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Friendships flourish through Tulla inter-generational project

THE energy of youth and the wisdom of age are combined to great effect through the Cairde group at St Joseph’s Secondary School, Tulla. For more than 17 years, the initiative has brought together students and older members of the community of East Clare for all kinds of activities from baking and knitting to music, song and discussions about life in bygone days. While the pandemic has put the normally popular face-to-face sessions on hold, Cairde has been a lifeline for members over the last year. Students have learned the art of letter writing and correspondence has been exchanged regularly between the 14 older members of the group and their younger counterparts. At 98 years of age, Dun Purcell, from Feakle is the intergenerational group’s most senior member and very popular with the 48 students taking part. And, because some former members of Cairde now live at Raheen Community Hospital, the group has also been staying in touch – remotely …

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Pat Finds His Wings On The West Coast

A MILTOWN Malbay resident who swapped his native Kildare for the banner county has described how the move opened up a whole new life for him. Pat Ryan, originally from Kildare town, has lived in Clare for four years with his wife, Geraldine. Now in his early sixties, Pat says life on the west coast has given him a new lease of life and has led to the creation of new business enterprises and an unexpected venture into the world of songwriting. “I’ve been coming to Clare since I was about 17. I loved it, and through the years, despite travelling a fair bit, I was always drawn back to Clare. We have had a journey over the years by virtue of life’s ups and downs. Since we married, we have moved 11 times. “We moved to Ennistymon in October 2017 then in February 2020, we moved to Miltown Malbay to a house with a bit more room.” Pat says …

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Safety to the fore for 2021 tourist season in East Clare

SAFETY will be to the forefront of visitors’ minds this summer, potentially creating opportunities to grow tourism in East Clare, under the Hidden Heartlands brand. That was the view of Fáilte Ireland’s Tony Dawson, who addressed the AGM of Tourism East Clare (TEC) and outlined his organisation’s priorities in promoting tourism in the area. “The media campaign currently is a work in progress and it all depends on what instructions will come from government on re-opening,” he explained. “The ‘Keep Discovering’ campaign is what it’s called. Last year, it was ‘Make a Break for It’. Roughly from June right through into December, the campaign will run on television and radio and, of course, on social media. There’ll also be some newspaper advertising, to a degree. The campaign will focus on staycations and aim to continue the success that we saw in that area, after the re-opening last year. We’ll also be involved in promoting ‘Stay and Spend’ and there’ll also …

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Lough Derg lakeside viewing points secure funding

NEWS viewing and discovery points are to be developed around Lough Derg, thanks to a partnership between agencies in three counties. Clare Local Development Company (CLDC), Galway Rural Development (GRD) and North Tipperary Development Company (NTDC) have come together to approve further project funding toward the development of the lakeside amenities. The funding has been provided through the LEADER grant programme, and this is the second such project with these partners on Lough Derg in recent years. “The tourism sector has been one of those worst hit by the pandemic due to the collapse of inbound travel and the restrictions on internal movement,” said Doirin Graham, CEO of Clare Local Development. “It’s all the more important we support it to bounce back quickly”. CEO of GRD Steve Dolan added “The Lough Derg region has a wide range of natural assets and, as I know first-hand, terrific people. Staycations will be taken by the majority of the population in the coming …

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Moves afoot to improve access to school bus transport

RESTRICTIONS on access to school bus transport in North Clare are causing hardship and inconvenience for many parents and students in the Corofin area, a recent meeting of local councillors was told. Councillor Joe Killeen, a former primary school principal and ex-president of the INTO, called on the West Clare Municipal District committee to contact the government on the matter and to ask them to redefine the catchment area for the secondary schools in Ennistymon. “Such a move”, he said, “would make pupils from Corofin eligible for school transport on a phased basis.” The Fianna Fáil member noted that, currently, the Department of Education provides subsidised school transport for post-primary pupils who live more than 4.8 kilometres away from the appropriate school. Because schools in Ennis are closer to those living in Corofin, students currently only have ‘concessionary’ status on school busses to Ennistymon. “We have had a huge increase in the primary school population,” Councillor Killeen noted. “Now, as …

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West Clare councillors demand clarity on population growth targets

ANGER has been expressed by West Clare councillors over national planning policies which they fear will stifle population growth. Tabling a joint motion at the recent municipal district meeting, Councillors Cillian Murphy, Ian Lynch, Shane Talty and Joe Garrihy sought details of population growth targets under the forthcoming County Development Plan. All voiced frustration at the reply, which was described as “a non-response”. “We’ve been briefed on now the new plan will have to tie in with the regional spatial strategy and so we’re now looking for clarity on the population allocation for West Clare,” Councillor Murphy said. “It’s kind of mind-boggling that any national policy would restrict any county’s ambition to develop. We are the district most likely to be affected if Ennis gets city status. That puts the development focus on the Limerick-Shannon-Ennis corridor. We have to question where we will get a chance to be ambitious for the growth of our area.” Councillor Lynch described as “a …

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Concerns continue over main arterial route to West Clare

A FIVE-YEAR programme to address the condition of one of West Clare’s main arterial routes has been called for, amid ongoing concerns at changes to speed limits on the N68. Reductions at a number of points on the road from Kilrush to Ennis were introduced in 2019, meaning there are 11 different speed zones on the route. At the West Clare Municipal District meeting last week, these concerns prompted a Kilrush-based councillor to consider voting against the Schedule of Municipal District Works. The programme was unveiled by Senior Engineer, John Leahy and described by Director of Services Leonard Cleary as “a very, very good result for West Clare”. There was a welcome, generally, for the fact that €34.5 million has been allocated for the county, but Councillor Ian Lynch said that the condition of the N68 from Kilrush to Ennis caused him to think twice before giving his backing to the schedule of works. The Independent councillor thanked Mr Leahy …

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New bus routes to boost tourism in East Clare

FÁILTE Ireland is set to support an approved Local Link bus service for East Clare, boosting public transport facilities for visitors and residents alike. News of the development was secured by Deputy Cathal Crowe who said additional routes will be added as part of the Shannon Tourism Masterplan, which was unveiled last week. The Fianna Fáil TD said that the planned investment will play a major role in rejuvenating the entire east of the county. “There is huge untapped potential in terms of Lough Derg and East Clare’s tourism product,” said Deputy Crowe. “For many decades, the entire focus has been on developing the Cliffs of Moher and West Clare’s tourism offering and while this has been great, it has led to an imbalance of tourism development within our county and there has been a neglect of the Lough Derg-Lower Shannon area for too long.” Deputy Crowe also noted the importance of the new routes in the context of the …

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