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Tag Archives: West Clare Railway

Major funding boost for West Clare Greenway project

THERE has been a welcome boost for a long-cherished plan to create a greenway along the route of the old West Clare Railway, linking Ennis to the towns of Kilrush and Kilkee. This week, Minister for Climate Change, Communications Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan announced funding €255,000 for the project. The allocation will enable the start of an active consultation phase involving landowners along the route, with a view to creating another world-class visitor attraction in Clare. The funding, which was allocated under the Carbon Tax Fund 2020, represents a total allocation of €4.5m to 26 greenways and provides support for feasibility, planning and design. The allocation to the West Clare Railway Greenway Project will progress the proposed amenity past concept and feasibility stage and allow Clare County Council to start actively engaging with landowners on route selection and preparation of the statutory consent phase of development – namely planning permission, environmental impact assessment and preliminary design. It is envisaged …

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County Fleadh on track for Kilrush

FIFTY-five years ago this month, the West Clare Railway was trundling towards Moyasta from Shragh when the driver started pumping the breaks. The train was packed and en route to the County Fleadh in Kilrush, which will be held in the town again later this month. Among those on board were the U-14 Shragh Flagellate and Accordion Band. The Whelan brothers, Frank and Joe Joe, were seated on the train when it ground to a sudden halt. “We heard the hooter blowing and we just pulled up,” Frank recounted. “I stuck my head out the window. There was a cow on the track with the calf sucking the cow. We sat there until the cow walked away when the calf was finished.” Their adventurous journey to Kilrush wasn’t over. The train pulled into Moyasta Station and was next due in Kilkee. However, a technical issue in Kilkee meant the West Clare Railway couldn’t turn there. “The roundabout in Kilkee wasn’t …

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Percy French comes to a halt in Spanish Point

The Percy French Troubadours from Dublin will perform a charity concert in the Armada Hotel on Sunday,  at 8pm, with proceeds going towards Sláinte an Chláir and Oidhreacht an Chláir. The group consist of six musicians who play keyboard, guitar, accordion, violin, bass guitar and drums, plus 12 singers. Not only will they perform most of Percy French’s favourite songs but they also enact dramatic scenes of some of his work using some clever miming. The event will have everything from of songs to drama, and from poetry to comedy. What lends special resonance to the event is Percy French’s association with the West Clare Railway, chronicled in his satirical and amusing song, “Are you right there Michael, Are you right”. Percy had a memorable trip to a performance at a concert in Kilkee but failed to arrive in time for the event having been stymied by the old steam train breaking down. This subsequently lead to a lawsuit and …

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Miltown Mosaic with a musical theme

Members of the Mosaic Course 2013 at West Clare Resource Centre (WCRC) in Miltown Malbay will launch a unique bench on Thursday afternoon next. The Miltown Mosaic Bench, which was designed by Liscannor artist and teacher, Marie Connole, reflects the theme of music. It features musical notes floating across waves of coloured tiles and a piano keyboard, which acts as the seat. The bench was completed in late 2013 by local adult learners from the WCRC mosaic course and was facilitated by Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board. Geraldine Cotter, who will launch the event, comes from a well-known musical family and many in Clare will remember her mother, Dympna Lernehan, who traveled on the West Clare Railway to teach music at St Joseph’s in Spanish Point. Cora O’Grady, co-ordinator at WCRC and chair of the community garden projects, initiated the mosaic course and encouraged locals to take part. The bench itself was constructed by Fred Hems using concrete and brick, while …

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A dollar to shoot Ghosts of Kilrush

By Peter O’Connell GHOSTS of Kilrush, an autobiographical account of life in the West Clare town in the 1940s, is to be made into a Hollywood film by Los Angeles based Grafton Street Productions. The book, which was written by Joe Riley, who now lives in the Philippines, was published in 2003. He sold the film right for a mere dollar. “The story in the book is very simple,” Joe Riley told The Clare Champion this week. “You had Aunty May whose son was murdered at St Senan’s Well. I was a little kid, four years of age. I had no mum or no dad. What ended up happening was, two people mending each other. That’s what the story is about,” he explained. Chris Cusack is executive producer with Grafton Street Productions and is a former associate producer with the Disney ABC Television Group and an executive producer with Vin Di Bona Productions. “He has roots, I believe in Clare,” …

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‘Ghost’ rides the West Clare Railway

A MYSTERY figure has been detected in a photograph of the carriage of the West Clare Railway. May Byrne, who visited the Moyasta last summer, recently contacted Jackie Whelan, who operates the tourist attraction, when she spotted a lone figure in the carriage of the Slieve Callan steam engine. Her husband, Ray, who is adamant that there was nobody on the train at the time, took the photograph. “He is 100% certain that there was nobody on the train at the time. Mr Whelan was giving the tour in the station and Ray took the photograph while there was no people on the train,” May Byrne explained. Speaking to The Clare Champion on Wednesday, Jackie Whelan was equally adamant that the train was unoccupied at the time. “There definitely wasn’t anyone on board and I’ll tell you why. There was a crowd of people there together and they all came off the train. The standard practice is that when the …

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