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Tag Archives: bunratty

Tales of long ago and close to home

AN APPRECIATION of what is local is one of the (few) upsides of lockdown. Being restricted last year to a 2km, and later a 5km radius for exercise, certainly proved productive for Newmarket-on-Fergus author, Colm Liddy. As a self-confessed “stroller,” Colm, a pharmacist by profession, began to see his native place in a new light. Fascinated by traces of past hidden in ruins and monuments dotted around the area, his inquiring mind led him to research colourful characters, locations and incidents dating from the 1600s to the 1980s. The result is a treasure trove of history in Colm’s latest book, Long Ago in Newmarket-on-Fergus. “I suppose it was the total collapse in sporting activities that forced me to find something to occupy the time,” Colm told The Champion. “I’m fairly obsessed with sport and would normally be playing it and training kids. Covid put an end to all of that. So, my wife and I did a lot of walking …

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Less funding than expected for Bunratty

THIS week it emerged that Shannon Group will not be receiving the expected €2.6 million from Government to keep Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle open. Instead it appears that it will receive a far smaller sum, something less than €600,000. When it emerged that far less money will now be allocated than was announced during the summer, there was some consternation among workers, but it appears that despite the lower amount of money, jobs will still be maintained. When approached this week, Shannon Group issued a brief statement about the smaller than expected allocation. “Shannon Group is still awaiting final details of the Government funding being provided but we understand it will cover the incremental operational losses of keeping Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and King John’s Castle open from September 1 to December 31, 2020.” Clare TD Cathal Crowe said that while a smaller allocation is being provided, the jobs will be maintained. Explaining the …

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Government not providing expected funding for Bunratty

SHANNON Group will not be receiving a €2.6 million package to keep Bunratty and King John’s Castle open until the end of the year, instead they are likely to receive around one fifth of the sume sought. In a statement on Thursday, it said, ““Shannon Group is still awaiting final details of the Government funding being provided but we understand it will cover the incremental operational losses of keeping Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and King John’s Castle open from September 1 to Dec 31st 2020.” SIPTU Organiser, Rachel Keane, said: “At a meeting with the management of Shannon Heritage our members were stunned by the news that the promise by the Government to provide €2.6 million to ensure that these iconic Shannon Heritage sites would remain open until the end of the year will not be honoured. “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for sites run by Shannon Heritage. However, SIPTU members ensured that these sites …

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The Creamery closes after staff member tests positive for virus

THE Creamery Bar and Restaurant has closed temporarily after a person working there was diagnosed with Covid-19. Last Thursday afternoon it posted a message on Facebook saying “The Creamery is presently closed as a precaution due to one member of staff testing positive for Covid-19. “As we are a small team many of our staff have been in contact with that one staff member and now are on restricted movements for 14 days. We don’t have a back up staff to man The Creamery so we will voluntarily be closed for that period of time. “We are working with the HSE and a contact trace log has been prepared and all close contacts will be identified and contacted by the HSE with the appropriate information going forward.” “Under the current government guidelines you should monitor for any Covid-19 symptoms and should they develop then you should follow those guidelines, self isolate and contact your doctor.” The statement also thanked all …

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Reprieve for Bunratty as €2.6 million allocated

THE State has allocated €2.6 million to Shannon Heritage to secure the immediate future of its iconic sites. It had been feared that Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle would be forced to close at the end of the month, due to the colossal impact from the Covid-19 pandemic on revenue. However, the funding announced today means they will remain open until the end of 2020. Welcoming the news, Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group said: “The announcement by Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State for International Road Transport and Logistics of €2.6 million funding to enable us keep our Shannon Heritage sites open to the end of December is very welcome. “The ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for our heritage business which is hugely dependent on international visitors. With visitor numbers to our owned sites down -80% year-to-date on last year, we sought Government funding to support us through this unprecedented crisis. “Today’s announcement …

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Government funding sought to rescue iconic tourist attractions

WITH hoteliers and others in the tourism business furious about the early closure of Shannon Heritage sites this year, Shannon Group has said it has approached the Government seeking very significant funding. It says it is already losing money at the tourist attractions and there is no way that it could keep them open beyond August 31 without substantial funding to cover operational losses. In response to a query from The Clare Champion, Shannon Group said it has already made a submission to the Government looking for funding for the Shannon Heritage sites, in particular Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle. It claimed it had done so to assist with the long-term survival of these heritage operations, in the context of the sudden collapse in international visitors due to Covid-19. On the level of support being sought, a spokesperson said that “a multi-million euro support package” is required. While Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s …

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Closure will be ‘catastrophic for the area’

THE closure of the Shannon Heritage attractions will be a massive blow to Clare tourism, according to local businessman Emelyn Heaps. “It will be catastrophic for the area. You also have King John’s Castle, you’ve got Knappogue and you’ve got Craggaunowen, hundreds of jobs are going to go and the board (of Shannon Group) don’t care,” he commented this week. He was scathing about the board, who he feels should step down. “I’m calling for the Board of Shannon Group to fire themselves, I think it’s deplorable what they’re doing. They’ve done a deplorable job and they should do the honourable thing and fall on their own swords.” Mr Heaps added, “One of the major assets that Clare has is that, outside of Dublin, it has two of the top attractions, the Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, but they’re talking about closing one of them.” Ennis hotelier Seán Lally said he is very disappointed in the …

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O’Callaghan leaving Shannon Heritage

NIALL O’Callaghan is stepping down as the Managing Director of Shannon Heritage. Shannon Heritage operates a number of Clare visitor attractions including Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and Knappogue Castle, while it also operates King John’s Castle in Limerick. It had been hit hard by the closure of the attractions due to Covid-19. In response to a media query about his departure this afternoon, Shannon Group, of which Shannon Heritage is a part, said, “Shannon Group has confirmed that Niall O’Callaghan, Managing Director, Shannon Heritage, has informed the Group of his decision to leave the Company in order to take up other opportunities.” Mr O’Callaghan joined Shannon Heritage in 2017, having previously been with IDA Ireland. Commenting on his decision, Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group said: “I would like to thank Niall for his contribution to Shannon Heritage and Shannon Group during his tenure as Managing Director of Shannon Heritage and wish him and his family the very best for …

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