landed at Shannon Airport yesterday afternoon. The cargo was the second consignment to arrive in Shannon in under a week. Among the medical equipment on board were ICU ventilators, masks and thermometers for distribution to frontline workers around Ireland in the fight against COVID-19. This follows a delivery of ICU ventilators and hospital beds which arrived in Shannon on a Qatar plane on April 3. Qatar Airways is one of the world’s largest cargo operators and has an extensive network of more than 160 destinations using both freight and passenger flights. The airline resumed flights to China at the end of last month to support the global supply chain, which includes the transportation of urgent medical relief aid, essential to the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Commenting on this latest consignment Mary Considine, CEO Shannon Group, which operates Shannon Airport said: “As an essential service our airport …

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Tulla Comhaltas Members Stay In Tune Despite Crisis

TULLA Comhaltas are making sure younger members stay in tune, while their regular music lessons and band practice sessions remain suspended as the Covid-19 crisis continues. The organisation, which has up to 100 members in the under-18 age category, has been inviting its junior musicians to record performances in their homes and share them on the Tulla Comhaltas Facebook page. The activity has proven hugely popular with audiences worldwide and has been instrumental in keeping young musicians busy and learning while the lock-down continues. The initiative is the brain-child of Youth Officer Aisling Hunt, who, up to the advent of the crisis, had been busy training junior members for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the All-Ireland Fleadh. “At the moment, there are no individual lessons going on, no group practices and no sessions,” she explained. “We don’t know if or when the Fleadh will take place. That was scheduled for August in Mullingar, but it’s now postponed. Our young members had …

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Killaloe Tennis club serves up €740,000 development

A LOCAL tennis club look set to make their own piece of history by becoming the first committee outside of Dublin to provide a permanent covered tennis courts as part of a major development estimated to cost in excess of €740,000. Killaloe Ballina Tennis Club has served up an impressive volley in terms of new facilities with a plan that will make them the envy of clubs throughout Munster once they come to fruition. Officers have already won a number of key matches, having secured planning permission as well as raising a massive €480,00 through fundraising, grants, club funds and donations. The club currently has four tennis courts and this will be increased by another two courts. The club currently has about 250 memberships, which includes a lot of family memberships that allows two adults and two children to use facilities. Club chairman, Patrick Seymour told the Clare Champion once the development is fully completed, it will provide the only …

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St Anne’s Virtual Community Offers Support for Students

LIKE thousands of schools across the country, St Anne’s Community College in Killaloe remains closed in a bid to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. And while the 500-strong student body are following the new rules of social distancing and staying apart, they are coming together online to keep their spirits up and to avail of support and guidance in these challenging times. School Chaplain Karol Torpey, who lives in Feakle, told The Champion that the school’s social platforms have come to fore in the current crisis. “Our Facebook page, Humans of St Anne’s Community College, is now operating as a virtual chaplain’s office. It’s a way of getting as much support and advice to people as possible and of gauging how people are feeling.” The importance of staying apart in order to protect the vulnerable is one key message that the school has been promoting across its social channels: “We have been working hard to get the message of …

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