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Media traverse the Burren

A media group from Germany, Spain and the US are in the Burren this week to experience and sample one of Ireland’s best tourism and gastronomy destinations. Included in the visiting group is Frances Folsom who writes for the Boston Globe and Dallas Morning News, which have a combined circulation of over two million. The trip, organised by Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with Tourism Ireland, will allow the journalists to enjoy the vast selection of seasonal and local produce on the County Clare leg of the Wild Atlantic Way. Welcoming the group to Ireland, John Mulcahy, Fáilte Ireland’s head of Food Tourism, said, “We welcome the opportunity to showcase our island, and indeed The Burren, with its range of food trails, festivals, farmer’s markets. “With the emergence of a distinctive Irish cuisine, our intention is clear; Ireland aims to become one of the world’s hottest new culinary destination and we want to highlight this to our visiting media where they …

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Carbon footprint curbs Moy school light

A EUROPEAN directive relating to the reduction of the carbon footprint by 33% come 2020 has been presented as the reason behind Clare County Council being unable to erect a single public light outside Moy National School. Councillor Richard Nagle has said that the school is likely to be the only one in Clare with no public light, while senior engineer Cyril Feeney said that the council would ideally like to provide the light but they are restricted from doing so. “Funding for public lighting was reduced again in 2016, which was a retrograde step considering the challenges facing the local authority. Public lighting is the largest utility bill for Clare County Council but under European directives, there is a requirement that the public service reduce its carbon footprint by 33% by year 2020. Therefore, we are not in a position currently to install a public light at Moy,” Mr Feeney explained at this week’s West Clare Municipal District meeting. …

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Dutch explorers in the Burren

One of the biggest tour operators in the Netherlands, de Jong Intra Vakanties, together with 16 of its top-producing travel agents, were in Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. The aim of the travel agents’ fact-finding visit is to allow them experience some of the country’s superb tourism offering, so that when they return home they will be even more enthusiastic, and better equipped, to advise their clients about travelling here. In Clare, the group enjoyed visits to the Burren Centre in Kilfenora, the Ailwee Caves and the Cliffs of Moher. Karen van der Horst, Tourism Ireland’s manager the Netherlands, said, “Fact-finding visits like this are an important element of our work with the travel trade in the Netherlands, as the travel agents get to experience at first-hand what’s on offer here for Dutch holidaymakers. “2016 looks set to be another good year for tourism from the Netherlands, with the latest CSO figures showing visitor numbers from …

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From the Burren to Belarus, 30 years after Chernobyl disaster

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Burren Chernobyl Project is holding a fundraising walk in Ennistymon next Sunday (April 24, 2016). Nicola Corless spoke to Brother Liam O’Meara, director of the project, about the organisation’s work and his full-time involvement with it for the past 15 years.   Brother Liam is a Limerick man, reared on the border with Tipperary close to Galbally. He studied primary teaching at Mary Immaculate College and taught for four years in Limerick before becoming a Christian Brother in 1981 and working in schools in Cork. He moved to Ennistymon in 1986, the same year as the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Liam taught happily in the three-teacher CBS primary school in the North Clare town until 1999, when he dedicated himself fully to working with the Burren Chernobyl Project. The organisation was founded in 1993, with projects kicking off the following year. It was then …

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July date for next decision on Blake’s Corner

CLARE County Council will not apply for permission to carry out its proposed works at one of the county’s worst bottlenecks until the end of July at the earliest. In the past week, the local authority has submitted details to An Bord Pleanála of its plans to alleviate the severe traffic jams that occur annually during the summer months at Blake’s Corner, Ennistymon. An Bord Pleanála will determine by July 25 whether the planning decision should be made by Clare County Council under the Part VIII procedure or by An Bord Pleanála itself. In February, the council revealed its proposed approach to deal with the long-standing traffic problems at Blake’s Corner in Ennistymon, following consultation with local residents and elected members of the West Clare Municipal District. The proposed solution involves the construction of a new bridge approximately 80m upstream (to the east) of the existing Ennistymon Bridge on the N67. The scheme comprises a two-phase project; Phase 1 of …

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Cliffs of Moher go underground

Millions of French commuters are seeing ads for Ireland, featuring the Cliffs of Moher, on large billboard posters as they pass through the busy metro stations of Paris. Tourism Ireland in France has teamed up with a leading online travel agent – Go Voyages – once again this year for a joint promotional campaign. Some 660 billboard ads are prominently displayed in metro stations across the French capital, grabbing the attention of commuters with beautiful images of the Cliffs of Moher and the Causeway Coastal Route and featuring attractive offers for a weekend break – reminding them why they should put the island of Ireland on their holiday wish-list for 2016. The campaign also includes advertising in Direct Matin (free daily newspaper), radio ads on the Chante France radio station, online advertising and a dedicated Ireland page on the Go Voyages website. Elmagh Killeen, Tourism Ireland’s manager for southern Europe, said: “2015 was the third consecutive record-breaking year for French …

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Falls Hotel loses discrimination case

A North Clare man was discriminated against on the grounds of gender by a well-known hotel, when it allowed “a female member of staff enter the gents’ changing room while it was occupied”, it has been found, in what may be the first case of its kind in Ireland. In the extremely unusual case, The Falls Hotel was ordered to pay Lahinch man, Thomas Flanagan compensation, after it was determined that the Ennistymon hotel had discriminated against him by treating him less favourably than a woman would have been if the circumstances were reversed. Mr Flanagan contacted the director of the Equality Tribunal on May 13, 2014, claiming The Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, had discriminated against him by subjecting him to regular occurrences of a female member of staff entering the gents’ changing room of The Falls Hotel, “which resulted in his discrimination, harassment and victimisation between October 2012 and January 2014”, contrary to the Equal Status Acts 2000 and 2012. …

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Diocesan Chapter role for Fr Tommy

GORT parish priest Fr Tommy Marrinan has been appointed to the Diocesan Chapter, earning him the title Canon and meaning he will now act as adviser to the bishop and as a trustee of the diocese. Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, Martin Drennan made the appointment on Thursday last. He announced that four priests were being added to the Diocesan Chapter, which now has 12 members. These canons work as advisers to, and in very close collaboration with, the bishop. They have a particular responsibility to ensure the effective administration of the temporal affairs of the diocese. Other priests appointed on the day were Fr Ian O’Neill, parish priest of Claregalway; Fr Michael McLoughlin, PP, Moycullen; and Martin Glynn, PP, Mervue and Good Shepherd. According to Fr Tommy, the appointment is a reflection of the parish of Gort and Beagh. “It is an honour for the parish, as it is a title usually given to a priest in a …

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World Award for Burren and Cliffs

THE Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark has won a major international award, recognising it as a global leader in sustainable destination development. On Wednesday, the Geopark was revealed as the winner of the Destination Leadership award by National Geographic at their prestigious World Legacy Awards. The Geopark, which is managed by Clare County Council and receives support and funding from the Geological Survey of Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, won the Destination Leadership category for its tourism for conservation project, GeoparkLIFE. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark was the only European winner at the awards, which honours tourism companies, organisations and destinations regarded as leaders in sustainable tourism best practices. Speaking at the ITB Berlin Convention in Germany, at which the announcement was made, Mary Howard, leas-cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said the award “is testament to the partnership approach to managing sustainable tourism in the Burren that has been developed over the years by Clare County Council, regional …

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Moyhill Garden harvests a top award

MOYHILL Community Garden finished second in the Sustainable Community section of the 2015 Get Involved Community Award presentation ceremony, which was held in Dublin last week. Now in its third year, the Local Ireland Get Involved Sustainable Communities awards initiative is promoted by 51 weekly paid-for newspapers and this year’s initiative featured 30 projects from all over Ireland. The projects cover the essential areas necessary to build sustainable communities, including clean energy, water conservation, local food production, eco-tourism and developing local community employment. The North Clare-based group was also highly commended in the Community Impact section. In their presentation, the group told the gathering at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown that they had visited Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the UK in an effort to establish their own one. Green Party General Election candidate, Fergal Smith heads up the Moyhill group and he told The Clare Champion that reaching the national final was a positive experience for them. “Local …

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