Wednesday 30 April 2008

Clare Heritage Plan Projects, 2008

Name your place! Clare Placenames Project. Clare County Council and the Clare Placenames Committee are establishing a countywide structure for the collection of local Placenames. Any groups or individuals interested are asked to contact Tomás Mac Conmara at
Clare Traditional Currachs and Boats Study. Traditional Currachs and Boats across the county will be studied and a priority list for conservation established. Contact would be welcome from any individuals or groups involved in any area of boating or currach heritage. For further info email
Clare Industrial Heritage Survey.
Following the successful coastal architecture project in 2006/7, an industrial Heritage Survey studying mills, bridges, mines, workhouses, railway structures, kilns etc. will be carried out throughout 2008. For further info email Gráinne O’Connor at

Monday 28 April 2008

JK Rowling defends her characters

JK Rowling has recently been involved in a court case against a US publisher of an unauthorized guide to the Harry Potter books. Rowling, whose earnings from the famous series are now approaching €700 million defends her characters and their world as she would family. Dedicated muggle fans of her books will surely empathise with her. JK Rowling plans to release her own Potterpedia in the future to raise money for charity.

Munster 4 kids

Munster 4 kids is a free magazine listing children’s activities in venues all over Munster. Packed with puzzles, competitions, ideas for family days out and rainy day activities it’s a valuable resource for parents during school Summer holidays. There’s a special feature on rediscoving your local library with names and contact details of all library branches listed. There’s also a recommended children’s websites page and much more. Copies of Munster 4 kids are available in Clare library branches.

Friday 25 April 2008

Fleadh Nua Salutes Frank Custy

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann will be paying a tribute to Frank Custy, “the doyen of Clare’s Traditional Music teachers”, at the official opening of Fleadh Nua 2008 at the newly refurbished Cois na hAbhna on Sunday, 18th May. Frank played a significant part in the construction and development of Cois na hAbhna in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, while Sharon Shannon, Noel Hill, Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, Tony Linnane, Siobhán Peoples and the Healy Brothers are just some of the musicians who have learned their craft from the Toonagh tutor. In 2004 Frank was a worthy recipient of Vodafone’s ‘Passion for the World Around Us Award’, since, in the words of the Clare Champion, ‘’he has played a major role in providing the youth of Clare with access to traditional music via his weekly music classes and legendary céilí sessions in the old Toonagh schoolhouse.’

Thursday 24 April 2008

The Avenue – from the Scale to Dalymount and beyond 1983-2008

“The Avenue – from the Scale to Dalymount and beyond 1983-2008” by Ollie Byrnes was launched at the Old Ground Hotel recently. Celebrating Avenue United Football Club’s twenty five year history, the book charts its growth from its humble beginnings in Marian Avenue and Steele’s terrace to Dalymount and beyond. Comprised of over one hundred photographs and contributions and reflections from past and present club members, the book is a wonderful mixture of historical record and humorous anecdotes. The book also incorporates the roots of Association Football in the town and recalls the greats of the other soccer teams in the town – as such should be of interest to everyone with an interest in the development of soccer through the town, county and beyond. "The Avenue" celebrates the lofty position soccer enjoys in the social fabric of the area and makes an important contribution to the social history as well as to the sporting history of the town. A must for sports fans.

Books at the Oscars

Books have long inspired Hollywood's greatest moments, and 2008 was no exception. 3 of the 5 films nominated for the Best Motion Picture of the Year award were based on novels. The Coen brothers’ "No Country for Old Men", based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, dominated the awards winning 4 Oscars including those for best picture and best adapted screenplay. "Atonement" based on the classic novel by Ian McEwan, starring Keira Knightley, was nominated for best picture and for best adapted screenplay. "There Will be Blood", loosely based on the Upton Sinclair novel Oil, also received a Best Picture nomination.

Talking Books Service

The Talking Books service at Clare County Library brings the joy of books to people experiencing difficulties with their sight and helps them to rediscover, or continue to enjoy, reading. This service to the visually impaired is administered for the entire county from the branch library in Kilrush. It is a service of which the library is extremely proud, as it allows us to reach out to people and attempt to improve their quality of life. A wide variety of reading interests is catered for, from Detective, Romance and Thriller titles, to biography, history and travel. A list of all titles available in this format is available on the library website (see Talking Books in the Special Services section). There is no fee to register for this service, and each borrower is entitled to 4 books/tapes for an unlimited period of time. An Post allows for free postage of all items under this scheme. For further information contact Kilrush library at 065 9051504 or email
The story of Talking Books or Audio Books is an interesting one, dating back to the the First World War. Many soldiers, blinded in action, found braille too difficult to learn. In 1920 the Royal National Institute for the Blind in the UK began testing different formats and methods of producing books that could ‘talk’. By 1926 they were testing the possibility of using long-playing records which would be played on gramophones. In 1935 RNIB sent out the first Talking Books to blind and partially sighted people including ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ by Agatha Christie and ‘Typhoon’ by Joseph Conrad. The books were recorded on 12 inch discs and were recorded at 24 revolutions per minute instead of 78. Each side lasted 25 minutes so that a typical book would fit onto ten double-sided records. Talking Books received an enthusiastic reaction from blind and partially sighted people. One blinded ex-soldier commented in the Times: “The person who thought of the Talking Book ought to have a monument three times the size of Nelson's.“ Following the Second World War researchers continued to look at new ways of improving the service. In 1949 magnetic tape began to look like a viable alternative to replace gramophone records and the new Talking Book player which played ‘tape’ was introduced for the first time. The cassette was so big and heavy the postman had to deliver it separately to the normal mail. To return it to the library the member had to take it back to the Post Office rather than post it in the post box! Recording later switched to ¼" tape at a new Talking Book Studios where Engineers recorded two books simultaneously, using professional narrators. By 2002 Talking Books were recorded digitally. Today they are issued on long-playing CDs which can hold more material than standard CDs – a vast improvement from the early days of Talking Books. Clare County Library will continue to monitor developments in this area in an effort to make books and reading accessible to all.

Mysterious cluster of deaths at the Ciseach (late 1840s)

On our Clare Past Forum Paddy Casey is seeking help in relation to the mysterious death of a village in Ruan parish in the 19th Century. He wonders:
what was the disease that wiped out the inhabitants?
when did the 40 families die (year? season?)
were the names of any surviving families documented?
were any quarantine measures applied to the area?
If you can help, register on the forum, log in and post your message. It’s all free.

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Bisto Book of the Year Awards

Children’s Books Ireland Bisto Book of the Year Awards are presented annually in recognition of excellence in writing and or illustration of books, for young people in Ireland. The shortlisted books may be written in English or Irish. Many bestselling, internationally renowned authors have won a "Bisto", including Eoin Colfer, John Boyne and several times winner Kate Thompson. The Bisto Book of the Year Awards were first run in 1990. Prizes are currently awarded in three categories: the Bisto Book of the Year , the Eilís Dillon Award, named in honour of writer Eilís Dillon and awarded to a first time writer for children and a Merit Award which is shared by three winners.
A panel of judges chosen by CBI for their experience and expertise in children’s books consider the work of each finalist for quality of the text and illustrations, for exceptional integration of text, illustration and design and for originality of the work and appeal to its readership.
The shortlist for the 2007/2008 awards was announced on March 26th and the winners will be announced on May 22nd 2008. The contenders are:
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
The Black Book of Secrets by FE Higgins
Discover Art by Jessica O'Donnell
Gaiscioch na Beilte Uaine le Caitriona Nic Sheain agus Andrew Whitson
The Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
The Thing With Finn by Tom Kelly
Titanic 2020 by Colin Bateman
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers
Wilderness by Roddy Doyle

100 Years of Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables is 100 years old this April. Over 50 million copies of the book has been sold worldwide in over twenty different languages since its original publication in 1908.

Team Read 2008: Summer Reading Scheme for children in all branches of Clare County Library.

Get Active – Get Reading is the advice being issued this Summer, by your local library to all children in your area.
Would you like to help your children
• become more enthusiastic about reading?
• maintain their reading level in the term ahead?
• return to school feeling confident about their reading and ready to learn more?
Clare County Library will kick off the long holidays for thousands of children in Clare by inviting them to join in this year’s Summer Reading Scheme, Team Read. For the seventh successive year Library staff hope to build on the love of reading that has been fostered through schools during term time and to continue the promotion of books and libraries as an enjoyable and worthwhile activity throughout the summer. In association with the Reading Agency in the UK, Clare County Library will supply promotional packs to each child who joins the scheme in their local library and undertakes to read a minimum of six books during July and August. Children signing up to take part in Team Read will receive specially designed membership cards, and various incentives along the way to encourage them to complete the scheme. Children who complete the Summer Reading Scheme will receive a special certificate of merit celebrating their achievement at an awards evening in September. The Summer reading Scheme is an example of Parents, Teachers and Librarians Working together. Parents can encourage their children to join the scheme; teachers can encourage children to visit their local library and join the Summer Reading Scheme before they leave school in June for summer holidays and Library staff will be on hand in all branches to advise on suitable material for all Team Readers.

Bond is back!

Author Sebastian Faulks was commissioned by the Ian Fleming Estate to pen a new James Bond novel to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth.The book - entitled Devil May Care - will be published by Penguin next month and promises "action...played out across two continents, exotic locations and several of the world's most thrilling cities".
Faulks said "Bond is damaged, ageing and in a sense it is the return of the gunfighter for one last heroic mission".

Tuesday 22 April 2008

Shortlist announced by International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

The shortlist has been announced for the 2008 IMPAC Award. Irish author Patrick McCabe’s Winterwood is on the eight-strong shortlist for the €100,000 prize. The others are De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage; The Speed of Light by Javier Cercas; Dreams of Speaking by Gail Jones; The Woman Who Waited by Andrei Makine; The Attack by Yasmina Khadra; The Sweet and Simple Kind by Yasmine Gooneraratne and Let It Be Morning by Sayed Kashua. The award is the most valuable literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English. It is open to novels written in any language and by authors of any nationality, provided the work has been published in English or English translation. Nominations are submitted by library systems in major cities throughout the world. This year’s winner will be announced on June 12th.

Monday 21 April 2008

Lahinch National School are this year’s winners of Clare County Library’s WOW Transatlantic Reading Challenge.

The children of Lahinch have read a phenomenal 53, 696 books, an average of 466 books per child, over the past six months up to the closing date of the 5th of April 2008.
In a closely contested race to the finish, with North Clare Schools battling it out for first prize, Furglan National School finished second with Clouna National School coming third. Last year’s winners, Moyasta National School, finished fourth.
Clare Schools did themselves especially proud this year with Lahinch National School coming second and Furglan National School coming third in the overall International Challenge among schools in Nova Scotia, London and the US. Big Tancook Elementary School in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada, took first place out of the four participating countries.
A staggering total of 211,967 books were read by 2,391 students in Clare’s National Schools with an average of 89 books read by each child registered in the project.
Mr. Kevin Glynn, principal of Lahinch National School has the following to say on his school’s experience of participating in the Challenge:
“We decided at the beginning of this year to do something special in order to promote reading and foster good reading habits throughout the school. The WOW! Reading challenge was the perfect opportunity to do this and so in early November the challenge began. From day one all teachers, pupils and parents embraced the challenge and reading became fun! Each classroom became a hive of reading activity as children read, recorded, counted, discussed and exchanged every book they could get their hands on. Homework passes were given out to any pupils who read books during the Easter holidays. The buzz of reading was palpable throughout the whole school. The teachers found that everyone could take part, the children challenged themselves to read harder books and the parents thought it was the best thing that ever happened.
We are proud to say that the children of Lahinch school have read over 53,000 books as a result of this reading challenge. When the children themselves were asked what they thought were the advantages of the whole experience here is some of what they had to say, “everyone was able to take part”, “ we got to learn fun facts”, “it really was a challenge to read as many books as possible”, “when I started …… I thought I’d read 100 books and I ended up reading 600!”, “we got to read different books every time”, and “I’m never going to quit reading”.
The first Transatlantic Reading Challenge began in late 2006 and proved to be hugely successful in the promotion of reading among children in Clare. National School children were invited to take up the challenge to read as much as they could during the challenge, using books at school, at home and from the public library. This year thirty schools in the County took part which was an increase in the program uptake of 50 per cent on last year.
Each child in Clare was issued with a special reading log, as were children in Nova Scotia, London and the United States. A designated teacher in each school totalled how many books per child were read as part of the challenge, at regular intervals and registered these figures on the Adopt-a-Library website

The Reading Challenge is part of a larger crime prevention program in Canada called the Adopt-a-Library Literacy Program and is a partnership of police and public libraries. The Program advocates literacy as a means of ensuring children and young people have high self esteem and feel in control of their lives. By taking part in the Reading Challenge children can improve their reading skills and learn to work together towards a common goal by competing against other schools in a friendly and positive way.
For the second year in a row Sergeant John Staunton, Ennis Garda Headquarters has been extremely supportive of the project. Joining with the library service Clare Garda Division assigned fifteen members of the Gardai to the project, who visited schools to promote the challenge and to drive home the message that increased literacy means decreased crime. Teachers and librarians involved in the project all agree that the participating gardai worked above and beyond the call of duty in engaging and inspiring the young readers in the schools they regularly visited.
A member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police visited schools in County Clare in April 2007 to promote the transatlantic literacy programme. A return visit is planned for participating schools in October 2008.