Thursday, 29 May 2008

Brian Keenan gives reading in Scariff Public Library

2nd of August, 3.00 pm. As part of the Scariff Harbour Festival, internationally renowned author Brian Keenan visits Scariff Public Library to read from his eagerly anticipated memoir. Brian Keenan is author of ‘An Evil Cradling’, a best selling graphic account of his hostage experience; ‘Turlough’ his first novel which brings together his time of captivity and the personal life and loves of the blind harpist Turlough O’Carolan; ‘Four Quarters of Light, A Journey Through Alaska’ – which he felt called to undertake having read Jack London’s ‘The Call of the Wild’ in his childhood.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Back to Education Initiative Open Day

Ennis Community Development Project is having an Open Day for a Back to Education Initiative funded by the Department of Education ‘Employment Skills Training Course’. The course consists of three modules, you can choose to do all three or just one module. The courses are: Living in a Diverse Society, Career Information and Preparation for Work. All are FETAC accredited. The course is free of charge and is for people who do not have English as a first language. Open Day on Saturday 7th June 10am to 2pm at Ennis Community Development Project, 1A Elevation Park, off Tesco Roundabout
For more information contact Avril de Carteret 087 6197728 or email

Martin Hayes receives Civic Reception from Clare County Council

On Monday 12th May, Clare County Council hosted a Civic Reception in honour of Martin Hayes - renowned fiddler, native of Maghera Caher, East Clare and recent Winner of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Award. The Reception was held in the Council Chamber, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare. A Civic Reception is the highest honour that can be afforded by Clare County Council.
Martin Hayes official website:
Martin Hayes on Youtube

Kitty Hayes, concertina player, passes away

Kitty Hayes on Youtube: click here

“Kitty grew up listening to her father and their next door neighbour, Willie Clancy's father Gilbert play together in the kitchen. As a teenager she worked her father's concertina when he wasn't looking, teaching herself the basics. At that time she was out to the house dances a lot, listening to and playing music. At some point hough her concertina broke and around the same time she married fluteplayer Josie Hayes. The night before her wedding, St Patrick's Day 1948, Packie Russell travelled to her father's house and played for a great farewell dance. There was another great dance when she moved into the Hayes' home in Shanaway the next day and I was just told again by a neighbour of her's what a great night it was.“ Read more at

“Born Kitty Smith during the earlier half of the last century in the townland of Fahanlunaghta between Miltown Malbay and Ennistymon in Co. Clare, Kitty grew up in a musical household. Her father Peter Smith played the concertina, together with their neighbour, flute player Gilbert (or 'Gillie') Clancy…” Read more at

“Peter purchased Kitty's first concertina for her and, subsequently, she played at house dances, at one of which she met Josie Hayes, her future husband, who played whistle and flute with the Laichtín Naofa Céilí Band. Music took a back seat during their life together as she first reared seven children and then nursed both her own mother and, later, her husband who had suffered a stroke and died in 1992…” Read more at

“Last November, Clare People journalist Andrew Hamilton interviewed Clare concertina legend, Kitty Hayes, who died at the weekend. The occasion was a tribute concert in her honour at Glór Irish Music Centre in Ennis. We reproduce that article in memory of a gentle woman whose unassuming nature belied her outstanding contribution to Clare’s musical legacy. May she rest in peace…” Read more at

Brian Keenan to Open Scariff Harbour Festival

World recognised author, university teacher and former hostage, east Belfast born Brian Keenan will officially open the 6th Scariff Harbour Festival on Friday 1st August 2008 at 6.30pm, maintaining the festival’s well established links with Northern Ireland. The festival has been promoting links between communities on both sides of the border at political, cultural and community levels since its inception in 2003. He will also read from his soon to be published memoir at Scariff Public Library on Saturday 2nd August at 3pm. Brian Keenan recently returned to the Lebanon, a place he came to know and love despite the political and religious complexities and the ravages brought to bear on the fraught middle eastern country. Accompanied by his wife Audrey and boys Jack & Cal, his visit to the country where he was taken hostage was made into a film documentary and broadcast on BBC television. It was prompted by an inner need to assure his sons that the Lebanon was not an evil place because evil does not endure and to instil in them a passion for issues of justice, freedom and happiness. Two years into his abduction, in the unknown underworld of Beirut, his lone nightmare was to take a new and fortuitous twist. British journalist, John McCarthy was kidnapped on his way to the airport having just completed a news feature on Brian’s abduction for World Wide Television News. They were to share cells for the remainder of their captivity, an experience that was to profoundly impact their lives and subsequently led them to co-write a travel book ‘Between Extremes – A Journey Beyond Imagination’ On the 24th August 1990, Brian was released from captivity and handed over by the Syrian Foreign Ministry to the Irish Ambassador, Declan Connolly. Brian Keenan is author of ‘An Evil Cradling’, a best selling graphic account of his hostage experience; ‘Turlough’ his first novel which brings together his time of captivity and the personal life and loves of the blind harpist Turlough O’Carolan; ‘Four Quarters of Light, A Journey Through Alaska’ – which he felt called to undertake having read Jack London’s ‘The Call of the Wild’ in his childhood. He is currently finalising a memoir with the working title of ‘I’ll Tell me Ma”.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Clare County Development Board Newsletter - Spring/Summer 2008 edition

Enterprise Strategy for County Clare;
Clare Campus Skillnet - Training &Development for Clare Business;
Clare Companies attend IBEC Forum on NERA Inspections;
Disabled People of Clare News;
Regeneration in Kilrush;
Kilrush Family Resource Centre;
Increasing Reps Participation in County Clare;
Farming with nature in Clare;
New routes for Shannon Airport;
Teagasc restructured Advisory Service in Clare;
Oifigeach Forbartha Gaeilge.
Now available online at

The War of Independence in Clare

The War of Independence is featured extensively on Clare County Library's website. Take a look at some photographs and articles, some written by actual participants.

For photographs click here

The Rineen Ambush
On September 22nd 1920, one of the most memorable encounters of the war of independence took place at Dromin Hill, Rineen. The purpose of this act was to get revenge for the murder of Martin Devitt, an Irish soldier who was shot dead in an ambush in February of that year in the locality. Click for more

The War of Independence in West Clare by Rita Marrinan
Rita Marrinan wrote The War of Independence in West Clare for her Bachelor in Education Dissertation at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick in 1982. Click for more

The War of Independence: Memoirs of Andrew O'Donoghue, Ex Commander, 5th Batallion, Mid-Clare Brigade from recordings made by Anne Nelligan, Andrew's daughter.
“I was born in January, 1897, last century at Lickeen, Kilfenora, and went to school to Cahersherkin National School. About 1912, I was kept home from school. It was a time of land agitation all over - in Co. Clare especially, some landlords owned miles of country and the people wanted the land divided between small tenants or others under the Land League…” Click for more

War of Independence and Civil War: Patrick (Pat) Keane, Kilnamona; personal statement
This personal statement together with information on the Kilnamona Company IRA were submitted by Pat Keane, ex O/C Kilnamona Coy, I.R.A. 3rd Batt, Mid-Clare, with his application, dated 13th May 1935, for a Service Certificate and Military Service Pension. Click for more

X-PO: Tracings, Narratives and Representations of Kilnaboy 1842- 2008

Exhibitions by:
Rinnamona Research Group
Séan Taylor
X-PO Mapping Group.
Exhibition runs from 18th May – 13th June 2008 at Kilnaboy (2 miles north of Corofin) Tel: 065 6837177
Opening Times for this exhibition: Monday to Sat 2.00 – 5.00 pm
Evenings: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 7.00 – 9.00 pm.

SUCCESSORS READ PREDECESSORS: Re-Representing the Rinnamona Daíl. Rinnamona Research Group Exhibition based on The Harvard-Irish Mission, 1930-1936: Mary Moroney, John Ruane, Sean Roche, Francis Whelan with Anne Byrne (NUIG).
At the beginning of the 1930s, Ireland and Clare in particular, was the focus of an extensive archaeological and anthropological survey by American scholars from Harvard University. The survey resulted in two influential and widely read anthropological publications, ‘The Irish Countryman’ (1937) by Conrad Arensberg and ‘Family and Community in Ireland’ (1940, 1968, 2001) by Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball. This present exhibition is concerned with bringing new material pertaining to the Harvard-Irish Mission into the public domain and re-representing aspects of the social anthropology study relating directly to the familes and communities of Rinnamona and Kilnaboy parish in the 1930s. Kimball lived in the townland of Rinnamona over a period of two years and passed his time visiting, talking, interacting with neighbours and observing many aspects of daily life in the vicinity. He recognised the importance of going on ‘cuaird’ as neighbours gathered in the late winter evenings to play cards, to talk and consider events of immediate, national or international concern. The gathering of the older men in the community was known as the ‘Rinnamona Dail’. The Rinnamona Research Group read and worked with Kimball’s fieldwork diary in the winter of this year and extracts from the diary form part of this exhibition. As well as being childhood friends, neighbors and cousins, the Rinnamona Research Group are direct descendents of members of the first ‘Rinnamona Dáil’ and are thus connected to this work across generations. The group have gathered together additional photographs and material from the community which provides a local perspective and context for the Kimball diaries. The X-PO project and Deirdre O’Mahony have provided artistic direction, material, organizational and financial support and a physical space in which to present this exhibition.

The Mapping Group Project: Peter Daffy, John Kelleher, James Naylon, Sean Roche, Francis Whelan and Peter Wise.
For many years individuals in Kilnaboy have been collecting information on the ruined houses or ‘cabhails’ of the parish. When the X-PO opened they formed The Mapping Group and in order to collectively focus on tracing and naming every house in the parish of Kilnaboy As a starting point they began with the townland of the South Commons and with householders named on the Griffiths Valuation documents of 1842. Members of the group have conducted interviews, surveyed documents and gathered stories of the locality and the exhibition will show a newly made map of the South Commons by cartographer Peter Wise. The topographical knowledge and level of engagement with place represented in this exhibition is of a depth and intimacy that is rare in these times and the exhibition will also feature a recorded narration of occupancy of the South Commons by Francis Whelan and John Kelleher. The recordings and maps will form part of the permanent X-PO local knowledge archive.

The Blushing Hills: Sean Taylor
This video work was one of Clare County Council’s temporary comissioned works for Ground Up 1 in 2005. The piece documents a hot-air balloon flight over the Burren. The balloon displayed a text, The Blushing Hills, taken from a snatch of conversation gathered while researching the work. This flight went from Carron over Rinnamona and the South Commons, and the DVD, located in the hallway between the two exhibitions, provides an external overview of the two townlands.
Anne Byrne would like to acknowledge the support of the IRCHSS Senior Research Fellowship Scheme (06/07) for the Narratives of Ireland project. The Blushing Hills was Comissioned by Clare County Council under the Ground Up Public Art projects in Rural Contexts. Thanks to Séan Taylor, Fiona Woods and Siobhan Mulcahy. X-PO is a public art project by Deirdre O'Mahony. The aim is to revive the kind of incidental social space formerly represented by the rural post office and it will be the subject of a Nationwide feature in the coming weeks.

Friday, 23 May 2008

International Reading Challenge – Over One Million Books Read

Clare County Library, in association with An Garda Síochana and National Schools in Clare, has been actively involved in the promotion of reading among children for the second consecutive year through the Reading Challenge Program. The Reading Challenge began in Nova Scotian libraries in Canada and is operated as part of Adopt-a-Library which is a partnership of police, public libraries, and the community who share a common goal of fighting crime at an early age through literacy. Further details can be found on the program’s designated website, 14,669 students from over 80 schools in four countries took part from November 13th to April 5th and almost 1.1 million books were read. Schoolchildren in Clare were encouraged and motivated to read by their teachers, and by regular visits from the gardai and public library staff. First place in the International Reading Challenge went to Big Tancook Elementary School, Nova Scotia, with 632 books read per child. They received the world championship banner and a cheque for $3000 towards books for their school. Lahinch National School in County Clare read the most books per child in the county and were allocated a €2000 book allowance from Clare County Library. The Mayor of Clare, Councillor Patricia McCarthy, presented them with their award at a prize giving ceremony in The Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery and Studios on Thursday the 22nd May (see photo above). Having read an astonishing 467 books per child, they also received a world championship banner and a cheque for $2000 towards books for their school for achieving second place in the International Challenge. Furglan National School in County Clare, read 397 books per child. They were presented with the world championship banner for achieving third place in the International Challenge and a cheque for $1000 towards books for their school. Congratulations also to Clouna National School who had the third highest number of books read out of a total of thirty schools who took place in the project throughout the County. The children of Clouna read an average of 334 books from November 2007 to April 2008 and were presented with a €200 book token compliments of Clare County Library. Clare County Library would like to extend sincere thanks to the teachers and children of all thirty National Schools who took part in the Reading Challenge, and to Sergeant John Staunton, Ennis Garda Headquarters, and the fifteen gardaí who visited schools in the county over the past six months, meeting with schoolchildren and so effectively motivating them to become readers. Plans are under way to extend the Reading Challenge to other library authorities in Ireland during the school year 2008/2009.

Best of the Booker

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the prize, the 40 past winners of the Booker Prize have been narrowed down to a shortlist of 6 from which the public are being asked to vote for the Best of the Booker. The criteria that the judges used to select the shortlist were that the books were the most likely to outlast the fashions that created them. Of the six shortlisted books, which span three decades, five deal more or less directly with postcolonial experience. Two of the books "The Siege of Krishnapur" by JG Farrell and "Midnight’s Children" by Salman Rushdie are set in India; "Oscar and Lucinda" by Peter Carey is set in Australia; South Africa is the setting for both "The Conservationist" by Nadine Gordimer and "Disgrace" by JM Coetzee; Pat Barker’s "Ghost Road" is set in First World War France and England. Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is tipped by William Hill to win the prize at odds of 6/4, with Ghost Road at 3/1 and Oscar and Lucinda at 4/1. The result of the public vote will be announced on July 10th. You can vote on

The World's Most Influential People

Time magazine’s fifth annual list of the world's most influential people - leaders, thinkers, heroes, artists, scientists and more – has recently been published. The compilers say that this is not a list of the hottest, most popular or most powerful people, but rather the most influential - the people who shape our world. Three authors and the playwright Tom Stoppard join heavyweights George W. Bush, Oprah Winfrey and The Dalai Lama on the 2008 list. The listed authors are Khaled Hosseini, Elizabeth Gilbert and Stephenie Meyer. Hosseini, the author of the bestselling "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns", introduced readers around the world to the people of Afghanistan. Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of "Eat Pray Love; One Woman’s Search for Everything" - a remarkable one-year quest for self-discovery. Stephenie Meyer writes the "Twilight Series" of books about a vampire romance which has proved hugely popular amongst young adult readers.

The Race for the White House

Those interested in American politics might be interested in the following memoirs by the Presidential hopefuls:
"Living History" - a memoir by Hillary Clinton
"Faith of My Fathers" - a family memoir by John McCain
"Dreams from My Father" - a story of race and inheritance by Barack Obama

Nuala O’Faoláin

Nuala O’Faoláin died on Friday, May 9th. She was a journalist, TV producer, book reviewer, teacher and author. The first volume of her memoir "Are You Somebody?" topped the bestseller list in Ireland for more than five months. It spent many weeks on the bestseller list of the New York Times, reached number three in Australia, and did very well in the UK, Germany and Sweden. "Almost There", the second volume of her autobiography, also became a bestseller. She published one work of fiction "My Dream of You" and a non-fiction title called "The Story of Chicago May" – a biography of an unremarkable Irish country girl who stole her family's earnings and ran off to America. Ms O’Faoláin had a holiday home near Lahinch.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Uaigneas: new paintings by Eithna Joyce

Uaigneas, an exhibition of new paintings by Eithna Joyce at the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, runs from May 29th until June 19th, Tuesday to Sunday 12pm-5pm. The Courthouse Gallery is one of the best places to see art on the whole west coast.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Local Studies Centre goes on tour

Clare County Library, as part of the Bealtaine festival, took a small section of the Local Studies Library on tour to Miltown Malbay on May 15th when library staff visited the Day Care Centre there. A selection of Clare Champion newspapers from the 1950s was transported to Miltown where extracts were read and discussed and memories were evoked. These newspapers are part of a complete set of Clare Champions dating back to 1903 which are housed at the Local Studies Centre on Harmony Row, Ennis. They are available to the public for reference use. A similar session will take place at Kilmaley Day Care Centre on Thursday 29th May.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Riches of Clare Concert Series 2008

Flutes and fiddles everywhere - if it’s music you want you should go to Riches of Clare! Next week sees the return of the popular ‘Riches of Clare’ free lunchtime concert series. Now in its fourth year, the Wednesday afternoon Irish-Music series will visit Ennis, Killaloe, Kilrush, Lisdoonvarna and Feakle this summer, featuring musicians from or based in County Clare. The series takes place over ten weeks, beginning with a five week residency in the Clare Museum, Ennis on May 28th. Musicians performing in the 2008 series will include Aidan and Fintan McMahon, Moher, Helen Hayes, Bobby Gardiner and Conor Keane. Admission to all concerts is free of charge, thanks to the series patron, the Clare County Arts Office. “We have had such a positive response to the concerts over the past three years, both from audience and musicians. An important aspect to the series is the fact admission is free, which we hope will encourage people to come along and brighten up their day with a few tunes at lunchtime!” says Finola Ryan, co-ordinator of the concerts.
28 May: Clare Museum - Liam Joyce, Josie Harrington, Kevin Ryan, Patricia Clark.
4 June: Clare Museum - Aidan McMahon, Fintan McMahon, Anthony Quigney.
11 June Clare Museum - Dympna O'Sullivan, John Weir, Eithne Ní Dhonaile, Fu Akamine.
18 June: Clare Museum - Moher: Noel O'Donoghue, Liam Murphy, Pat Marsh, John Moloney, Paul O'Driscoll, Michael Queally.
25 June: Clare Museum - Sheila Garry, Elaine Hogan, John Kelly, Danny O'Mahony.
2 July Killaloe Public Library - Helen Hayes, Denis Cahill, Mark Donellan, John Canny
16 July: Kilrush Public Library - Michael Hynes, Denis Liddy, Eoin O'Neill
23 July: Pavillion Theatre, Lisdoonvarna - Marcus Maloney, Derek Hickey, Martin Dermody
30 July: Newmarket on Fergus Public Library - Bobby Gardiner, John Nugent
6 August: Community Centre, Feakle - Conor Keane, Seanie O'Gorman, Dave Harper

Monday, 12 May 2008

Cascades of Song

The Clare Festival of Traditional Singing (originally called the Ennistymon Festival of Traditional Singing) took place in Ennistymon on the June bank holiday weekend from 1990 to 2002 and part of each festival was the Grand Concert held in the Teach Ceoil. Folklorist and song collector Tom Munnelly, who passed away last year, recorded each of these concerts and a CD, entitled 'Cascades of Song', will be launched on Saturday May 17th 2008, at 8pm at the Bellbridge Hotel, Spanish Point. It includes some of the best singers of traditional song in Ireland and beyond, such as Roisín Elsafty from Connemara, the late Con Greaney of Co. Limerick, Nonie Lynch from Mullagh and many more. Many of the singers who appear on the CD will attend, and the evening promises to be a feast of singing and music – all are welcome. The CD is a fitting tribute also to the late Maureen Rynne who sadly passed away last year and was co-founder of the festival with Anthony Edwards of Clare County Library. Further details may be obtained from Annette Munnelly at 065 708 4365.

Mothers turn to 'chick-lit'

A Bookseller and survey found that sixty per cent of new mothers admitted they read a lot less than they did before having children and that when they did read, they preferred celebrity autobiographies or chick-lit or "anything that doesn't take much effort". Doctors have coined the term "maternal amnesia" to describe an apparent decline in memory and brainpower after women become pregnant. More commonly known as "mumnesia" or "nappy brain", research increasingly suggests it is only short-term and probably due to sleep deprivation.

Misery Literature is big business

Misery Lit or ‘mis lit’ is a type of memoir that tells of the author’s miserable childhood due to poverty, physical or sexual abuse and usually describes the author’s triumph over these personal traumas. These types of books have been dominating the bestseller list over the last few years as there seems to be an insatiable appetite among readers for such writings. Waterstones now have a ‘Painful Lives’ section in its bookshops although it is through the supermarkets that the majority of these books are sold. Most critics trace the beginning of the genre to A Child Called It, a 1995 memoir by American Dave Pelzer, in which he details the outrageous abuse he suffered at the hands of his alcoholic mother. This was followed in 1996 by Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes - an account of his poverty sticken upbringing in Limerick which became an international bestseller. Other popular authors in this genre are Jenny Tomlin and Torey Hayden. But there are signs of a growing backlash against Misery Lit as some recent memoirs have been exposed as fakes. The veracity of Kathy O'Beirne's Kathy's Story, which sold half a million copies and told of her wretched life at the hands of an abusive father, in reformatory school, in a psychiatric hospital and in the Magdalene Laundry, has been disputed by members of her family. Regarded by some as healing and inspirational and by others as exploitational and voyeuristic, there is no disputing the popularity of these memoirs – a market that was worth over £24 million in the UK last year.

The Saga of Darren Shan hits the big screen

Death's Shadow, Book 8 of The Demonata series by best-selling author Darren Shan has gone straight to number 1 in the children's book charts in the UK and Ireland. His millions of devoted fans will also be pleased to know that the first three books in The Saga of Darren Shan known as the Vampire Blood Trilogy will soon be produced for the big screen by Universal Pictures. The film will be called Cirque du Freak.

Recommended Books for Children

Grow It Eat It
Published by Dorling Kindersley, 2008
Grow It Eat It is a beautiful gardening and cookery book combined. Find out how to cook your own food, grow your own ingredients and enjoy your own delicious recipes in this beautiful presentation of simple gardening projects and delicious recipes. It champions the delight to be experienced from growing your own fruits and vegetables. And what better way to celebrate their growth than through sharing your harvest with others, by cooking simple, tasty recipes. Each chapter is made up of just two pages of concise instruction and fantastic illustrations, explaining everything the young gardener, or would be chef, needs to know. Learn how to select the best pots and plots, grow the ingredients necessary to present your own rainbow salad, or make your own carrot and orange muffins.

Tiger Lily: A Heroine in the Making by Maeve Friel
Published by Stripes Publishing, 2007
Tiger Lily will never make her name as an adventurous heroine in her quiet village, appropriately named, The Middle of Nowhere. To make matters worse, she doesn’t even have a ‘trusty devoted companion.’ Neither does she have her own transport. But inspired by her insatiable appetite for books, Tiger Lily is not to be defeated. She makes a raft, assigns her friend Sammy to be her right hand man and the adventures begin… Competent young readers aged eight and over will love this book. Its unique presentation including printed email messages, diary extracts and book reports by Tiger Lily will tempt the reluctant reader also. Why not visit The Middle of Nowhere, home of Tiger Lily at where you can download word searches, book reports and read extracts from other books by Maeve Friel.

Book Clubs

For those who haven’t yet discovered them, book clubs are groups of readers who come together on a regular basis, usually monthly, to read and discuss books, with the emphasis being on reading for enjoyment. Reading is mainly a solitary activity but in a book club it becomes a shared experience and a social activity. New friendships develop and new authors are discovered. The book no longer ends on the final page. The pleasures and the traumas of each book are re-lived as views and opinions are shared and explored. Library-based clubs usually meet in the library. Others meet in their own homes, in restaurants, in colleges, in community centres etc. As the club evolves, cinema outings, visits to plays, Christmas meals etc all become part of the book club experience. Most clubs meet once a month and read and discuss one book per month. There are various methods of choosing a book and it varies from club to club. Size-wise, groups of between 8-10 people seem to work well. However, there is no one right way to run a book club. Each club will establish their own guidelines as they discover what suits their particular group. Some clubs are very casual, others are more formal. Some involve a glass of wine and some food, others a cup of tea and a biscuit. Each book club is different but the common factor in all is that they are a great way of sharing a love of books and of making friends along the way.
Book clubs are not a modern phenomenon and, contrary to popular belief, they were not invented by Oprah Winfrey. The first formal book club is believed to have started in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1643. Meanwhile in Britain, mill girls were reading books together before work. In more recent times, a 1960s report reveals details of a reading circle where women read aloud to each other as they caught up on their knitting and mending. Oprah, however, can be credited with the current book club phenomenon. Today, book clubs have spread worldwide and, in Ireland alone, there are several hundred in existence.
The annual Ennis Book Club Festival, in association with Clare County Library, was born out of the huge interest that exists in reading and discussing books. It has grown year on year as book clubs from all over Ireland gather in the Clare capital for a weekend full of literary activities. The 2009 event will run from 6th – 8th March.
Clare County Library runs bookclubs in many of its branches and new members are always welcome.
Ennis Library 065 6846353
Adult bookclub – 1st Tuesday of every month at 7pm.
Children’s bookclub – 1st Tuesday of every month at 3.15pm
Shannon Library 064 364266
Adult bookclub – One Tuesday monthly at 7pm
Children’s bookclub – 1st Wednesday of every month at 4pm
Kilrush Library 065 9051504
Adult bookclub - Last Wednesday of every month at 6.30pm
Children’s bookclub – Last Wednesday of every month at 5.30pm
Killaloe Library 061 376062
Adult bookclub #1 – 1st Wednesday of every month at 6.45pm
Adult bookclub #2 - 1st Tuesday of every month at 11.00 a.m.
Scariff Library 061 922893
Adult bookclub - 1st Thursday of every month at 7.00pm
Children’s bookclub – Last Thursday of every month at 3.30pm
Kilkee Library 065 9056034
Children’s bookclub - 3rd Wednesday of each month at 6.30pm
Newmarket Library 061 368411
Adult bookclub – One Tuesday each month
Miltown Library 065 7084822
Children’s Bookclub – Every fourth Friday at 4pm

Friday, 9 May 2008

Inhabitants of Scattery Island (from the earliest recorded times to the 1940s)

A substantial work on the families of Scattery Island, Co. Clare has been added to the Donated Transcriptions (Family Histories) section of the library’s website. The work, Inhabitants of Scattery Island by Senan Scanlan, outlines the growth in population of Scattery Island from the middle of the 19th century until the last inhabitant left in 1986. It includes genealogical information and family trees of the main family groups, details on intermarriage, a transcription and plan of the island graveyard and outlines the life and occupations of the islanders.

FLEADH NUA, INIS, CO. AN CHLÁIR. MAY 18th to 26th 2008

“Thinking of County Clare immediately conjures up images of Traditional Music, Singing and Dancing. And it is little wonder because the Traditional Arts lie at the very core of the Banner County’s identity. This explains why trad fans from California to Leeds are descending on Ennis from 18th to 26th May for the annual Fleadh Nua Festival. Despite being a fixture in the town’s calendar of events since 1974, the twin concepts of imagination and innovation on which the Festival is founded ensure that this Fleadh is still 'Nua' after all these years. Highlights of this year’s Fleadh include the Frank Custy Tribute; Cór agus Ceol – Cór Cúil Aodha agus a Chairde; and the Celebrity Concert featuring artistes drawn from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick as well as 'The Hounds of Ulster'. This Flute and Drum Band hails from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim and will perform their unique brand of Ulster-Scots Music in what is surely a first for an Irish Traditional Music Festival. Fleadh Nua welcomes the recent recipient of TG4’S Gradam Ceoil mar Chumadóir na Bliana, Peadar Ó Riada agus Cór Cúil Aodha to Glór Irish Music Centre for 'Cór agus Ceol'. Founded by the late Seán Ó Riada in 1964, the Choir’s original purpose was to sing at liturgical services in Cúil Aodha Church. Shortly after its inception it started also to sing as a ‘claisceadal’ or traditional singing group which then commenced singing in public from the late sixties up to today. Many illustrious names from the world of Irish Sean Nós singing and Poetry have been associated with this choir and the choir has been frequently called upon to do duty at various occasions of historical importance. Additional music will be provided by the Leeds Scoraíocht Group who enjoy a lengthy association with the Fleadh and can always be relied upon to provide first class entertainment. As always Fleadh Nua has something for everyone - Céilithe, Concerts, Recitals, Music and Set Dancing Workshops, Street Entertainment, Traditional Singing Sessions, Lectures, Parade, Storytelling, Oíche Ghaelach, A Guided Walking Tour, The National Dancing Championships, Senior And Junior Cabaret Shows, Pub Music Trail, Street Music Trail and CD Launches. And that is only the organised part of the programme! A myriad of sessions both indoors and out ensures that the narrow streets of Ennis will resound with Traditional Music, Song and Dance throughout the Festival. See full event details at Fleadh Nua is organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann on a voluntary not for profit basis.”

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Submarine Man; The Little Known Life of John P. Holland

Glór, Tuesday 6 May, 8pm, €18/16 conc.
“Submarine Man is a hilarious and yet at times incredibly moving account of one of Ireland’s greatest unsung heroes. The year is 1873. Dundalk-based, novitiate Christian Brother, John Philip Holland is obsessed with his design for a bizarre, submergible craft. Infused with the inventiveness of the eccentric genius, this true-story drama tells the little-known tale of 'the father of the modern submarine' and one of Ireland's greatest, unsung naval heroes.” Tickets from Glór box office on 065-6843103 or online at

‘Northern Lights', paintings by Samantha Ellis-Fox & Josephine Kelly

This new exhibition at the Russell Gallery is now online! Click here to see ‘Northern Lights', paintings by Samantha Ellis-Fox & Josephine Kelly

Eco-Unesco’s Young Environmentalist Awards Showcase 2008

Showcase of 40 Young Environmentalist Projects, Interactive Biozone, Games, Activities and more. Tuesday 13th May, Round Room, Mansion House, Dublin. Primary and Secondary Schools, Youth Groups etc free admission.

Friday, 2 May 2008

The Murphy Hynes Kilkee Collection (1898-1984) added to Foto

This collection of photographs and postcards depicts the resort town of Kilkee over the course of the 20th Century. The images portray the people of the town and its visitors and changes in the town itself. The images are the result of years of collecting and photographing by two individuals, author Father Ignatius Murphy and Mary T. Hynes, who was the branch librarian in the Sweeney Memorial Library in Kilkee for many years. Both had a life-long interest in the history and people of Kilkee. The collection was kindly donated to Clare County Library by Fr Murphy’s brother, Gay and his wife, Rhonda.

Irish Book Awards

The 2008 Irish Book Awards were presented in a glittering ceremony at the Mansion House on April 24th. The awards were established in 2006 to acknowledge the wealth of talent in Irish literature. Comprising nine categories, the awards are open to all Irish authors who have had a book published during the last 12 months. Two categories, The Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award and the Galaxy Irish Popular Fiction Book of the Year, incorporated a public vote to select their winning titles. Diarmaid Ferriter was the toast of the evening, as his nominated book Judging Dev won the three categories in which the title was nominated – the non-fiction book of the year, the Irish published book of the year and the Tubridy Show Listeners' Choice award. Anne Enright followed last year's Man Booker win by securing the Irish Novel of the Year award for The Gathering. Take a Look at Me Now by Anita Notaro won the popular fiction category; Trevor Brennan's memoir Heart and Soul won in the sports book category; and Julia Kelly won the newcomer of the year award with her novel With My Lazy Eye. The lifetime achievement award went to William Trevor. In the children’s category, The Story of Ireland by Brendan O'Brien won the junior prize with Roddy Doyle’s Wilderness winning the senior prize.

Music and Film collection at the library

In response to popular demand, a music collection was established in Devalera Public Library in Ennis in 2003. This was followed by the film collection in 2006. Both services have since been extended to Shannon and Scariff libraries and will be further extended over the coming year. The music collection contains over 6,000 CDs and covers all genres including classical, blues and jazz, traditional, world, country and popular. Almost 15,000 loans of music CDs were recorded during 2007. The most popular CD borrowed last year was Eyes Open by Snow Patrol, closely followed by Trenchtown Rock by Bob Marley and Wild One by Thin Lizzy. They were joined in the top ten list by The Killers, George Michael, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Sharon Shannon, Michael Rooney and the Bee Gees representing a wide range of musical tastes. The film collection is comprised of approximately 1,500 DVDs. Dr Harvey O’Brien, a native of Kilrush and a lecturer at the Centre for Film Studies at UCD, offered invaluable advice on the setting up of the collection. The collection includes classics like Hitchchcock’s The Birds, foreign films such as Habla Con Ella and comedies such as A Fish called Wanda. 10,000 loans of DVDs from the library were recorded in 2007. Foreign and independent films are proving popular with library members with 4 of the 10 most popular films being in foreign languages. These were Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Mandarin), À Ma Soeur (French/Italian), Sex and Lucia (Spanish) and Diabolique(French). The independently produced film Me and You and Everyone We Know also made the top ten. Traffic, About Schmidt, Gandhi, War of the Worlds and Road to Perdition completed the list. The collection is being added to on a regular basis. So get down to the library to stock up on your entertainment for the weekend!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

New online book club

We invite readers everywhere to join us each month in reading and discussing a selected book by talking part in our new online book club. Please join us by registering and posting your comments. Happy reading!

Age-ranging of children’s books

Beginning in Autumn 2008, the majority of new children’s fiction titles will come with a specified age range on the back cover of the book, specifying whether they are suitable for readers aged 5+, 7+, 9+ and 13+ or teens. There has been mixed reaction to the introduction of such markings. Booksellers are, for the most part, in favour, being of the opinion that a large percentage of people buying children’s books aren’t buying them for their own children and call on staff to recommend books for children of different ages. However concerns will surely exist about getting the right book to the right child. Age is probably the least deciding factor on what books to choose for children. There’s a very real danger of reluctant readers becoming discouraged if the book they have chosen and are most comfortable with has an age range which is less than their personal age. Adults choosing books should be primarily concerned with who the child is that they are choosing for, and not so much what age they are.

Trevor/Bowen Summer School 2008

Mitchelstown Literary Society is pleased to announce that the Trevor/Bowen Summer School 2008 will take place on the weekend of 23/25 May 2008 in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, with lectures on William Trevor (by Fintan O’Toole), Elizabeth Bowen (by Martin Mansergh), Seán O’Faoláin (by Prof. Maurice Harmon), Mary Lavin (by Caroline Walsh), "Growing up in wartime Ireland" (by Louis McRedmond), "Humour and the legal profession" (by Gerald Kean) and "Living a contemplative life" (by The Spiritual Life Institute). See: for full details.