Thursday 28 May 2009

'New Books' feature added to online catalogue

OPACWe've added a new feature to the online library catalogue (the OPAC). "New Books and more" uses the Featured Lists module of the Millennium Library Management System, and allows us to create and publish lists of new books etc. Follow the link under 'My Account' or click here to see books added to the library stock in May of this year. More lists will follow shortly.

Quest Seekers - the 2009 Summer Reading Challenge

Quest Seekers 2009 Summer Reading ChallengeGreat news for parents! Libraries across County Clare are getting ready to welcome children into a fantastical adventure that will keep them reading throughout the school summer holidays....with the 2009 Summer Reading Challenge. The Summer Reading Challenge is an immensely popular and successful reading initiative which reaches hundreds of primary school children all over the county every summer. Originally created by The Reading Agency in the UK, the independent charity working to inspire more people to read more, it is now an annual event in Clare County Library’s programme for children. 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 or medal for every child who completes the Challenge. Children can sign up at their local library from July 1st 2009 and all materials are absolutely free. The 2009 Summer Reading Challenge has a fantasy theme. Called Quest Seekers, it will take young readers into a mysterious and wondrous land where they can discover the joy of reading and nurture a life-long love affair with reading and books. The adventure starts in their local library, where young Quest Seekers are challenged to complete three stages to their quest. They will be issued with promotional materials including stickers, bookmarks, magic pens etc. as they read through the Summer. An interactive Quest Seekers website will launch in mid June ( linking children with top authors and illustrators, and giving them space to talk about their favourite books and take part in on-line Quest Seeker games and activities. Quest Seekers also promotes their local library as a place of wonder for children, where librarians can offer them invaluable advice and guidance to help them through their quest. Clare County Library invites parents and teachers to help children become more enthusiastic about reading, maintain their reading level in the term ahead and return to school feeling confident and ready to learn more. Through this fun exercise Library staff hope to build on the love of reading that has been fostered in co-operation with schools during term time and to continue the promotion of books and libraries as an enjoyable and worthwhile activity throughout the summer.

Trim Swift Festival - July 2nd to 5th

Trim Swift FestivalTrim Swift Festival is an academic and cultural event celebrating the life, works and legacy of Jonathan Swift, and his close connections with the town of Trim, County Meath. It is open to academics, students and the general public with the aim of bringing together experts and enthusiasts in an atmosphere of scholarly but informal discussion and debate. The academic strand of the festival features a programme of six speakers, internationally recognised for their work on Swift and eighteenth-century literature. Each speaker will present on a topic relating to their research and each lecture-talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The festival will also feature a series of debates and discussions on Swift's legacy as a satirist, led by notable figures from politics and the media, children's entertainment, comedy and tours of important sites associated with Swift, including Stella's cottage. There will also be evening entertainment in the form of dramatic performances, readings, music and song, and a closing cabaret. For full details on the festival see

Tuesday 26 May 2009

WOW Transatlantic Reading Challenge 2008/2009

‘WOW’ Transatlantic Reading Challenge 2008/2009Clare County Library’s ‘WOW’ Transatlantic Reading Challenge began in November 2008 for the third consecutive year. 29 schools from County Clare took part in the reading partnership involving schoolchildren, their teachers, librarians and An Garda Siochána, which ended in April 2009.

Children in Ballycar, Ballyea ,Ballyvaughan ,Bansha, Cahermurphy, Clouna, Coolmeen, Coore, Cratloe, Crusheen, Doonaha, Furglan, Holy Family Junior School, Ennis, Inagh, Inch, Kilbaha, Kilfenora, Killaloe, Kilnamona, Kilshanny, Lahinch, Lisdoonvarna, Moveen, Mullagh, Quin, Rockmount, St. Aidan’s National School, Shannon, St. Conaire’s National School, Shannon and Tubber read thousands of books over a six month period in an effort to be named the best readers in the world.

Three schools from Canada, the home of the Adopt-a-Library Literacy Project came first, second and third in the overall competition with two Clare schools, Lahinch and Furglan coming 4th and 5th respectively. These two schools had performed exceptionally well in last year’s competition, reading the most in Clare as they did again this year. They also achieved 2nd and 3rd place in the worldwide competition last year, which so far has been taken up by schools in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Bansha National School came in at a very strong 10th position in this year’s overall competition and in third place in County Clare.

Clare County Library would like to congratulate these and all the schools who joined the Reading Challenge this year and also to extend its thanks to Sergeant John Staunton, Ennis Garda Headquarters who has provided continued support for the project over the last three years. Library staff and members of the Clare Garda Division visited participating schools during the six-month project to promote the benefits of reading. The Reading Challenge was established ten years ago by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as part of the Adopt-a-Library Literacy Program. The program was developed to combat youth illiteracy in the hope of reducing crime levels in later years. With this aim in mind, all involved worked together to endorse the virtues of reading and to promote the benefits of library usage in County Clare.

Individual children and all schools in the County can avail of free library membership and we would like to invite all schools who have not taken up the offer to join, to do so in the coming months. Local libraries are an invaluable resource making available an excellent collection of books that can be exchanged throughout the school year thus providing a new selection for children and teenagers to choose from, on a continuous basis. This facility is of particular importance in the light of Department of Education and Science’s abolition of the Books for Primary Schools Scheme earlier this year.

The thirty schools who participated in the ‘WOW’ Transatlantic Reading Challenge 2008/09 were Kilmihil , Ruan, Cooraclare, Clouna, Bansha, St. Senan’s National School, Kilrush, Inch, Furglan, Tulla, Ennistymon, Rineen, Feakle, Cratloe, St. Senan’s National School, Shannon, Moyasta, Doora, Coore, Doonaha, Newmarket on Fergus, Flagmount, Ballyvaughan, Corofin, Burrane, Moveen, Quin, St. Conaire’s National School Shannon, Connolly, Dromindoora, Tubber and Lahinch.

Monday 25 May 2009

Walking in the West of Ireland

The website Walking in the West of Ireland features a number of walks with directions, maps and images along each route in County Clare. Walks covered to date include a Mullagh More loop walk; Abbey Hill loop walk; Cliffs of Moher Walk; Gleninagh loop walk; Burren Way Green Road above Fanore, and the Burren Way Green Road over Poulacapple. Well worth a look as the summer approaches and the wild uplands of North Clare beckon.

Franciscans Celebrating 800 years, 1209-2009

“Franciscans Celebrating 800 years, 1209-2009”“Franciscans Celebrating 800 years, 1209-2009”, an exhibition to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Franciscan Order, is on show in the Civic Offices, Clare County Council, New Road, Ennis until mid June. The exhibition demonstrates the history of the Franciscan Order and its arrival to Ennis around 1250. Exhibits on show include the Moriartus O'Gripha Chalice from the Franciscan Friary, Ennis, 1671; Francis Molloy's Lucerna Fidelium, (Lochrann na gCreidmheach), (1672); and Francis Molloy's Grammatica Latino-Hibernica, (1677), a Latin Irish grammar printed in Rome and subsequently used by the friars in the Friary in Ennis. This was the first printed Irish grammar. O' Molloy studied for the priesthood at St. Isadore's in Rome in 1638. The grammar has the Ennis friary library stamp and manuscript notation, with shelf number and label.

Lifetime Reads

The Old Man And The SeaThe Irish Independent’s Lifetime Reads series of modern classics was launched on Saturday, April 25 and will continue for 19 weeks. This new collection includes some of the great books from the past half century. These are books we should all read before we die, one reason why the collection has been called Lifetime Reads. The collection was selected by the Irish Independent with advice from the acclaimed author Colm Tóibín. The promotion offers readers the opportunity to collect 20 of the most cherished and enthralling classic novels of the past 50 years. From Breakfast at Tiffany's to One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, the series will appeal to all book lovers and those seeking inspiration on what books to read during the long summer evenings ahead.

The Books:
The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
Schindler's Ark, Thomas Keneally
Breakfast At Tiffany's, Truman Capote
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
Lord Of The Flies, WilliamG olding
One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
The Human Factor, Graham Greene
The Ice Age, Margaret Drabble
A House For Mr. Biswas, VS. Naipaul
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
The Late Bourgeois World, Nadine Gordimer
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Friend Of My Youth, Alice Munro
Jeeves In The Offing, P.G. Wodehouse
The Talented Mr Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
Age Of Iron, J.M. Coetzee
The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth

Record Number of Entries for the 2009 Cork City - Frank O’Connor Short Story Award.

My Oedipus Complex (Frank O’Connor)The growing popularity of the Cork City - Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, one of the world’s richest literary prizes and the largest for the short story, means that this year’s longlist will be the last presented under the old rules. The longlist consists of all eligible titles entered for the award. There are fifty-seven titles on this year’s longlist. Leading names on the list include Booker winner Kazuo Ishiguro, Orange Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, multiple prize-winning poet Sean O’Brien and previously short-listed authors Philip O Ceallaigh and Charlotte Grimshaw. British and American authors account for thirty-two entries between them. This year also brings a strong showing by writers from developing countries, with entries from India and Africa. Entries in translation also figure strongly with titles by Catalonian, Estonian, Dutch, German, Icelandic and Macedonian authors. This year the Frank O’Connor International International Short Story Award is being renamed The Cork City – Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, in acknowledgement of Cork City Council’s generous funding of the award. At €35,000 the award is the largest in the world for the short story form and monetarily is greater than the Costa Book of the Year Award and the Orange Prize. Cork City Council funds the award in recognition of the city and region’s association with world-class short story writers such as Frank O’Connor himself, Elizabeth Bowen, Sean O’Faolain and William Trevor. The shortlist of six will be decided in late June with the winner announced on September 20th at the close of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival in Cork.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Most borrowed books in Irish libraries in January 2009

The Official Driver Theory TestThe ‘most borrowed statistics’ are compiled by the PLR Office from data provided by public library services around the country.
Most borrowed books in Irish public libraries in January 2009:

1. The Official Driver Theory Test - Prometric/Road Safety Authority
2. This charming man - Marian Keyes
3. Heart and soul - Maeve Binchy
4. Someone special - Sheila O’Flanagan
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
6. Horrid Henry and the mega-mean time machine - Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross
7. Forgive and forget - Patricia Scanlan
8. Horrid Henry and the bogey babysitter - Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross
9. This year it will be different - Maeve Binchy
10.My sister Jodie - Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt

New exhibition by Musa Engelbrecht at the Russsel Gallery

Musa EngelbrechtLife, Love, Loss & Remembrance is an exhibition of new paintings by Musa Engelbrecht opening at the Russell Gallery, New Quay, on Saturday 23rd of May at 6.00pm. To mark the occasion the Gallery will host a wine reception and the official launching will be performed by renowned author Ré Ó Laighléis, a writer of children’s, teenage and adult fiction in English and Irish, his novels and short stories have been widely translated into various languages and he has been the recipient of many literary awards. According to the gallery, “this latest exhibition of the work of Musa Engelbrecht is a stunning collection of oils and acrylics, a body of work of small and larger pieces capturing particular moments of Musa’s life over the last year and which will include a vibrant series of scenery from the south of France where the artist spent some time.” The exhibition will run until the 21st of June. The gallery is open every day. For further information telephone 065 7078185 or visit

Iniscealtra Festival of Arts, Mountshannon, 23rd May - 1st June

Iniscealtra Festival of ArtsThe Mountshannon Arts Festival is an annual festival held at various locations in and around the beautiful lakeside village of Mountshannon in County Clare. The fourteenth Iniscealtra Festival of Arts 2009 opens in Mountshannon with Visual Art Exhibitions on Saturday 23rd May. The official Opening Ceremony and night of music and celebration follows on Wednesday 27th May and the festival continues on through the Bank Holiday weekend, finishing on Monday 1st June. This years theme of Myths and Legends promises a varied and exciting programme including Music (traditional/classical/contemporary), Visual Arts exhibitions and talks, both local and international in collaboration with The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and The Burren School of Arts. Dance, Contemporary and Céilí, Film, Green Fair, Craft and Art activities and a variety of workshops open to all including Traditional/World music classes. Free outdoor lakeshore concerts, storytelling, puppetry, demonstrations and participatory activities for all the family. Main lakeside events take place over the Bank Holiday weekend. For more information contact Jim Grady tel:087 6968577, email:, and see

Friday 15 May 2009

Na Ceannabháin Bhána/Hardiman the Fiddler with Kitty Hayes and Peter Laban

Two Slip Jigs played on Concertina and Uilleann Pipes by the late Kitty Hayes of Fahanlunaghta and Peter Laban.

Share a Book with Your Toddler

Clare’s Family Learning Project is running sessions in DeValera Library, Ennis, on Monday afternoons for parents who would like to have fun sharing the wonderful world of books with their child and with other parents and their children. Aimed specifically at parents of toddlers, the events are free and all parents and their toddlers are welcome to attend. For further information contact Mary (Tel: 6897645) or Pauline (Tel: 6897612) at the Family Learning Project.

PLR - Welcome boost in income for Irish authors

The Public Lending Remuneration Scheme

The Public Lending Remuneration Scheme (PLR) was established at the end of 2008 with funding provided by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Authors (and illustrators and translators) who register their books with the Irish Library Council, who are managing the scheme, may be eligible to receive a payment each time the book is borrowed from one of the country’s 358 public libraries. There are 14 million visits to Irish public libraries each year, resulting in 12.5 million loans of books. PLR will mean a small but very welcome supplement to the incomes of hundreds of Irish writers, only a handful of whom are currently able to survive on their writing alone. Payments are made to applicants who have registered titles which have recorded sufficient borrowing to receive a payment. The scheme is capped, so no one writer will benefit disproportionately. Many Irish authors already receive PLR payments from the UK, where a scheme has been in operation since 1979.

Figures released for the first quarter of the year show that books by Irish authors are very popular with Irish library users, with five of the top ten borrowed books in January coming from Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy, Sheila O’Flanagan and Patricia Scanlan. Books by other Irish authors feature in the top fifty, with titles by Cecelia Ahern, John Boyne, Anne Enright, Sebastian Barry, and Cathy Kelly all appearing in the list. The author of the most borrowed book, however, won’t get anything from PLR! The Official Driver Theory Test was the most borrowed book in January, but official publications are not eligible for payment. The most popular author in Irish libraries is the prolific Francesca Simon, who along with illustrator Tony Ross, is behind the Horrid Henry series. Accounts of Horrid Henry’s antics were borrowed almost 5,000 times in January alone, proving that young people in Ireland have a great appetite for reading. The most borrowed Irish author, coming in third overall, was Maeve Binchy, followed by Marian Keyes, Cecilia Ahern, and Sheila O’Flanagan. The ‘most borrowed statistics’ are compiled by the PLR Office from data provided by library services around the country.

Death of David Marcus, champion of new Irish writing

David Marcus, the literary editor, who died recently dedicated his life to championing the work of emerging Irish writers. He edited the immeasurably influential “New Irish Writing” pages in the Irish Press newspaper for decades and was a great mentor to an entire generation of Irish writers. John McGahern, Claire Keegan, Bernard MacLaverty, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and Joe O’Connor were among the many writers whose early work Marcus published. He edited over 30 anthologies of Irish fiction and poetry, including the Phoenix Irish Short Stories collections. Click here for more...

Nuala O’Faolain’s posthumous novel

Best Love, RosieNuala O’Faolain’s last book, Best Love, Rosie, was published earlier this month to mark the first anniversary of her death. The book was described by its author as "the book of my years commuting between the melancholy of Ireland and the optimism of America”.
The book tells the story of Rosie, a modern, well-travelled woman, who has had interesting work and lovers in her early life, now facing the challenges of middle-age, and her elderly aunt, Min, trapped by circumstances in sleepy Dublin. When she gets an opportunity to travel to New York, the story takes an intriguing turn. The book, originally published in France, has gone straight into the bestsellers list there.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Painting of Ennis sold at Christie's

The marketplace and court-house, Ennis, Co. Clare by William Turner de LondIn 1979 a picture appeared in a school history book under the caption: ‘A crowded market place in a North Munster town. The Ennis-Cork mail car has just arrived.’ An Ennis resident, Mr Jack Ownes, identified the town in the painting as Ennis. The painting was signed by the artist W. Turner, also known as William Turner de Londe (Turner of London). The painting depicts the old courthouse in Ennis, which was situated in O’Connell Square. The courthouse in the painting was built in 1732, and designed by Francis Bindon. The painting shows the courthouse as it would have looked in 1820. Turner painted two pictures of Ennis Courthouse, both practically identical. The painting bought recently at Christie’s of London by an Ennis antique dealer was put up for sale by the Knight of Glin, Desmond Fitzgerald. The second painting is in London. Click here for more information...

Invasive alien species - photo competition

Invasive alien species photo competitionThe International Day on Biological Diversity (IDB) takes place on 22nd May 2009 and this year’s theme is invasive alien species. The purpose of the day is to highlight the fact that invasive alien species represent one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, and to the ecological and economic well-being of society and the planet. In marking this international event, the Central Fisheries Board has launched a photo competition to raise awareness of the issue of invasive alien species in Ireland. Click here for more information...

Friday 8 May 2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is 40

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-up BookIt’s 40 years since the classic children’s bestseller The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle first appeared in bookshops, and it has since sold millions of copies. Look out for The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-up Book, a new publication to mark its 40th birthday.

Irish Book Awards

The Secret ScriptureSebastian Barry picked up two awards for his novel The Secret Scripture at the Irish Book Awards ceremony in The Mansion House on May 7th. Barry's novel about the life of an old woman in a mental hospital in the West of Ireland won both the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year Award and The Tubridy Show Listeners' Choice Award. The Easons Popular Fiction Award was hotly contested this year with many of the stars of the chicklit genre lined up against each other for the first time -- Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern, Cathy Kelly, Patricia Scanlan and Maeve Binchy. The award was won by Marian Keyes for her novel This Charming Man. Nobel Prize-winner Seamus Heaney picked up the Argosy Non-Fiction Award for Stepping Stones, the book of conversations about his life and work between himself and Dennis O'Driscoll. Heaney presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to distinguished Clare novelist, playwright and short story writer Edna O'Brien. O'Brien, who will be 79 in December, has written fourteen novels, five collections of short stories and several plays, and is still working hard. The Irish Newcomer of the Year award went to Dubliner Ronan O'Brien, author of Confessions of a Fallen Angel. The award for Best Irish-Published Book of the Year was won by Alice Taylor’s The Parish, a depiction of Irish country life. This year, for the first time, Irish crime writing was celebrated at the awards, with the addition of the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award. Alex Barclay picked up the award for her thriller Blood Runs Cold. Derek Landy was the recipient of the Irish Children's Book of the Year (Senior) for the further adventures of his skeleton detective Skulduggery in his book Skulduggery Pleasant - Playing with Fire while Benji Bennett won the Junior award for Before You Sleep. Rugby star Ronan O'Gara was the recipient of the Irish Sports Book of the Year award for his recent autobiography. This is the fourth year of the Irish Book Awards, which were established to “acknowledge the wealth of talent in Irish literature”. This year the public were invited to vote for their favourite book in each category via the Irish Book Awards website.
The winners:
The Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year:The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
The Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award: The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
The Ireland AM Irish Crime Fiction Book of the Year: Blood Runs Cold by Alex Barclay
The Argosy Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year: Stepping Stones by Seamus Heaney and Dennis O'Driscoll
Eason Irish Popular Fiction Book of the Year: This Charming Man by Marian Keyes
Energise Sport Irish Sports Book of the Year: Ronan O’Gara: My Autobiography by Ronan O’Gara
International Education Services Irish Newcomer of the Year Award: Confessions of a Fallen Angel by Ronan O’Brien
Best Irish Published Book of the Year: The Parish by Alice Taylor
The Dublin Airport Authority Irish Children’s Book of the Year:
Junior: Before You Sleep by Benji Bennett
Senior: Playing with Fire by Derek Landy

Young Shannon writers give voice to their creations

Twelve post-primary students from Shannon will read their recently written short stories to an audience of their parents, teachers, library staff and Shannon Town Councillors at Sean Lemass Public Library, Shannon on Thursday evening the 14th of May at 7.30pm. The students, from St. Caimin’s Community School and St. Patrick’s Comprehensive School in the town, have been engaged in a series of creative writing classes, the first of which began on the 9th January 2009. The project, which came about as a result of co-operation between Clare County Library, Clare County Arts Office and Ballyvaughan-based publishers Móinín, gave post- primary students a unique opportunity to work with Ré O Laighléis, one of Ireland’s most famous and prolific writers, and to develop their writing skills under his tuition and guidance. The participants’ work was inspired, read and evaluated with constructive suggestions for its amendment and development by Ré on a continuous basis over a six week period of writing workshops. Ré O Laighléis is the biggest selling contemporary author in the Irish language. His novel Gafa (Móinín, 2005) has recently featured on the Leaving Cert syllabus and works of his, such as Ecstasy & other stories (Móinín, 2005), Hooked (Móinín 1999/2007) and his Burren titles are read widely by the general readership and at second and third levels, not just here in Ireland, but also throughout Britain and North America. for Artists in Glór Professional Development Meeting for Artists who work with Children and Young People. "" is an ongoing collaborative research project in development by Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership. Kids’ Own have been promoting and supporting artists’ practice working with children and young people for over twelve years. This research has grown from an understanding of the need for exchange and shared learning for professional development. The aim of the research is to validate, support and enhance artists’ practice working with children and young people. "" takes the main form of a website: It is growing as a vibrant resource and database of contemporary practice in this area. It also provides the first all-Ireland professional network for artists working with children and young people. "" holds regular meetings for artists in various locations around Ireland. The next meeting is kindly supported by Clare Arts Office and Glór Theatre and Arts Centre and takes place in Glór, Ennis on Monday, May 25th from 10.30am to 4.30pm. This day is for all artists, from any discipline and at any stage of their career, whose practice involves working with children and young people. Visit the website for more information: or contact: Yvonne Cullivan, Research Coordinator; E:; T: +353 071 9124945

Life magazine - Empire State Building NY

On May 1, 1931, work on a new 102-story Art Deco tower in Midtown Manhattan, New York, — the Empire State Building — was completed, a masterpiece of architecture that would rank as the tallest building in the world for 40 years. It took 3,400 men to build, most of them European immigrants who risked their very lives to finish the skyscraper in an astounding 410 days. Try not to get vertigo while you flip through the Life magazine gallery of the Empire State Building in progress, with photos of unharnessed workers hundreds of feet in the air, putting it together piece by piece. Click here for the photos.

Work Buddies - copyright Life magazine

New EU website on economic crisis

euro coinsThe global economy is facing a financial crisis involving banking systems, stock markets and the flow of credit. Seeking common strategies to solve the difficulties, European institutions are coordinating national responses and making recommendations to improve the financial system. A new website has been created on the EU's response to the financial and economic crisis:

eYouGuide: Know Your Rights Shopping Online

eYouGuide: Know Your Rights Shopping Online<br />Did you know that under EU law online shoppers enjoy the same rights as on the high street and in some cases an even greater degree of protection? A new online tool, the eYouGuide, offering practical advice on the rights of the digital consumer, was launched by the European Commission this week. The internet can take a lot of hassle from shopping and often provides consumers with greater choice and value, yet 39% of Europeans have major doubts about the safety of internet transactions. See here for further information.

Niall McCormack at the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon‏

inside out – outside inNiall McCormack's exhibition of paintings and installation, “inside out – outside in”, runs from May 7th – May 30th at the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon. Niall McCormack’s recent work deals with the burgeoning property market and the proliferation of housing ‘units’ that has become an ubiquitous subtext to the contemporary Irish landscape. "The faceless uniformity of McCormack’s houses creates a sense of disquiet and foreboding, of soullessness. It speaks of isolation and the contradictions of living together but being apart – a house not as a clichéd home but rather as an instrument of separation.The paintings have a painstaking attention to detail, yet these uniformly windowed housing units lack doors and chimneys. The long, hard shadows cast hint at the melancholic urban landscapes of de Chirico or Sironi."

Thursday 7 May 2009

Muintir na Mara – Around the Clare Coast

Shannon EstuaryMuintir na Mara continues its journey around the coast of Clare on Friday 8th May. The popular TV programme returned to TG4 last week with a six-part series during which Pádraig Ó Duinnín continues his personal and spiritual voyage along the coast of Ireland taking his journey through Limerick and up the Clare coastline traveling by curragh, bicycle and van. Along the way he stops off at little harbours, quays, ports, towns and villages and meets with the local people of the sea, Muintir na Mara. This is the third series in his monumental journey and during the last two series Pádraig travelled up the Cork and Kerry coastlines. Last week’s programme featured Clare County Library’s own Dolores Meaney as she introduced Pádraig to Canon Island and Coney Island in the Shannon estuary. Pádraig encounters many remarkable characters over the six programmes, such as Brendan Garvey a retired lighthouse keeper who revisits his old base at Loophead, Aideen O’ Mahony from Doonbeg who recounts the night her grandfather saved a WW2 fighter pilot from death, Patrick Mullins who tells Pádraig about the struggle as life as a fisherman in today’s Ireland and Kitty Shannon in Doolin, a lovely old lady who recounts stories of when the fishermen from Inis Oirr used to come over from the island to sell potatoes and slept in her house when the weather was too rough to go back. All of these stories are part of a coastal tradition, some of which is being lost forever as fishing communities are decimated by changes to their livelihoods.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Pieces of History: Shop fronts of Ennistymon

Pieces of History: Shop fronts of Ennistymon "Pieces of History: Shop fronts of Ennistymon" is a short documentary created as a tribute to the traditional 19th Century shop fronts of Ennistymon that give the town its unique character. It was produced by 5th Year Art students of Scoil Mhuire and Christian Brother Secondary schools in Ennistymon. According to the students “a number of brief interviews were conducted by students with local residents, whose genuine appreciation of the many facets of these unique structures have ultimately shaped this work. This collaboration between students and local residents highlights the ability of the arts to foster a sense of community while at the same time engaging us creatively”. "Pieces of History: Shop fronts of Ennistymon" will be officially launched on Friday 8th May at 6pm in the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon.

Friday 1 May 2009

Tom Lenihan singing at the Kilrush Fleadh, 1967

Renowned singer Tom Lenihan of Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, singing "Stick to the cratur (poteen)" at the Kilrush Fleadh Cheoil, 1967. A collection of his songs was edited by Tom Munnelly and produced as The Mount Callan Garland: Songs from the Repertoire of Tom Lenihan and Songs of the Irish Travellers 1967–1985. For more information on Tom Lenihan click here...

West Cork Literary Festival

Captain Corelli’s MandolinIn what promises to be a week to remember, the West Cork Literary Festival which opens on Sunday, July 5th, has announced a fantastic line-up of more than fifty writers. Pulitzer prize winning writer Annie Proulx, well-loved Irish author Jennifer Johnston, Liverpudlian favourite Roger McGough, bestselling crime writer Martina Cole and journalist Nell McCafferty will be featuring in the main evening readings in the Maritime Hotel throughout the week of the Festival. Closing the week on a high note, novelist and musician Louis de Bernieres, who wrote Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, will perform in St Brendan’s Church on Saturday night. At the heart of the festival is a series of eleven workshops which will take place each afternoon throughout the week. Festival visitors can attend Tariq Ali’s session on History as Fiction, learn why novelist Denyse Woods writes about the Arab world, find out how to harness their creativity with writer Julie Parsons, write for the stage with Billy Roche and can even get tips on how to get published in a special panel discussion with agent Faith O’Grady and journalist Sue Leonard. Young book lovers also have the chance to meet their heroes with afternoon readings by the creator of the famous Horrid Henry books, Francesca Simon, the popular children’s writer Darren Shan, Cathy Hopkins and a special afternoon with Don Conroy, who needs no introduction to children of all ages. At the centre of the children’s festival are three children’s workshops, led by Sarah Webb, Judi Curtin, Niamh Sharkey and Marie Louise Fitzpatrick. For further details see:

Calling All Poets and Writers

The Galway "Over the Edge" organisation is now open for submissions to its New Writer of the Year creative writing competition 2009. Open to poets and fiction writers, the total prize money is €1,000 with €300 each for the best fiction entry and the best poetry entry. One of these will then be chosen as the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2009 and receive an additional €400. The Edge New Writer of The Year will be a featured reader at a reading to be scheduled in Galway City Library in winter 2009/10. The closing date for entires is Monday, August 3rd 2009, with the winner announced on Sept 24th. For further details see