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Clare town has highest commercial vacancy rate in Munster

KILRUSH is the town in Munster with the highest rate of commercial buildings that are vacant. The town has had an issue with vacancies for some time and regularly features at the top of the periodic Geodirectory issued reports on vacancies. The most recent one showed that in the second quarter of the year there was a vacancy rate of 25.1% at Kilrush, the highest in Munster and the fourth highest in Ireland. However, on the positive side, the rate of vacancy in Kilrush was nearly 1% lower than at the same time in 2021. Jack Kelly, who has a well known business in the town, said that there has been a fairly good recovery since Covid-19 restrictions were raised. “I would say things are picking up, but Kilrush is always behind the curve on that, it is coming back, but slowly coming back. There have been a few extra units taken up around the town. “Has it changed much …

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Ennis woman makes Ironman World Championships in Hawaii

AN Ennis woman competing in the upcoming Ironman World Championships in Hawaii has said the reality of the situation has yet to sink in. Becky Coughlan told the Champion, “It still kind of hasn’t hit me, I don’t think it will until I’m at Shannon Airport.” Amazingly Becky, a member of West Clare Tri Club, earned her place in the world championships in Kona, Hawaii after completing her very first Ironman in Cork. The challenge saw her swim 3.8km, cycle for 180km and run 42.2km and she admits that after that event in Youghal she was thinking to herself, “Enjoy this now, because I’m never doing another one.” However that all changed when she found out she had achieved a dream of competing in the iconic world championships in Kona. “I’ll never say never again,” she laughs. “It was a really cool experience, but it was tough. When I finished the race in Cork my supporters, my mam, Dave, my …

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Lahinch woman scoops Best Athlete at Euro Transplant Games

LAHINCH’S Marie O’Connor has been named Best Athlete at the 11th European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Oxford having won a staggering four medals. Marie began the week by securing gold in the Golf Doubles with partner Mick Dwyer from Cabinteely. Speaking after the win she said, “It was fantastic, we didn’t think we’d win gold, but we did. I know Mick and myself will say the same thing; our GOLD, we had it, (pointing to her kidney transplant) ever before we picked up a club, and God rest them that they give us the chance to do this. To win a gold medal and to be able to show we are able to say thank you.”  Marie went on to thank her donor and all Team Ireland donors. She followed this the following day with yet another gold in the Singles Golf event and won her third gold on Wednesday in the Petanque held at the splendid Blenheim Palace. …

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Stunning sub-aqua scenes from Clare set for RTE show

STUNNING scenes from deep under the waters off the Clare coast, captured by a Lahinch-based film-maker, will be showcased on RTÉ next year.  As part of the national broadcaster’s new season, ‘North Atlantic’ will air early in 2023, providing what RTÉ described as “a reflective, insightful narrative … featuring blue-chip natural history scenes bringing the viewer into the actual moment of discovery of marine creatures”. The three-episode series follows Ken O’Sullivan’s highly-acclaimed, ‘Ireland’s Deep Atlantic’, which aired in 2018.  The new work, which has been in production for two-and-a-half years features scenes captured during the height of the pandemic when coastal areas were almost empty. “Our funding came through a week before the first lockdown,” Ken told The Champion. “We were listed as essential workers, but were very careful not to stick to the guidelines and to avoid going in among people in small coastal communities. I shot a lot of footage on my own in my kayak. There was …

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Lack of job scheme applicants leaves community groups ‘in crisis’

A CRISIS in staffing has hit voluntary and community organisations across Clare and beyond, as interest in labour market activation schemes continues to drop.  Despite some reforms to initiatives like TÚS, the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) and Community Employment (CE) earlier this year, Councillor Pat Hayes said participant numbers are falling. This has left some parts of the county without the resources needed to support community activity.  Councillor Hayes, who is himself a supervisor of RSS and TÚS schemes, has highlighted the issue a number of times over the last year and said a crisis point has now been reached.  “These schemes are vital for schools, playgrounds, graveyards, you name it,” he said. “Every sector of the community is supported in some way by workers who take part in schemes. These workers are a lifeline. The fact is now that, with the cost of living, and transport in particular, there are lot of people who aren’t interested because it wouldn’t …

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‘Back to Basics’ as Scariff Show makes a welcome return

SCARIFF Bay Community Radio will broadcast live from the local agricultural show, which makes a welcome return to the Autumn events calendar on Saturday, September 3.  The station’s popular ‘Saturday Chronicle’ will provide a flavour of the wealth of activities on offer as Scariff Show returns for the first time since 2019. This year’s theme is ‘Back to Basics’ with the focus firmly on friends, family and community as the show marks its 76th annual event.  Previewing the show, which was first held in 1944, Co-Chairperson John Blake noted the impressive credentials of the event, particularly its equestrian element. “In the old days, jumping was quite big in Scariff. In the old days, some of the biggest names in showjumping, Con Power, Jack Doyle, James Kernan and a lot of the Army riders, including Tommy Wade from Dundrum, all jumped in Scariff,” the told the station. “We have two Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) League qualifiers in the 1 metre 10 …

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Ennis to host a celebration of original music in Clare

A CELEBRATION of the wealth of original music being performed by Clare artists is set to take place in Ennis this Friday. Originality Clare is hosting a feast for music fans in The Sanctuary from 9pm on Friday featuring three local acts. There is no cover charge for the gig with Ronan Summerly of Originality Clare explaining the aim of the event is to create awareness of the many talented performers of original compositions in the county. Taking to the stage at the gig will be Clare bands Scoth, APE and Apprentices Daughter. Ronan has been playing music in the live scene for almost 30 years in various formats and he tells us he “has always seen the need for more of a boost for musicians performing original music over bands performing known songs who are more commercially viable”. The idea for Originality Clare began over many conversations Ronan has had with musicians who write and perform original music. “A …

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Plans lodged for €65m, 289-home development in Clare

Plans have been lodged with An Bord Pleanála for the single largest ever private housing scheme for Ennis. Availing of the Government’s ‘fast track’ planning system for large housing developments, one of the country’s largest house building firms, Glenveagh Homes has lodged plans for the €65-million 289-home scheme direct to An Bord Pleanala. The Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme is made up of 125 three-bed townhouses, 74 3/4-bed semi-detached homes, 66 two-bed townhouses, 12 two-bed duplex and 12 one-bed maisonettes. The scheme – which comes with 488 car-parking spaces – will also provide a 60 place creche. The site with an address at Ballymacaula, Drumbiggle, Keelty, Circular Road fronts into the Ennis bypass link road between the roundabout near Ennis Golf Club and the roundabout on the N85 Lahinch Road. The 11.32 hectare site – which has a net developable area of 8.9 hectares – is located adjacent to Ennis golf club. As part of the purchase agreement for the …

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