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Doolin traditions compiled in book

CLARE poet, storyteller and author Eddie Stack will publish a book based on the people, music and stories of Doolin later this year.

The Ennistymon born author has been working on compiling The Doolin Book for more then a decade and will include extracts of interviews with some of the town’s most legendary past residents.

One of the highlight of the book will be an extensive interview with Micho Russell conducted by Stack before his death in 1994.

In this rare interview, Micho talks about his time growing up in Doolin as well as how he and his brothers learned their music and songs in the area.

“Doolin is one the few places in Ireland where all the strands of Irish traditional arts survived until relatively recently,” said Stack.

“This book is about these arts; the music, the singing, the dancing and the storytelling. It’s about the artists, the environment which fostered them and the legacy they left for younger musicians and singers.

“It is based on my local knowledge, research, archival materials as well as field recordings of the Doolin tradition bearers from the 1970s and early ‘80s.”

Eddie also hopes to produce an “enhanced ebook” version of The Doo- lin Book , which will have embedded video and audio and be programmed for use with the iPad.

Besides the Russell brothers, the book will also focus on Doolin’s other famous musical family – the Killougherys.

A section of the book will examine the music of John and Paddy Killoughery, renowned local musicians who had a long association with traditional Irish house dancing.

They were cohorts of the Russell brothers and played together at house dances and sessions for over fifty years – until the practice was stopped by the local parish priest.

The book will also focus on Paddy Pharaic Mhichil Shannon, who was the last native Irish speaker to live in the region. In an interview Paddy remembers the old storytellers, dancing masters and musicians of the area as well as talking about the decline of the Irish language in the area.

Doolin’s long tradition of storytelling will also feature in the book with extracts recorded by the Irish Folklore Commission in the 1920s with Stiofáin Uí hEalaoire, Johnny Carún, Seán O’Caolaí, Liam Ó Duilleáin and Seán MacMathúna.

Also featured is an interview with storyteller Paddy Sherlock broadcast on the BBC by Seamus Ennis in the 1950s.

For more information search for The Doolin Book on Facebook.

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DAA in the dock over Shannon’s sad decline

THE Dublin Airport Authority stand indicted for allowing Shannon Airport go into “freefall” over the last two years, Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary has claimed, while warning that only his budget airline is “the only” way the airport can be saved.

“Shannon is in freefall. It’s facing a traffic collapse and I think that Ryanair is the obvious and only way the traffic collapse at Shannon can be reversed,” said O’Leary as he launched a scathing attack on the DAA’s com- mitment to Shannon.

“The last 12 months show that the DAA have no interest in growing Shannon. They are busily rewriting history at the moment to say that Ryanair shut the base in Shannon last year because of the tourist tax. We didn’t. We cut back capacity because of the tourist tax from 1.9 million passengers to about 1.3 million. We are now down to 300,000

“We did write to the DAA in January of 2010, saying ‘do you want to extend the five-year low cost agreement’, under which we were paying Shannon about € 1 per departing passenger. The DAA wrote back and said no

“They have no interest in Shannon and the reason why the DAA don’t want any discounts in Shannon is they don’t want discounts in Shannon because they’d have to offer them in Dublin Airport.

“The DAA doesn’t care about Shannon and would happily neglect Shannon at the altar of protecting their high costs in Dublin. Shannon Airport at the moment is dying on its feet. It has almost no flights. It has very few passengers and compared to the buzz that was in the place two years ago when Ryanair were growing and opening up nearly 40 routes, the place is dying on its feet.”

“Shannon Airport is facing two alternative strategies. One, you can accept Ryanair’s offer, an offer from the largest airline in the world, to deliver a million new passengers. Two, you can all troop off to some conference in a couple of weeks times hosted by SFDCO, the DAA, the local county councils and all the usual talkers and hoteliers and the Diaspora and all the rest of them gobshites, who’ll talk and talk for f****** Ireland and not deliver for Ireland and not deliver one passenger.

“We could have done this a couple of weeks ago and tried to make an election issue out of it. There is no point making this a political issue – it’s a business issue. The DAA – you own Shannon Airport; it’s collapsing in front of you; your 33 per cent cost increase last November has put the final nail in the coffin. Do you want to grow traffic. If you do here’s the deal?”

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Shannon should be sold debt free

SHANNON Airport must be “freed from the dead hand of the Dublin Airport Authority” and sold by the State to the highest bidder, Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary has told The Clare People in outlining his blueprint for the survival of the former hub of the aviation world as an airport of international standing.

O’Leary’s radical proposal to sell Shannon to secure its future came as he launched a new bid to generate much needed business at the airport that has been in passenger freefall over the past two years after Ryanair slashed its operations for a peak of 53 routes down to its current status of three.

In pledging to provide an extra million passengers to the airport over the next five years if granted a growth incentive scheme similar to the one ac- corded to Aer Lingus in Dublin, Mr O’Leary has challenged the incoming government to finally grant Shannon its independence by selling it.

“There is going to be much more radical solutions under the next government,” said O’Leary “and I strongly believe that one of the first State assets that should be sold should be Cork and Shannon Airports to non DAA ownership that would be committed to growing traffic.

“Seamus Brennan tried to give Shannon its independence but he was shafted by Bertie and the unions. It would be a very brave politican, particularly if it were a coalition government involving Labour that would come up with a plan to give Shannon its independence and upset Brother Beggs and Brother O’Connor.

“But Shannon should be sold debt free. The debts should stay with Dub- lin and I say that as Dublin’s biggest customer, so I’ll probably be still paying off the debt. The only way forward for traffic growth, for jobs and for tourism in Shannon and Cork is to free them from the DAA.

“One airline has demonstrated the ability to grow traffic at Shannon – that’s Ryanair. No one can take away from the fact that over the last five years we were operating over 50 routes to and from Shannon.

“There was a buzz about the place; there was traffic growth; we were working closely with what started off as the independent board of Shannon under Pat Shanahan and Tadhg Kearney. Shannon isn’t independent anymore and the best way to give it its independence would be to sell it,” added Mr O’Leary.

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Saturday deadline set for Ryanair offer

RYANAIR has pledged to breathe new life into Shannon Airport over the next five years by bringing in one million new passengers, provided the Dublin Airport Authority extends its “growth incentive scheme” to the low-cost carrier.

The airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary has told The Clare People that his offer to address Shannon’s flagged fortunes would be the start of a process where passenger numbers could again touch nearly two million passengers a year, which was the case as recently as two years ago before Ryanair started scaling back its operations on foot of higher costs.

“A million passengers in Shannon would create about a thousand jobs there and a visitor spend of close to € 100 million annually,” Mr O’Leary revealed. “We will deliver that if the same traffic growth incentive discount that the DAA have recently given Aer Lingus at Dublin Airport is given to Ryanair.

“It’s a net € 4 per passenger that the DAA are paying Aer Lingus. If they put a similar growth incentive scheme in place in Shannon that we will pay the existing charges that have gone up by 33 per cent on the base traffic of 300,000 passengers, but on the increase of one million new passengers the DAA would pay us a net € 4 per departing passenger,” added Mr O’Leary.

At the peak of Ryanair’s involvement in Shannon, the airline operated 53 routes from Shannon, but began to scale back its operations in March 2009 after the Government introduced the € 10 travel tax.

Then last November the airline cut back to 300,000 passengers annually when passenger fees were increased by 33 per cent, but Mr O’Leary has told The Clare People that the air- port’s recovery can be kick-started

“We are operating year round three routes at Shannon. We would have to take that back up to 25 routes. We now only have one aircraft based at Shannon – we would have to go back up to four, relaunch a lot of the routes we had to close and open some more routes.

“I see no reason why we couldn’t grow our traffic back up to 1.8 to 1.9 million passengers annually if two things happen – one thing if the travel tax is removed and two the DAA give his growth incentive scheme.

“After a 37% traffic decline in January, what has Shannon, the DAA or the Irish Government got to lose, apart from more passengers, more visitors and more jobs in the MidWest region.

“Ryanair has given the DAA until March 5 to accept our one million passenger growth offer,” continued Mr O’Leary “and since Declan Collier and the DAA have no other plans for traffic growth at Shannon, this time we hope they’ll see the sense of accepting Ryanair’s offer and putting Shannon Airport back on a growth trajectory, rather than continuing with the DAA’s failed higher fees/traffic collapse policy,” he concluded.

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Three injured in Gorteen collision

GARDAÍ have launched an investigation after three people were injured following a two-car collision in Gorteen on Saturday night.

One man in his sixties and two men in their thirties are being treated in the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick following the incident which took place at around 12.30am on the Quin Road.

It is thought that the driver of the van involved in the incident of the scene fled the scene on foot after the collision occurred.

One of the injured men managed to release himself from the car and call for assistance.

The three men, a father, his son and a friend, were travelling towards Ennis at the time.

Meanwhile Gardaí have issued an appeal aimed at preventing forest fires.

In Clare in 2010 there were eight fires resulting in 18 hectares being damaged.

According to private forestry business Woodland, at least 500 hectares of private forestry were destroyed by fires in 2010 resulting.

Sgt Joe Downey, Crime Prevention Officer in the Clare Garda Division, explained, “If fires are lit near or adjacent to forests and not properly controlled they can get out of control and cause sever damage to forests and possibly damage homes that are built too close to the forests and in extreme cases to serious injuries.”

He explained that apart from the risk of injuries there is also a significant cost factor to be taken into account.

Sgt Downey is urging any landowners intending to burn land to clear scrub to contact the fire services before doing so.

He explained, “Under certain circumstances, and based mainly on tradition, the burning of land to clear scrub and unwanted vegetation has become and accepted practice. Members of the community who engage in this practice should make themselves aware of the necessary precautions relating to controlled burning by contacting the local fire services.”

Sgt Downey added, “We want to emphasise the threat that land and forest fires present to people’s lives and property. You must comply with the legislation and undertake burning in a controlled manner. It is also advisable to contact the fire services the day before you intend to burn so that they are aware if any phonecalls come into their office.

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Time to dust down your foclóir Gaeilge

LESS than two weeks after the county was recognised with three awards for encouraging people to speak Irish, an event that will see even more Clare people attempt a “cúpla focail gaeilge” is to be launched.

The programme of events for 2011 Seachtain na Gaeilge will be launched in Ennis this Thursday by well known Irish language writer and musician Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé and Bainisteoir Náisiúnta de Sheachtain na Gaeilge Órla Nic Suibhne.

Hundreds of people are expected to participate in a wide range of events during the week at locations in Ennis, Kilkee, Kilrush, Shannon, Miltown Malbay, Tulla, Lisdoonvarna and Kilmaley.

Emer Ní Fhlaitheartaigh, Oifigeach Forbartha Gaeilge, Clare County Council, said “Seachtain na Gaeilge takes place less than a fortnight after Coiste Glóir na hInse won three national language awards for the promotion of Irish in the spheres of education, the media and public service. This success underlines the progress that is being made at a local level to encourage greater use of the Irish language in everyday life and greater participation in initiatives that take place throughout the year.

“We anticipate that this year’s programme of events will again involve hundreds of people of all ranges of fluency. The vast range of events due to take place around the county demonstrates that the Irish language is vibrant, alive and exciting in the hearts of the people of Clare,” she said.

Clare County Council, An Clár as Gaeilge, Clare County Library and a wide range of voluntary bodies have jointly assumed the role of co-ordinating a countywide programme for this annual festival.

Once again a large number of events will take place at primary and secondary schools throughout Clare with some schools hosting their own events, including Réalt na Mara in Kilkee and Scoil Sheanáin Naofa in Kilrush. Workshops in singing and dancing have been organised to take place in schools throughout the county.

This year’s Seachtain na Gaeilge also coincides with the Ennis Book Club Festival featuring Eddie Lenihan in Scéal Eile Bookshop, Féile Scoldrámaíochta today (Tuesday), as well as Féile na hInse which is expected to attract in excess of 2,000 people to the town later this month and the Roibeárd Ó Cathasaigh devised Rabhlaí Rabhlaí in Glór, Ennis on March 31.