Thursday, 24 June 2010

Gerbrand Bakker wins 2010 IMPAC award

The TwinA relatively unknown Dutch author, Gerbrand Bakker, has won the 2010 IMPAC Award beating off competition from well-established authors Zoe Heller and Marilynne Robinson. Bakker’s book, The Twin, was originally published in the Netherlands in 2006 and was translated into English by David Colmer in 2008. Ostensibly a novel about the Dutch countryside, The Twin is ultimately about the possibility or impossibility of taking life into one's own hands, the strange bond between family and love, and the difference between being lonely and being alone. The judging panel commented "The book convinces from first page to last. With quiet mastery the story draws in the reader. The writing is wonderful: restrained and clear, and studded with detail of farm rhythms in the cold, damp Dutch countryside. The author excels at dialogue". At a presentation in Dublin, instead of a lengthy acceptance speech, Bakker offered a musical thank you in the form of the Dutch entry to the 1994 Eurovision song contest in Dublin. The song (Where is the Sun?) did badly, scoring only four points but Bakker felt it was much better than that and saw his victory as a vindication of the Dutch entry.

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is organized by Dublin City Libraries, on behalf of Dublin City Council, and is sponsored by IMPAC, an international management productivity company. The prize is open to novels written in any language and by authors of any nationality, provided the work has been published in English or as an English translation. The IMPAC is unique among literary prizes because nominations come from libraries around the world. This year's nominations came from 163 libraries in 123 cities in 43 countries worldwide. This global span of nominating libraries always throws up lesser-known authors, small publishers and books in translation and represents reading tastes from a very broad range of cultures. The prize fund of €100,000 is the largest prize in the world for a single novel – the translator will receive €25,000.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Paddy Keenan, Seán Ryan, Frankie Gavin and Alex Finn - Willie Clancy Summer School 1997

Paddy Keenan (Pipes), Seán Ryan (Tin Whistle), Frankie Gavin (Fiddle), Alex Finn (Bouzouki). Session filmed in 1997 at the Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, County Clare. Posted on Youtube by clarebannerman on the 8th of April 2008.

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Favourite Ever Orange Prize Winner

We Need to Talk About KevinLionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin has been selected by the public as their favourite title from the fourteen previous winners of the Orange Prize for Fiction. The poll was hosted by to mark the 15th anniversary of the literary award. Shriver's novel took 26% of the public vote, narrowly ahead of Andrea Levy's Small Island, which won the prize in 2004. Jenni Murray, who chaired the Orange prize judging panel in 2005, the year Shriver won, said We Need to Talk About Kevin "resonates still, years after I read it. No other writer has [Shriver's] acerbic turn of phrase, nor the courage to examine so forensically the ambivalence felt by so many mothers." However, Shriver failed to win the Orange Prize Youth Panel award. Recruited via teen website, the shadow panel selected Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, which triumphed in 1997, as their top prize winner from the 14 previous winners.

Meanwhile American author Barbara Kingsolver has won the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction with her sixth novel The Lacuna. Daisy Goodwin, Chair of Judges, said: “We had very different tastes on the panel, but in the end we went for passion not compromise. We chose The Lacuna because it is a book of breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy.” The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities. Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Orange Prize was established in 1996 to promote women's fiction and goes to the best novel of the year written by a woman in the English language. Previous winners include Zadie Smith, Helen Dunmore, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Rose Tremain, as well as Michaels and Shriver.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Clare County Library launches Space Hop - this year’s Summer Reading Challenge

Space Hop

All fifteen branches of Clare County Library are getting ready to launch children into orbit for an intergalactic adventure that will keep them reading throughout the school summer holidays - with the 2010 Summer Reading Challenge. And it’s all free fun, which is good news for parents! The Summer Reading Challenge is just one of many exciting schemes public libraries offer to help children develop a love of reading. It is an immensely popular and successful reading initiative. Linking up with The Reading Agency, the independent charity working to inspire more people to read more, Clare libraries will help children complete the six book challenge by offering fun incentives along the way. The 2010 Summer Reading Challenge has a space theme. Called Space Hop, it will enable children to boldly go to new worlds, to discover the joy of reading and nurture a life-long love affair with reading and books.

Each year the Summer Reading Challenge to children is simple. They’re encouraged to read six or more books of their choice during the holidays with collectable incentives and rewards, plus a certificate for every child who completes the Challenge presented at a special event in the Autumn. Certificates will be presented at the five largest, full-time branches in the county this year for children who have participated from those and neighbouring libraries. The Summer Reading Challenge adventure starts in your local library where children can sign up from the 1st of July. An interactive Space Hop ( website has also just launched, linking children with top authors and illustrators, and giving them space to talk about their favourite books and to share reading ideas. Space Hop also promotes their local library as a place of wonder for children, where librarians can offer them invaluable advice and guidance to help them on their mission. Research shows that children really enjoy taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge. It’s a great way to keep them entertained over the holidays, with children who take part reading more books and reading more widely than those who don’t. The Summer Reading Challenge introduces children to one of the best free resources that they have on their doorsteps, the local library.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Vandeleurs of Kilrush, County Clare – major publication added to website

 Stables at Kilrush House. Johnny Byrnes holding a horse at the stables of Kilrush House with Col Crofton Moore Vandeleur on the right. 1860

Vandeleurs of Kilrush, County Clare, a comprehensive history of the most prominent landlord family in West Clare, has recently been added to Donated Family Histories on the library website. Using a wide variety of sources, it covers the early years of the family in Kilrush, their involvement with the development of the town and its harbours, the family’s relationship with their tenants during the Famine and the later evictions and their departure from Kilrush in the late nineteenth century. The publication also contains transcriptions of many Vandeleur leases dating from 1785 and a complete transcription of the memorials in the Church of Ireland graveyard in Kilrush. Clare County Library is grateful to Senan Scanlan for donating this work and allowing it to be published online.

The photo above, taken in 1860, shows the stables at Kilrush House, with Johnny Byrnes holding a horse and Col Crofton Moore Vandeleur on the right.

Click here for Vandeleurs of Kilrush, County Clare...

See Also:
Vandeleur Photographic Collection
Vandeleur Eviction Photographs
Inhabitants of Scattery Island, by Senan Scanlan

Friday, 4 June 2010

Providence at Cruise's, Ennis, on Geantraí

The group Providence recorded at Cruise's, Ennis, for Geantraí, TG4. Posted on Youtube on 31st May, 2009 by BigNoel12345

Crime Writers Association Shortlist for 2010 Announced

August Heat by Andrea CamilleriStieg Larsson, R J Ellory and Jeffery Deaver are among those shortlisted for this year's Crime Writers Association (CWA) Daggers. The winners will be revealed on 23rd July. CWA chair Tom Harper said: "Our shortlists this year reflect the extraordinary breadth and quality of modern crime writing. Whether you like it long or short, fact or fiction, around the corner or on the far side of the world – these awards recognise the best of the genre, from established masters to tomorrow’s bestsellers."

Prizes are awarded in five categories:

The International Dagger - for crime, thriller, suspense or spy fiction novels which have been translated into English from their original language.
Badfellas by Tonino Benacquista
August Heat by Andrea Camilleri
Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indriðason
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson
Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer
The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin

The CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction - Any non-fiction work on a real-life crime theme or a closely-related subject by an author of any nationality, as long as the book was first published in the UK in English between June 1, 2008 and May 31, 2010.
Major Farran’s Hat by David Cesarani
Killing Time by David R. Dow
Aftermath: The Omagh Bombing & the Families’ Pursuit of Justice by Ruth Dudley Edwards
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie & Clyde by Jeff Guinn
Defending the Guilty by Alex McBride
The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi

CWA Dagger in the Library - to an author for a body of work, not one single title.
The nominated authors are Simon Beckett, R J Ellory, Ariana Franklin, Mo Hayder, Denise Mina and Chris Simms.

CWA Debut Dagger - a new-writing competition open to anyone writing in the English language who has not yet had a novel published commercially.

Short Story Dagger – for a crime short story first published in the UK in English in a publication that pays for contributions, or broadcast in the UK in return for payment. Five of the shortlisted six stories in the short story category come from Thriller 2 edited by Clive Cussler .

For the full shortlist see

Visit to Coast Guard station - Killaloe

Visit to coast guard station in KillaloeOn Wednesday the 26th of May, Killaloe Public Library organised a visit to the Coast Guard station in Killaloe for nineteen boys aged 7-9 from Killaloe Boys National school.The boys spent two hours being shown how all the equipment owned by the coast guard works. They saw the boats, the Jeeps, the underwater cameras, and the computer technology used in searches on land and sea. They received a very valuable First Aid lesson and saw a power point presentation on water safety also. All in all, the boys found the trip fascinating and learned a lot from the experience.

Horrid Henry the Most Popular Boy in Clare

Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time MachineStatistics compiled by Clare County Library show books in the Horrid Henry series by author Francesca Simon claiming seven of the top ten spots in the list of the most borrowed books from Clare County Library in 2009.

Top Issuing Titles 2009:

1. Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine - Francesca Simon
2. Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker - Francesca Simon
3. Horrid Henry and the Bogey Babysitter - Francesca Simon
4. Horrid Henry’s Stinkbomb - Francesca Simon
5. Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman - Francesca Simon
6. Horrid Henry’s Underpants - Francesca Simon
7. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
8. Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend - Francesca Simon
9. Alice in the Middle - Judi Curtin
10. My Sister Jodi - Jacqueline Wilson

Children’s Books:
Henry is everybody’s favourite bad boy. Francesca Simon says that she sees her books as westerns for kids. Henry is an outlaw, who behaves dreadfully, yet often triumphs. The children of County Clare are not unique in loving to read about Henry’s antics – the Horrid Henry books are amongst the most popular books in all libraries throughout Ireland.

1. Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine - Francesca Simon
2. Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker - Francesca Simon
3. Horrid Henry and the Bogey Babysitter - Francesca Simon
4. Horrid Henry’s Stinkbomb - Francesca Simon
5. Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman - Francesca Simon
6. Horrid Henry’s Underpants - Francesca Simon
7. Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend - Francesca Simon
8. Alice in the Middle - Judi Curtin
9. My Sister Jodi - Jacqueline Wilson
10. Match of the Day Annual 2009

Young Adult Books:
Stephenie Meyer’s fantasy Twilight series continues to be hugely popular with the first book in the series claiming the number seven spot on the list of most borrowed books overall. Five books by Stephenie Meyers feature on the top ten list of most borrowed books in the young adult section throughout Clare County Library.

1. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
2. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - JK Rowling
4. Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne
5. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
6. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
7. Cirque du Freak - Darren Shan
8. The Host - Stephenie Meyer
9. Marked - P.C. Cast
10. Stop in the Name of Pants - Louise Rennison

Adult Non-Fiction Books:
Cookery books by Rachel Allen dominated the adult non-fiction most-borrowed list. With "staying in" becoming the new "going out", Allen’s three books are joined by three other cookery books - by Neven Maguire, Hugo Oliver and Jamie Oliver - on the top ten most borrowed books in the non-fiction category. Pádraig Óg Ó Rourke’s Blood on the Banner : the Republican Struggle in Clare claims the number seven spot on the list.

1. Rachel’s Food For Living - Rachel Allen
2. Official Driver Theory Test
3. Rachel’s Favourite Food at Home - Rachel Allen
4. Rachel’s Baking Secrets - Rachel Allen
5. Neven’s Real Food for Families - Neven Maguire
6. Angels in my Hair - Lorna Byrne
7. Blood on the Banner - Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc
8. Jamie’s Ministry of Food - Jamie Oliver
9. Avoca Café Cookbook 2 - Hugo Arnold
10. The Parish - Alice Taylor

Adult Fiction Books:
In the adult fiction category, the top ten list has been dominated by Irish women authors for many years and 2009 was no exception. Patricia Scanlan and Cathy Kelly have two books each on the list with Celelia Ahern’s The Gift also featuring. They are joined by the Costa award winning books Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. Thillers Run for Your Life by James Patterson, Long Lost by Harlan Coben and The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver, were also among the most popular books in Clare libraries.

1. Happy Ever After - Patricia Scanlan
2. Once in a Lifetime - Cathy Kelly
3. Run For Your Life - James Patterson
4. Lessons in Heartbreak - Cathy Kelly
5. The Gift - Cecelia Ahern
6. Long Lost - Harlan Coben
7. Forgive and Forget - Patricia Scanlan
8. Brooklyn - Colm Toibin
9. The Bodies Left Behind - Jeffery Deaver
10. The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry

Reading Challenge County Champions

Cllr Christy Curtin  Garda Sergeants John Staunton and Declan O'Keeffe with children from the Reading Challenge Prize-Winning Schools

Cllr Christy Curtin and Garda Sergeants John Staunton and Declan O'Keeffe with children from the Reading Challenge Prize-Winning Schools

Clare County Library wrapped up its 2009-2010 World Literacy Championship on April 16th, 2010. A total of 83 schools from Nova Scotia, Canada and County Clare signed up as team players in the sport of literacy. These 83 schools began reading for the WOW Reading Challenge on November 16, 2009 and finished on April 16, 2010. A total of 1, 357, 818 books were read over the span of the competition with 27 schools in County Clare contributing 143,318 books to that figure.

The top three 2009-2010 WOW! Reading Challenge schools in the world are:
Walter Duggan Elementary School in Westville, Nova Scotia with an average of 502 books per student!
Bible Hill East Court Road Elementary School Bible Hill, Nova Scotia with an average of 445 books per student.
Bible Hill Central School of Bible Hill, Nova Scotia with an average of 425 books per student.

The top school in Ireland was Furglan National School whose pupils read an average of 220 books per reader over the six month period. Kilfenora National School came in at second place in County Clare having read an average of 209 books per reader and for the second time Bansha National School are in third place with an average of 178 books read per child registered for the project in the school. Councillor Christy Curtin presented prizes to the winning schools in Miltown Malbay Community Hall on the 27th of May. Teachers, library staff and members of An Garda Siochana were also present to congratulate the young book enthusiasts from Furglan, Kilfenona and Bansha. The WOW Reading Challenge has been run by the library service for the past four years and has been a hugely successful project from the point of view of linking many different community groups. Established by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia, Canada, its ultimate aim is to decrease the rate of crime by increasing literacy among young people. This Internet-linked initiative connecting children over two continents is an innovative way for teachers, schoolchildren, their parents, the library and An Garda Síochána to join as a community, to promote reading. The project serves to encourage children to read and use the library more and is also an opportunity for An Garda Siochana to engage in community policing and to advocate literacy as a means of ensuring children and youth have high self esteem and feel in control of their lives.

Gardai at Ennis Garda Headquarters, under the supervision of Sgt. John Staunton, have joined with the library service for the past four years to promote reading and to talk about their work in the community. As a result of the initiative teachers have commented that their pupils have benefited from exposure to a wider variety of text, they have become members and frequent users of the library and have developed a habit of reading for pleasure. Clare County Library staff are pleased to welcome class visits from schools at any time to their branches and are also encouraged by the increasing numbers of school memberships that have been registered in latter years. The 2009/2010 WOW Reading Challenge schools in County Clare were Furglan, Kilfenora, Bansha, Clohanes, Moyasta, Tubber, Kilnamona, Connolly, Ballycar, Inagh, Burrane, Cahermurphy, Doora, Dromindoora, Kilmurry, Quin, Kilmihil, Coore, Ballyvaughan, Cooraclare, Clouna, Holy Family Jnr. School Ennis, Doonaha, Moveen, Corofin, Ballyea, St. Conaire’s Shannon, and Cratloe.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Skulduggery Pleasant - Ireland’s Book of the Decade

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek LandySkulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy has been named as Ireland’s Book of the Decade. Earning first place in the Irish Book Awards sponsored by Bord Gáis Energy, Landy’s first title in what is now a much loved series beat off strong competition. In a web-poll of over 5000 votes, Skulduggery Pleasant put renowned literary favourites by such authors as Joseph O'Connor, Sebastian Barry, Colum McCann and John McGahern in the shade. Other contenders for the top position included Paul Howard, Sheila O'Flanagan, Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern who consistently top the bestseller lists, not forgetting bestselling biographies from Diarmaid Ferriter and Bill Cullen. John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was also predictably among the list of favourites. But it was the affable Dublin author who triumphed for bringing us the fedora-wearing skeleton detective and his girl sidekick and able young apprentice Stephanie, in the action-packed series which has reached its fourth book with five more to come. Commenting on the setting for his novels and his intention for them to be recognizably Irish, Derek Landy said: "I figured being distinctly British didn’t exactly hurt Harry Potter. The only way to get the fantastic to pop out at you is to surround it with reality. I took the decision, this is Irish and is going to be proud to be Irish."

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Swimming with the dolphin in White Strand, County Clare

"Swimming with the dolphin in White Strand" - Posted on Youtube by atlanticdivingschool on October 1st 2008