ee vente ay affair for Gl ieebtant

THE weekend action involving the Kilmihil ladies and men in All-Ire- land and provincial final action re- spectively will prove to be a family affairs in many ways. That’s because of the links between the two sides.

Where to start!

The three O’Hallorans, Lorraine, Joan and Denise, on the ladies team are sisters of Enda who has made a telling contribution to the men’s team when introduced as a substitute in the county final, provincial quar- ter-final and semi-final.

Keith Considine was also a signifi- cant sub in Kilmihil’s victory over the “Barrs last day out — he’s a broth- er of the two stars of the Kilmihil ladies attack in the persons of Ailish and Eimear Considine.

Edel McMahon is a daughter of the team trainer James McMahon, while Karl Downes, who is wing-back on the men’s team is a brother of Una and Colette Downes.

Una Downes is one of two mem- bers of the Kilmihil team involved with the county intermediate team that reached the All-Ireland final this year. Downes, was a member of the Kildoon Gaels team that won the senior championship back in 2003,

That team was an amalgamation of Kimihil and Doonbeg and five years on there’s a strong Doonbeg connec- tion with Kilmihil’s march to the All-Ireland final. Edel Conway, Sa- rah Cahill, Yvonne Downes, Linda Russell and Mairéad Nugent are the Doonbeg contingent on the Kilmihil panel.

‘“There’s a great atmosphere build- ing up in Kilmihil this week,” says Una Downes. “All the shops have bunting up and as the countdown to the two final starts. The build-up has been great with the two teams look- ing forward to finals.

“At the start of year when we began training we weren’t thinking of an All-Ireland. We didn’t expect to be here but we’ve worked very hard. In all are games since the county final we’ve come from behind, so in this final we’ll be hoping to make a bet- ter start.”


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The Church of the wood

KILRUSH is well known for its mar- itime heritage, traditional music and past association with St Senan and the Vandeleur landlord family.

Less publicised, is Kilrush Wood, located within a few hundred metres of the town centre. The wood, which also has a restored walled garden, is now regarded as one of the flagship tourist venture in Clare.

Woodland and town are linked historically and socially: the name Kilrush is derived from the Irish Cill Rois, meaning church of the wood or wooded peninsula.

The wood has a holy well named after the sixth century monk, St Senan, who founded the nearby mo- nastic settlement in Scattery Island. The influence of the Vandeleurs is still evident in both town and wood. They were largely responsible for the unique design of Kilrush, now listed as a heritage town.

The 175 ha wood formed part of the estate of the Vandeleurs, a Dutch family who established a seat in Kil- rush around 1687. Crofton Vandeleur was responsible for the design of the walled garden, surrounding park- lands and wood up to his death in 1795.

The family had been highly regard- ed up until the mid-nineteenth cen- tury, but their popularity waned due mainly to the harsh treatment meted out to some of their tenants during and after the Great Famine.

The West Clare Railway linked

Kilrush with the national rail net- work in 1892 but by then the rela- tionship between tenant and landlord had deteriorated further, especially when Hector Vandeleur – an absentee landlord – took charge of the estate. When the house – built in 1808 – was destroyed by fire in 1897, it effective- ly marked the beginning of the end of the Vandeleurs as major landlords in the area.

The Land Commission took pos- session of the estate in the 1920s and the woodland was taken over by the then Forestry Division and today is managed by Coillte.

The garden itself has been sensi- tively restored and redesigned. It has a variety of plants, trees and shrubs while the centre has a coffee and craft shop and hosts a permanent ex- hibition ‘Kilrush in Landlord Times’, a reminder of both sides of landlord-

ism. Despite the darker side of the Vandeleurs, the people of Kilrush have resisted the temptation to air- brush the name from their history.

Instead they have named the re- stored walled garden after the family and have retained the name in one of the town’s streets.

Like the planting and care of the woodland, it is a confident gesture that looks to the future while ac- knowledging the past without being consumed by it.

It is a gesture that is in tune with the words of T.S. Eliot: “Time present and time past /Are both perhaps present in time future, /And time fu- ture contained in time past.”


Community spirit is strong in Kilrush

KILRUSH is a town that has been unnecessarily hard on itself.

It is a maritime town, with a herit- age that local history groups around the country can only dream about. It has a community spirit that 1s unique for an urban environment and its people have a sense of identity and belonging that is both welcoming TOO Ms Nu0F

Yet for so long the town has had a major concern over how the rest of the county and country perceives it.

It had – like many urban centres – its anti-social and crime problems, orchestrated by a small group that had for a while infected the psyche and self-belief of this charismatic town.

Many community and _ business leaders were critical that the town they loved was given negative public- ity on a daily basis and feared that all the good work was being ignored.

It became critical of the messen- gers, but failed to see the entire mes- SERSZoR

But of late, Kilrush has been win- ning significant battles in its cam- paign to become a centre of business to challenge the county town, while retaining its unique west Clare iden- WIAA

The town council began work on John Paul Estate, long before na- tional Government saw the merits in developing local authority estates

to include community facilities and tackle pockets of urban decay where criminal activities could fester.

The mothers and fathers of John Paul Estate will soon have a place to bring up their children in safety and happiness. These good people have for so long put up with unacceptable elements in their community but the Kilrush spirit has seen them fight to reclaim their homes and a decent quality of life for the next genera-


At the other end of the town, an- other chapter of the town’s story is unfolding at the Kilrush Creek Ma- unt

While a €50 million development may be delayed or altered because of the recession, there is no doubt that the people of Kilrush are determined to see such a development there some day in the not so distant future.

At the turn of this century when

the economy was just about to grow, Kilrush boasted a marina develop- ment that is impressive even by to- day’s standards, a development the people now plan to build upon.

Just a few hundred yards away, the Merchant Quay Development had brought a new lease of life to the rey aee

National and international retailers are also showing faith in the town with Super Valu, Tesco and now

Aldi jostling for position in the retail market.

Talks are in progress to build a new community building to house the many voluntary and semi-state or- ganisations supporting the town.

Thousands of visitors visit the area every year to see the spectacular Vandeleur Walled Gardens, Scattery Island and the Marina.

The Yacht Club has gone from strength to strength in the town, and now attracts regattas to the west Clare coast. The club has also brought in- ternational acclaim to the town with the successes of “Chieftain” and the “Spirit of Kilrush”’.

Festivals such as Eigse Mrs Crotty have attracted music lovers from all over the world, and as other Irish towns failed to attract civil servants under the Government’s decentrali- sation project, Kilrush secured more than 50 jobs in the new Revenue Of- fices.

A new hotel is badly needed in Kil- rush, but even that is at hand with L and M Keating committing itself to such a project.

From its town council to its cham- ber of commerce; from its volunteer groups to its sporting organisation, there is an openess dealing with dai- ly issues that gets things done.

In an era when political bodies and groups fear speaking their minds, in Kilrush there is an honesty of opin- ion that you may not always agree with but will always respect.


Post Office Field is people’s park

ENNIS Town Council should use money secured from development levies to develop the Post Office Field.

That was the view of Fine Gael councillor Johnny Flynn who broad- ly welcomed the proposals outlined in the draft concept plan.

“Significant planning and develop- ment levies have been got by both Clare County Council and Ennis Town Council over the last number of years,” said Cllr Flynn.

He added, “This project is ideally suitable to utilise the amenity recrea- tion portion of unused levies. If the plan is acceptable to all it could be developed in stages subject to fund- ito

Cllr Flynn, however said he was unhappy that a proposal to develop a library was included in the concept plan.

“The library building should be removed from the plan and the pro- posed amenity improvements should be put on public display in order to get the public’s views,’ said Cllr hare

He added “If the library building or any building is built at the Bind- on Street end of the field, important views from Parnell Street car park to Bindon Street and back from Bind- on Street to the river would be lost. These views were deemed important in environmental studies carried out by Brady, Shipman and Martin, in a consultants report to the Council in the 1980s.”

Previous reports and studies have proposed retaining the Post Office Field as an open space in the centre of Ennis accessible to the public.

A total of 21 submissions were re- ceived by Ennis Town Council fol- lowing a public consultation process in 2005 to determine the most appro- priate way to develop the field.

Nine submissions supported allow- ing public access to the field with a

futher three submission also high- lighting the benefits of making the area more accessible. Three submis- sions objected to developing direct public access to the field.

A report prepared by the Town Engineer Tom Tiernan in June 2005 concluded that following the public consultation process “it would be in- appropriate to consider building de- velopment”. He went onto state that

“the Post Office Field should thus be a natural amenity facility to be ap- preciated by the people of Ennis and visitors alike”.

A concept plan for the Ennis Town Centre drawn up in 2004 stated that “the River Fergus and adjacent Post Office Field form the greatest natural assets of Ennis town centre”’.


Nature plan for Ennis green space?

Post Office Field is people’s park


Firemen honoured for their service

THREE east Clare fire-fighters were among a group who were honoured for their long and heroic service last week.

At the sixth National Long Service Awards ceremony, held at the Red Cow Moran Hotel in Dublin, 20-year service awards were presented to Joe Moloney (retired Sub Officer), Dav- id Culloo (Sub Officer) and Martin Tuohy (Station Officer) of Scarriff Fire Brigade. Meanwhile, Kilrush Station Officer Martin Cahill re-

ceived a Long Service Award for 30 years of service to Clare County Fire and Rescue Service.

Congratulating the recipients, Min- ister of State and Clare T.D. Tony Killeen said, “the awards are a ges- ture of the appreciation of the people of Clare for the magnificent work these fire service personnel have done throughout their careers, which has helped all of us feel safer in our homes.”

“Significantly, the ceremony is also the State’s way of expressing its grat- itude for the huge contribution they

have made towards the security of its citizens,” he added.

Mr Killeen – who is a former Min- ister of State, with special responsi- bility for the fire service – praised the commitment and professionalism of the long serving fire fighters

“The service indicative of the high- ly experienced personnel employed by Clare County Fire and Rescue Service.”

Minister Killeen also offer effusive praised the Fire Services Council, which hosts the awards ceremony each year.

“The council, through its central training programme, continues to provide command and control train- ing for all officer ranks and specialist training in responding to road traffic accidents, hazardous materials inci- dents and command and control for ship fire-fighting while in port.

“The council also provides appro- priate courses in fire safety engineer- ing for suitably qualified fire service personnel. This suite of training courses supplements the training provided locally within fire authori- ties’, he said.