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Ennis at the heart of live-streaming revolution

COUPLES about to tie the knot in these trying times are being invited to consider their virtual options for inviting guests to their nuptials. An Ennis company is at the heart of a digital revolution, prompted by the pandemic, and has been live-streaming events of all kinds since the Covid-19 restrictions curtailed conferences, gigs, workshops and weddings. Crowdcomms, a company founded in Australia by Deirdre Brennick and Peter Hare set up its Irish headquarters in Clare, and prior to the pandemic, had been at the heart of a vibrant conferencing and events industry. The advent of the coronavirus, has prompted them, like so many companies, to pivot and to completely revolutionise their activities. Based in the Carmody Street Business Park, and working with the likes of the EPA, the Irish Cardiac Society and the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), the Irish team, comprised of Stephen McDermott, Stuart Hadden and Elaine O’Loughlin, has been instrumental in offering virtual events, live online. …

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Well-known livestock haulier calls it a day after almost 50 years

James Treacy IF YOU asked patrons in your local pub in East Clare whether they sold cattle in the mart that day, they might not tell you how much they got. One thing is for certain, though, if they were asked who brought the cattle to the mart and if they said, “TJ brought them,” you would all know instantly who they were talking about. Recently, however, Scarriff native TJ O’Callaghan, one of the most famous men at the mart down through the years, retired after almost 50 years in business. Over around half a century, he was well know as a cattle haulier all over Clare, Galway, Limerick and North Tipperary. TJ said that he encountered many close shaves in terms of dangerous situations. In particular in Ennis last year, he was chased and almost attacked by an animal who jumped out of his trailer. Thankfully, TJ made a miraculous escape. By comparison, TJ said that horses were very quiet and safe to transport. …

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Publicans plea for chance to prove they can open responsibly

THE proprietors of an East Clare pub are appealing to the government to give them the chance to prove they can re-open and operate safety. Susan McMahon and Martin Butler have been running The Cobbler’s Rest, a so-called ‘wet’ pub, in Bodyke for the last 16 years. They have expressed anger at the fact that while they are sticking to the rules, a number of pubs are flouting regulations on serving a substantial meal, in order to stay open. Like all other pubs who don’t serve food, The Cobbler’s Rest has been shut since March on the direction of government and The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). Its proprietors have seen three false dawns and been preparing to re-open at different stages in July and August, only to have their hopes dashed at the end of last month. “I don’t think they’re going to let us open at all this year,” said Mr Butler. “It’s desperately unfair. Every pub …

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New taskforce to tackle desecration and damage at Clare Abbey

GRAVE desecration and damage alongside ongoing flytipping at one of Clare’s most historic sites has prompted the establishment of a new taskforce. The Clare Abbey Taskforce are due meet for the first time next month and calls are being made for the installation of CCTV cameras at the national monument. A meeting of the Ennis Municipal District also heard this week that efforts are being made to have the Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works to visit Clare Abbey and hear first hand the concerns of locals. Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy urged that the council convene the taskforce and adopt measures including CCTV to tackle flytipping which is “continuously being highlighted by the Clarecastle Tidy Towns” and “the ongoing risk of repeated damage and desecration to the graves located within the abbey”. She called on the council to support Clarecastle Tidy Towns request for a “much more thorough” analysis of flytipping material found in Clareabbey …

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Craggaunowen closure ‘ideological’ says McNamara

FUTURE development of tourism in East Clare will require new strategies to ensure that key historical sites are sustained as drivers of economic activity, according to a local TD. Scariff’s Deputy Michael McNamara has made the case, once again, for an alternative management structure for the Clare sites operated currently by Shannon Heritage. Since the advent of the pandemic, sites like Craggaunowen and Knappogue Castle outside the village of Quin have remained closed, amid a steep fall-off in international visitor numbers. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, which had been set to close in the autumn, secured an eleventh hour reprieve after a government funding injection of €2.6m. The money will enable it and King John’s Castle to stay open until the end of this year. Speaking to Scariff Bay Community Radio, the Independent TD said he had raised the need to support the wider Shannon Group, with Micheál Martin, before and since his election as Taoiseach. Deputy McNamara added that …

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Sea eagle pair released over Lough Derg

TWO white-tailed sea eagles who arrived from Norway in June, were released over Lough Derg last week. The release is part of the second phase of the White Tailed Sea Eagle (WTSE) Reintroduction Program in which ten young birds were recently brought from into Ireland, managed by Dr Allan Mee of The Golden Eagle Trust) and Eamonn Meskell of The National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS). In total six birds were released have been released, since June, at Lough Derg and four at the Shannon Estuary close to the Limerick/Kerry border. The new release phase aims to build on the successful re-establishment of this once extinct species over a three-year period and to bolster the small existing breeding population here. Previously, 100 young white-tailed sea eagles were released in Killarney National Park in County Kerry between 2007 and 2011. Birds from these releases subsequently dispersed widely throughout Ireland with first breeding in 2012 on Lough Derg. Since then a small …

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Funds crisis for Kilkishen Development Association

A CALL has gone out for funding and other support for Kilkishen Development Association after it was forced to curtail all community activities due to a lack of money. For the last five yeas, the association has been at the heart of efforts to provide essential maintenance in public areas and to keep Kilkishen Cultural Centre going, as a focal point for community events. In a statement, the association said that, “Closure of our cultural centre because of the Covid Pandemic has taken its toll on our financial position”. The association said last week that it had been unable to buy petrol for FÁS and Tús workers to continue grass-cutting in areas like Clonlea Cemetery, the amenity park, the grounds of the cultural centre and church, or to support Kilkishen Tidy Town by maintaining the grass margins on the approach roads to the village. “We hope you understand our current position until we organise a fundraising event later when the …

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Kilkishen Tidy Towns Forges Ahead

WHILE there may be no national Tidy Towns competition this year, that doesn’t mean that local groups around the county are sitting on their laurels. Quite the contrary. Since lockdown ended, most groups have never been busier and many have seen a bump in membership, because people have been spending more time closer to home. In Kilkishen, the Tidy Towns group is close to ticking another project off its ‘To Do’ list. That is the renovation of the old forge building, which dates back some centuries. “The forge building goes back to the 1700s, but we don’t officially know the date it was built,” Elizabeth Brady of Kilkishen Tidy Towns outlined. “It was built without plaster. It’s across the road from the old blacksmith’s house, which is in private ownership. That’s very quaint and Éamon de Valera visited it in the 1960s. It was a spontaneous thing. He saw it and asked his driver to stop. The locals who had …

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