Friday, 27 November 2009

Crime in a Cold Climate – New Book Promotion

Unseen by Mari JungstedtClare County Library’s latest book promotion for adults is entitled "Crime in a Cold Climate". This book promotion features crime novels by authors from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Denmark. Although the Nordic crime novel has enjoyed huge popularity in Europe for decades, it has only become something of a sensation in the English-speaking world in recent years. Authors whose books are featured in this promotion include Arnaldur Indridason, Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson – author of the Millennium trilogy which started with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. All of the novels featured in the promotion are prize winning novels - many having won The Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel of the year. The prestigious prize, known across the Nordic countries as Glasnyckeln, is named after Dashiell Hammett’s classic novel and has been awarded every year since 1992. Like all good crime novels, these novels evoke a strong sense of place. The writers have consistently come up with great plotlines that are as cold and bleak as the locations in which they are set. However what sets Nordic crime fiction apart from other crime fiction is the use of the story to tackle social issues and to turn a critical eye on contemporary society. They deal with abuses of power and inequalities in society and the failure of modern society to effectively respond to social ills. It is the policy of Clare County Library to actively promote the reading habit by increasing access to and awareness of material via book promotions. We hope that this collection of Nordic crime writing will appeal to all those devout crime fiction fans out there as well as encouraging those as yet unfamiliar with the genre to try something new.

In these book promotions, readers are provided with reviews of the relevant titles, ensuring a suitable and enjoyable read according to one’s choice. Each promotion has an average of twenty-five carefully selected titles. Multiple copies of these - in paperback generally - are displayed together in prominent position on tables, similar to supermarket policy for ‘special offers’ or bookshop display for lead titles/bargain books. This informal display is undoubtedly part of the success of the venture. Each promotion is circulated in turn - for a period of three months - to our branch library network, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh promotions. Once a promotion has “done the rounds” of our branch libraries, the books are released into the general system, and may then be reserved by library members. Click here for more Book Promotions...

McCann wins the National Book Award.

Let the Great World SpinNovelist Colum McCann became the first Irish author to win one of America’s most prestigious literary awards – The National Book Award for Fiction. The stated purpose of the awards is “to celebrate the best of American literature”. To be eligible for consideration, a book must have been published by a US publisher and its author must be an American citizen. McCann was born and raised in Dublin, but has lived in the US since 1994. Let the Great World Spin is set around the 1974 tightrope walk of French acrobat, Philippe Petit. McCann uses this event as a motif around which to assemble the stories of ten New York characters and to produce a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. His previous novels include Dancer and Zoli. Previous winners of the award include William Faulkner, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow and John Updike.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

De Valera Telegram & first Minute book of Clare County Council (April 1899) conserved

County Archivist Rene Franklin showing the telegram and minute book to the Deputy Mayor of Ennis, Cllr. Michael Guilfoyle and  Mayor of Clare, Cllr. Tony MulcahyThe “De Valera Telegram before and after conservation”

The “De Valera Telegram” has been conserved and recently returned for exhibition to Clare Museum. The telegram was sent by Eamon de Valera in the 1917 By-election to his wife upon his victory over Patrick Lynch of the Irish Party. The conservation was seen through in a joint initiative between Clare County Archives and Clare Museum. The telegram was in a vulnerable condition and was not in fit state to be exhibited/handled-it was in a state of disintegration. The telegram, a printed carbon copy on wood pulp paper, had become brittle, discoloured and acidic. The simple message on the telegram belied the importance of de Valera’s victory, ‘It signifies a move away from constitutional to physical force nationalism and the beginning of a political career that would last until de Valera’s retirement as President of Ireland in 1973’, said John Rattigan, curator of Clare Museum.

The first Minute book of Clare County Council recorded in April 1899 was also included in the conservation project. Clare County Council held is first meeting in the Grand Jury room in the Courthouse in Ennis in 22 April 1899. Michael A. Scanlon was elected as the first Chairman of Clare County Council. ‘Clearly those present regarded the new councils as a stepping stone to national independence as nationalist fervour was the spirit behind a series of motions recorded in the minutes and preserved now in Clare County Archives,’ said Rene Franklin, County Archivist.

Thomas Blackall proposed the following motion:

‘while accepting the Local Government Act [1898] as a tardy instalment of justice, and while we are determined to work for the benefit of all classes in our country, we hereby declare that we will never relax our efforts in the National cause until we see a native Parliament in College Green’ (CC/MIN/1, 22 April 1899).’

This Minute Book and the telegram are both on view in Clare Museum. All minute books of Clare County Council are preserved and available for viewing to the public by contacting Clare County Archives at or 065 6846414. The photo above shows County Archivist Rene Franklin showing the telegram and minute book to the Deputy Mayor of Ennis, Cllr. Michael Guilfoyle and Mayor of Clare, Cllr. Tony Mulcahy.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Scariff Science Week 2009

Scariff Science Week 2009The Animal Magic Roadshow arrived at Scariff Library to celebrate Science Week 2009 on the 9th of November. Rosie Campbell was delighted to introduce her array of animal friends and to share her love of nature and wildlife with local school children. Performing two shows on the one day two groups of fifty children had the chance to drape a boa constrictor round their necks, “bravely” stroke a skunk, and hold a little owl and a turtle in their hands. Specifically designed to educate and entertain, the Animal Roadshow provided children from local schools with lots of new information about the animals they saw and got them thinking about the importance and necessity of treating animals with respect. Library staff thought Rosie Campbell was an excellent show facilitator and were impressed by how she managed both groups of children, incorporating quizzes into her informative talks. Her shows are educational and interactive with lots of hands on experience bringing nature to life.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Courthouse Gallery Ennistymon - 'A Festive Review'

Courthouse Gallery Ennistymon - 'A Festive Review' A celebration of the creative achievements of the past year, the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, presents 'A Festive Review', opening on Friday 27th November at 8pm with live music by Christy Barry and Colin Nee to start the evening. Ennistymon Courthouse gallery is proud to look back on 23 artists who contributed to the artistic excellence and success of the Gallery in 2009. Each artist will show new works and this exhibition will include paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics, and sculpture. The show runs from the 27th November 2009 to 14th January 2010.

Ennis Book Club Festival 2010 line-up is announced

Ennis Bookclub Festival 2010Some of the most recognisable names in Irish and international literature will participate in next year’s Ennis Book Club Festival - the largest event of its kind anywhere in Ireland and the UK – from the 5th to the 7th March 2010. Supported by Clare County Library, the three-day programme of events is expected to attract hundreds of Book Club members and book lovers from all over Europe and North America. The festival will also feature Ireland’s first ‘Book Club of the Year Award’ and a professional development workshop for library staff.

Among the contributors to the festival will be Lionel Shriver, prolific journalist and Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Post-Birthday World; Joseph O’Connor, journalist, screenwriter and author of ten Irish number one bestsellers including Cowboys and Indians, Desperadoes, The Salesman and Inishowen; Tim Pat Coogan, biographer, historian, journalist and writer of Michael Collins and Ireland in the Twentieth Century; and Fiona Looney, columnist, playwright, scriptwriter and media personality.

Other authors scheduled to participate in the fourth annual festival include Diarmaid Ferriter, author, historian, and university lecturer; Paul Howard, journalist, author and creator of the cult character Ross O'Carroll-Kelly; Claire Keegan, award-winning short story writer and author of Antarctica and Walk the Blue Fields; and Thomas Lynch, essayist, poet, short stories writer, funeral director and winner of the American Book Award and The Heartland Prize for Nonfiction.

Academic contributors to the festival include Dr. Paul Delaney, School of English at Trinity College; Alan Titley, author, playwright, poet and Professor of Modern Irish and Head of Department at University College Cork; and Niall MacMonagle, reviewer, editor and English teacher at Dublin’s Wesley College.

Commenting on the 2010 Festival, Chairperson Frances O’Gorman said: “The festival is a wonderful social and literary event that brings together Book Club members, readers and authors from all over Ireland and beyond. It presents a unique opportunity for all literary enthusiasts to share their joy of reading, to meet authors, to discuss books, and to have a weekend break with friends.”

One of the highlights of the weekend Festival will be The Sunday Symposium, during which Tim Pat Coogan and Diarmuid Ferriter will join a panel discussion on the subject of “Reading History”. Elsewhere, the Festival is inviting library staff nationwide to a free workshop on how to start, develop and challenge a Book Club. Ciana Campbell of the Festival Organising Committee noted that the professional development workshop, which will be presented by Anne Downes of Opening the Book, has been designed specifically for library staff who are interested or involved in book clubs. She added: “It will cover areas such as managing group dynamics, injecting new life and bringing new ideas”. Meanwhile, the 2010 Festival features Ireland’s foremost ‘Book Club of the Year Award’. The winning Book Club (up to a maximum of six people) will receive a prize of free weekend passes to festival events and overnight accommodation at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis. Entry forms, which are being distributed throughout the country, must be submitted by Friday 8th January 2010.

Further details on ticket prices and the festival are available from (web), (t), (e) and (t) 087-9723647/085-7758523.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Lighthouse Keepers

A film by Katy G. Jones, completed Spring 2008.
Synopsis: "In 1919, Theresa Glanville was born in the lighthouse on Kilcredaun Point in County Clare, Ireland. In 2007, Theresa's granddaughter decided to visit the lighthouse. The film she made explores the ideas of family, place, immigration, and memory. She is a lighthouse keeper watching over her history, searching for identity in photographs and on the shore of the Shannon." Copyright Katy G. Jones

2010 IMPAC Award

Four Irish writers have been nominated for the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. 156 titles in total have been nominated for the €100,000 award - the world’s most valuable annual literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English. The nominations come from 163 libraries in 123 cities and 43 countries worldwide. The 156 authors come from 46 different countries. 41 of the books are translated from languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Icelandic, Serbian and Slovenian. 33 are first novels. “These are books that might not otherwise come to the attention of Irish readers”, says Deirdre Ellis-King, Dublin City Librarian. “The spread of languages and the number of books in translation continues to grow. This year at 41 novels, we have the largest number of books in translation to date.” The nominated Irish titles are The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (winner of the 2009 Costa Prize); Netherland by Joseph O’Neill (longlisted for the 2009 Man Booker prize); The Truth Commissioner by David Park and Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden. Indian writer Aravind Adiga is the most nominated author with 9 nominations for the Booker Prize winning The White Tiger. A Mercy by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry all received 8 nominations.

Writing in The Irish Times, Eileen Battersby said “where Impac has tended to triumph, and could well do so again this year, is by showcasing the best of international fiction in translation. The readers of the world’s participating libraries have presented the judges with a magnificent list of world-class contenders. The onus is now on that panel to select quality finalists reflective of this extraordinary longlist”. Dublin City Council will announce the shortlist in April 2010 with the winner being announced on 17th June. Previous winners of the prestigious award include: Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas (2009), De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage (2008), Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (2007), and The Master by Colm Tóibín (2006).

Good stories travel well

The three novels of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium crime trilogy all sit in the Fiction Top Ten lists in France, Italy and Germany as well as in Ireland and England. The books were originally published in Swedish. The first book in the series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was published in 2005 shortly after Larsson’s death. Altogether, his trilogy has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide (summer of 2009), and he was the second bestselling author in the world 2008. Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling Twilight novels have also secured places in the Fiction Top Ten’s of both Germany and Italy. The first book in the series, Twilight, was originally published in the United States in 2005. The Twilight novels have gained worldwide recognition, won multiple literary awards and sold over 70 million copies worldwide, with translations into almost 40 different languages.

Becoming a Poet 2010

Faber Academy will launch its first poetry-writing course in Ireland this coming January. It is a six-month workshop-based course which ranges from the improvement of technical skills to putting together a first collection. Students will attend weekly workshops designed to develop an appreciation of the poetry canon as a source for writing, hone practical skills, while becoming better writers and editors of one’s own work. There will also be guest seminars given by well-known poets such as Ciaran Carson and Dennis O'Driscoll and by publishers to provide a unique insight into the publishing industry. Aimed at writers who aspire to publishing a first collection of poetry, the course consists of 24 two-hour evening sessions on Tuesdays and six full-day sessions on Saturdays. There are 16 places at a cost of €3,000 but one place will be given free – based on merit, not financial circumstances. The course will be held in The Hibernian Club on St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin. Click here for further details...

Learn a new skill with Clare VEC this winter

Learn a new skill this winter, and beat the winter blues. Clare VEC courses include Knitting, Computers, Art, Scriptwriting, French, Spanish, Sign Language, Cooking, Beauty, Flower Arranging and many, many more. Ennis Community College, Harmony Row (located on Lahinch Road Roundabout) is currently enrolling for many new courses. Log on to its website for further details. Contact: 065-6848473, or call to the office Thursdays or Fridays 2-4pm.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Ballyvaughan Story - War of Independence 1921

Seven minute animated documentary about the Irish War of Independence. Winner of Best Animated Film at LA Femme Festival 2006. Directed by Sara Pocock, narration by Jim Hyland, animation by Sarah Pocock & Ke Jiamg, with music by "Gogarty's Pub Musicians". Can also be seen at the director's website

"Synopsis: The year is 1921 and the village of Ballyvaughan in Western Ireland is engulfed in the Irish War of Independence with the British. When the IRA devises the assassination of two British marines, a 13-year-old girl must save the village from the English retaliation while discovering her own courage and inner strength. Based on a true story." For report of the attack see The Clare Champion, Saturday May 28th, 1921.

Fun Christmas things to make & do on a budget

The Clare Family Learning ProjectThe Clare Family Learning Project presents "Christmas Treats On A Budget" - fun things to do with your child - in Room 6, Adult Education Centre, Clare VEC, Ennis on Friday 13th November from 11am-1pm. Call Mary or Clare at 065 6897645 to book your place. Classes are free.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

West Clare Fiddle Playing

The late John Kelly from Kilballyowen in south-west Clare, playing two reels (Ceathrú Cavan and The Wild Irishman) with his sons James and John Jnr. Copyright RTE (29th June 1977)

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage - County Clare

The National Inventory of Architectural HeritageThe National Inventory of Architectural Heritage is publishing part of its Building Surveys online, on a county basis, with most counties now online. The purpose of the Building Surveys is to highlight a representative sample of the architectural heritage of each county, and raise awareness of the wealth of architectural heritage in Ireland. The Clare section of the Survey was carried out in 1997 and is now partly online. It showcases four types of buildings: Courthouses, Banks, Pubs and shops and Mausoleums. See

The NIAH has also published illustrated introductions to the architecture of each county, the Clare volume being just released.

Children’s Book Festival Celebrations at Clare County Library

Scariff Storytime - Children's Book Festival 2009Thousands of children all over County Clare visited their libraries in October 2009 to enjoy the varied programme of events organized to celebrate children’s books and reading during Children’s Book Festival. The celebrations began with the official festival launch in the Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon, on the 3rd of October by Councillor John Crowe. Hundreds of young visitors along with their parents enjoyed non-stop entertainment in a four hour extravaganza of fun, including disco dancing, juggling and magic with the added attraction of a chocolate fountain. The hero of the day was Famous Seamus, who unicycled and juggled with hurleys and knives, all at the same time, to prove that men can multi-task after all. The launch kicked off a full month of children’s activities in Clare’s fifteen library branches where children met with authors and storytellers from Ireland and around the world, participated in print workshops, listened to the poetry of Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Paul Tubb and one of Britain’s best loved and most famous children’s poets, Brian Moses, who even inspired air-guitar displays from his young audiences! Children’s puppet theatre also featured in this year’s programme providing an opportunity for children to explore everyday issues in a fun atmosphere with lots of interaction from enthusiastic audiences. Overall this year’s festival was an oustanding success with reports from branches that some events could have been filled twice over.

Five authors, Sarah Webb, Enda Wyley, Meadhbh Ní Eadhra, Fiona Tierney and Kieran Mark Crowley toured the county during the month bringing their books to both the very young and older children and offering plenty of tips on how to become a writer and construct a story for children in senior classes. Sarah Webb brought children and parents together in a special event for pre-schoolers and their parents in Shannon Library designed to provide ideas for selection and sharing of stories with children from an early age. Poet and author Enda Wyley whose books for children (including The Silver Notebook) are published by O’Brien Press spoke with older children about how begin writing and how to translate everyday events into creative experiences by using the imagination. The children she met with in Ennistymon, Miltown Malbay, Lisdoonvarna, Kilmihil and Kildysart were all enthused by this writer’s personal experiences and her warm, charming personality. Appalachian storyteller Jerry Harmon told stories, played his guitar and sang songs from the southern mountains of America giving his audiences a chance to see a unique and very entertaining performance in what must have been a school day with a difference for the children whose teachers took them to the library. Andrew McKenna, whose stories are shaped by Australia’s local legends and millions of stories from all over the world gave an all encompassing performance inviting children, librarians and teachers to become involved in the enrichment of his tales.

Dog and String Theatre’s performance of Tales from the Forest had children from Ennistymon to Kilkee shouting at the King and searching for puppet characters among the bookshelves of their local libraries. Individual branches held fancy dress competitions for the best dressed book character, provided traditional games, storytimes and craft classes to the generous appreciation of children and parents in towns and villages in the county. Clare County Library is most grateful for sponsorship received from local industry and businesses for Children’s Book Festival. Please click here for a list of sponsors of this year’s Children’s Book Festival in Clare.