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West Clare

Christmas Swim at Gortglas Lake (Photo Gallery)

Hardy souls took to the water at beaches and lakes around the county on Christmas Day to raise funds for charities. Our photographer John Kelly travelled to Gortglas Lake in Kildysart where swimmers took their annual dip at midday, raising much needed funds for the West Clare Mini marathon Cancer fund. [doptg id=”90″]  

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Tourism chair to address Washington forum

LOOP HEAD Tourism chairman Cillian Murphy will be among the speakers at the World Bank Tourism Forum, which will be held at the World Bank Group headquarters in Washington DC next Tuesday and Wednesday. The theme of the forum is Driving Development Through Tourism and among the speakers will be Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank; Aireen Omar, CEO Air Asis and Mauricio Ventura Aragon, the Costa Rican Minister for Tourism. “I did an assignment for my masters on tourism and local economic benefit. One of my tutors puts together part of the programme for the World Travel Market  discussions and was impressed with the Loop Head story and invited me to present it at World Bank Tourism Forum,” Mr Murphy explained. Mr Murphy’s discussion on Wednesday will be moderated by journalist and author Elizabeth Becker and he will be joined by Gabriella Crescini, head client and partner relationships, Swiss Contact; Brian Said, executive director of Visit Philadelphia …

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Sr Mary’s lifetime working with teens

WHEN Sister Mary O’Connell retired from teaching business studies and accounting at Kilkee Community College last year, it marked the end of a 136-year link between the Sisters of Mercy and education in the town. Sr Mary, who completed her Leaving Certificate in 1966, taught in Kilkee since 1980, having had previous stints in Nenagh and Tulla. She served as deputy principal in Kilkee since 2006. “It’s a good stretch. It has been a good life,” Sr Mary reflected recently when The Clare Champion visited. She still lives in the nuns’ house on the Miltown Malbay road in the town. She feels and hopes that she grew into her role since she first decided to enter the order as a teenager. “Who knows what it is really? It’s one thing when you’re 17 and it’s another thing by the time you’re 37. Why wouldn’t it be because we grow and we change. We have another experience and then another one. …

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Plea for end to drink culture

A grieving father has issued an appeal for an end to the “frightening” culture of excess drinking involving some young people. Danny Mungovan, who runs Quilty Holiday Cottages, made the plea at the funeral mass for his son, Stephen (20), who was found by Irish Navy divers in the waters off Spanish Point last week. Addressing the packed congregation in the Star of the Sea Church and hundreds of mourners who stood outside on Sunday last, Danny said his family would never forget the work of all the emergency services, volunteers and neighbours who never stopped walking the shore night and day. This is the second time that tragedy has struck the family. Another son, Michael (22), was killed when he was struck by a train while he was working at Vauxhall Station, South London in October 2000. Stating that both he and his wife, Geraldine, do not drink, Danny said he offered several times to go out and purchase …

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Global award for Loop Head

THE tourism and economic sectors in West Clare received a seismic boost on Wednesday when the Loop Head Heritage Trail won the Best Cultural Heritage Attraction at the World Responsible Tourism Awards in London. The awards are staged each year as part of World Travel Market. Launched in November 2014, the Loop Head Heritage Trail was created by a network of 47 local businesses, now the Loop Head Tourism Network, which is based in the area. Loop Head Tourism Network chairman Cillian Murphy attended the World Travel Market and, speaking to The Clare Champion on Wednesday, expressed his delight at the global award. “I’m very proud of what a group of people have achieved back in Loop Head. Some of the people are involved in the tourism industry but some aren’t and are just involved because they are interested in our heritage. It’s a great validation of where we live and the people we live with and how they view …

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Loop Head shortlisted for world tourism award

The Loop Head Heritage Trail has been named a finalist in the Culture and Heritage category of this year’s 12th annual World Responsible Tourism Awards. The winners will be announced at a ceremony held during World Responsible Tourism Day at World Travel Market in the ExCeL London Exhibition and Convention Centre on Wednesday next. The 60km Loop Head Heritage Trail takes in 14 local attractions including Carrigaholt Castle and Bay, Bridges of Ross, Kilkee Cliffs and Pollock Holes (WAW Discovery Points), Church of the Little Ark (WAW Signature Point), Bishops Island, Dunlicka Castle, Loop Head Lighthouse, Pilots Memorial and Kilbaha Bay, Grave of the Yellow Men, Rinevella Bay and Submerged Forest, Kilcredaun Churches and Holt Well, Querrin Pier and the West Clare Railway. The Trail was launched by Loop Head Tourism with funding from Clare County Council, Clare Local Development Company, The Heritage Council, Fáilte Ireland and BIM. Brian Coakley, CEO, ActiveMe, based in Kerry, who specialises in digital mapping and the …

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Rural GP services struggling

BELEAGUERED rural Ireland is facing another serious crisis, which could see doctors and their GP services being withdrawn in many areas. The warning has been sounded by West Clare-based Dr Michael Kelleher, who is a member of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) Committee. “Rural Ireland has long been neglected by different governments and we’ve all seen the desperate consequences as garda stations closed, post offices were shut down, hospital services were downgraded and so many other critical services were withdrawn from rural communities,” he observed. “This [medical] crisis has being developing slowly over a number of years; cuts that this Government (and the last one) made to the budget for general practice has hit rural GPs harder than most. The population of rural GPs is getting older and as more retire or pass away, there are fewer and fewer young GPs interested in taking on the job when the resources just aren’t available to provide a proper service. Already there …

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No sporting chance for Kilrush

THE absence of the Kilrush Sports Complex from the list of 27 sport organisations or council facilities in Clare to receive a portion of the countywide €1.27 million Sports Capital Grants has sparked controversy. Local independent councillor, Ian Lynch claims that because Kilrush is a DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) area and in need of facilities for teenagers, the application should have been prioritised. The Clare County Council-operated Kilrush Sports Complex, which includes an AstroTurf pitch, was officially opened on April 9 of this year. Councillor Lynch says “a very comprehensive application” was submitted by the Kilrush Sports Complex management committee for critical funding. The biggest individual beneficiary from the Sports Capital Grants in Clare was the council-run Active Ennis Sports and Amenity Park in Lees Road, which has received €200,000 in funding. “I am extremely disappointed and angry. West Clare is crying out for facilities for our youth. This allocation of funding will see some areas develop, …

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