Thursday, 24 February 2011

Irish Book Club of the Year Award for Limerick Group

A County Limerick book club has been named ‘2011 Irish Book Club of the Year’. Ballingarry Book Club beat off competition from other book clubs throughout Ireland to be named overall winner of the second annual competition, which was won in 2010 by National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) Audio Book Club from County Dublin.

Organised by the Ennis Book Club Festival, in association with Clare County Library, the competition attracted dozens of entries from book clubs throughout the country. The three-day festival is expected to attract hundreds of Book Club members and book lovers from all over Ireland. The Festival programme features author visits, readings, musical entertainment, a professional development workshop for library staff, and lectures and workshops in various venues around Ennis.

Among the contributors to the fifth annual festival will be Anne Enright; Pauline McLynn, Peter Sheridan, Paul Murray, Eamonn Sweeney, Dr Eibhear Walshe, John Curran, Doug Stanton, Blake Morrison, David J. Lynch, Vona Groarke, Tom Conaty, Marie Louise O'Donnell, John Lonergan, Lisa Fitzpatrick, Des Kenny and Justine McCarthy.

Helen Walsh, Clare County Librarian, congratulated Ballingarry Book Club on their award success, and paid tribute to the book club’s community focused approach. “Entrants to the competition were asked to say why their book club is special. Ballingarry Book Club stood out as a deserving winner for a number of reasons. The book club has enabled new friendships to be formed and has also embraced the positive change that can be delivered to community life through exchanging opinions on books. Over the last five years the members have shared their combined passion for reading and in doing so have had their opinions valued amongst new friends. The book club has also shown a commitment to encouraging other members of the community, both young and old alike, to start reading. The enthusiasm of all book club members made our decision of choosing this year’s winner much easier”, added Ms. Walsh.

Ballingarry Book Club member Yvonne Sweeney said she and her fellow members were delighted at being named overall Book Club winner. Ms. Sweeney continued: “Over the past five years or so we have read all manner of books, read outside our comfort zones, explored film adaptations, found new favourites and shared our old reliables with the group. We do not always agree, but this throws up lively discussion and banter. When we do unite in discovering a shared treasure, we sing its praises loudly! Over time, and through our discussions, we found we had more in common than we thought. This has led us to work beyond our Adult Book Club remit. Drawing on our diversity, our range of skills and experiences, and our community spirit we have continued to expand. For example we have formed a Children’s Book Club, addressing a need in the local community”.

Ballingarry Book Club will be guests at the 2011 Ennis Book Club Festival from 4th to 6th March in Co Clare, courtesy of the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis. The Festival is supported with grant aid from Ennis Town Council, the Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland/Shannon Development, and Clare Arts Office/Clare County Council. Local sponsors include the Ennis Bookshop, ANV Technology Ennis, Temple Gate Hotel, Dermot & Mary McMahon, Michael Houlihan & Partners. National sponsors include International Education Supplies, Leixlip. Local support from individuals, community groups and businesses plays an invaluable part in creating a successful festival.

Tickets for all events are on sale at Glór Box Office 00353 656843103 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              00353 656843103      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              00353 656843103      end_of_the_skype_highlighting & Further festival information is available from,, and tel 087-9723647/085-7758523.

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