Monday, 30 November 2015

2015 Irish Book Awards

Anne Enright, Joe Duffy, Niall Breslin, Sara Baume and Louise O’ Neill were some of the winning authors at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2015, presented in Dublin recently.

Niall Breslin, aka Bressie, won the popular non-fiction book of the year for his first book Me and My Mate Jeffrey, a memoir which chronicles the TV star’s struggles with depression and mental health. Donegal football manager Jim McGuiness’ memoir Until Victory Always was named the sports book of the year.

Sinead Gleeson won the best Irish published book of the year for The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers. The novel of the year award was won by Anne Enright for The Green Road whilst the popular fiction book of the year was won by Sinead Moriarty for her novel The Way We Were.

Oliver Jeffers and Eoin Colfer were named the Children's Book of the Year (Junior) category winners for their picture book Imaginary Fred. Louise O'Neill was awarded the Children's Book of the Year (Senior) prize for her harrowing novel Asking For It.

Renowned Irish American novelist JP Donleavy was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year, over 45,000 readers made their voices heard and voted to select the winners in each category. The public can now vote for their overall ‘Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year’ on the awards website. Voting is open until midnight on 17th December and anyone who votes is in with the chance of winning €100 in National Book Tokens. Previous winners of the ‘Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year’ include Mary Costello for Academy Street, Donal Ryan for The Spinning Heart, Michael Harding for Staring at Lakes, and Belinda McKeon for Solace.

Clare County Council to launch extensive programme of events as part of Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme

Clare County Council will launch its Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme of Events on Tuesday, 1st December 2015 at the De Valera Public Library in Ennis. Cllr James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council and Cllr Pat Hayes, Chairperson of the County Clare 1916 Steering Committee, will officially launch the programme at 6.45pm. The County Clare programme is the outcome of consultations with interested local groups, organisations and individuals, who were invited to participate in the planning and implementation of the local programme. Led by Clare County Council and under the guidance of the local 1916 co-ordinator Helen Walsh, the programme contains events and initiatives ranging across all seven strands of the national Ireland 2016 programme. Further information on the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme is available at

Following the launch, at 7pm, Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara will give the first in a series of lectures/workshops that will explore the Easter Rising of 1916, its impact in County Clare, the key people involved from the county and a focus on how the event has been remembered and commemorated over the last 100 years in the county. Importantly, the lecturer will afford the public a chance to contribute their inherited stories of 1916. Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara is an oral historian who has been documenting memory and tradition relating to the Irish revolutionary period across the country for over ten years. He has interviewed over 150 of Clare's oldest citizens connected to the revolutionary period. He was awarded a doctorate by the University of Limerick in 2015 for his study into the social memory of the Irish War of Independence.

The other venues hosting the lecture series are Kilrush Library on Friday 4th Dec, Scariff Library on Tuesday 8th Dec, Shannon Library on Friday 11th Dec and Ennistymon Library on Friday 18th Dec. There is a start time of 7pm for all venues.

Dates for the lectures are as follows:
Tuesday, 1st Dec – De Valera Public Library, Ennis at 7pm
(Preceded by the launch of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme of Events for County Clare at 6.45pm)
Friday, 4th Dec - Kilrush Public Library at 7pm
Tuesday, 8th Dec - Scariff Public Library at 7pm
Friday, 11th Dec - Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon at 7pm
Friday, 18th Dec - Ennistymon Public Library at 7pm

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Brock McGuire Band performs a mashup on WDVX's Blue Plate Special

County Clare's Brock McGuire Band performs a mashup of the slide "Chase Me, Charlie," old time American pieces "Poor Old Liza Jane" and "Dance, Boatman, Dance" and the "Miss Monaghan" reel on WDVX's Blue Plate Special. Posted on Youtube on the 20th of September 2011 by Knoxville News Sentinel.

Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan play "Green Grow the Rushes"

"County Clare's Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan playing Green Grow the Rushes (Polka and Fling) at the kitchen table on a sunny afternoon." Posted on Youtube on the 15th of May 2015 by Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan.

Sharon Shannon & Alan Connor on The Late Late Show

County Clare's Sharon Shannon with Alan Connor performing on a recent edition of RTE's Late Late Show. Posted on Youtube on the 7th of November 2015 by The Late Late Show.

Caherconnell Stone Fort from the air

"Caherconnell (Irish: Cathair Chonaill, meaning "Conall's stone ringfort") is a medieval, exceptionally well-preserved stone ringfort in The Burren of County Clare, Ireland. It lies about 1 km south of the Poulnabrone dolmen." Posted on Youtube on the 1st of September 2015 bu joeire60.

Cliffs of Moher with Newsocracy

"Viewed from the top or from a boat at the bottom, the 700-foot Cliffs of Moher are spectacular and not to be missed." Posted on Youtube on the 6th of October 2015 by Newsocracy.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Celebration of Creativity in Shannon Library

Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon, celebrates creativity for the next few weeks. Colin Thickbroom's Art Exhibition has been in the library throughout the month of November and will be on display until Friday, 27 November. This is followed by an exhibition by the local Shannon Art Group under the guidance of tutor Natalie El Baba. Their art works will be exhibited from Monday 30th November to Friday 4th December. The following week sees the annual Christmas Craft Fair, running from Tuesday 8th December to Sat 12th December inclusive, during library opening hours. This year, exhibitors will range from knitwear to jewellery to food items, with plenty of variety to be had. To mark the launch of the Craft Fair, we will host a talk on Tuesday, 8th December at 6.30pm entitled 'Making Money from Your Craft'. Emer Ferran, Enterprise Manager with the Design and Craft Council of Ireland, will present an essential tool kit of what to know if you are starting a craft enterprise or marketing a craft product. This talk is a must for anyone interested in trying to make money from crafting. The event is free of charge and all are welcome to attend. Finally, our celebration of creativity will close with an Art Exhibition of works from clients of Rehab Care in Shannon - this will run from Monday 14th to Wednesday 16th December.

Image above shows Colin Thickbroom at work in the library.

Dympna O’Sullivan RIP

Sadly, Lissycasey-born concertina player Dympna O'Sullivan passed away this week. Dympna showed musical talent from an early age and her style of playing was fluid and relaxed. She was a regular performer at the Willie Clancy Summer School and also composed and taught music. Dympna released two CDs – Bean Cairdín (2007) and Enriched : Saibhriú (2014) and has accompanied other musicians on recordings. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Here are some clips featuring Dympna’s playing:

Dympna O'Sullivan and Danny O'Mahony playing during Feakle Festival 2011. Posted on Youtube on the 8th of August 2011 by scrapbooktraveler.

Dympna O'Sullivan and Willie Kelly playing two reels, Cormac O'Lunny's and Chris Droney's, at Catskills Irish Arts Week, July 2012. Posted on Youtube on the 22nd of November 2015 by garyamartin.

Photo above shows Tom Carey & Dympna O’Sullivan at the launch of her CD Bean Cairdín. © Peter Laban

Photo below shows Dympna in Crotty's Bar, Kilrush c.1997. © Peter Laban

More photos of Dympna in the Laban Traditional Music Collection...

Friday, 20 November 2015

Two Irish authors shortlisted for Costa Book Awards

Two Irish authors have been shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Book Awards. Anne Enright is shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Novel Award for her book The Green Road. Sara Baume makes the shortlist for the 2015 Costa First Novel Award for her debut book Spill Simmer Falter Wither.

There are three other categories of awards – the Costa Biography Award, the Costa Poetry Award and the Costa Children’s Award.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on January 4th, 2016. The overall winner of the 2015 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced on January 26th. Last year’s winner was H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.

For the full shortlist see