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Hotel thankful for local support during hard times

THE rain may have been falling, but that didn’t dampen the spirits at Clare’s hotels, B&Bs, guest houses and self-catering accommodation on Wednesday as they welcomed guests for the first time this year with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. “It’s an exciting day, it really is, you can feel it around the place,” Sharon Malone, Falls Hotel marketing and digital media manager told The Clare Champion. “Everybody is back in their uniforms, some who haven’t seen each other in quite a while, and everything looks fantastic. Even the rain has made the flowers outside look so fresh and colourful, everything looks brand new. “We had training in the hotel last week which brought the teams back together and, it’s funny, but by the end of it you could tell it had just lifted everybody’s spirits and focused everybody again on getting back to doing what we enjoy doing. “We’re lucky that we have most of our core crew coming back …

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No mad dash to Lahinch on Monday

THERE was no mad dash into the water at Lahinch on Monday, when a further easing on the Covid-19 restrictions allowed people to travel within their own county. Local hotelier Michael Vaughan said there was increased activity at the resort, but not too much. From his perch at Vaughan Lodge Hotel he could observe a quiet golf course, in stark contrast to last year when numbers were good, and the Irish Open in July was the highlight. Michael said on Monday people were essentially coming to Lahinch “to watch”. He described as “eerie” the atmosphere around Lahinch, with people there but no restaurants, pubs or hotels open to cater for them. He said some people might even be “spooked” at the idea of travelling too far from home, having been confined to 5k. Michael intends to reopen on July but doesn’t expect this 22-bed hotel to be sold out. “I should have one-third occupancy and my target for the season …

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Second wind for Shannon Shamrock?

THIS week has seen calls for Shannon Group to purchase the long-closed Shannon Shamrock hotel and to develop a historic theme park, boosting Clare tourism. The hotel has been for sale for some time and it is understood that a bid in the region of €1.5 million has been made on it. Savills, the company working on the sale, are hoping to achieve a price of closer to €1.8m. At the moment, various rumours are swirling about the potential future of the property. Speaking to The Clare Champion on Wednesday, Niall O’Callaghan, managing director of Shannon Heritage, would not be drawn on whether purchasing the hotel is being considered. However, Mr O’Callaghan said that there are plans for major development in the Bunratty area. “We’re working on a masterplan at the moment in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland that we hope will come to fruition in the next 12 to 18 months. It’s part of the Fáilte Ireland Capital Grants Scheme …

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Trump’s €6m Doonbeg wage bill

OVER €6 million was spent on staff costs at Trump International last year, while it employed an average of 213 people. While President Trump is very unpopular in Ireland, the Doonbeg business is now perhaps the most significant employer in West Clare, a region which has suffered from major economic disadvantage for many years. Today, West Clare is almost totally devoid of large industry, with Government agencies having no track record of bringing foreign direct investment to the region. However the recently filed accounts show that Trump International was employing an average of 213 people during the 12 months of 2017. It is understood that this number rises to around 300 during the summer. The accounts show that wages and salaries for the year came to €5,435,373, up from €4,719,000 in 2016. Social welfare costs were €576,146 for the year, up from €542,238 in 2016, giving total staff cost of €6,011,519. Although it was loss making in 2017, the Directors …

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Support your local this summer

Small business owners in the hospitality industry are asking the people of Clare to ‘Support Your Local’ and choose a trip to their local pub, restaurant or hotel this summer. The call is part of the Support Your Local Campaign, which is seeking to highlight the economic contribution that the drinks and hospitality industry makes across the country. Recent research shows that, in Clare, the drinks and hospitality industry accounts for 329 hotels and pubs; supports 2,909 jobs; pays €66mm in wages and purchases 7.8m litres of milk. “Nothing beats a trip to the local pub. Pubs are the hub of the local town, the heart of the local community, a place where people can relax and enjoy the welcome surrounds of friends and neighbours or simply pop in for a quick bite on a Sunday,” says Charlie O’Meara from Moroney’s Bar, Market Place, Ennis and chairman of the Clare Branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland. “If we are …

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