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West Clare

Remote working drives Clare coastal property boom

DEMAND for property in coastal Clare continues to increase, to the point where the working from home phenomenon has been likened by a local businessman and public representative to a revolution. The potential for remote working created by digital technologies, and introduced out of necessity during the pandemic, is proving to be a game-changer for rural communities which up to last year had been facing the prospect of accelerating depopulation. Now, demand from city dwellers looking to relocate, as well as holiday home owners who have switched their primary residence has boosted the population of coastal communities. A property price survey conducted by The Sunday Times showed that while the median house price in Clare is down from €194,500 to €191,000, coastal property prices continue to rise. Demand for property in Kilkee and Lahinch was aid to be “insatiable” with a three-bedroom semi-detached home in the latter recently selling for €274,000, after multiple bids. “We are at a transition point,” …

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Vandaleur Gardens works get underway

HIGHLY-anticipated restoration works are set to get underway shortly at the Vandeleur Walled Garden, where a new interpretative museum is among the developments planned. Located in Kilrush, the gardens are among the jewels in the crown of tourism in West Clare and were visited recently by Clare County Council officials and project stakeholders. The socially-distanced site visit was in advance of the enabling works getting underway for the restoration and renovation of the old stable block. The tendering process is complete and Custy Construction Ltd, a Clare-based construction firm, has been appointed to this project. The restoration works are funded by the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, under the Department of Rural and Community Development. Additional match funding has come from the council. The main works, due to begin early this year, will include an interpretative museum and new gardeners’ building, along with the development of a new visitor experience design and approach for the complex. “I very much welcome …

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Spanish Point Golf Club rewards Doreise’s tranformation

A WEST Clare woman’s dedicated efforts to boost her health and fitness have secured her a top prize in an annual wellness initiative run by Spanish Point Golf Club. Doreise Power, who is from Quilty and now lives in Mullagh, took part in a ten-week initiative running alongside Operation Transformation from January to March this year. While the pandemic put paid to plans for a gala presentation night, a lower-key presentation was made recently to a delighted Doreise. Mervin Hehir of Spanish Point Golf Club said the local Operation Transformation initiative was aimed at making a difference to people in the dark months of the year, and about creating activities for the whole community. “The golf club is community owned and we wanted to take away any suggestion that clubs are stuffy places,” he explained. “That’s why, last year, we decided to run a 10-week programme alongside Operation Transformation on RTÉ. We really wanted to help people learn about fitness …

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Book-binder Eilís crafts ‘Words About Words’

COROFIN-based artists and book binder, Éilís Murphy continues to fly the flag for an age-old and fascinating craft, with her latest handcrafted book Words about Words. The beautifully handmade, limited-edition work of art is a kind of illustrated dictionary of rare words, many of which have fallen out of use. It explores the language of lexicography, using 26 collages to bring to life esoteric terms, from ‘abecedarian’ to ‘zeugma’. “I love resurrecting obscure words, giving them a new life through illustration,” Éilís said, describing Words about Words as “an ABC picture book for adults”. Earlier this year, Éilís’s expertise and creativity were rewarded with a €10,000 RDS Craft Awards bursary. She was one of five emerging Irish craftspeople awarded a bursary for the development of their craft. “Each book is unique by virtue of hand-painted paste paper, which gives the cover the chalky texture of a painted canvas. This paper decoration technique has been used by bookbinders since the middle …

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Major award for Lahinch-based videographer

A TALENTED Lahinch-based film-maker has scooped a top national award from the Irish Professional Photographers and Videographers Association (IPPVA). Gavin Gallagher, from Barefield, and the founder of Dreamcatcher Films, had the honour of taking the title of Wedding Videographer of the Year, fighting off stiff competition from all over the country. “We won the award for a six-minute film and another for a 60-second Instagram edit,” Gavin told The Champion. “We have an amazing team here and we just can’t believe it, we’re delighted with the win.” The honours are all the sweeter because they come at the end of a very difficult year for everyone who provides wedding services. “We lost 70 weddings this year,” Gavin said. “It has been a crazy year and the award means so much with everything that’s happened. It’s really rejuvenated us and we’re looking forward to 2021. Couples who had have to defer their weddings and cope with so much uncertainty have been …

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Shock for Quilty fishing crew after historic catch

A QUILTY fishing crew got a shock last month when they caught the first ever confirmed electric ray in Irish Waters. Skipper of the MFV Emma Elizabeth, Tommy Galvin, was out with a crew including his son Thomas, fishing crayfish at the back of Mutton Island when the rare Marbled Electric Ray – otherwise known as a Torpedo Marmorata – turned up in their nets. “We knew straight away it was something you wouldn’t see every day,” Tommy told The Champion. “It was a brownsih colour, around two feet long and weighed around five kilos or so. Thomas got a bit of a shock from it, but strangely I didn’t. We were very cautious with it. Of course, we wear boots and gloves so that would cut limit the charge.” A keen watcher of sea life, Tommy got some expert advice to help identify what his unusual catch might be. “I got in touch with marine biologist Kevin Flannery, who …

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Schools urged to remember Cumann na mBan

THE MID-Clare Commemoration Committee has unveiled plans to commemorate the role of the women of Cumann na mBan in Ireland’s revolutionary struggle. The committee, which has been instrumental in marking historic events since it was established a decade ago, believes that the pivotal role of women in events like the War of Independence has been largely neglected. Given the restrictions around Covid-19, it has initiated a school’s project designed to recognise the role of women, including the children’s own relatives. All schools in Mid-Clare Brigade area are invited to participate in the project, and to select Cumann na mBan members and document their contribution to national Independence. Schools and students may use any medium they see fit, including displays, posters, articles, reports, etc, and may return one or more projects. Participating schools will be presented with a specially commissioned Cumann na mBan Centenary Certificate. A presentation ceremony will take place in 2021, subject to restriction. A centenary commemorative booklet of …

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Scholarship success for Kilmihil’s Anna Marie

A FORMER student of St Michael’s Community College, Kilmihil, has secured a college scholarship worth €20,000. Last week, Dr Martin Naughton and his wife Carmel announced the winners of the 2020 Naughton Foundation Scholarship Awards giving Anna Marie Meaney a welcome boost for her third-level studies. Anna Marie has accepted a place at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), where she is currently studying Biomedical Science. The West Clare woman joins 35 exceptional Irish students who were awarded third-level scholarships in the areas of engineering, science, technology and maths. Anna Marie will receive her funding award in tranches of €5,000, over the four years of her studies. As part of the awards scheme, St Michael’s Community College will also receive €1,000 to support science education. Clare has a proven track record in the awards competition, with Caitríona Ní Riordáin from Colaiste Mhuire, Ennis, taking last year’s top prize. Traditionally the awards are presented by founding patrons, Dr and Mrs Naughton, …

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