Thursday, 11 February 2016

Countess Markievicz prison committal form to go on display in Clare Museum

Funding has been received for the exhibition at Clare Museum of a form committing Countess Constance Markievicz to prison in the aftermath of the Easter Rising.

As one of twelve local authority museums, the museum will benefit from a grant of €25,000 to be made to the Local Authority Museums Network for a joint 1916 exhibition under the network’s banner.

Markievicz was second in command of the Irish Citizen Army in St Stephen’s Green in Dublin during The Rising and later, when the position in the Green became untenable, this force occupied the Royal College of Surgeons.

After the surrender, Markievicz was tried by Court Martial, which the form indicates was held in Richmond Barracks on 4th May, 1916. Her crime is recorded as ‘Did take part in an armed Rebellion and in waging war against His Majesty the King’, and states that her sentence was ‘Death commuted to Penal Servitude for Life’. She apparently escaped the firing squad at the last minute because of her gender.

The framed and glazed document features images of an exhausted Countess and gives a physical description of her appearance, distinguishing features and height on 7th May, 1916. Intriguingly, her date of birth is given on the form as being in 1873 when in fact all of the sources consulted by the Clare Museum curator have given her year of birth as 1868.

The document’s connection to County Clare is a mystery. It is not clear how this prison form, possibly from Mountjoy Prison, came to be in Clare and it is one of the more enigmatic items in the museum collection. It was transferred to Clare Museum from the de Valera Library and Museum in 2000 and may originally have been part of a collection that was transferred to the library from a short-lived Ennis Urban District Council-run museum that existed in Bindon Street in the mid-1960s. Research for the exhibition has still to be completed and if anyone can provide any information about the provenance of the form, it would be gratefully received.

An image of this unusual and unique document was forwarded last year to the producers of 1916: The Irish Rebellion. This landmark documentary series, which is funded by the University of Notre Dame and narrated by Liam Neeson, features many previously unseen images and will be shown initially on PBS across the United States followed by worldwide distribution. It is currently being shown on RTE.

The Markievicz Prison Commital Form is expected to go on display at Clare Museum during the summer of 2016.

Movies from your library for Valentine’s Day

If you are too late to get a booking for that favourite restaurant or if finances don’t allow, grab some chocolates and a bottle of something nice and settle down for a romantic night in with a movie.

Clare County Library has romantic films to suit all tastes – classic love stories, romantic comedies, arthouse love stories, chick flicks and teenage romances. Some of the relationships portrayed end tragically while others are of the happy ever after variety.

For a classic love story, try Casablanca, Gone With the Wind or Love Story. Romantic comedies include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, You’ve Got Mail and Love, Actually. Teenagers might enjoy Clueless, Twilight or 10 Things I Hate About You. Romantic films recently added to stock include The Fault in Our Star, Her, The Theory of Everything and The Lunchbox.

And if you don’t manage to get the kids to bed on time, there’s always Shrek, Up and Wall-E.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Traditional Singer in Residence wanted for County Clare

County Clare has a very strong tradition of singing, particularly in West Clare, and the Arts Office is now looking to promote this tradition amongst younger people through the engagement of a Traditional Singer in Residence. This residency will be a partnership project, utilising the bank of songs featured in the Songs and Singers of Clare from the Carroll Mackenzie Collection produced by Clare County Library. The target age group is 13-18 and the focus is on developing traditional singing amongst young people.

With the historical backdrop of the 1916 commemorations and the excitement of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann coming to Ennis in 2016, Clare County Council believes that this is an exciting time to conduct such a residency in the county. Whilst drawing on the strong traditions of the county, the residency offers the opportunity to a singer to leave a lasting legacy on the development of traditional singing amongst young people as well as an opportunity to focus on their own singing / projects which may be in train.

The Arts Office of Clare County Council has long recognised the distinct value and role of traditional singing in the traditional arts in the county. In 2010 Clare Arts Office worked with the Kilmaley Voluntary Housing Scheme to commission John Tunney, traditional singer, to compose three new songs in the traditional vein. This was the first traditional singing commission to be awarded under the Per Cent for Art Scheme. See

In 2012, Clare County Library, supported by the County Arts Office, launched the web resource Music of Clare at Featuring hundreds of tunes and some of Ireland's best known musicians, this resource has received global recognition for its quality and content. See

In March 2015, following the Music of Clare, the Songs and Singers of Clare was launched. This web resource features over 400 recordings of singers from West Clare recorded in England and West Clare in the 1960's and 1970's by Jim Carroll and Pat McKenzie. See

September 2014 saw the first tranche of singing projects take place in over 20 schools in Clare by the Clare Music Education Partnership. These projects continue today with some of the repertoire selected from the Songs and Singers of Clare.

It is envisaged that the use of these library website resources will be a key component of the residency.

Please click here for more information...

The Traditional Singer in Residence is an initiative of Clare County Council, supported by the Arts Council and Clare Music Education Partnership.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Reading the Past in Ancient Irish Genomes

Geneticists from Trinity College Dublin, and archaeologists from Queens University Belfast, have sequenced the first genomes from ancient Irish humans. The information buried within is already answering pivotal questions about the origins of Ireland’s people and their culture. The genomes show unequivocal evidence for mass migrations into Ireland, which are likely to have brought cultural changes including the transition to agriculture and may even have provided the origin of western Celtic language.

Lara Cassidy, PhD Researcher in Genetics, Trinity College Dublin;
Daniel Bradley, Professor of Population Genetics, Trinity College Dublin;
Eileen Murphy, Senior Lecturer in Osteoarchaeology, Queen's University Belfast.

Posted on Youtube on the 4th of January 2016 by Trinity College Dublin. See also

Monday, 1 February 2016

Blind Date with a difference at your library

This Valentine’s Day, Clare County Library would like to play matchmaker for you and set you up on a blind date…with a book! Following on from last year’s success we are excited to once again present Blind Date with a Book, where you take a chance and check out a book that we have selected, without knowing exactly what that book is until you get it home. We’re hoping we can introduce you to a book you’ll love, but may not have chosen for yourself otherwise. It could be the book you’ve been searching for all your life!

From February 11th-13th you are invited to visit any of the seven participating library branches in Ennis, Ennistymon, Kilrush, Kilkee, Killaloe, Scariff and Shannon where there will be a display of books wrapped in plain paper. Make your selection and bring it to the checkout desk, where you will also receive a sweet treat custom made by Wilde Irish Chocolates in Tuamgraney, to take home along with your newfound book love. This year the selected books will all have some connection to the year 1916 and will include a range of genres and themes but you won’t be able to judge any of them by their cover before you get to know them. Here’s hoping it will be love at first page, but there is no need to worry about any hard feelings or awkwardness if it’s not! If you don’t make that special connection you can simply return it and move on to the next book. After all, there are plenty more books on the shelves!

To view opening hours for Clare County Library’s branches visit or phone 065-6821616.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Sharon Shannon & Alan Connor playing The Woodchoppers on Bosca Ceoil

Sharon Shannon, on fiddle for a change, with Alan Connor playing The Woodchoppers on TG4's Bosca Ceoil. Posted on Youtube on the 18th of January 2016 by webfilmmager.

Eoin O'Neill and friends - traditional music from Ennis

Eoin O'Neill and friends playing in Cruises' Bar, Ennis, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 26th of January 2016 by Connemara Baby.

Kayaking near Cliffs of Moher, January 2016 & June 2014

"Bumpy day on the water near Hags Head [at the Cliffs of Moher]. Explored some caves and took a surprise dip near the end of the day. Cracking day all the same." Posted on Youtube on the 19th of January 2016 by David Maher.

Contrast the video above with this one taken in June 2014:

"Sea kayaking under the Cliffs of Moher Ireland." Posted on Youtube on the 17th of June 2014 by David Horkan.

Gold Find in Feakle by Paddy O'Malley

Paddy O'Malley tells Cuimhneamh an Chláir about a gold find in Feakle, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 4th of January 2016 by Cuimhneamh an Chláir.

High Waves at Lahinch, January 2016

"High Tide at 6am January 26th 2016 in Lahinch, County Clare, with the waves breaking over the battlements." Posted on Youtube on the 26th of January 2016 by michael vaughan.

High Seas Early Morning in Lahinch, January 2016:

"Very Early High Tide at Lahinch a little grainy - shot in darkness at high ISO." Posted on Youtube on the 26th of January 2016 by michael vaughan.