Friday, 26 June 2009

Calling all Quest Seekers to Clare County Library

Quest Seekers

The annual Library Summer Reading Scheme for children kicked off on Wednesday the 1st of July. This year’s theme is Quest Seekers and librarians throughout the county are hoping it will take young readers into a mysterious and wondrous land where they can discover the joy of reading. Children are urged to join the adventure in their local library, where young Quest Seekers will be helped along in their mission to read six books or more during July and August. Free promotional materials available as part of the scheme, will encourage them, as they read through the Summer and Clare County Library urges them to log on to the interactive Quest Seekers website which will link them with top authors and illustrators, give them space to talk about their favourite books and take part in on-line Quest Seeker games and activities.

CBI/Bisto Book of the Year Awards

Bog ChildThe 2009 Bisto Book of the Year Award 2009 was posthumously won by Siobhan Dowd for her novel Bog Child. The Eilis Dillon Award for a first children’s book was won by Mary Finn for Anila’s Journey. Kate Thompson was the proud winner of two awards, The Judges Special Recognition Award for Highway Robbery and The Bisto Honour Award for Writing, for Creature of the Night. The Bisto Honour Award for Illustration went to Oliver Jeffers for The Great Paper Caper.

Anthony Browne New Children’s Laureate in UK

Anthony BrowneThe author and illustrator Anthony Browne has been appointed as Children’s Laureate in the UK. Browne says that he will campaign to raise the profile of picture books in the trade and to encourage adults as well as children to draw. He first sprang to fame with a book about a friendly gorilla, and went on to win international acclaim with Willy the Wimp, a weedy chimp who overcomes his anxieties to defeat the neighbourhood bullies. Claire Armitstead writing in The Guardian newspaper said of Browne “He's also a sharp social commentator, whose counterpoint of words and text has set new standards of sophistication in picture books”.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Killaloe Playground

A quick video showing some of the great attractions at the new playground in Killaloe which was grant-aided by Clare County Council.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

County Clare on Nationwide

Clare Tourism ForumAt the end of last year and early this year the RTE Nationwide crew came to County Clare to film a piece on the Clare Tourism Forum and tourism in County Clare. The piece will be aired on Sunday evening, 5th of July, at 6.30pm, on RTE1. Interviewees include Richard Nagle, Chairperson of the Clare Tourism Forum; Birgitta Curtin, Burren Smokehouse; Michael McNamara, Senior Hurling Manager; Shane Gilmore, Sculptor; Paul Madden, Managing Director Temple Gate Hotel; Marty Morrissey, RTE; Katherine Webster, Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and Maureen Cleary, Clare Tourism Forum. Tune in and don’t forget to spread the word to your friends and family. Hopefully the piece will entice people to spend some time in beautiful County Clare. See also

Friday, 19 June 2009

Clare Hurling - The Glory Years 1995-1999

with music from Stockton's Wing

Orange Prize 2009

HomeThis year's Orange prize for the best novel written by a woman was won by a writer regarded as one of the greatest living novelists - Marilynne Robinson. Her novel Home explores the themes of family relationships and redemption. Fi Glover, chair of the judging panel said "This year's Orange Prize winner has a luminous quality to it that has drawn all of the judges to a unanimous decision. The profound nature of the writing stood out, as has the ability of writer to draw the reader into a world of hope expectation, misunderstanding, love and kindness". Robinson is the author of the novels Housekeeping (1981), chosen as one of the Observer’s 100 greatest novels of all time, and Gilead (2004) which won the Pulitzer prize. She was one of three American writers shortlisted for the £30,000 award. One of the favourites had been Ellen Feldman's Scottsboro, a fictional account of a real scandal when nine black defendants were farcically tried in Alabama in 1931 for the rape of two white girls. The other books were Samantha Hunt's The Invention of Everything Else, about the mad but brilliant inventor of AC electricity, Nikola Tesla; Samantha Harvey's The Wilderness, a first novel written about a man's descent into Alzheimer's; Deirdre Madden's Molly Fox's Birthday about a woman who never celebrates her birthday and Kamila Shamsie's Burnt Shadows which traces the stories of three families from the nuclear detonation in Nagasaki in 1945 to post-9/11 Afghanistan.

Ulysses on Twitter

UlyssesTwo Ulysses enthusiasts, Ian Bogost from the Georgia Institute of Technology and colleague Ian McCarthy, have recreated a chapter from James Joyce's 1922 novel on Twitter in an attempt to use the site in a culturally interesting way. They chose chapter 10, Wandering Rock, which is famous for showing the interlocking events of 19 characters walking through central Dublin on their daily business. Bogost and McCarthy registered 54 of the novel's characters as Twitter users and adapted the chapter in a large series of 140-character-or-less first-person statements, using a specially created software to automate a performance. On June 16, Bloomsday, the day the action in the novel takes place in 1904, these characters all sent tweets about what they were doing at the correct fictional times

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Dolphin exhibition at Courthouse Gallery

Dolphin exhibition at Courthouse Gallery

The Courthouse Gallery, Parliament Street, Ennistymon presents Jan Ploeg's ‘Dolphin Address’, a photography and video exhibition running from June 17th to July 12th 2009. The official opening takes place on Friday 19th June at 8 pm by Dr. Simon Berrow, founder of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and Project officer of the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation. The exhibition shows 26 large, mounted photographs (48 x 36 cm) of the dolphin Dusty, taken just under the waters’ surface, where the sunlight is still strong making her appear as being clad in a golden shroud. In addition, three computers will be set up where visitors will be able to view hundreds of photographs and underwater videos or log on to the artist’s website ( Jan Ploeg is an artist taught by nature, who worked in wood between 1976 and 1999 and started specializing in dolphins and whales since 1986. He first came to Ireland in 1992 and swam with Fungi and in 2002 started swimming with Dusty. He has since developed the ‘WaterWing’, written a book in his native Dutch about Fungi the Dolphin, developed toys for Dolphins in a Dutch dolphinarium and recently published ‘Dolphin Address’ featuring Dolphin photography and outlining his experiences with these animals.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Samuel Johnson shortlist 2009

Lords of Finance: 1929, The Great Depression - and the Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat AhamedThe shortlist for this year's BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction was announced on May 22nd. The prize, now in its 11th year, is billed as "the richest non-fiction prize in the UK". However, due to the credit crunch, the prize money, which was previously worth £30,000 to the winner, has dropped to £20,000. The winner will be announced on 30th June on a 50-minute special of The Culture Show.
The shortlisted books are:
Lords of Finance: the bankers who broke the world by Liaquat Ahamed
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Leviathan by Philip Hoare
The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes
Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality by Manjit Kumar

Ennistymon to Host Discworld Convention

The first Irish Discworld Convention will be held in The Falls Hotel, Ennistymon from 6th – 9th November 2009. Terry Pratchett will be the guest of honour (health permitting). Other guests include Stephen Briggs, Diane Duane, Peter Morwood, Colin Smythe, Bernard Pearson and Jack Cohen. The posh dinner taking place on the Sunday night of IDWCon will be given an awards ceremony theme, as the evening will be given over to the Oswalds (the DW equivalent of the Oscars). Other events include an Undead Monkey Party, an Unseen University Challenge and a Maskerade. See

Books into film

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi PicoultBook and film buffs have a lot to look forward to later in the year with the release of long-awaited adaptations of award-winning, million-selling novels. The movie adaptation of the bestselling My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, which stars Cameron Diaz, is due to be released at the end of this month. July sees the release of The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller, starring Robin Wright Penn. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – a Richard and Judy pick starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana – is due for release in August. Also due for release in August is the film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. October see the release of the Martin Scorsese directed Shutter Island based on the book by Dennis Lehane. Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley will star. The movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, directed by John Hillcoat, will hit the big screen this winter. Jan 2010 sees Susan Sarandon and Ireland’s Saoirse Ronan starring in The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Big budget adaptations of classic children’s tales will also hit the screen shortly. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is due in October with Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl due in November.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Social Networking Site for Book Groups

Random house has launched a social networking site for book groups. Groups can post their profiles on ReadersPlace ( and swap ideas and opinions on their favourite books with other clubs. The site will also host live webchats with authors and hold regular competitions for reading groups to win a visit from a local writer. There’s also a chance to win books for your reading group. Reading guides for more than 200 titles are available on the site.

Salinger in legal action to block Catcher sequel

The Catcher in the RyeJ D Salinger, the 90-year-old creator of The Catcher in the Rye, is taking legal action against an author who has written a sequel to the acclaimed novel. The 90-year-old's lawyers called the book a "rip-off pure and simple". Salinger's lawyers had requested a copy of the book, 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, written by J D California. They have now filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Manhattan, seeking to stop publication; the book is already available in the UK and is due to be published in the US in the autumn. The lawsuit said the right to create a sequel to The Catcher in the Rye or to use the character Holden Caulfield belonged only to Salinger.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Big Wave Surfing at Aileen's, Cliffs of Moher, Easter 2009

"The Easter swell was in, Dave Blount & Irish surf champion John McCarthy decided to take on the might of Aileen's at the Cliffs of Moher, while shooting footage for their new film." Filmed on 14th April 2009 by Jamie Tanner.

Music: "I Like to Move in the Night" by The Eagles of Death Metal

Library service helps beat recession

People who haven’t been to their local library in years might be surprised at what they find once inside the front door. Staff at branch libraries throughout the county have noted increased usage of services with both membership and loans up 10% on last year. There is no doubting that in recessionary times people look for value for money and in every instance this is evidenced in the service provided by the local library. There are best-selling books and magazines available and most libraries carry the daily and weekly newspapers. With the modern need to access the Internet in the home costing a tidy sum each month, savings can be made by accessing the Internet for free in your local branch library. Added to this is the supply of music CDs and film DVDs available in the bigger branches which makes library membership a “no brainer” for so many. Extending beyond this are the extra activities available in every branch which varies from bookclub membership for both adults and children to scrabble clubs, chess clubs and poetry clubs. Sixmilebridge library has a cross-stitch club. Shannon library has a language centre offering learning materials in a wide range of languages. Also in Shannon library, people have the chance to brush up on their PC skills through a FÁS e college and Library Council project.

Every summer parents are under pressure to find suitable and rewarding activities for children out of school for the holidays. Many of the bigger branch libraries run weekly storytimes and craft sessions for younger children. With the average price of a week in a summer camp for children nearing the €100 mark, libraries in Ennis, Shannon and Scariff are offering free summer programmes which include activities such as art, craft and music workshops, talks and tours. Children who are joined up in any of Clare’s public libraries can participate in the Summer Reading Challenge where they receive a ‘passport’ and other incentives to read a certain number of books throughout the summer holidays – might be useful if the weather turns bad!. Feedback from parents on the summer reading initiative is always reassuringly positive and appreciative.

All of this is available for an annual charge of €5 for adults, with preschool, primary school and secondary school kids being free. Senior citizens and unemployed person can also avail of library membership free of charge. And all events and activities run in the county’s public libraries are free of charge.

A lapsed member of Ennis library commented that “her family had forgotten about the library in the good times when there was loads of money around and now that it’s tight again, have come back”. People are now prepared to put their names on a waiting list for a popular book rather than rushing out to buy it. Many families are joining up and a particularly noticeable feature is that more fathers are bringing their children to the library and spending more time there reading to them. Research has found that the average library visit lasts for between 5 and 9 minutes but staff are reporting that people in general are spending more time in the library when they do visit, whether selecting materials, on the internet or reading a newspaper or magazine. Staff at Killaloe library have noticed people bringing their laptops to the library and working or studying there. They have also noticed a change in the age profile of library users with more people in their twenties and thirties in during the day, obviously now out of work. More young men than usual have been frequenting libraries looking for DIY manuals, whether it’s for the car or the home. There has also been an increase in demand for books on job-seeking and employment rights. During the Celtic Tiger years, books on house building were in great demand. Now it is books on self-sufficiency - growing your own veg and keeping chickens- that are in demand. Six of the top ten non-fiction books last year were cookery books; a good indication that staying in is the new going out! Escapist reading as a counter balance to the times we live in, is now in vogue: crime, thriller, and romance books are borrowed and reserved in greater numbers.

A serious downturn in the economy - such as we are currently experiencing - has historically been a boom time for public libraries. Libraries become busier as people return to more economic ways of accessing information, education, entertainment and communication. When looking for value for money, there is no better public service provider out there at present than the local library. For further details – see:

Memoir writing at Clare County Library

Creative Writer’s WorkshopAn enlightening “creative journey” through writing took place at the DeValera Public Library in Ennis On Tuesday 26th May in the form of a memoir writing workshop. The session was organised by Clare County Library and delivered by Irene Graham, a writer and photographer with a background in educational studies. In 1991 Irene founded the Creative Writer’s Workshop, which has become an international success in memoir and fiction writing. Her writing techniques are based upon right-brain/left-brain learning techniques and exercises. Using her recently published Memoir Writing Workbook, Irene showed the group how to write a memoir creatively… and how to have fun doing it. Irene’s vision is that memoir writing workshops will inspire individuals to write and share their life stories. She explains some of the reasons behind the project saying “I wanted to share on a broader scale the sheer joy of writing. I wanted to provide a platform for people to write and document their life stories for future generations.” She continues “Our lives are full of memories. A multitude of experiences that have shaped the paths that led us to where we are now in our personal life journeys.” The event sparked the creativity and enthusiasm of participants and feedback has been very positive. It is hoped that their stories and precious insights will become treasured possessions of family members and future generations. For further information contact Clare County Library at 065 6899090.

Shannon Library’s Chess Success

Seán Lemass Public Library, ShannonShannon Junior Chess Club has met in Sean Lemass Public Library on Friday evenings at 6.30pm throughout the Winter and Spring months coached by Stephen Danaher. Congratulations are due to the two Shannon Junior Chess Teams on achieving silver medals at the National Finals of the Community Games on Saturday 23rd May last which took place in Athlone Institute of Technology. Team members in the under 12 category were:
Robbie Meaney, Kevin Singpurwala, Darragh Mulqeen, Samuel Lenihan, Van Angelo Paz and Jack Mc Carthy.
Team members in the under 16 category were:
Claire O’Brien, Emer Danaher, Yee Kae Man, Yeshing Man, James Danaher, Ponch Caparas and Karl Fitzmaurice. Congratulations to all concerned.