Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Sara Barnard’s Goodbye Perfect wins the YA Book Prize

The Bookseller’s YA Book Prize, now in its fifth year has been won by Brighton-based author Sara Barnard. She saw off stiff competition from previous winner Louise O’Neill, June Dawson and Laura Dockrill among others to claim the £2,000 award in May at the Hay Festival.

Goodbye Perfect is the story of a teenage girl who is forced to decide whether to betray her best friend’s trust or do the right thing and inform the police and parents about where her friend has gone when she runs away with her teacher before the GCSEs.

Speaking to The Bookseller about the inspiration for her book, Barnard said, “though this story features a student running away with a teacher, that’s not what the story is actually about – it’s about how it affects those closest to her and the people left behind” Hailed by the judges as ‘unflinching in its exploration of important and complex topics’ and ‘an utterly riveting read’ it is well worth including as one of this Summer’s must-reads.

The YA Book Prize 2019 shortlist includes:
Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard (winner)
Clean by Juno Dawson
Big Bones by Laura Dockrill
I am Thunder by Muhammad Khan
The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman
White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock
Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber
A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

Monday, 12 August 2019

Clare County Library History Week 14-20 September

Clare County Library will host a ‘Decade of Centenaries History Week’ from 14th to 20th September. The theme of the week will be ‘1919: The War of Independence’.

Events include a History Ireland hedge school, music performance with Mike Hanrahan, theatre performance with Carnation Theatre, talks by children’s historical fiction author Brian Gallagher and history lectures on various topics. Library branches will also show War of Independence-themed films and documentaries and have book displays of War of Independence titles. All events are free and details of individual events can be found on September Library Events .

Our week will commence with a History Ireland Hedge School where historians Tomás Mac Con Mara, Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc, Cécile Gordon and Eve Morrison will participate in a round table discussion chaired by History Ireland editor Tommy Graham. They will discuss ‘The War of Independence in Co Clare: reassessing David Fitzpatrick’s Politics and Irish Life 1913-1921: provincial experience of war and revolution.’ Prof David Fitzpatrick died this year – this work was a ground-breaking local study of Co Clare which became the template for similar local studies of the War of Independence. How does this work measure up to the intervening 42 years of scholarship? This will be held in the Temple Gate Hotel at 2pm on Saturday, 14 September. The event is free but capacity will be limited so come early.

Carnation Theatre will present two performances of ‘Greyhound on Train’. This War of Independence performance tells the stories of four women during the struggle to achieve Irish independence - Elizabeth Bloxham, teacher, pamphleteer, rabble rouser, radicaliser, Peg Flanagan – waitress, gun runner, spy and witness to Bloody Sunday, Josephine Stallard – doctor, dispatcher, whirlwind romancer and Bridget Fitzpatrick – a central figure in the ambushes at Knocklong and Soloheadbeg. A telegram from Bridget that read ‘Greyhound on Train’ was instrumental in securing the escape of Seán Hogan in the famous ambush at Knocklong. Interspersed with songs of the period, this is an accessible, participative performance with light-hearted touches – both entertaining and educational. The shows will be held on Tuesday 17 September in DeValera Library at 1pm and Shannon Library at 6pm. All are welcome to attend, no booking required.

Dr Joe Power will give a lecture on the ‘Guerrilla War in Clare’ in DeValera Library in Ennis on Tuesday 17 September at 6.30pm. Joe is a well-respected local historian who next published work will be based on the War of Independence in Clare.

Dr Paul O’Brien will reprise his lecture on Commandant Joseph Barrett (1888-1971) ‘By heavens, Joe, but there are great men in Ireland still’. This will look at the recently-discovered archive found in Moore St in Kilrush which garnered a lot of national publicity this year. Paul will give his lecture in Kilrush Library on Wed 18 September at 6.30pm. He will bring along some samples of the archive to the talk.

Children are also catered for during History Week. Brian Gallagher, author of historical children’s fiction, will give presentations on his most recent works Pawns and Spies. Those titles were commissioned by The O’Brien Press to mark the centenary of the War of Independence and Brian will discuss how he researches and writes his stories. Brian will talk to primary school children in the library branches in Ennistymon, Miltown Malbay, Shannon and DeValera Library in Ennis on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 September.

Mike Hanrahan of Stockton’s Wing returns with Clare: Songs of Independence: The Beginning. This enjoyable performance is based on the events and stories behind the Clare’s songs during the journey to independence. The Beginning focuses on 1919 – the First Dáil, the early days of the War of Independence, mobilisation and the emerging leaders. Research, writing and performance by Mike Hanrahan. A lunchtime show will be held in Kilrush Library on Friday, 20 September at 1.15pm and keep an eye out for future performances in other Clare library branches.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Summer Stars at Clare County Library

Clare Library Service will run the Summer Stars Reading Adventure for children in all library branches during the summer from the 15th of June to the end of August. Summer Stars is an exciting reading-based programme which is available free of charge to children across the country. We would be delighted to welcome all children to join in. We are very happy to work with teachers and families to encourage children to continue reading and also to participate in our range of storytelling and other fun activities during the summer.

Each child is invited to register for the adventure at their local library and enjoy reading many books as part of the adventure during the summer holidays. All participants will be given a Summer Stars Reading Card to record and track their own progress and a library reward stamp will be added to their reading card at the library after each book read. Children will be encouraged to continue reading throughout the programme and there will be rewards and incentives along the way. At the end of the adventure, all children who participate are invited to attend an award event at which they will be presented with their own Summer Stars certificate.

Children and families will also have access to fun reading activities on the Summer Stars website, The site has lots of online activities as well as a range of animated ebooks. You will find a children’s books discussion board and interviews with well-known people about their favourite books. There are also helpful tips for reading and recommended titles by age group for children to read. The books can then be borrowed from your local library service, and it’s all free.

Events for children will also be held in your library service during the summer. Further information is available from all branch libraries, on or on

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

World Refugee day 2019

World Refugee Day is an international observance to raise awareness of the struggles refugees face around the world. Organised by UNHCR, it is observed in more than 100 countries and involves government officials, humanitarian workers, celebrities, civilians and refugees. The UNCHR encourages people to mark the day by attending local World Refugee Day events, watching and sharing videos and by raising awareness on social media.

The UNHCR is partnering with libraries and bookshops across the country in encouraging people to read a book or watch a movie about refugees. The 2019 Refugee Book reading Campaign will run from 10th to 23rd June with libraries all over Ireland participating. Using UNHCR’s specially selected book lists for children and adults, readers will have a wide selection of stories from around the world to choose from in the form of fact, fiction, autobiography and photography. Popular titles include The Kite Runner, which documents the boyhood friendship of two friends in Afghanistan and Four Feet, Two Sandals, a picture book about two girls in a refugee camp.

World Refugee Day is an opportunity to salute the strength and courage of refugees; the solidarity of those countries, including Ireland, who assist refugees; and the contribution refugees make to countries around the world. To tie in with the campaign, libraries in County Clare will have book displays highlighting books that explore refugee related issues. Check June's Library events page on the library website and our facebook page for events film showings and other events to tie in with the campaign.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Young people are encouraged to unleash their creativity at Clare’s Cruinniú na nÓg on Saturday 15th June

Lots of free creative activities for under 18’s will form part of Cruinniú as part of the Creative Ireland Programme initiative supported by Clare County Council and RTÉ. Now in its second year, Cruinniú na nÓg celebrates and encourages participation by children and young people in creative activities in their local areas. It is led by the Creative Clare Culture Team, with huge support from local artists, arts organisations and creative practitioners. With a strong emphasis on participation, activities are specially designed to spark an interest and encourage the inner creative in children to try something new or fulfil a secret ambition! The Creative Ireland Programme is a five-year all-of-government, culture-based initiative, led by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Participating venues include the library branches of Kilkee, Kilrush, Ennistymon, Scariff and Ennis, glór, Cultúrlann Sweeney in Kilkee, Couthouse Gallery and Studios in Ennistymon, Teach Ceoil in Kilrush, Irish Hand Weaves in Ennistymon, Market Building in Ennis, Scattery Island, Kilmaley Hall and Doonbeg N.S.. Outdoor events will take place at Ennistymon River and at the Flaggy Shore with Newquay N.S.

Library events will take place in five branches – Kilkee, Kilrush, Scariff, Ennistymon and DeValera Public Library in Ennis. Please note that some of the library events take place on Friday, 14 June to include primary schools. Friday’s events include poetry workshops with Lucinda Jacob at Kilkee and Kilrush libraries. Also on Friday, Scariff Library will host a Creative Mindfulness event with Grace Burton. On Saturday, 15 June DeValera Library presents ‘Mother Earth Wish Tree’ with Fiona Cartwright where children can make hand-felted offerings for Mother Earth while Ennistymon Library hosts a performance by the Burren Children’s Choir.

glór will host a programme of events including two shows of Peter and the Wolf, a screening of The Breadwinner, a Piano and Harpsichord workshop and an art exhibition of work created by Shona MacGillivray with the children of St Anne’s School in Ennis. Cultúrlann Sweeney presents a poetry event ‘Writing Home: Children’s Poetry from Corca Baiscinn’ and a Digital Photography Workshop with Ruairí Ó Conchúir for older children.

In the Flaggy Shore, New Quay National School’s Art Appreciation Class, with Ellie Farrell and Cate King, will hold a Rubbish Art Parade followed by an Art Exhibition launch at Linnalla Ice Cream. Doonbeg National School will hold a public display of their artwork created with artist Ruth Wood through the Artists in Schools Scheme (this will be held on Friday 14 June).

Kilrush hosts two events –Storytelling with Ruth Marshall takes place on Scattery Island and includes arts and crafts. Kilrush Comhaltas will host an evening event in Teach Ceoil where children are encouraged to try different instruments and styles of music. Artist Evelyn Sorohan will hold a workshop in Kilmaley Hall on ‘Creating Art out of Plastic’.

Ennistymon will be a hub of activity for the day with four events: Jean Moran of Irish Hand Weaves will host a spinning and storytelling event at Stacks while Ennistymon Library hosts the Burren Children’s Choir. The Courthouse Gallery and Studios will hold a workshop with Vicky Lennie called ‘Bringing Stories to Life: Making and Movement’. This creative workshop will combine simple prop and costume-making with movement skills to produce a short, filmed performance piece. Ennistymon will also hold a River Walk for Children along the Ballymacraven and Inagh Rivers with Ruairí Ó Conchúir where participants can discover the majesty of nature in the fairy glen.

Finally, Ennis will host an evening CD launch in the Market Building by the young musicians of Music Generation and David O’Rourke and Ana Colomer will host an art installation earlier in the day.

Remember all events are free and full details are available at: #MyCruinniu #CruinniuToCreate

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Celebrating the Arts & Creativity as we age at Clare County Library for the 2019 Bealtaine Festival

Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival takes place annually throughout the month of May right across the country and is Ireland’s national celebration of the arts and creativity as we age. The theme for the 2019 Festival is 'Hospitality – Be Our Guest!' so, we invite you to be our guest as we celebrate with a host of events in our branches throughout the county.

We kick off on Friday, 3rd May at 5pm with an evening of entertainment in Cultúrlann Sweeney, Kilkee as singer-songwriter John Spillane presents his popular show Irish Songs We Learned at School. This is a free, but ticketed, event in association with Clare Arts Office. Bookings can be made at the Cultúrlann Sweeney box office or by phoning 065 9060769.

Other events throughout the month will include movie screenings as part of the Bealtaine Film Tour in association with access>CINEMA and the Irish Film Institute. The chosen films for this year’s tour are Finding Your Feet (2018), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and Movie Memories (a 2018 project supported by Creative Ireland, Cork County Council and University College Cork). Branches in Ennis, Ennistymon, Killaloe, Kilrush, Scariff, Shannon and Sixmilebridge will host screenings. Details of location, date and time for all screenings are available on the library website and social media.

Kilrush and Kilkee libraries are hosting a 6 week Creative Writing Workshop with Breda Shannon spanning dates in April and May. Kilkee Library will also hold an intergenerational knitting circle for seniors and children from Kilkee Primary School on Tuesday 14th May.

There will also be craft displays in Miltown Malbay Library from Tuesday 7th to Saturday 18th May inclusive and in Sixmilebridge Library during the month, with items created by the library adult knitting group, while Ennistymon Library will host an art display by the Stella Maris Day Centre throughout the month.

In Shannon Library the Non Nobis Domine Choir with conductor Clem Garvey will entertain an audience with a varied programme of folk songs, church music and more on Friday, 17th May at 7pm. Storytime with Granny and Grandad will take place on Tuesday, 28th May at 4pm when grannies and grandads are invited to bring their grandchildren along to the library to hear some stories featuring grandparents and the special relationship they have with their grandchildren. Suitable for children aged 3-6 years and grandparents of all ages!

Corofin Library will host a tea/coffee morning with readings by local people on Wednesday 15th May from 10.30am-12 noon. All welcome.

In 2019, the Bealtaine Book Club author is Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and the chosen Bealtaine Book is her memoir Twelve Thousand Days (2018) published by Blackstaff Press. We will run special events based on the book throughout the month, including a competition in branches and on the Library’s Facebook page for three lucky book clubs to win copies of the book, culminating with a review of the book during the monthly book club slot on Clare FM’s Morning Focus programme with Gavin Grace at the end of the month.

Details of all events will be published on the Library Events section of the Clare County Library website at and on their social media platforms. All events are free of charge but booking may be required. Details of Bealtaine events nationwide can be viewed on

Monday, 29 April 2019

Clare County Library Springs Into Storytime

The national Spring into Story-time Initiative is now in its second year with a celebration of reading and stories taking place in all libraries in Ireland during the month of April. Clare County Library branches are busy hosting a range of story-time events for young children with art and crafts and other reading-based play activities featuring in these fun family gatherings.

Another project focusing on family reading came to a close at deValera Library Ennis on the morning of the 11th of April when a special reception for children of 1st class from Holy Family Junior School, Ennis took place. Partnering with the Clare Family Learning Coordinator, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (lcetb), and teachers from the school, the library service provided books and library activities to support the workshops. This all-inclusive initiative brought parents, children, teachers, storytellers and librarians together to improve oral language and communication skills through sharing books and stories.

Over the past six weeks a collection of tried and trusted picture books was made available by Clare County Library to children and their parents. The stories were specifically chosen with the underlying aim of improving children’s communication, social and language skills. The story sessions were facilitated to the delight of the children, by professional storyteller Ruth Marshall who has extensive experience in storytelling in schools and community groups for many years. At each class there was a special emphasis on how parents can use books to help develop oral language.

The final celebratory event at deValera Library Ennis offered all adults involved an opportunity to evaluate and provide feedback on the project with a view to extending it to other schools in the future.

The collaboration between Clare County Library, Clare Family Learning Project, and the Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) Scheme at Holy Family Junior School Ennis is in keeping with the Government’s Right to Read policy, the primary aim of which is to create an integrated and sustained approach to developing literacy in the local community.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Clare County Library joining forces with Dublin One City One Book to honour Edna O’Brien

Clare County Library is proud to participate in this year’s Dublin One City One Book Festival to honour renowned Clare-born author Edna O’Brien and celebrate her work, The Country Girls Trilogy. The Country Girls Trilogy joins a long list of illustrious titles as this year’s featured book in the Dublin One City One Book Festival, which is a Dublin City Council initiative, led by Dublin City Public Libraries, which encourages everyone to read a book connected with the capital city during the month of April each year.

Published by Faber & Faber, this volume is introduced by Eimear McBride and includes The Country Girls and its sequels The Lonely Girl and Girls in Their Married Bliss, which changed the temperature of Irish literature in the 1960s and inspired generations of readers and writers. The passion, artistry and courage of Edna O’Brien’s vision in these novels continue to resonate into the 21st century.

At the launch of this year’s Festival, Edna O’Brien said: “I worked in Dublin as an apprentice pharmacist from 1948 to 1952, so it’s where I first encountered literature and set out on the very secret and profane matter of writing The Country Girls Trilogy. I never dreamed the Trilogy would last so long or make it to this winning post. I am delighted and hope for new readers who won’t have to hide it under the bed covers as they did in the sixties and onwards….Dublin has given me longevity.”

Clare County Library invites library book clubs, library members, and anyone who is interested, to read The Country Girls Trilogy. The book is available to borrow from libraries and can be downloaded as an eBook from the library’s free Borrowbox app or it can be bought in bookshops. It is available in audio book format and has been produced in Braille by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland.

Clare County Library will present a special book club event in Scariff Public Library on Thursday, 18th April 2019 at 6.30pm, celebrating Edna O'Brien and The Country Girls Trilogy. This free event will be hosted by Dr. Tina O'Toole, a senior lecturer in English and programme director of the MA English at the University of Limerick, who will give a talk with a Q&A afterwards. Everyone is welcome to this event but booking is required as numbers are limited. Phone Scariff Library on 061 922893 for bookings and more information.

In mid-April a number of “Country Girls “ from Clare County Library’s staff will take a day trip to Dublin as special invitees at a Dublin One City One Book event hosted by Rick O’Shea & Rachel English in Pearse Street Library. This is one of a host of events happening across the capital as part of the Festival throughout April. Details of all events can be found at

The Country Girls Trilogy is also the April choice for the monthly library book club slot on Clare FM’s Morning Focus programme and will be discussed with Gavin Grace towards the end of the month.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Creative Ireland Project Awards

Creative Ireland Project Awards were recently allocated by Creative Ireland Clare. The Creative Ireland Clare vision is ‘to ensure the people of Clare discover and have access to cultural expression through creative activity’. Nine projects were granted Project Awards in 2019. These include a coming-of-age drama ‘Radha’ which will be made in Clare with actor/writer/director Sonya O’Donoghue. Other innovative pieces include the “Creating Local Solutions to Climate Change” project with Mary Immaculate Secondary School and the local North Clare community and a folklore and well-being project working with Burren schools and older community members with Eilís Haden-Storrie.

Awards were also given to the Musicale Festival in Cultúrlann Sweeney, Kilkee organised by Music Generation Clare, Cumann Merriman Winter School and Éigse Thomáis Uí Aodha with Oidhreacht an Chláir. An Art Studio project for people with disabilities with courses in painting, ceramics and drama working with Sophie Delaney, Will O’Kane and Pat Looney received funding while Sparks Youth Film Festival in Scariff plan to run secondary school film workshops and primary school animation workshops in the lead-up to the Festival. Finally, a ‘Ploughing Ahead’ project in Mountshannon with Mark Wilson aims to produce a sculptured seating area designed, developed and produced by and with the local community.

Monday, 4 March 2019

World Book Day Events at Clare County Library

Clare County Library branches celebrate Ireland’s World Book Day on Thursday 7th March 2019. Over the last 22 years, World Book Day has become firmly established as Ireland’s biggest annual event promoting the enjoyment of books and reading among children.

Clare County Library promotes the importance of developing a love of reading by organizing a variety of events each year to bring children closer to books and their authors and illustrators.

On the 6th and 7th of March Maeve Devoy will facilitate creative writing workshops for children in Kilrush, Kilkee, Ennistymon and Miltown Malbay libraries. Maeve published her first collection of short stories, The Tell Tale Collection at the age of just 23 and says that in her teenage years, writing helped her find her way in life. As well as writing a second book and completing a Research Masters in Literary Journalism, Maeve regularly hosts creative writing workshops for children and teenagers in Fingal libraries.

Her workshops for World Book Day in Clare libraries will focus on children thinking about reaching their dreams and telling their own stories that they will take away in a special notebook to work on at school and at home.

Dublin author Brian Gallagher’s most recent novels for young people, Pawns and Spies were specially commissioned by The O’Brien Press to mark the centenary of the War of Independence this year. Brian will visit Scariff, Killaloe, Shannon and deValera Library, Ennis on the 6th and 7th of March where he will discuss the importance of our shared past with senior classes in local primary schools, as well as revealing the nuts and bolts of how a historical story for children is created including inspiration, research, plotting and characterization.

In recent times Brian has concentrated on historical fiction for older children, writing the novels Across the Divide, Taking Sides, Secrets and Shadows, Stormclouds, Friend or Foe, Arrivals, Pawns and Spies, and One Good Turn, the Irish entry for World Book Day 2016. His books have been hugely popular with schools.

His recent novel Spies was very favourably reviewed by In Touch Magazine as "a historical fiction that immerses the reader into an Ireland full of Black and Tans, soldiers, rebels, and police informers. In the novel, Ireland’s War of Independence is portrayed from both sides and this book is be a fantastic resource to discuss and debate the dilemmas faced in the throes of war. With its rich vocabulary, unravelling plot and teen friendships it makes a fine class novel for 11-12 year olds of fifth and sixth classes".

Contact participating libraries for further details.