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Young Scientist success for Lisdoonvarna students

STUDENTS of Mary Immaculate Secondary School in Lisdoonvarna scooped four awards at this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition. Oisín Jackson won the second prize in the Junior Individual category of the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences. His project was entitled “An investigation into the differences in height of adjoining clints in limestone pavement in the Burren”. In this project he looked in detail at the difference in height of adjoining clints and seeing if prevailing wind may contribute to their formation. As well as getting this award he also got the Geological Survey Ireland special award. Ciara McDonnell was awarded highly commended for her project entitled “House searching by hermit crabs” This project was in the Junior Individual Biological and Ecological Sciences category. In this project Ciara was looking to see if the choice of shell by hermit crabs is related to shell size and their size and shell availability. Anna Mae O’Driscoll was awarded highly commended for …

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‘He never gave up hope of finding love’ – Time runs out for bachelor farmer

A 97 year old bachelor farmer who attended the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival for 72 years has passed away without finding his soul mate. Mick Bourke from County Tipperary began attending the festival in 1946 when he was 23 years old and never missed a year until his health began to fade a few years ago. His death caused by pneumonia was announced last week. “Mick was well known and loved by many in Lisdoonvarna and messages of sympathy have been pouring in all week to us, via social media. People are speaking of his warmth, his sense of fun and his razor-sharp dancing skills. He was a legend in Lisdoonvarna and he never gave up hope of finding love in over 70 years, attending”, said Julie Carr, Marketing Manager of Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. Back in 2016, a party was organised for Mick at the Spa Wells in the village, where he was presented with a cake by Matchmaker Willie Daly. …

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Lisdoonvarna playground reopening restores vital community amenity

HUGE community efforts have been credited for the reopening last Friday of the playground in Lisdoonvarna. The venue, which is popular with kids and their extended families, has been described as one of the jewels in the crown of the facilities available for the town and a network of other centres in North Clare. The playground, which is next to the popular Cois Céim Childcare Centre, and part of a wider community amenity park, was closed as part of the nationwide response to the pandemic. An inspection discovered that in order to continue to meet standards set out by insurers, a significant – and costly – schedule of repairs was needed. “Fundraising during Covid-19 was difficult for everyone involved and they deserve huge credit, as do those who contributed so generously,” said Councillor Joe Garrihy, Cathaoirleach of the West Clare Municipal District and a board member of the community development association, Lisdoonvarna Fáilte. “Friday’s event was actually the first official …

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Harsh realities inspire jailers’ tales

PRISON might seem an unlikely environment to inspire a creative career. For Lisdoonvarna’s Bill Bradshaw, however, working in that tense, high-pressure environment did exactly that. The Rathkeale native is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist, and credits a long career as a prison officer with his unique writing style, as well as some of his subject matter. Bill has just published his third book, Delphine, which draws on influences such as horror writer Stephen King and explores moral taboos and family dynamics. Two more novels are in the pipeline and Bill is actively fundraising to turn Delphine into a six-part Netflix series. He is also part of a Clare-based publishing initiative, backed by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and bringing together a number of other creative minds. While his work in the Irish Prison Service is partly responsible for Bill’s approach to his writing, it is a career that has taken a heavy toll. “There is a raw reality in a …

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Greywater project a winner for Lisdoonvarna students

TWO students from Mary Immaculate Secondary School have, quite literally, shown that you can muddy the waters and be rewarded for your efforts. The Grey Area Within Greywater is the title of a project by Alice Davoren and Emily Cullinan that has won the Junior Water Category at the national Young Environmentalist Awards, which were. Now in its 21st year, the awards, hosted by ECO-UNESCO, recognise the efforts made by young people aged 10 to 18 years old across Ireland who have worked towards improving the environment. Alice and Emily’s project looked at the effects of using greywater on the chemistry and the earthworm population in soil. Having found that it had a negative effect on the population of earthworms, they created an awareness campaign to highlight the damaging effects of greywater on biodiversity in the soil. Both second year students, who come from the Kilfenora are, had entered a project in the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition in …

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The Clare weddings cancelled due to Covid-19

LONG planned weddings have had to be cancelled all over the county in recent months, much to the disappointment of those who had been all set to walk down the aisle. Amy Ryan from Quin had been due to marry Tommy Considine from Clooney in August but now those plans have been put on ice. “In the grand scheme of things, it’s not the end of the world but you put a lot of effort into planning it and then it kind of goes up in smoke,” says Amy. The couple have been together for nearly 11 years and she said that calling it off was the right option for them. “It’s gutting for everyone. We looked at what other people had done, getting married and Zoom and all that but we’re a bit traditional.” Prior to a recent address from the Taoiseach, when proposed phases of reopening the country had been laid out, they had still planned to go …

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Love still blooming in a time of lock-down

LOVE in a time of lock-down is still continuing to flourish, with many prospective couples using old-fashioned methods to get acquainted, according to match-maker Willie Daly. The Lisdoonvarna love guru told The Champion that the extraordinary times we are living through have seen a surge in the number of people putting romance to the top of their post lock-down priority lists. “Certainly, the restrictions are making life difficult. So many people have lost their jobs and the lack of social opportunities is making people very lonely,” he said. “It’s very hard on people living alone in small apartments at this time. In the last two to three weeks, I’ve had a definite increase in the number of people coming forward to ask for help in finding a partner and there’s a greater urgency too in their calls and letters.” Mr Daly, who claims credit for around 3,000 marriages over his half-a-century of match-making, said the unprecedented change in people’s lifestyles …

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Fleadh Cheoil an Chláir cancelled

THIS year’s Fleadh Cheoil an Chláir has been cancelled as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Organisers have said that the decision not to hold the much anticipated event was made “with a heavy heart” but is the right thing to do in the current circumstances. According to a spokesperson for Coiste an Chláir Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, “It is with great regret that Coiste an Chláir CCE made the decision last week to cancel Fleadh Cheoil an Chlair 2020 which was being hosted by the Lisdoonvarna/Doolin Comhaltas Branch. This decision was not made lightly and was taken over a number of weeks.” The decision comes following the announcement by the Mullingar Fleadh Executive Committee that Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2020 would no longer be going ahead due to the Coronavirus pandemic, affecting not only Ireland but across the world. The Coiste an Chláir spokesperson outlined, “The proposition of hosting the Fleadh in October was rejected by the Mullingar Executive Committee as it …

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