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Showing a little kindness at Cootes

AS is so often the case when campaigns of any sort begin, it was one single incident that led to the random act of kindness phenomenon that has unfolded in an Ennis shop. It is yet another example of how people have rallied around to help each cope with the restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Stephen Coote, owner of Cootes shop and bakery at Cahercalla Cross on the Kilrush Road, is amazed by the number of people that have been drawn to the notion of “strangers helping strangers” though their local store. Trade at Cootes has been badly affected by Covid-19, as there is no activity at the Éire Óg GAA grounds across the road and nearby St Flannan’s College is closed The random act of kindness idea began on Easter Saturday, April 11, when the Covid-19 regulations were being ratcheted up. Stephen said, “A woman who was out for a walk came into the shop …

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Ennis Chamber survey reveals business concerns over Covid-19

A NEW survey carried out by Ennis Chamber of Commerce has provided a localised view of how businesses across Clare have been impacted by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Business Survey, conducted in conjunction with Clare FM, also gauges reaction to the suggestion that the town centre be pedestrianised to facilitate social distancing. Ennis Chamber CEO, Margaret O’Brien said the response reveals just how stressed and anxious business owners are. “Although we now have a government roadmap for reopening our economy,” she said, “the level of uncertainty evident from the responses by business owners in County Clare, suggests that those fears, rooted in uncertainty, are set to continue. Shops, cafés, pubs, hotels, hairdressers and beauticians now know when they can open, but that knowledge does little to quell the fear that co-existing with COVID-19 restrictions could mean trading to break even, as opposed to turning a profit.” The strongest sectoral response to the survey, came from retail, representing 42% of all respondents, with hospitality and tourism accounting …

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Tuamgraney man takes lead role in hit TV drama

THE Banner county is well represented in a new television series which has taken audiences by storm since it was unveiled at the end of last month. The BBC3 adaptation of Sally Rooney’s award nominated novel ‘Normal People’ stars Paul Mescal whose father comes from Cree and whose late grandfather Michael was a prominent figure in the local drama scene in West Clare. The show, which is directed by Oscar nominee Lenny Abrahamson also features Tuamgraney actor Frank Blake in the prominent role of Alan, brother of the lead character, Marianne. Frank is the son of Michael and Mary Blake of East Clare Equestrian Training Centre at Drewboro. Since graduating from the prestigious Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art, which runs in association with RADA and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Frank has been quick to be selected for hit productions including ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles’. His theatrical work includes the stage adaptation of ‘Asking for It’ from …

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Members of the Carrigaholt Festival Committee; Annabel Mc Mahon, at front, with, back from left, Imelda Lynch of The Long Dock, , Christian Heta, Amigo's Caravan Park, Mark Carmody of Carmody's Bar and Mags Keane o Keane's Bar, who held a virtual online festival due to the cancellation of their main event because of the Corona Virus. Photograph by John Kelly

Carrigaholt hold ‘virtual’ Oyster and Trad Festival

THE community of Carrigaholt are hoping to secure the honour of hosting the very first ‘virtual’ festival, after Covid-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the 30th annual Oyster and Traditional Music Festival. Disappointment at the axing of the event, which was set to be all the more memorable to celebrate three decades, sparked a bright idea for Annabel McMahon who had been tasked with the PR and marketing. Annabel, who runs a digital marketing company in Carrigaholt, said the idea of going virtual quickly snowballed: “We were really so sad that nothing was happening when normally there would have been such a huge build-up to the festival,” she explained. “Last Friday, I contacted the organising team and asked them what they thought about creating a virtual festival on-line. They said, ‘why not?’ and so by 11am, I’d put the call out on Facebook to all of the performers who would normally be here to send their videos.” A outage of the …

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Blow to East Clare as Feakle Festival is cancelled

THE festival calendar for East Clare has suffered another major blow with the cancellation of the Feakle Festival, due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Organisers said they decided to cut this year’s event – which would ordinarily attract thousands to the region at the height of the summer season – “with deep regret,” in order to minimise the risk to the general public. Already, the legendary Spancilhill Fair has been called off, with organisers deciding that they could not guarantee social distancing at the event which draws thousands annually on the now immortalised date of June 23. A number of smaller community festivals, including the Bodyke May Bank Holiday Weekend, have also been shelved, with hopes of postponing some of them as the government’s road map for the re-opening of public life begins to unfold. In Feakle, a world-class programme of traditional music had been under wraps since February and there is widespread disappointment that the hugely popular festival won’t go ahead …

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Tulla Teen in Barretstown ‘Virtual Hug’ Campaign

BEING locked down and having to work and learn at home are challenges for everyone at the moment, but for one young East Clare native, who is battling a brain tumour, these are part of normal life. Sixteen-year-old Labhaoise Fitzgerald has had brain surgery twice, as well as gruelling rounds of follow-up treatment. As well as cocooning and keeping up with her studies, Labhaoise is undergoing chemotherapy at her home in Tulla. She is also taking time out to raise funds for the Barretstown charity, which runs medically-supported holiday camps for sick children at its base in Kildare. Like all charities, Barretstown is facing a major shortfall in its funding and urging people to send a ‘virtual hug’ donating €2 in the process. Labhaoise was recently chosen as the Clare ambassador for the initiative and took part in a video with fellow ‘campers’ sending their virtual hugs to friends, family and frontline medical staff. “Barretstown picked a camper from every …

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Tidy Towns still going strong in Ennis

THE national Tidy Towns competitions may be cancelled, but that hasn’t stopped the dedicated band of volunteers who have been keeping Ennis looking its best all year round. Just one of a number of initiatives underway locally has seen Ennis Tidy Towns join forces with the little ninjas of Ennis Coderdojo, asking them to develop Tidy Towns themed games and apps. The local Tidy Towns committee are looking forward to adjudicating what the youngsters come up with later this month. “If we don’t have actual Tidy Towns, we have virtual Tidy Towns,” smiles chairman of Ennis Tidy Towns Cormac McCarthy. He admits that there was disappointment in the community when it was announced this year’s contest would not be going ahead. The Ennis team, who have been hugely successful in the national contest, put in a “very strong submission” this year having worked right through the year. However, Cormac believes it was the right decision given the current Covid-19 crisis. …

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Spike in Illegal Dumping and Littering in East Clare

DUMPING and littering in East Clare have prompted calls from community organisations for more to be done to tackle the issues. While the Tidy Towns competition has been called off for this year, community leaders say they are still determined to address persistent littering in their areas. In Mountshannon, which scooped a national Tidy Towns title in 1981 and a Bronze Medal last year, large-scale dumping of household waste has been a recurrent issue. Joanne Dunphy-Allen, Co-Chairperson of Mountshannon Community Council said that a recent incident had generated anger locally. “It is very maddening, particularly because the Scariff Recycling Centre is just down the road,” she pointed out. “We’ve had refuse scattered around the pier and someone even managed to dump a significant amount in at the back of the bottle banks. That would not be an easy thing to do. The community has been very quick to go in an clear up, but this shouldn’t be happening in the …

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