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Defeating Gambling Demons

SCARIFF Harbour Festival is to be officially opened by Armagh football legend Oisín McConville over the August bank holiday weekend, in an interview with Carol Byrne he discusses his visit to the Banner county, growing up in Crossmaglen and conquering his gambling addiction. BORN in South Armagh in 1975, Oisín McConville grew up in a place and at a time where the sounds of gun fire and the tremors of bomb blasts were so commonplace they were almost part of the scenery. From the age of five he knew to walk briskly past the army barracks in Crossmaglen on his way to school and not to amble or dawdle in the presence of soldiers or police. As he reflects on his time growing up he says he is thankful that this is an experience his kids will never have. As Oisín prepares to come to the Scariff Harbour Festival, an event which bridges the divide between North and South, he …

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At the School Cycle at Ennis Fire Station on Wednesday were, from left, Clare Champion managing director John Galvin; Clare hurler and advertising sales representative of The Clare Champion, David Reidy, CBS pupil Mark Glynn and his dad, Darragh and organiser, Róisín Garvey.

Biggest gathering ever of young cyclists in Ennis

Last Wednesday, to celebrate National Bike Week, almost 700 children from Ennis and surrounds, along with 100 adults, took part in a 3km cycle around Ennis to promote the benefits of cycling to school. Starting from behind the Fire Station on new road, the peleton took a tour around the town, taking over the streets for almost an hour. At the finish at The Fair Green, the children were organised into groups to make up a giant   ‘1.5’ on the playing field to remind motorists to leave at least 1.5m space around cyclists on the road.                    

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Film on Burren offers a European dimension

IN celebration of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, Galway Film Centre, in partnership with Clare and Galway county councils, with support from the Heritage Council of Ireland, have announced the commissioning of a documentary series with filmmaker Paul Murphy. Entitled Stories from the Landscape: The European Dimension, the project will involve the production of two short documentaries on the theme of landscape and will record aspects of our built and natural heritage across Europe, in both Ireland and Austria. The first film will look at the tradition of dry stone wall building and will visit two festivals that celebrate this; Féile na gCloch on Inis Oírr on the Aran Islands and Stein Und Wein, which takes place in Langenlois in the north-east of Austria. Though many miles apart, both Inis Oírr and Langenlois celebrate the tradition of dry stone walling with festivals that are both regional and local development strategies towards sustainable tourism. The second film will focus on …

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Australian Ambassador visits Spanish Point

THE Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Andrews, visited St Joseph’s Secondary School in Spanish Point last week, at part of his day-long visit to the county. Originally from Canberra, which is the administrative capital of Australia, Mr Andrews has visited the county a few times prior to this trip, in a private capacity. “I’ve been here a couple of times on holidays and I came down for the Fleadh Cheoil last year. I have an interest in music generally and, as a whim, I decided it would be a good idea to learn how to play the uileann pipes when I came to Ireland. I’m not sure that I’ll inflict my skills on you at this stage,” he laughed. The ambassador has worked for 30 years in the Australian public service and has served for just under two years in his current role. He visited Spanish Point due to the area’s connection with a local man, who made the Clare …

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Kilkee coast guard unit further down-graded

ACROSS the May Bank Holiday weekend, Kilkee had no coast guard service available in the event of an emergency. A source has told The Clare Champion that the limited service the Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard had been providing was further down-graded, following a recent training incident. It has also been claimed that the current coast guard crew have not recently passed an Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) in more than two years. The Clare Champion contacted the Department of Transport on Wednesday for a comment on the claims, but it had not responded at the time of going to press. “The coast guard will say that they have a boat. We all know they have a boat but they don’t have a crew. Every time they need to go in the water, they need to bring an instructor down from Maritime SAR to even get on the water to do the training. There are about six people who …

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Shannon novelist on the scene of the crime

CERTAIN unsolved crimes echo in Ireland’s consciousness over decades, with names like Philip Cairns, Raonaid Murray and Trevor Deely still recognisable long after their deaths or disappearances. What happens when a crime goes unsolved for far too long is the theme of Rachael English’s new novel, The Night of the Party, set in Clare during the heavy snow of 1982. In her fictional village of Kilmitten, parish priest Fr Galvin is killed, and the crime remains still unsolved a generation later. “Even though it starts with a crime, I wouldn’t really call it a crime novel. You could probably call it a mystery in the old-fashioned way. It’s not a modern thriller, with fingerprints and DNA and serial killers,” says the author and RTÉ presenter, who hails from Shannon. The story shows how being close to a terrible event, but not talking about it, can reverberate through a life, with one of the main characters carrying a dark secret from …

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Ennis travel agent wins prestigious award

County Clare travel specialist Gearóid Mannion has won the prestigious award for ‘Best Corporate’ at the annual conference for leading independent travel company, Travel Counsellors. The awards, which recognise the exceptional work of Travel Counsellors’ network of franchisees, were presented at a black-tie ceremony in Powerscourt Hotel, Wicklow. The gala event featured as part of Travel Counsellors’ renowned two-day annual conference, which saw over 160 travel professionals in attendance. Speaking about his win, Ennis-based Gearóid, who specialises in corporate travel and holidays for discerning clients, said: “It is an honour to be awarded ‘Best Corporate’. I’ve been in travel all my life, and with Travel Counsellors for the past few years, and it is a job I am extremely passionate about. For both my business and leisure clients, I focus on offering what sets Travel Counsellors apart… bespoke experiences, expert advice, and unrivalled customer service.” Commending Gearóid on his award, General Manager of Travel Counsellors Ireland, Cathy Burke stated: “Every …

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Aer Lingus changes to Shannon-US winter services

AER LINGUS has opted to reverse a pattern of recent years at Shannon, opting to continue with its New York service in the opening months of 2019, while suspending its Boston service. A spokesperson for Shannon said that in the final analysis Aer Lingus will now be able to accommodate more passengers travelling between Shannon and the US due to this move. “On balance we are pleased with the extra transatlantic capacity that this service switch creates. This change strengthens Aer Lingus’s commitment to Shannon by adding an extra 2,500 (seats) and restores a year-round service from New York to Shannon, but we are disappointed that the Boston market can only be accessed via New York for this two month winter period.” While the statement said that Shannon would continue to work with Aer Lingus on the Boston service, there are extra benefits to maintaining a link with a major global hub like JFK. “The benefits of the restoration and …

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