Friday, 29 August 2008

The Kite Runner voted Reading Group Book of the Year 2008

The Kite RunnerFor the third year in a row, Khaled Hosseini’s novel, The Kite Runner, has been voted as the Reading Group Book of the Year. Hosseini’s popularity with reading groups continues as his second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, came in second. Votes were collected via the Penguin and Orange websites and from reading groups entering the 2008 Penguin/Orange Broadband Readers’ Group Prize.

The top 10 favourite reading group books are
1 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
2 A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
3 joint:
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
The Island by Victoria Hislop
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Small Island by Andrea Levy
7 Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
8 joint:
We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Salmon Fishing In The Yemen by Paul Torday
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

The Carnegie Medal Award

CrusadeWhat makes a truly great book? The Carnegie Medal was established in 1937 and is presented annually to an outstanding book published in the U.K. Since 1969 any book written in English and published first or concurrently in the U.K. has been eligible. The medal is now awarded by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the UK in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) who set up more than 2800 libraries across the English speaking world, including Ireland. The 2008 winner is Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve and the other books on the shortlist were Gatty’s Tale by Kevin Crossley-Holland; Ruby Red by Linzi Glass; Crusade by Elizabeth Laird; Apache by Tanya Landman; What I Was by Meg Rosoff and Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine.

Hitch-Hiker named as best audiobook

The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the GalaxyThe Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been voted favourite audiobook in the Book Marketing Society’s 10 Best Audiobooks promotion. Douglas Adams’ classic was chosen from a selection of 40 audiobooks. Members of the public were invited to vote for their favourite. Charlie Connolly’s "Attention All Shipping" was in second place followed by Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet", "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" and "I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue".

Chord - Ennis International Music Festival

Chord Ennis International Music Festival Celebrating the cultural diversity of Ennis through a high-quality programme of musical events and an array of street events, Chord International Music Festival has a variety of musicians playing throughout the weekend of 5th-7th September including:

Sonia Esquivel- Bossa Nova/ Samba/ Latin
Together with her trio they are going to play a mixture of samba, bossa, nova, choro and other Brazilian rhythms creating an experience that is intimate and intense. Seating will be cabaret style so don't forget your dancing shoes.

Homegrown- Vertigo Smyth & Garthoga Sun
A Chance for the stars of Clare's indie firmament to twinkle. An evening of song, dance, fun, frolics, tears, laughter and happiness. Featuring Vertigo Smyth, he brings heart warming songs. Gargotha Sun on the other hand will focus on making a pleasant racket.

Saturday brings Aindrias de Staic- Around the World on 80 Quid. The Jimmy Cake are a spine tingling, shimmering, hypnotic, nine headed musical beast from Dublin. For the night owls, Festival Club is on from 11pm to 1.30am at Brogans Bar. On Sunday there is a Family Day with live music, face painting and more.
More information at

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Traditional and New Music From Ireland and Brittany at Courthouse Gallery

The Courthouse Studios and Gallery, Parliament Street, Ennistymon, presents Traditional and New Music From Ireland and Brittany, with Jean-Michel Veillon (Flute), Donal Siggins (Guitar/Mandola), Emer Mayock (Flute/Fiddle/Uilleann Pipes) on Thursday, August 28th at 8pm.
Adm: €15, €10 unwaged and OAPs. Ph: 065-7071630.

Jean-Michel Veillon and Emer Mayock first crossed musical paths ten years ago while Emer was on a tour of the UK with Flook! performing a series of concerts which also included flute players from various parts of Europe. Though Jean-Michel and Emer were to meet and play music informally in the years to follow it was not until the Autumn of 2007 and a Music Network tour of Ireland joined by guitarist Donal Siggins that they got the opportunity to explore and perform Irish, Breton and newly composed repertoire. The success of this collaboration has led the trio to work together whenever their individual schedules are compatible. Most recently they have performed at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool (Liverpool Irish Festival) and An Chulturlan, Belfast. The trio are now embarking on a nationwide tour of Ireland from 27th August to 3rd September 2008.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Clare Museum exhibition of documents re businesses and trades in County Clare

Kathleen Hurley, Dysart O’Dea, Corofin, with bottle from Hassett's mineral water companyClare Museum is displaying an exhibition of documents relating to businesses and trades in County Clare for Heritage Week. These include receipts and dockets from Tylers, Morgan Mc Inerney Hardware Merchants in Ennis, and O’Dea’s drapers and fitters also in Ennis. Also included are bottles from Hassetts mineral water company which once existed in the Lifford area of Ennis and a medicine bottle from Coughlans Medical Hall, 27 O’Connell Street in Ennis. The exhibition will continue into September.

The Horse Collection online exhibition at Russell Gallery

The Horse Collection'The Horse Collection', the new exhibition at the Russell Gallery is now online, with paintings by Debi O’Hehir, Susan Webb, Jim McKee, Christopher Banahan, Charles Harper, Gordon D’Arcy, Ken Hall, Joyce Shee, Mark Douglas-Smith and Margaret Kent, and sculptures by Andy Russell.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Quick Reads and Open Door

Quick ReadsQuick Reads are short, exciting books by bestselling authors and celebrities for adults who are new to reading, have lost the reading habit, or who prefer a quick read. Quick Reads were launched on World Book Day 2006, with the aim of reaching out to adults with reading difficulties and those who never pick up a book. These well-written, fast-paced reads have introduced many people to an enjoyment of reading for the first time in their lives. Authors who have written Quick Reads to date include Ricky Tomlinson, Ruth Rendell, Maureen Lee and Kerry Katona.
The Open Door series is another adult literacy series that was launched in the mid-nineties by Irish publisher New Island, and author Patricia Scanlan. Scanlan had spent some time working in public libraries in Dublin before she became a full-time writer, and was acutely aware of the literacy problems facing a large segment of the adult population, and the dearth of appropriate reading material available to them. This series includes short books by many well known Irish writers such as Roddy Doyle, Cecelia Ahern, John Boyne and Marian Keyes. All royalties from sales of the books are donated to a charity of the author's choice.
The Quick Reads and Open Door series are stocked in Clare County Library branches at Ennis, Ennistymon, Killaloe, Kilrush, Scariff and Shannon. DeValera library in Ennis has a set of the Open Door series which includes a CD or tape so that the reader can listen as they read along. These sets would also be helpful to students learning English as a foreign language. Irish language versions of the Open Door series will shortly be available in libraries for those whose Irish might not be good enough to read a more advanced novel. So if you know someone who might enjoy being introduced to reading through these books, or if you yourself would like a short, quick read with a guaranteed good story, ask at the libraries mentioned above about their adult literacy series.

The Big Picture – Booktrust picture books campaign

The Big PictureThe feeling that picture books were under-valued inspired Booktrust, an independent national charity in the UK that encourages people of all ages and cultures to discover and enjoy reading, to launch a campaign called The Big Picture to raise the profile of what they see as an important art form that mirrors changing society. The Big Picture’s nationwide campaign enlisted the help of art schools, teachers, libraries and literary festivals to choose ten ‘new’ picture book artists, all of whom were first published in or since the year 2000, to become the top ten illustrators in the field of Picture Book illustration today. The work of 250 artists was considered, from which a long list of 27 names was drawn up and then shortlisted to a group of ten. Anthony Browne, the creator of numerous unique picture books for children was one of the judges. The top ten “new” picture book artists chosen were Alexis Deacon for the book Beegu; Polly Dunbar for Flyaway Katie; Lisa Evans for The Flower; Emily Gravett for Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears; Mini Grey for The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon; Oliver Jeffers for Lost and Found; David Lucas for Halibut Jackson; Gwen Millward for The Bog Baby; Catherine Rayner for Augustus and his Smile; Joel Stewart for Addis Berner Bear Forgets and Vicky White for the book, Ape. All books are currently available or on order at Clare County Library branches.


Booksellers are preparing themselves for an unexpected Harry Potter extravaganza after J K Rowling decided to publish spin-off title The Tales of Beedle the Bard – a collection of short stories - in time for Christmas. Available in three different editions, the standard edition tops Amazon’s Top 100 Pre-Releases list with the special collector’s edition, retailing at £50, in second place.

Judging a Book competition

The Winding Stair Bookshop and Café in Dublin is curating an art competition, open to all and free to enter called ‘Judging a Book’. Entries can be of any size, medium or subject, as long as it takes the form of a book cover. There’s a prize fund of €2,000, with the overall winner receiving €1,500 and two runners up will receive €250 each in book tokens. For more information call 01-8726576 or email

Archaeological Dig at Caherconnell Stone Fort during Heritage Week

This Heritage Week (August 24-31) when you visit Caherconnell Stone
, you will have the chance to experience an archaeological excavation in progress, and a lecture on the progress of the dig takes place on Friday 29th August at 1pm. Caherconnell Stone Fort is ½ Km south of Poulnabrone Dolmen on the main Ennis- Ballyvaughan road (R480). For more information Tel: 065-7089999, E-mail:
See photos of the dig in our Foto Collection: click here.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

“Half-Century Memoirs” - a reading by Dr. Colum Killeen to mark Positive Ageing Week

“Half-Century Memoirs” - a reading by Dr. Colum Killeen to mark Positive Ageing Week will take place on the 2nd October, 2008, at 3.00 pm, at the DeValera Public Library, Harmony Row, Ennis. Entry is free and all are welcome. Dr. Colum Killeen’s recently published book was written in collaboration with his wife, Dr. Ita Killeen. They had a general practice in Dublin’s inner city for over forty years, caring for many generations of families during that time. The book is both amusing and informative, as well as being a valuable record of the working lives of two busy GPs. For further information contact DeValera Public Library at 065-6846353.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Polish Writing - available in English

The website is intended to serve as an index of Polish writing available in English, giving extracts of key works and providing an overview of polish literature, aiming to bring acclaimed works to a wider audience. One of the featured authors is Stefan Chwin, whose novel Death in Danzig reminded Michael Hofmann, writing in the Guardian, "a little of Rushdie and Grass (himself a native of Danzig, after all), and perhaps a little more of Sebald, in the way it deploys a damaged individual at a crux of history. Hanemann - also the title of the Polish original - is a coroner, who, as the book begins, in 1945, conducts autopsies for a living. Suffering a personal loss, he becomes depressed and indifferent, gives up his profession, and, unlike the rest of the German population of Danzig, doesn't flee as the Russians close in."

4th annual Environment Ireland conference 2008

Environment Ireland, now in its fourth year, is Ireland’s largest conference on environmental policy and management. The conference is organised in association with the Environmental Protection Agency( EPA)and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The conference will cover a wide range of issues over its two days duration. Delegates across a range of sectors impacted by environmental issues will be brought up to speed on legislative and regulatory developments - something that will inform their planning whether public or private sector. Environmental managers will benefit from this too but also from insights gained from expositions on best practice environmental management and new developments and thinking in the field. In addition to the content of the conference sessions themselves there will be opportunity for networking and exchanging ideas...
For more information see
9th - 10th September 2008
Croke Park Conference Centre

Friday, 15 August 2008 - Ireland's plan of action on climate change

The Irish Government is currently undertaking a major communications and public awareness campaign on climate change, led by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. "The 'Change' campaign has two key and overriding imperatives; firstly to change how people in Ireland think about climate change, and secondly to encourage everyone to change how they behave." Check out the new website at, watch the TV add at and see what personal actions you can take to combat climate change.

Philip Reeve: prize-winning author for children

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve was an astounding fiction debut for a new author for teenagers. Published in 2001, it is the first book in the quartet that has become known by the same name. The other books are Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain. Mortal Engines has been lauded by critics as a gripping fantasy and astonishing, page-turning thriller peopled with engaging and totally believable characters. The 2008 Carnegie Medal-winning book by Reeves, Here Lies Arthur, has been attributed the same praise and is historical writing at its best. It is a retelling of the Arthurian legend by by Gwyna, who is just an ordinary sixth-century girl who sets out on an adventure with her master, Myrddin. Myrddin has much to do, if he is to transform Arthur into what the reader expects the mythical hero to be. If you’re interested in life in the Dark Ages, and like a generous helping of history, suspense, fantasy and humour, then look no further. There’s just enough blood and gore to lure the average 11 or 12 year old who will be drawn into the transformation of Arthur from just your average bully to someone (who at least on the outside) becomes a legendary hero.

Children’s Book Festival, Design a T-Shirt Competition 2008

Hundreds of entries for the Children’s Book Festival, Design a T-Shirt Competition were received at Library Headquarters in Ennis up to the closing date of the 11th of August. Winners and runners up were selected in two categories; Age 10 and Under and Age 11 and Over. The winners were Giulia Postir, Kyle, Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary Senior Category and Eadaoin Walsh, Rockmount Manor, Ballybeg, Ennis, Junior Category. Both winners and runners up will receive book tokens as prizes sponsored by The Youth Library Group of the Library Association of Ireland and Clare County Library. The winning design in each category will be entered in the National Design a T-Shirt Competition from which two overall winners will be chosen to have their designs produced as t-shirts and framed.

The runners up in the Age 10 and Under Category are:
Killian Downes, Ballyglass, Scariff. Age 9
Lara Casey, Carnakilla, Newmarket on Fergus. Age 9
Leanne O’Donnell, Ballard Rd., Miltown Malbay. Age 10
Clodagh Sulley, Monreel South, Ennistymon. Age 9
Nicole Hayes, Gleann an Oir, Shannon. Age 7
David Hamilton, Ballymulcashel, Kilmurry. Age 7
Rheanna Byrnes, Cooleen, Birdhill, Co. Tipperary. Age 9
Erin Slater, Ballymulcashel, Kilmurry. Age 7
Conor Hogan, Roslevan, Ennis. Age 7

Runners Up in the Age 11 and Over Category are
Emma Linnane, Tullyvarraga, Shannon. Age 12
Caoimhe McMahon, Clohanmore, Miltown Malbay. Age 11
Doyle Gleeson, Drumumna, Crusheen. Age 13
David Donnellan, Cree West, Kilrush. Age 12

Catalogue of An Chomhairle Leabharlanna's Research Library is now online

The catalogue of An Chomhairle Leabharlanna's Research Library is now online. The catalogue can be accessed through An Chomhairle Leabharlanna's website, Apart from details of bookstock, the catalogue also indexes articles in serials such as An Leabharlann (1905-1909; 1930 to date), The Irish Library Bulletin (1941-1951) as well as items held in An Chomhairle's Public Library Archive. Images from the Carnegie libraries photographic collections can also be viewed on the catalogue. Enquiries and comments to the Research & Information Officer: email; telephone 01-6784905.

Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates - Easy to Use online Certificate Service

Click on to and take the stress out of obtaining your Certificates without having to take time off work. Have your Birth, Death or Marriage Certificate posted to you at your work place or home, with a turnaround of just 1 - 2 working days. In addition, a Worldwide service is available for anyone born in the Republic of Ireland. Civil or religious Marriage Certificates are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Orders can also be placed by phone on 01 801 33 33 if you do not have access to a computer. For assistance email or phone +353 1 801 33 33 for more information on these services, where a member of staff will be happy to help you. This is a Department of Enterprise Trade & Employment Initiative.

Friday, 8 August 2008

The Novel that Changed my Life

A new radio programme entitled The Novel That Changed My Life runs on Fridays at 7 pm on BBC Radio 2 until August 29th. Claudia Winkleman hosts the six-part series in which well known figures champion a novel that has inspired or moved them. The comedian Vic Reeves’ choice was On the Road, Jack Kerouac's legendary account of a frenzied, liberating drive across America. The interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen championed Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh as the book that changed his life. Cherie Blair presented Khaled Hosseini's powerful portrait of female suffering under the Taliban in A Thousand Splendid Suns as the book that most impressed her. Other contributors over the coming weeks are author Kathy Lette speaking about Vanity Fair on August 15th; comedian Mel Smith presenting A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe on August 22nd and Alex James of Blur speaking about Treasure Island on August 29th.

Search is on for the Queen of Teen writing

A new award, the “Queen of Teen”, has been launched to celebrate fiction for girls and to find the female author most favoured by teen readers. The shortlist of 10 authors voted for by teenagers include Meg Cabot, Cathy Hopkins, Grace Dent, Louise Rennison and Cathy Cassidy. The full shortlist can be seen on the website, where young people can also cast their votes. The final winner will be chosen by teenagers at a special event in September.

Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration

The Kate Greenaway Medal is one of the most prestigious awards in the world of children’s books and is presented annually for the most distinguished work in illustration in the U.K. The winner is awarded a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice by CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett is the 2008 winner. The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey was the 2007 winner and Emily Gravett was once again the recipient of this esteemed prize in 2006 for her page turner Wolves.

Clare County Library has compiled its own guide to choosing books for young children. Picture This: A Guide to Choosing Books for Young Children was published in 2002 with the assistance of The National Reading Initiative. Writing in the foreword to the guide, acclaimed Irish children’s author, Siobhan Parkinson had the following to say; “In every library and bookshop there is such an array of picture books that it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start. That’s where a guide like this is so valuable. You can be sure that all the books recommended are excellent of their type, and the thematic arrangement will help you to find the books that will appeal to your child and suit his or her interests or needs.”

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Franciscan Friary Ennis Photo Collection - new addition to Foto

In 1239, Donough O’Brien, King of Thomond, invited the Franciscans to establish themselves in Ennis, offering to build a church and dwelling place for them. Their arrival coincided with the establishment of the town of Ennis, where they have made a lasting contribution to many aspects of the life of the town. The Franciscan Friary Ennis Collection of photographs spans over a century and highlights the buildings, activities and personalities of the Ennis Franciscans. Clare County Library is grateful to the Ennis Friars for kindly lending the collection for digitising, and particularly to Brother Cathal Duddy who instigated the project and liased with the library.

Clare Purple Sea Urchin Survey

Clare Biodiversity Group, Clare County Council and the Heritage Council would like to inform all diving/snorkelling/coastal enthusiasts of County Clare about the 2008 Public Marine Survey. The Purple Sea Urchin (Paracentrotus lividus) is a marine invertebrate species that is found mainly on the lower rocky shore in rock pools on the west coast of Ireland, particularly in County Clare. The Clare Biological Records Centre and the Clare Biodiversity Group have organised this marine survey with the aim of encouraging both the locals and the tourists of County Clare to become involved in gathering important information on the current population status of the Purple Sea Urchin, which is thought to be under threat from over fishing. The Clare Purple Sea Urchin Survey leaflets, which contain guidelines and the Purple Sea Urchin Record Card, will be available at diving centres and tourist information points throughout County Clare. Alternatively, you can request survey leaflets by contacting the Clare Biological Records Centre (see below). You can also register your findings on the Clare Biological Records Centre website:
Contact: Catriona Lynch, Database Manager
Clare Biological Records Centre,
Clare Co. Council, New Road, Ennis.
Tel: 065 4846499 or 6846459

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

“Solitary Company” exhibition by 3 artists from North Clare in the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon

“Solitary Company” is the title of an exhibition of paintings by three artists from the North Clare area in the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, this August. Inspired by the transient local landscape, artists Mona Hynes, Patsy Ricks and Mary Fahy have created a diverse show, highlighting each of their unique expression through the medium of paint. “Solitary Company” captures the energy and light of North Clare and this is a wonderful opportunity to re-visit your local area through the eyes and creativity of another. They have made visible interepretations of the landscape that we pass by everyday, noting subtle changes and celebrating all that is so intriguing in our local environment.

Through multiple layers of paint Galway born Mary Fahy has created dense landscapes highlighting the edge of things; where sky meets land, where sea meets shore, to twilight images at the edge of day. She manifests through painting the essence and energy of a place in a highly personal way by re-]imagining it on canvas. In some paintings Mary Fahy suggests interaction between people and their environment: a trace of a footprint, evidence of people having passed through.

Being an artist from the Burren, Mona Hynes expresses her connection to it through paintings that are in a fluid expressive style and deal with an emotional and imaginative response to this beautiful and often desolate landscape. Mona Hynes allows the paint the freedom to form an initial image by dropping and pouring it onto the canvas and then she paints over this. She never knows what the final piece will look like. For Mona Hynes this process reflects the unique and mysterious quality of the Burren.

Patsy Ricks, an artist based in the Courthouse Studios, engages with everyday scenes in Ennistymon and Lahinch such as dilapidated buildings, old stone walls, rust and even the dogs in the street catch her eye. She feels it is necessary to record, through the medium of watercolour, the demise of buildings and their surroundings in the local area. Patsy Ricks work is her chronicle of places fast disappearing

The exhibition runs from Friday 8th August until Saturday 30th August.
Open Tue to Sat 12.00 - 5.00pm Ph: 065 7071630. Email:

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The O’Brien Panda Legends series

O’Brien Press, Ireland’s biggest publisher of children’s books, has recently launched a novel and exciting collection of children’s legends. These are new tales, loosely based on Irish mythology, presented in a traditional style, which is perfect for parents who would like to introduce their children to legends and traditional stories. The books will remind parents of some of their own well-loved tales of long ago. The Henny Penny Tree by award-winning author Siobhan Parkinson tells the story of the family that lived under the mountain. Three girls, "Tall One", "Middling" and "Littlest" are presented with a gold, silver and copper coin by their Uncle Fergus. Predictably it’s Littlest who gets the copper coin, who benefits the most. These Purple Flag readers are geared for young readers of 5+ . They are ideal for children who reach the stage of wanting to read a real book on their own. Humourous line drawings on every page and lots of word repetition characteristic of O’Brien Pandas will help your children make their way through books on their own.Other titles in the O’Brien Panda Legends series include The Riddle and Finn’s Thumb by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

More summer reads for those days in the sun – Richard & Judy book Club choices

The Richard & Judy Book Club has chosen 8 books for its Summer Reads 2008:
The Outcast by Sadie Jones.
Set in the South of England in the 1950s, The Outcast is the story of a boy who becomes estranged from his family and environment after witnessing a terrible tragic accident.
No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay.
A page turning thriller, in which, a teenaged girl wakes up one morning to discover her family have vanished without a trace. 25 years later, after a TV appeal, she begins to learn the truth behind their sudden disappearance.
East of the Sun by Julia Gregson.
A sweeping epic set in 1928. Three women are travelling to India - Rose is to going marry a man she barely knows, Tor is in search of a husband and Viva, their chaperone, is travelling back to the country where she was born and where she lost her parents.
Down River by John Hart.
A Chandleresque US thriller about Adam Chase, who has spent the last five years in New York trying to wipe out the memory of his family's rejection after he was accused but acquitted of murder. He returns home after receiving a call from an old friend to find that more murders have begun.
The Pirate’s Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson.
A multi-generational story based around the extraordinary true story of Errol Flynn's arrival in 1940s Jamaica. The Pirate's Daughter follows Ida, a young girl who falls for Flynn's legendary charms. Through the eyes of Ida and her daughter, May, it also tells the story of their home, Jamaica before and after independence.
Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller.
Married to an older man and finding herself living in a retirement village in her fifties, Pippa Lee appears to be the perfect wife to her overbearing literary agent husband, but behind this front lies a troubled and varied past.
Addition by Toni Jordan.
Grace Lisa Vandenburg counts. The letters in her name (19); the steps she takes each morning to the local café (920); the number of poppy seeds on her slice of orange cake. But her orderly numerical world is thrown into confusion when she meets a charming man in a supermarket.
The Resurrectionist by James Bradley.
A dark and compelling gothic thriller set in 1826, when Gabriel Swift arrives in London to study with Edwin Poll, greatest of the city's anatomists. But soon he finds himself drawn to his master's nemesis, Lucan, the most powerful of the city's resurrectionists and governor of its trade in stolen bodies.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Marita Conlon-McKenna is Clare County Library’s most popular children’s author

Safe Harbour by Marita Conlon-McKenna, first published in 1995, has been the top issuing children’s book in Clare County Library branches for the first six months of 2008. The book, suited to readers aged 8 or 9 and over, tells the story of Sophie and Hugh who are left homeless when their house is bombed during the London Blitz. Their mother is seriously injured and their Dad is away fighting, so the children are sent to their grandfather in Ireland. Sophie is scared they have never met grandfather but his letters cause such trouble in the house, and their Dad never speaks of him. How will they live in a strange country, with a man who probably hates them and will the family ever be together again?

Marita Conlon-McKenna is one of Ireland’s most famous and prolific writers for children. Her Famine Trilogy comprising Under the Hawthorn Tree, Wildflower Girl and Fields of Home has earned her worldwide acclaim. Born out of the author’s fascination with anything to do with the Irish Famine and a radio report she heard on an unmarked children’s grave being found under a hawthorn tree, her book of the same name has been translated into many languages and was at the top of the Irish bestseller list for two years after publication. Clare County Library welcomes Marita Conlon-McKenna to Ennis and Shannon libraries during children’s book festival 2008 in October. Other top issuing children’s books from library branches in the first half of the year include the ever-popular "Horrid Henry" books by Francesca Simon, the "Where’s Wally" books by Martin Handford. Constant favourites Darren Shan and Jacqueline Wilson are always top of the list and Captain Underpants, the greatest comic-book superhero in the history of elementary school, is now a long established favourite with Clare’s young readers.

Winner of the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction for 2008

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale, a pacy analysis of a murder case in a Wiltshire country house in 1860, is the winner of the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction for 2008.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Samuel Johnson Prize. Sponsored by BBC Four, it celebrates diverse and thought-provoking writing in non-fiction. The prize covers current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts. The competition is open to authors of any nationality whose work is published in the UK in English. The prize is the world’s richest non-fiction prize and is worth £30,000 to the winner. The other titles shortlisted for the award were
"Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart" by Tim Butcher – a recreation of HM Stanley's famous expedition through the Congo;
"Crow Country" by Mark Cocker - a prose poem which pieces together the complexities of the inner lives of rooks and jackdaws;
"The Whisperers" by Orlando Figes - the hidden histories of the ordinary people who lived under Stalin's tyranny;
"The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul" by Patrick French - a luminous account of one of the most compelling literary figures of the last 50 years;
"The Rest is Noise" by Alex Ross - a sweeping musical history, from the salons of pre-war Vienna to Velvet Underground shows in the 60s.

Children’s Art Competition at Killaloe Library

Killaloe Public Library
ran a children’s art competition on the 5th of July under the guidance of local artist Nicola Welford assisted by members of Killaloe library staff. The event was a great success with face painting, and refreshments provided for all competitors. Sponsored by Thinking Toys of Ballina, Killaloe, prize-giving also took place in the library. Children had the choice of drawing and snacking outdoors in the relaxed atmosphere while parents socialized and spent time discovering what their local library has to offer. Staff were delighted to host the event which gave them the opportunity to make new contacts and encourage children to become regular library users.

Computer Tutor for Senior Citizens in Shannon

Senior Citizens in the Shannon area had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the world of Information Technology during the month of June 2008. Joining with Clare Basic Education Service and the local Senior Citizen’s Club, Shannon Library presented free taster tutorials. The group, some of whom had never used computers, were pleased to learn the basics together in a supportive peer group

Irish Traditional Music Concert at Kilrush Library.

Visitors to Kilrush Library were treated to a free lunchtime concert of Irish Traditional Music on the 16th of July 2008. Musicians Michael Hynes, Denis Liddy and Eoin O'Neill provided music and chat for a very appreciative audience on a wet July day. Organised by Clare County Arts office, the session was part of the Riches of Clare Programme providing Irish traditional music free lunchtime concerts at several venues throughout County Clare from May to August.

Children’s activities at Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon

Children’s activities are a regular offering by the staff of Shannon library to their young patrons. Weekly craft sessions and story times take place in the library for children aged from 2 and 3 to 12 years old. Hour-long Craft Sessions run every Thursday afternoon. A typical craft workshop sees children make a variety of objects, often making use of recycled material. Children feel a real sense of achievement when their creations are displayed in the library. Costs are minimal but advance planning is essential.

Young children and their parents are introduced to the library through weekly story reading at Shannon Library. There’s plenty of time for sharing stories in the informal time allowed, for children from many different cultures who have moved to Shannon in recent years. Staff at the library benefit from the continued event by getting to know different families in the area and their reading preferences.

Shannon Library’s Children’s Book Club meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 4pm. Children aged between 7 and 12 years meet to discuss a book they and the staff at the library have chosen to discuss and review the month before. Children learn to talk about plot, characters, content and the language used in books at an early age which encourages them to appreciate reading more, hopefully resulting in lifelong use of libraries and enjoyment of reading.

Storytime for Young Children at Hillery Public Library, Miltown Malbay

Storytime for toddlers and children aged up to 5 takes place weekly in Miltown Malbay Library. Stories are shared with the group in a fun atmosphere. Library staff read from the extensive Picture Book collection at the branch, introduce the children to audio books on CD and provide time at the end of each session for simple activities such as colouring and jig-saws. Parents use the time to explore the library’s bookstock, avail of the free Internet service provided or to choose from the Irish Traditional Music Collection of tapes and CDs that can be borrowed from the library. Whether you live locally or are visiting the area on summer holidays, staff at the library welcome children to join their storytime each Friday at 11.30am.

New and emerging Irish filmmakers & composers invited to apply for a film-scoring workshop with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra

Following the success of previous film-scoring workshops the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in association with Filmbase, FÁS Screen Training Ireland and the Contemporary Music Centre plan to bring together the very best in emerging Irish filmmakers and music composers to work on a collaborative project. Irish filmmakers and composers are being given the opportunity to apply for up to four places on a one-day recording session in RTÉ studios in early 2009. At this session original scores created by the composers for the filmmakers will be performed and recorded by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. By working together on creating an original score for the submitted film projects, this initiative will provide budding filmmakers and composers a valuable opportunity to enhance their skills with hands-on experience in a vital aspect of film post-production. It is also a rare opportunity to have a score composed for and recorded by a full orchestra. For more information click HERE