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Hostel voted country’s best

A NEWLY opened Ennis institution was this week named Ireland’s top hostel by a leading international website. The eighth annual Hoscars (Hostelworld Customer Annual Ratings) named three Clare establishments in the top four hostels in the country.Hostelworld customers selected Ennis’s Rowan Tree Hostel as Ireland’s best hostel. While there has been a hostel on the Harmony Row site for a number of years, The Rowan Tree Hostel only opened last year after an extensive renovation and refurbishment of the existing building.Marianne Maurer and her husband Brian O’Neil run the hostel and attended Tuesday night’s award ceremony in Dublin. “We received a certificate and will be sent on a plaque recognising our achievement. We think this will be a huge benefit to us. We are only just open a year and hopefully, it will be good for the summer and bring more people to Ennis and the mid-west,” Marianne told The Clare Champion.  The Ennis establishment knocked last year’s number one …

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700 set to take part in West Clare Mini Marathon

UP to 700 walkers and runners are expected to participate in the 12th West Clare Mini Marathon on Sunday. The walkers will depart from outside Regina House on the Cooraclare Road in Kilrush at 1pm, while the runners are due to leave at 2pm on the 10km run to Kilkee.However, committee chairman Willie McGrath has warned prospective walkers and runners that they must have registered and collected money to take part. “We’re making it clear that all participants have to have a sponsorship card. With your sponsorship card, you’re getting your number. You have to wear that number for insurance reasons. That means if you don’t have a number, you don’t have a sponsorship card,” he explained. To finish the run or walk, people will have to go through a cordoned-off area in the Square, Kilkee. If they don’t have their number on them, they won’t be allowed through. “For the first time, 200m from the finish line, we’re introducing …

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TD slams school prefab costs

THE Department of Education and Science has robustly defended its record on school prefabs in Galway after an Opposition TD in the county claimed the €1.8 million annual spend is “wasteful squandering of scarce financial resources”.Fine Gael TD Ulick Burke stated that the annual expenditure by the Department of Education and Science of €1.84m per year on 154 pre-fabricated buildings at primary schools in Galway “must be seen as a wasteful squandering of scarce financial resources.”A number of South Galway schools currently have prefabs on site. Ballinderreen National School has two prefabs at an annual cost of €23,882, Kilbeacanty National School has one costing €11,370 per year while Kilchreest National School and Kilnadeema Natioanal School have two and one respectively, according to the figures released. Both of these schools are have prefab rental costs of €13,899. Also on the list is Kilrickle National School, where €9,628 is spent on prefabs. Galway has the third highest number of prefabs in the …

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Cliffs’ delegation encourages Chinese to visit

REPRESENTATIVES of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre  last week visited China in an effort to encourage more people from the country to visit Clare.The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, together with other tourism partners from around Ireland, took part in a trade mission in the city of Sanya, in the southern Hainan province. The mission was organised by VisitBritain, in conjunction with Tourism Ireland in China.Consisting of a series of business-to-business workshops, presentations and networking events with influential Chinese travel agents, the trade mission provided an excellent platform for the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and other participants to showcase their tourism product and to communicate what is unique about the island of Ireland.  According to Tourism Ireland, over the course of the two-day mission, face-to-face meetings were conducted with approximately 60 key Chinese decision-makers, encouraging them to include the island of Ireland in their future holiday programmes.Commenting on the long-term potential and importance of new and developing markets …

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County board move to amend granted pitch planning permission

PLANS have been lodged by Clare County Board to amend planning permission that was granted last year for training pitches in Tulla. The board is now seeking planning so that the facility can provide for competitive matches catering for up to 1,500 members of the public.The initial planning application, which was granted in January 2009, allowed for the development of five grassed pitches, a synthetic all-weather pitch, a grassed training area, grassed hill sprint area, synthetic running track, retractable netting system behind each goal, car parking for 171 spaces and six flood lighting masts to pitches one to four at Caherlogan, Tulla. Clare County Board has now applied to amend this planning application so that the facility could allow for competitive matches to be played there. The amendment being sought proposes the broadening of the facility from the sole purpose of a training facility to the allowance of competitive matches for visiting members of the public up to a capacity …

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