Thursday 31 December 2009

Christmas Day 2009 in Clare

Posted on Youtube by Moontv2007 who says "Since it's Christmas Day and the place is looking more like a postcard scene from the North Pole than County Clare, I decided to lift up the camera and press record. I just popped outside into the back garden and kept rolling, it's a random video but hopefully one you'll enjoy. It's not often we get freezing cold weather like this. -10 degrees C in some parts."

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Liscannor Church Christmas Cribs 2009

Posted on Youtube on the 20th December 2009 by tseandun who says "This is the amazing display of cribs from all over the world our local Parish Priest, Fr. Denis Crosby, puts on display every year [in St Brigid's Church, Liscannor]. People from all over County Clare coming to see them, now the whole world can too..." Music 'Silent Night' by Sinéad O'Connor.

Top Selling Authors of the Decade

The Bookseller magazine has released the list of the UK top selling authors of the period 2000-09. Seven Irish authors are featured in the top 100 list. Maeve Binchy is the highest selling of the Irish authors having sold over 4.6 million copies of her books over the past ten years at a value of almost £32 million. Marian Keyes is just behind her in 27th place having sold 4.5 million books at a value of over £28 million during the period. Cecelia Ahern is in 42nd place having sold 3.2m books at a value of £18.6m. The other Irish authors on the list are Darren Shan, Cathy Kelly, Sheila O’Flanagan and Eoin Colfer. Darren Shan and Eoin Colfer are primarily known as children’s authors but both have recently begun writing for adults – Eoin Colfer with And Another Thing, the sequel to Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The 100 top bestselling author list was dominated by JK Rowling, selling 27.5 million books at a value of almost £216 million. Some distance behind her was Dan Brown selling only one third that number of books and Roger Hargreaves (Mr Men books) one tenth of that number.

New Book Club for Channel 4

A follow-up to the Richard and Judy TV book club has been announced by Cactus TV. The new show which begins on January 17th, will be presented in 10 thirty-minute episodes on More 4 on Sunday evenings, with a daytime repeat on Channel 4 on the following Monday. Amanda Ross described the new format as "like a dinner party", with the five hosts - who include comedian Jo Brand and stylist Gok Wan - chatting to a celebrity author each week. The guest will then stay to discuss the book club book for that week. Each book will be promoted with a film of the author. Each week the show will also revisit success stories from the R&J book club, such as authors Victoria Hislop, Audrey Niffenegger and Jodi Picoult. New non-fiction releases will also be discussed each week with accompanying videos. The summer series will comprise eight episodes, championing the best in holiday reads. Meanwhile, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan are planning to launch their own book club, following the news that former producer Amanda Ross is setting up the new show without them.

Thursday 17 December 2009

WOW Reading Challenge 2009/2010

Clare County Library and 28 National Schools in the county have joined forces with Clare Garda Division for the fourth consecutive year for the promotion of reading among children. All children on roll in each participating school are busily reading in an effort to be named the top readers in the world through the WOW Transatlantic Reading Challenge. Established by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia, Canada, with a view to decreasing crime by increasing literacy, the Reading Challenge Project has been greatly assisted by Gardai in Clare under the leadership of Sergeant John Staunton, Ennis Garda Headquarters. The ultimate aim of the Challenge is to shine a spotlight on reading and its benefits, in a fun and exciting way that has schools all over the county registering the numbers of books they read over six months on a specially designated website. Children who read well and read regularly have higher self esteem. This allows them to make better decisions which could reduce criminal acts, such as bullying, and create positive thinking adults in the future. The WOW Reading Challenge engages the entire community in its efforts to encourage kids to read. The Challenge is a partnership between the police, public libraries, schools and the community as a whole.

Clare County Library staff along with members of the Gardai will visit schools over the duration of the Challenge to meet with school children and their teachers and encourage them to read as much as possible using books from their school and public libraries and from their collections of books in the home. Topics discussed during these informal visits include the types of books available at the library suited to age and interests, work as a librarian and as a member of the Gardai, and class novels are read and discussed in some schools by visiting Gardai and librarians. Clare County Library wishes to thank the teachers who schedule such visits to their schools. The school that has read the most by April 2010 will be awarded a substantial book prize with prizes also for schools who come second and third. This year’s WOW Reading Challenge National Schools in County Clare are Ballycar, Ballyea, Ballyvaughan, Bansha, Burrane, Cahermurphy, Clohanes, Clouna, Connolly, Cooraclare, Coore, Corofin, Cratloe, Doonaha, Doora, Dromindoora, Furglan, Holy Family Jnr., Inagh, Kilfenora, Kilmihil, Kilmurry, Kilnamona, Moveen, Moyasta, Quin, St. Conaires, Shannon, and Tubber.

Clare County Library and Clare Youth Service launch a joint Reading Group

Creature of the NightClare County Library and Clare Youth Service have come together in an exciting new initiative to promote library usage and reading as a leisure activity to an enthusiastic group of young people. A reading group has been established by Clare County Library staff in collaboration with Teresa Larkin and Fionnuala Tuohy of Clare Youth Services with a view to exploring books through regular monthly meetings. Because literacy is embedded in all education and training programmes at Ennis Youth Centre, library usage and reading is an automatic extension of the Centre’s aim which is the social and personal development of each learner and the ongoing development of their goals, abilities and careers. Events to date include a group visit to deValera Library, Ennis where staff were on hand to provide a guided introduction of the services on offer through the library service with particular emphasis on the excellent range of film DVDs, music CDs and books, including graphic novels for older teenagers. The group will meet monthly in the library in 2010 to discuss books chosen by the students. Kate Thompson’s Creature of the Night was the first book chosen to be read collectively by the group and plans are under way to have the award-winning author, (with strong links to County Clare) meet with the group in the New Year.

Thursday 10 December 2009

The Doegen Records Web Project - hear Clare voices of the 1930s

The Doegen Records Web Project

A project of the Royal Irish Academy Library, this digital archive of Irish dialect recordings made during 1928-31 comprises an important collection of early Irish language recordings of folktales, songs and other material. It includes recordings from many regions of Ireland where traditional Irish dialects have disappeared since the time the recordings were made. This digital archive is a project of the Royal Irish Academy Library in collaboration with the Digital Humanities Observatory and is funded by the Higher Education Authority. The archive consists of digitized versions of recordings made originally on shellac records in the period 1928-31, and will eventually be accompanied by transcriptions and translations of the recordings, information on the people recorded, and other related content.

Included in this project at the moment are seven recordings from County Clare, made in 1930, and featuring the voices of James Shannon, Máirtín Mag Fhloinn, Seán Carún, Liam Ó Dileáin and Stiofán Ó hEilíre. There are three recordings of Stiofán Ó hEilíre (1862-1944), whose tales were transcribed by Séamus Ó Duilearga and published as Leabhar Stiofáin Uí Ealaoire.

Click here for the complete County Clare recordings.

More info - An Irishman's Diary, The Irish Times, Thursday, December 2009

Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Feakle 2008

Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill in concert at the Feakle Festival, in Feakle, County Clare, 8 August 2008. Posted on Youtube by TG4gaeilge

Best Crime Books of 2009

A Whispered Name by William BrodrickThe CWA Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 2009 has been won by William Brodrick for his novel A Whispered Name. The judges described A Whispered Name as ‘A moving novel that stretches the parameters of the crime genre, intertwining past and present and throwing light on a neglected aspect of World War One’. John Hart was the winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller for his novel The Last Child. Swedish author Johan Theorin won the John Creasey New Blood Award for a new author of note for Echoes from the Dead. Philip Kerr was the winner of the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award for his thriller If the Dead Rise Not. Harlan Coben’s Hold Tight won the Specsavers ITV3 Crime Thriller Bestseller Dagger 2009, which was voted for by ITV3 viewers. The Crime Writers’ Association’s Dagger Awards have been awarded since 1955 for excellence in crime fiction. Sponsored by Specsavers, the awards are the longest established literary awards in the UK and are internationally recognised as a mark of excellence and achievement.

Monday 7 December 2009

World Premiere of North Clare made film 'Seaside Stories...' on December 12th‏

Opening sequence:

Following a successful preview at the Cork Film Festival the North Clare made film 'Seaside Stories...' will have it's world premiere at the Courthouse Studios & Gallery in downtown Ennistymon on December 12th.There will be two screenings, one at 5pm (€ 5) and another at 7pm (€ 7.50). The money raised will go to the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital who play an important role in support of the daycare services for the elderly in North Clare. The writer/director Fergus Tighe will be at both screenings as will most of the actors including Fionn de Búrca (11 years) of Kilcornan who plays Locky, the boy around whom the story swings. The film was made over the past three years from Gallivanting Media's base at the Courthouse Gallery & Studios. Locky is a boy who's been flourishing since his mother, Anna, gave up the drink three years ago. When Anna's old boyfriend Mick gets out of prison she falls back into her old ways of daytime drinking while Locky runs wild in the streets with his friend Callo, played by Caolann O'Dwyer, 13. Meanwhile, Sally arrives home determined to tell Locky that she is really his mother. This does not go exactly as planned and sets the scene for a series of events that changes the lives of all involved.

Friday 4 December 2009

Around The Floor & Mind The Dresser - Kilrush Fleadh Cheoil 1967

“The Caledonian Set danced at the Kilrush Fleadh Cheoil in 1966. Lots of famous musicians in the background including Junior Crehan, Michael Falsey, Jimmy Ward, Seamus Connolly and members of the Laichtín Naofa Ceili Band, which came from the Miltown/Quilty area of west Clare. One can feel the excitement and atmosphere from watching this clip from so many years ago.” Posted on Youtube by clarebannerman

Irish Sports Book of the Year

Come What May by Dónal Óg CusackDónal Óg Cusack's autobiography Come What May has won the Irish Sports Book of the Year Award for 2009. Written with journalist Tom Humphries, the book details Cusack's life from his upbringing in Cork through his three All-Ireland successes, his role in some of the most groundbreaking decisions in Gaelic Games history and his struggles to be true to himself.

Six books were shortlisted for the award. As the GAA celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, there were two other Gaelic Games themed books on the shortlist: Mickey Harte’s autobiography, Harte: Presence is the Only Thing and Damian Lawlor’s tale of a year with the Waterford footballers, Working on a Dream. In what was a memorable year for Irish rugby, two books from this genre have also made the shortlist. Eddie O’Sullivan’s autobiography, Never Die Wondering was listed in the top six as was Alan English’s detailing of Ireland’s historic Grand Slam victory, Grand Slam: How Ireland Achieved Rugby Greatness. The final book in contention for this year’s award was Kieran Shannon’s detailed account of the golden age of basketball in Ireland in the 1980s, Hanging from the Rafters. Tony Kenny, PR Manager for William Hill, believes Come What May is a worthy winner of this year's award. "The quality of the award this year was outstanding, especially when you look at some of the books that didn't even make the shortlist. Donal Óg's book is an excellently told story of a person with a huge dedication to their sport and someone who wasn't afraid to put themselves forward as a role model to many in sport and life not just in Ireland but across the world," Kenny said at the presentation. This year's judging panel is made up of ten of Ireland's best sports commentators and experts. The panel includes RTE rugby pundit and Newstalk presenter George Hook, RTE's Eamon Dunphy, Today FM and TV3 presenter Matt Cooper and Setanta Sports' Paul Dempsey.

The Irish Sports Book of the Year award was established in 2006 to celebrate the quality of Irish sports writing and the standard of sports books that are produced in Ireland every year. The winner of the inaugural award was Paul McGrath with his harrowing tale of the ups and downs of his professional football career in Back from the Brink, which was written with Vincent Hogan. In 2007, Trevor Brennan's autobiography with Gerry Thornley, Heart and Soul detailed Brennan's journey through the professional rugby ranks in Ireland and France and his infamous altercation with a fan, which led to the end of his successful career. In 2008 the award produced one of the greatest Irish sports story's never told. Tommy Byrne's Crashed and Byrned was the story of an Irish racing driver hailed as one of the world's greatest, even better than World champion Ayrton Senna, but was never given a chance by the key figures in the sport. More information on the award can be found at

Costa Book Awards shortlist

Brooklyn by Colm ToibinThe shortlist for the Costa Book Awards 2009 was announced on November 24th. The Costa Awards recognise the most enjoyable books in five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book - published in the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland. The winner in each category receives £5,000. One of these five books is selected as the overall winner and receives a further £25,000. The Costa Book Awards started life in 1971 as the Whitbread Literary Awards. From 1985 they were known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2006, when Costa Coffee took over ownership - the year that both Costa and the Book Awards celebrated their 35th anniversary. In the Costa Novel category, Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn is up against Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. Wolf Hall – which tells the story of Thomas Cromwell's rise to prominence in the Tudor court – was the winner of the 2009 Booker Prize. Toibin’s Brooklyn was longlisted but failed to make the shortlist for that prize. The other shortlisted titles are Family Album by Penelope Lively and The Elephant Keeper by Christopher Nicholson. In the First Novel category Wexfordman Peter Murphy’s debut, John The Revelator, is shortlisted. The book tells the comic tale of a young boy growing up in a small Irish village whose life is altered by his friendship with a very free-spirited boy. The four books shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Award are young adult novels. Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd is about a girl who flees her foster home in search of her mother. War is a theme running through the other three titles on the shortlist. Troubadour by Mary Hoffman is a historical adventure story of love, war and romance set in 13th century France. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness is the second part of a sci-fi thriller following a boy and a girl who are caught in a warring town where thoughts can be heard — and secrets are never safe. Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera is about a teenage boy caught up in a modern-day nightmare. For further information on the Costa shortlist see

Thursday 3 December 2009

Challenging and Developing a Book Club

The Ennis Book Club Festival and Clare Library present a half-day workshop with Anne Downes on Friday 5th March 2010 from 2.00 – 4.30 pm at the Old Ground Hotel, Ennis. This workshop is designed for library staff who are members of a book club, organise or facilitate a group, or are thinking of starting one. A book club that meets regularly needs refreshing with new ideas and new members if it is to thrive. This workshop looks at practical ways to do that. We’ll try out games, discussions and exercises that will challenge a group to engage more deeply with a book and each other as readers. We’ll share examples of how a group can contribute to the library that hosts it and how a group might nurture new writers. Above all, a book club is social, so the workshop will also look at things that you can do to make it comfortable for everyone to contribute and get the most from being a member. The workshop is FREE to library staff nationwide but places are limited and bookings will be on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a place contact Frances O’Gorman, Clare Library HQ., Mill Road, Ennis. Tel 087 2262259 or email Festival details at Anne Downes is the Training Director of Opening the Book, the company that pioneered the reader-centred approach to starting and running readers’ groups and developed the Reading Group Toolbox in partnership with Waterstone’s in the UK. Anne trains and supports co-ordinators on the Frontline course that is used throughout libraries in Ireland.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

"Around County Clare, Ireland"

"A short film on the West side of County Clare in Ireland."
Shot on Sony HVR-A1E by Allan MacDonald on November 07, 2008. Music - "Anach Cuain on the Box", played by Conor McCarthy, on the CD the Night.

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.

Thursday 29 October 2009

Crannógs in Early Ireland - Free History Taster Course

Craggaunowen, © Government of Ireland 2009

Ennis Regional Learning Centre in association with Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, is hosting a series of five free lectures, facilitated by Dr. Catherine Swift, in the Clare Museum building, Arthur's Row, Ennis. This series of lectures is intended as stand-alone sessions with the general title of "Crannógs in Early Ireland - The Peoples and Cultures behind Craggaunowen". Each session will deal with different cultures in Irish history but each will highlight features of the archaeological park at Craggaunowen in addition to making reference to monuments of similar eras in Clare and the surrounding region. In each of the five time periods to be discussed, there is some evidence for crannóg or crannóg-style habitations. The purpose of the lectures is to highlight the sheer variety of cultures associated with Irish crannógs and to underline the potential complexity of archaeological interpretation. The lectures will run as follows:
1. Stone Age Man & the introduction of farming in Ireland - Wed Nov 4th
2. Bronze Age warriors & their cooking habits - Wed Nov 11th
3. The "Celtic" peoples who lived in ringforts - Wed Nov 18th
4. Viking raiders and traders along the Shannon - Wed Nov 25th
5. Gaelic lordships of Clare - Wed Dec 2nd
Each lecture will take place from 7 - 9 p.m. on the dates indicated. Places must be booked in advance by contacting the centre at 065-6866844 or use the contact us form on the ERL centre website.

Historical Fiction gets recognition it deserves

Odinn's Child by Tim SeverinThe shortlist for the 2009 Booker Prize was dominated by historical fiction with Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall scooping the £50,000 prize. Indeed many of the books appearing on the bestseller lists these days are historical novels. Jerome de Groot, author of The Historical Novel, says that historical novels have finally been given the recognition they deserve. Writing in History Today, he says that "historical writing has achieved huge commercial and global success in an unprecedented way. Popular writers like Philippa Gregory, Ken Follett and Bernard Cornwell sell in their millions, but literary novelists such as Sarah Waters or Margaret Atwood also have large readerships. Historical fiction is written by a variety of authors, within a developing set of subgenres, for a range of audiences". There has been a marked rise in the number of novels being published in this genre over the last fifteen to twenty years. Historians have attributed this renewed popularity to a change in the writing of history, which has moved away from a history of "great men", monarchs and statesmen, to focus on a more emotional and intimate history of ordinary people and their everyday lives. This history writing "from below" has given a voice to women and poor people, for example, who were previously ignored and silenced. Antonia Senior, writing in The Times said "All of world history can be viewed through the prism of a handful of extraordinary fictional characters". Senior suggests that the starting point for any historical fiction tour must be with the novels of Mary Renault, whose Alexander trilogy follows the life and death of Alexander the Great in Ancient Greece. Robert Graves’s Cladius novels – I, Claudius and Claudius the God – are classic books covering the Roman period. More recent books on this era are Robert Harris’s Cicero trilogy, Harry Sidebottom’s Warrior of Rome series, and Simon Scarrow’s Eagle series which centres around two Roman soldiers, Cato and Macro. Bernard Cornwell, perhaps best known for his Sharpe series set during the Napoleonic wars, has recently published Azincourt, a novel closely based on the very exciting non-fiction work "Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, the Battle" by Juliet Barker. The recently published The Burning Land, also by Bernard Cornwell is the fifth book of The Saxon Stories which tell the tale of Uhtred, a Viking-reared warrior bound by oath to Alfred the Great in his quest to rid England of the Danes. Robert Low's recent Oathsworn trilogy charts the adventures of Orm and his band of Viking brothers, The Oathsworn, and deals with the lost treasure of Attila – as well as a journey to Constantinople, while Tim Severin’s Viking Series is about the young Viking adventurer Thorgils Leifsson, who travels from Iceland to Vinland (North America)and Ireland and also winds up in in Constantinople in the service of the Emperor (The Basileus) at a time of momentous change. Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall - the Booker winner - is set in the England of the 1520s and tells the story of Thomas Cromwell's rise to prominence in the Tudor court. The early 19th century is expertly portrayed in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and these novels act as a kind of counterpoint to the now largely neglected Hornblower series by C S Forester. As already mentioned, Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series features the adventures of Richard Sharpe, an English soldier during the same period. The history journal History Today announced in its October issue that it would henceforth publish reviews of historical novels in recognition of the growing popularity of the genre. It also reported that several respected historians, among them Simon Sebag Montefiore, are writing fictionalised accounts of their subjects, and that major novelists are delving into the past to great effect. Lovers of historical fiction can expect to be well served in the future as the genre goes from strength to strength.

2010 “Book Club of the Year" competition

The Ennis Book Club Festival, in association with Clare County Library, has launched a competition to find the 2010 “Book Club of the Year.” Entry form and competition rules can be downloaded at Tell us, in less than 300 words, why your book club is special and be in with a chance to win the Ennis Book Club Festival “Book Club of the Year Award” and a weekend break in Ennis for your club. The prize includes two night’s accommodation for six people on 5th and 6th of March 2010 at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis, and six Weekend Tickets for admission to all events of the Festival. The 2010 festival programme will be available later in the year. A great line up is promised!

Mid-Shannon Tourism Investment Scheme – Project Advice Clinics

The Mid-Shannon Scheme provides tax relief on the construction or refurbishment of certain tourism facilities in the Mid-Shannon area which extends from O’Briensbridge in Co. Clare to Lough Ree, Co. Roscommon. The types of qualifying tourism facilities include:

education tourism facilities;
visitor attractions/centres;
cultural facilities;
wellness and self-development – amenities and facilities;
equestrian facilities;
facilities for water sports;
training facilities for adventure; activities and/or simulated facilities;
facilities for boat rental and inland cruising;
outdoor activity centres;
certain restaurants and cafés;
registered holiday camps

This is a unique opportunity for tourism enterprises in East Clare to utilise tax relief to help finance the construction or refurbishment of their facilities and also for passive investors who may wish to avail of the relief for offset against rental and other income. The deadline for applications is 31 May 2010. Clare County Council, in conjunction with Shannon Development, will shortly organise Project Advice Clinics, where potential applicants can avail of the opportunity to discuss their project ideas in confidence with a planning officer and a regional tourism executive. For further information on the Scheme, or to make an appointment to attend a Project Advice Clinic, contact Ruairi Deane, Tourism Product Development, Shannon Development (Tel. 061-710228, Full details of the Scheme are available from

Friday 23 October 2009

Digital Books - a selection from the Internet Archive

The Internet ArchiveThis new service offers a selection of Clare and Irish material from the Open-Access Text Archive of the Internet Archive, which contains over one million full-text scanned books in the public domain. The selection - of just over 500 titles - has been made using the Archive's own Open Library search features and includes books on the archaeology, art, history, language and literature of Clare and Ireland. The scanned books are presented in an intuitive, easily accessible format which seeks to replicate the actual experience of reading a book. You can 'turn' a page by clicking on it, and you can move to a new section of the book by clicking on its side. Each book is fully indexed also, and its contents are searchable by a search facility in a side panel to the right of the book. Many of these books are both scarce and valuable, and the whole Internet Archive project not only rescues long-forgotten books from oblivion but also makes it possible for instance to consult a 1904 edition of Dinneen's Irish Dictionary from the comfort of home, or enjoy the drawings of Clare-born artist William Mulready whose illustrations illuminated so many 19th Century publications. Click here for the Digital Books Service...

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Burrenbeo Trust Weekend

The Burrenbeo TrustOn Saturday the 31st October 2009 the Burrenbeo Trust presents "A Burren Miscellany" at Johnson’s Hall, Kinvara. Doors open at 8.30pm to start at 9pm. The Trust is hosting a celebration of the rich cultural history of the Burren through traditional song, story-telling and music. This special evening will feature uileann pipes player Eugene Lambe, poems from Josie Sullivan, songs from Tony Trundle and Paul Mulligan, and stories from Caoilte Breatnach and a very special guest. This entertainment is open to everyone, both members and non-members of the Trust. Entry is €10 per person. On the following day (1st November) at 2pm you can join the Burrenbeo Trust Monthly Walk, exploring turloughs with Dr James Moran. The Burrenbeo Trust is delighted to have Dr James Moran imparting his expertise on turloughs. James has recently started lecturing at Sligo IT but prior to that was working on the BurrenLIFE project advising farmers on various aspects of the science behind their land in the Burren. The walk will meet at Gortlecka Cross near to Mullaghmore where the NPWS signs are. It is advisable to wear wellington boots in case it is wet underfoot. Everyone is welcome. It is free for members of the Trust and a €5 charge for non-members. For more information please contact or ring 087 9689486.

Monday 19 October 2009

Animal Magic Show at Scariff and Killaloe Libraries

Animal MagicEach year Science Week promotes the relevance of science, engineering and technology in our everyday lives. This year it runs from 8th – 15th November and the theme is “Science – Inspiring creativity and innovation.” As part of the promotion, the “Animal Magic” show takes place in Scariff Public Library on Monday 9th November at 9.45am and again at 11.15am. Later that day at 1.30pm the same show is performed at Killaloe Public Library. “Animal Magic” by Rosie Campbell unlocks the magic of Nature. It involves interaction with wildlife, allowing the children taking part to learn and experience nature in an inspirational, educational and fun way.

Friday 16 October 2009

Nobel Prize in Literature 2009

Herta MüllerHerta Müller has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel judges praised Müller as a writer "who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed". Born in Romania in 1953, Müller refused to cooperate with Ceausescu's Securitate, lost her job as a teacher and was the subject of repeated threats until she emigrated in 1987. She returns constantly to the themes of oppression, exile and dictatorship in her novels and poems. She won the 1998 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for her novel The Land of Green Plums, of which she said, "I wrote this book in memory of my Romanian friends who were killed under the Ceausescu regime. I felt it was my duty". Worth 10m Swedish kronor (over 1 million euro), the Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to "the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction", as described in Alfred Nobel's will of 1895. Müller is the 12th woman in 108 years to win the award.

USA National Book Awards 2009

Let the Great World SpinIrish writer Colum McCann’s latest novel, Let the Great World Spin, has been shortlisted for the fiction prize in this year’s National Book Awards in the US. The Dubliner’s novel is one of five in the fiction category in the shortlist announced yesterday. The other shortlisted works of fiction are: American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin, Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips and Far North by Marcel Theroux. The Winner will receive $10,000 and a bronze statue. To be eligible for the 2009 National Book Award, a book must have been published in the United States between December 1, 2008 and November 30, 2009 and must have been written by a United States citizen. This year the Foundation will also celebrate its six-decade history of honoring great books by highlighting the 77 Fiction books that received the National Book Award from 1950 to 2008. The Best of the National Book Awards Fiction included a daily blog page on each one of the 77 Winning books in Fiction ( and the opportunity for the public to vote online for their favorite National Book Award Winning Fiction book from a short-list that includes:
John Cheever The Stories of John Cheever (National Book Award, 1981)
Ralph Ellison Invisible Man (1953)
William Faulkner Collected Stories (1951)
Flannery O'Connor The Complete Stories (1972)
Thomas Pynchon Gravity's Rainbow (1974)
Eudora Welty The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1983)

For more information about the Finalists as well as National Book Awards Week events, visit

Winner of the 2009 Democracy and Dialogue viral video competition

Alan Early's "Noise To Get Heard" is the winner of the 2009 Democracy and Dialogue viral movie competition, which was organised by The European Commission Representation in Ireland and the Darklight Film Festival. "Noise To Get Heard" looks at the issue of gay rights and won on creative merit, treatment of the theme (democracy and dialogue) and also on the number of views. Click here for more info... See also Democracy and Dialogue Short Online Film Competition

Thursday 15 October 2009

1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right in Finland

From next July every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection, according to the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications. The Finnish government had already decided to make a 100 Mb broadband connection a legal right by the end of 2015. Yesterday, the Ministry announced the new goal as an intermediary step.
For more info see and Cnet News.

Friday 9 October 2009

The Kitchen Sessions from Pakie Malley's Kitchen in Glendree, Tulla, Co. Clare. (Part 3)

The Kitchen Sessions is a series of Clare FM radio programmes broadcast live from homes in County Clare - as well as from the homes of Clare people abroad. The Kitchen Sessions is a Rag and Bone Production for Clare FM, supported by the BCI Sound & Vision Scheme and the Arts Office of Clare County Council.

Part 1; Part 2; Part 4; Part 5.

See also The Kitchen Session with Frank Custy from Toonagh Hall

Booker Prize Winner

Wolf HallHilary Mantel has been named the winner of the £50,000 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for her historical novel Wolf Hall. Wolf Hall has been the bookmakers' favourite since the longlist was announced in July 2009. A.S. Byatt, J.M. Coetzee, Adam Foulds, Simon Mawer and Sarah Waters were all shortlisted for this year's prize. Wolf Hall is set in the 1520s and tells the story of Thomas Cromwell's rise to prominence in the Tudor court. Hilary Mantel has been praised by critics for writing “a rich, absorbingly readable historical novel; she has made a significant shift in the way any of her readers interested in English history will henceforward think about Thomas Cromwell.” Hilary Mantel spent five years writing Wolf Hall and she is currently working on a sequel. Over and above her prize of £50,000, she may expect a huge increase in sales and recognition worldwide. See

Great Irish Book Week

Great Irish Book WeekGreat Irish Book Week was launched on October 1st at the National Library. The Great Irish Book Week will take place from Saturday the 24th to Saturday the 31st October 2009 with the aim of "rekindling the nation's passion for books". The campaign will focus primarily on promoting Irish published books. Irish book publishers will collaborate with booksellers across the island of Ireland, to help attract more people to bookshops and encourage readers to support local authors and publishers. An independent panel of booksellers has selected 30 new fiction, poetry, Irish language and non-fiction books to showcase the best new Irish books. The list includes books by Joseph O’ Connor, Alice Taylor, Eddie Hobbs and many others. Anyone buying a book displaying the special Great Irish Book Week sticker will receive a free 210-page paperback book, which contains extracts from the 30 recommended reads. Authors will also be participating in events in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast. “Literature is Ireland’s greatest export and as a nation we have always been fascinated by books. However, in recent years there has been a decline in the number of book published in Ireland” said Alan Hayes, President of Publishing Ireland, the national association of book publishers. Mr Hayes added that local publishers play a vital role in fostering emerging talent. “Before many of our finest writers, such as Joseph O’ Connor and Eoin Colfer, went on to international fame they were given their first break by Irish publishers. Without a vital national book sector emerging authors may never see their work published, and we will be the poorer for it as a nation,” he said. The RTE Guide will be running a competition on October 13th where readers will get a chance to win the 30 Great Irish Books. For a list of the books, see

Cushing Academy - the library without books

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy
, a 144-year-old school in the US state of Massachusetts, has decided it no longer needs a traditional library. Having amassed a collection of more than 20,000 books, the academy’s administrators have decided to discard all their books and have given away half of what stocked their sprawling stacks - the classics, novels, poetry, biographies, tomes on every subject from the humanities to the sciences. Administrators said the books took up too much space and that there was nowhere else on campus to stock them. So they decided to give their collection - aside from a few hundred children’s books and valuable antiquarian works - to local schools and libraries. As part of its eLibrary initative the school's new "learning center" will have no books. The future, they believe, is digital. Source: Boston Globe…

Thursday 8 October 2009

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher? Buy your tickets online

Cliffs of MoherThe Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience has recently launched an on line booking system at From any page on the website you can click through to book tickets to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience and save 17%. It's easy to book tickets. Simply select the number of tickets required, proceed with credit card details and print out your booking sheet. Bookings are valid for one year after purchase and are not date specific. A standard adult ticket costs €6.95 and a family ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children) is €18.20. This includes access to all public facilities, car parking for one vehicle and entry to the award winning Atlantic Edge Exhibition. Why not take the tour of the Cliffs and watch a video online, or sign up for the biannual newsletter to keep up to date on exciting news from the Cliffs. Cliffs of Moher voted Best Irish Visitor Attraction in first ever Irish Consumer Travel Awards. More info...

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Children’s Book Festival 2009 launched

Children’s Book Festival 2009 launched in Shannon

Councillor John Crowe officially launched Children’s Book Festival in Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon, on Oct 3rd. Hundreds of young visitors along with their parents enjoyed non-stop entertainment provided by James Sexton Event Management in a four hour extravaganza of fun, including disco dancing, juggling and magic while sampling some delightful treats from 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 really can, multi-task. Saturday’s celebrations kicked off a full month of children’s activities in Clare’s fifteen library branches. Visit your local library or the library website for details of upcoming events in your area.

Free lecture series on the life and times of Brian Boru

The first of an ongoing series of lectures on the life and times of King Brian Boru was held on Thursday 1st October in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. This series is being held as part of the backdrop to the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf in 2014, in the hope of developing a large-scale celebration and tourist attraction in the Mid-West region that year. The topic under discussion at the lecture was the nature of Munster – apart from being a world-famous rugby team, it is also, of course, one of the ancient Irish provinces or cóiceda – the Irish word having the literal meaning of ‘Fifth’. Since there are only four provinces in Ireland, this name has caused much historical pondering as to where the “lost” province may have been. According to Dr Catherine Swift of Mary Immaculate College one of the oldest suggestions, found in the 12th C Lebor Gábala Érenn (Book of Invasions of Ireland) was that Munster in fact was originally divided into two provinces, east and west, along a line from Cork to Limerick. A second idea, postdating the rise of Clare power under King Brian, was that in ancient times, Munster was originally divided along north-south lines, paralleling the later kingdoms of Thomond and Desmond. (A third notion, dreamt up by people from the area of Mullingar, was that there was a lost province surrounding the Hill of Uisnech in the centre of Ireland and a fourth, promoted by the great Irish historian and patriot, Eoin MacNeill, was that there was a separate province surrounding the hill of Tara). The relevance of this to the story of Brian Boru is the fact that the first step on his family’s rise to national prominence was their takeover of the kingship of Munster in the mid tenth century. The political implications of that takeover are obviously related to the size of that kingdom and the resources it enjoyed. The next lecture, on the 8th October, is on the history of the royal centre of Cashel and its role in early Irish history. Each province had its own royal centre in Celtic Ireland – the others are Rathcroghan outside Tulsk in Connacht, Emain Macha or Navan Fort outside Armagh in Ulster and Dún Áilinne outside Kildare in Leinster. Cashel, however, has many unique characteristics in comparison to the others and the point of the lecture is to examine its distinctive character and make suggestions as to the importance of the Rock and its surrounding population in the early history of Munster. This topic feeds into the same issue as the first lecture – namely what was the nature of the political authority enjoyed by early kings of Munster? And how did Brian Boru benefit from his takeover of that power? The lectures are given by Dr Catherine Swift of Mary Immaculate College and are held at 7pm and are open to all. Refreshments will also be provided and there is time for discussion and debate after each lecture.