THE CLARE COUNTY EXPRESS has printed its final edition.
A monthly freesheet, the County Express delivered to the entire county with 20,000 copies for the past four decades. Its March 2022 edition was its last, its owner and editor has confirmed as he made the decision to retire.
Seamus O’Reilly was one of two people involved in the establishment of the paper in 1979, forty four years later he remained as its Editor and main contributor with responsibility for the bulk of its content and advertising. The newspaper continued to be distributed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 500 editions of the County Express have been published with the Lisheen man attending thousands of GAA games on sidelines across the country during this time. He has released two books, Clare GAA: The Club Scene 1887 – 2010 and Clare GAA In Old Photographs, he is in the process of working on a third. He is a member of the Executive with Clondegad GAA club.
Contributors to the newspaper included columnists such as former Clare hurler, John Callinan of Clarecastle, Paddy McDonnell of Kilkee, former Green Party councillor Brian Meaney, historian Ollie Byrnes, Br Sean McNamara and Geraldine Burke.
Reports that the newspaper was to finish had been circulating for the past month with O’Reilly confirming to acquaintances at the book launch of Jimmy Smyth: A Hurling Life that this was indeed true.
‘Thanks for the support and the memories’ is the headline of the final edition with O’Reilly penning his gratitude to its readers, supporters and advertisers. He recalled that at the time of its foundation, the Express had the goal “to provide the county with an alternative view of itself” while confirming that the paper won every “occasional legal battle” it was involved in.
He stated, “from its early days it offered those ignored by the system the right to Express themselves in public”. The task of delivering the paper was described as “a magical mystery tour” with praise extended to distribution manager, Paddy Ryan.
O’Reilly reflected, “the forty four years of course was a lifetime for the Editor starting out as a youthful inexperienced if enthusiastic curly headed youth to today’s still enthusiastic if greying septuagenarian who met his match and true love over three decades ago. A welcome battle lost has truly flourished over the years. Holidays now may become a reality as one lowers down the high gears finally. No regrets then and why should there be. Bye then to the people of Clare and surrounds and heartfelt thanks for a dream realised and lived to the full”.
Clarecastle’s Callinan in his column noted, “this is the end of an era but all good things must come to an end”.