Thursday 30 July 2009

Librarians Anonymous - introducing Buzzbee

Librarians Anonymous by Buzzbee

Martin Hayes and friends in Pepper's, Feakle

Recorded in Pepper's Bar, Feakle on the 9th May 2009 by BAUDRY88 and featuring renowned Clare fiddle player Martin Hayes:

Serious Mischief's Samba Vibration Reggae, Live in Lahinch

"Serious Mischief, West Clare’s reggae heavy-hitters, are a five piece band of jazz trained monkeys, with no greater love than to fill dance floors with bass pulsations and hip gyrations. A mixture of reggae, dub, rock and Irish influences give their music a diverse quality. They have been playing up the highlands and down the lowlands of Ireland for more than three years. The many different styles are reflected in the live show, and their Thursday night summer residency in Kenny’s Bar, Lahinch is now a legendary night which still takes place. They are currently in the studio recording their first album, a follow-up to last years EP." More info...

Monday 27 July 2009

Loop Head, 31st December 2009

Enjoy some of the sights and scenes around Loop Head on the crisp, bright and dry final day of 2008, courtesy of this video from Jratt2. "Loop Head is one of the best kept secrets on the Irish West Coast, and any visitor practically has the place to his/her self, winter or summer! Featured in this video are the Ionad Cois Cuain Memorial and The Five Pilots Memorial in Kilbaha..." Soundtrack: The Nomad performed by Donal Clancy.

Awful Library Books

Do-It-Yourself CoffinsAwful Library Books is a website developed and maintained by two librarians working in a medium sized public library in Michigan, USA. Titles featured include "What’s Wrong with My Snake?", "Do-It-Yourself Coffins (for Pets and People)" and "How to Deal with Parents and Other Problems". They are seeking submissions - email scans of covers to

Frank McCourt 1930 – 2009

Angela and the Baby JesusFrank McCourt gained national and worldwide recognition with the publication of his memoirs in 1996. Angela’s Ashes documents his life growing up in Limerick in a squalid tenement with an alcoholic father and a mother whose fate was unavoidably determined by the death of her beloved children and the relentless hardship of an almost unbearable existence. The Pulitzer prize-winner Angela's Ashes has sold several million copies, has been published in 27 countries and translated into 17 languages. Its publication angered many of McCourt’s contemporaries, who questioned his portrayal of life in Limerick in the 1930s. Despite the harsh realities of life that he endured as a young man Frank McCourt carved out a literary life for himself as a result of his love of books and learning. Angela’s Ashes was followed by Tis (1999) and Teacher Man, (2005). In 2007 he published a Christmas children’s picture book called Angela and the Baby Jesus, a fitting and unforgettable tribute to his beloved mother. All above titles as well as the film DVD of Angela’s Ashes are available from branches of Clare County Library.

Friday 24 July 2009

My Heart's Tonight In Ireland (In The Sweet County Clare)

This performance of Andy's Irvine's song about the early days of Sweeney's Men in the 1960s in County Clare features a who's who of Irish musicians and refers to Scariff, Kilrush, Sixmilebridge, Kilkishen, Lahinch, Ennistymon, Liscannor, Kikee and especially Miltown Malbay where

My heart tonight is far away across the rolling sea
In the sweet Miltown Malbay it is there I'd love to be
So long ago and far away but nothing can compare
My heart's tonight in Ireland in the sweet County Clare

Dingle Film Festival - September 10th to 13th

Spirit of the MarathonThe Dingle Film Festival will open on the 10th of September and close on the 13th. Venues this year include The Phoenix Cinema, one of Ireland's few independent cinemas, a purposely built Festival Marquee and The Cinemobile. Spirit of the Marathon, receiving its European premier in Dingle, will be screened to celebrate the Dingle Marathon which will be taking place on the same weekend as the film festival.The films director Jon Dunham will be flying in from the states and will be present at the screening. The films producer Mark Jonathan Harris has won two Oscars. It is expected that 2,000 people will be taking part in the marathon on Saturday 12th. More info at

Democracy and Dialogue Short Online Film Competition

Make a short film on Democracy & Dialogue and have your work screened at this year's Darklight Film Festival. The European Commission Representation in Ireland and the Darklight Film Festival invite you to make a short online film on the theme of 'Democracy & Dialogue' - and what it means to you. Online media is a powerful force in the 21st Century: using the internet as a forum for debate, individuals can bypass the established press, TV and radio, and let the power of their ideas make change. And this is where you come in. Make a short film, one inspired by the notion of Democracy & Dialogue. It doesn't matter if you record it on your mobile phone, a state of the art digital video camera, or create your own DIY animation - the idea’s the thing. Make it a comedy, a tragedy, a documentary, an animation - whatever takes your fancy. It's about self-expression. And if it gets people thinking, even better. The winning entry will win a state of the art HD Digital camera worth €1800 and have their work screened this October at the 2009 Darklight Film Festival. As this is an internet competition, your entries need to be uploaded onto a video hosting site - You Tube, Google Video, Vimeo... Once you do that, submit your link, along with your details, on the ‘Entry’ page. Entries must be submitted by email by 11 September. The winner will not only be selected on the basis of the best film produced, but also by the number of hits their video gets. 75% of the marks for the movie will be given over to creativity and imagination, and 25% for building an audience. More info at

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Double Up On Summer Entertainment

CoralineIf you and your friends are enjoying what’s on offer at the cinema this summer, why not stop by your local library and borrow the books that inspired some of the best movies this year? You will find copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Coraline at the library, and if you’re a Hannah Montana fan you might like to read Miles to Go. In her book, Miley Cyrus gives the reader an account of her life up to now that’s both entertaining and sometimes quite sad. Read about how she coped with growing up with a famous dad, her school experiences which I’m sure are not all that different from your own, and about how she came to be where she is today. There’s no shortage of Harry Potter books to choose from at your local library and with the current showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, now might be as good a time as any to begin reading all seven in the series. Don’t forget The Tales of Beedle the Bard also by JK Rowling and if you’ve already read all these, check out Clare County Library’s extensive collection of fantasy novels that may be just what you need to fill the void since the final Harry Potter book was published. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book was one of last year’s biggest publishing successes. Coraline, written by the same author is also well worth reading if you like to explore family situations that are just a bit different from the norm. Reading the stories behind these movies will bring an added dimension to your appreciation of them so why not double up on the enjoyment this summer. Popcorn goes just as well with a good read!

Monday 20 July 2009

Are we there yet? Facing the future anew - Merriman Summer School 2009

Cumann MerrimanEvery generation has decisions to take about its future, its priorities, its place in the world. For this generation of political leaders, policy makers and citizens these decisions appear more complex than they have done for a long time. The quickly assumed certainty of the so-called Celtic Tiger period has given way to a worrying uncertainty about tomorrow. This is the focus of the School in 2009. What are the challenges we face? There will be a little retrospection and Diarmaid Ferriter, noted historian and writer, will offer an insight into the context of half a century ago to set the scene for the rest of the school which will look to the future. Education is, as ever, a key issue and a determinant of so much of what is possible. Tom Collins, Professor of education at NUI Maynooth will consider the imperatives of educational policy. Maureen Gaffney, well known to readers and listeners as a psychologist and commentator, will consider the psychological and social character of the changing context. We do not live in isolation and a sub-theme in the School will be our relations with others. Lord Paul Bew - who is Professor of Politics at Queen’s University Belfast will look at developments in Northern Ireland and between the two jurisdictions on the island. Noel Dorr, former Secretary-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and well known to Merriman Schools, will look at the issues that face Ireland in shaping its foreign policy in a world whose centre of gravity may be changing significantly. Brigid Laffan, Principal of the College of Human Sciences in UCD, will address the issue of Ireland’s place in Europe and, specifically, its place in the EU. Cherishing the children of the nation equally has been something of a slogan since its first use more than ninety years ago. It means different things to different people. But children have been very much in the thoughts of everybody in recent times. Emily Logan is the Ombudsman for Children and will reflect on the state’s policies and priorities in their regard. Literature and culture will not be overlooked and Cilian Fennell will consider where our sense of self is finding contemporary expression. Nor will the topic that has dominated our consciousness for much of the past year - economics – be overlooked. The science that has seemed more dismal than usual in recent times has assumed a more central place in our lives. Frances Ruane is Director of the Economic and Social Research Institute. She will be joined by John McHale, just returmed from Canada to become Professor of Economics in NUI Galway, and Michael Smyth, Head of the School of Economics at the University of Ulster. Together they will reflect on the future focus and direction of policy in this vital and pressing area. And to reinforce the reality that we are not shaped by bread alone. Seán Freyne, Professor Emeritus of Theology at Trinity College, will look at issues facing religion. The School will have the well-established elements of Renew Your Irish with Eoghan Ó hAnluain, seminars in Irish and English given by academics, journalists, senior figures in the public service and covering topics such as the relationship between Ministers and senior civil servants, Arts policy, language planning, the library in the digital age, the future of the media, Gaeltacht development, the position of the vulnerable in current circumstances and developments in Northern Ireland. The midday poetry readings – Cúirt an Mheán Lae – that have become a tradition since their introduction in the bicentennial school in 2005 will feature again when poets will include John F Deane, Enda Wyley, James Harpur and Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh.
Merriman Summer School 16-22 August 2009.
Venues: Clare Museum and Glór Theatre, Ennis.
Further Information: 086 382 0671
Download summer school programme (PDF file)

Vanessa Daws at Courthouse Gallery

Vanessa Daws at Ennistymon Courthouse GalleryThe Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, presents Escapade, a mixed media exhibition by Vanessa Daws from 17th July to 7th August. "Vanessa’s work is an eclectic mix of brightly coloured paintings, sculpture, drawing and animation. She is inspired by art where the viewer can discover aspects of the work that they can manipulate, manoeuvre or peer into. As children we look at the world differently, creating our own stories and mythology parallel to the ordinary world; as we grow older this world gets put to one side. Vanessa’s art work explores possibilities of access to these parallel worlds and allows the viewer to temporarily escape the mundane. Interactive art and participation plays a major role in her own work. This comes from years of working in community arts and having the desire to make art accessible for everyone to share, respond to and enjoy. Since moving to Ireland in 1997 Vanessa has been working in community arts starting out as a volunteer to designing for art groups such as Macnas in Galway and St Patrick’s Day Festival, Dublin. Since 2007 she has been concentrating on pursuing her own visual art practice." For further information, please contact Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery on 065 707 1630 or
Gallery opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 5pm. No admission fee.

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Summer Reads

Snapshots from a deadly summer: Valdez, Alaska - copyright Irish TimesArminta Wallace, writing in The Irish Times on Saturday, July 4th, recommends top-notch crime novels with a strong sense of place for reading on the beach this summer. With settings from Alaska to Venice, this collection of thrillers should have something for everyone wherever you’re heading this summer. See

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Indian Classical Concert at The Courthouse Gallery

Indian Classical ConcertThe Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, presents Sougata Roy Choudhruy and Debojyoti Sanyal on sarod and tabla on Thursday July 9th at 9pm. Tickets on Door- 10 euro or children 2 euro. Sougata Roy Chowdhury & Debojyoti Sanyal are a new generation of Classical Indian Musicians. These Kolkatta musicians are both disciples of the great masters of the North Indian Classical tradition. This duo has had several highly acclaimed and extremely successful tours of France, Germany, Austria and Ireland since 2002. With over 20 years of experience each on their instruments, these highly accomplished musicians are part of the new generation of up and coming Classical Indian musicians. Sougata, student of the late Dhyanesh Khan, plays the sarod. He also teaches a growing number of students who come from all parts of the world to study the subtle art of Indian music under his guidance. Debojyoti, a student of Pandit Shankar Ghosh, plays the tabla, the unique hand drums famous for their delicate and rich sound.

Books and CDs on Miltown’s famous son

Willie ClancyThis week, Miltown Malbay becomes the traditional music capital of Ireland during the annual Willie Clancy Summer School where Irish music enthusiasts come together to play music, to learn music, to dance, to teach and to listen. Clare County Library has a collection of books, CDs and cassette tapes that will be of interest to those attending the summer school. A Touchstone for the Tradition: the Willie Clancy Summer School by Tony Kearns and Barry Taylor is the story in words and in pictures of the origins of the Willie Clancy Summer School and its development over thirty years and of the contribution of the school to traditional music. The Dance Music of Willie Clancy by Pat Mitchell contains the tunes of Willie Clancy for those wishing to learn to play. The library also holds volumes 1 and 2 of The Pipering of Willie Clancy – recordings by RTE of Clancy’s pipe and whistle playing from 1958 until his death in 1973. Willie Clancy: the Minstrel from Clare also contains recordings of his piping and whistle-playing as well as his singing. The songs range from the comic and bawdy to the sentimentally patriotic.The instrumentals range from jigs and reels to the slow airs for which Willie was justly famous. The library holds two collections of recordings made at recent summer schools in Miltown. Rogha Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy – Selected Recordings from the Willie Clancy Summer School 2007 features musicians such as Martin Hayes and Noel Hill. Ceol agus Foinn Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy – Music and Songs From the Willie Clancy Summer School contains a selection of music and song recorded by RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta at the school in the years up to 2007. Artists include PJ Crotty, Micko Russell, Joe Ryan, Seán Ryan, John McEvoy and Paddy Canny. These CDs can be listened to in Miltown Public Library and are also available for borrowing from there and from other libraries throughout the County.

Quest Seekers Children’s Summer Reading Challenge - Promotional Materials for the Visually Impaired

Summer Reading Challenge Quest Seekers Promotional Packs for children who are visually impaired are available through all branches of Clare County Library. Packs contain super-sized fold-out posters with 18+ font size and large stickers. Visually impaired certificates are over-brailled and Braille handout sheets with instructions are included. Clare County Library invites parents of visually impaired children to request these special packs at their local library. The supply of these materials is in keeping with Clare County Council’s promotion of positive actions to achieve equality of access to all services.

Friday 3 July 2009

Willie Clancy at the Kilrush Fleadh Cheoil in 1967

Every year, in early July, the town of Miltown Malbay in West Clare becomes an international centre for traditional musicians. The town reverberates to the sound of flutes, fiddles, accordians, concertinas and especially uilleann pipes. The celebration is in memory of Miltown Malbay's famous son, the late Willie Clancy. More info...

The Whale wins Samuel Johnson prize

Leviathan, or The Whale by Philip Hoare Leviathan, or The Whale by Philip Hoare has been named the winner of the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2009. Hoare has had a life long obsession with whales inspired by the literary classic Moby Dick. Leviathan is part natural history, part literary criticism, part economics and part memoir but at its heart is the author's lifelong obsession for all things whale. Jacob Weisberg, chairman of the judging panel, predicted that Hoare's genre-defying book would become nothing less than "a classic". He commented: “What made Leviathan stand out in a shortlist of wonderful reads was Philip Hoare’s lifelong passion for his subject and his skill in making his readers share it. His prose is dream-like and rises to the condition of literature.” Hoare's book saw off competition from a shortlist that also included Ben Goldacre's book version of his Guardian column Bad Science which was the favourite to claim the award. The others were Liaquat Ahamed's Lords of Finance, an examination of the Great Depression; David Grann's The Lost City of Z, about the British explorer Percy Fawcett; Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder and a book praised for making quantum physics accessible and interesting - Manjit Kumar's Quantum.

The Kate Greenway Medal

Harris Finds His Feet by Catherine RaynerThe Kate Greenway Medal was established in 1955 for distinguished illustration in children’s books. It is named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her fine children's illustrations and designs. The winner receives a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice. The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Winner 2009 is Harris Finds His Feet by Catherine Rayner.
The shortlist was;
The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico illustrated by Angela Barrett
Varmints by Helen Ward illustrated by Marc Craste
Little Boat by Thomas Docherty illustrated by Thomas Docherty
How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham illustrated by bob Graham
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
The Savage by Dave McKean illustrated by Dave McKean
Harris Finds His Feet by Catherine Rayner illustrated by Catherine Rayner
Molly and the Night Monster by Chris Wormell illustrated by Chris Wormell

Carnegie Medal

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell BoyceThe Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Carnegie Medal has been awarded for children’s writing in the UK for the past 72 years. There is no cash reward for the author, but it is however the most prestigious reward in the world of children’s publishing. Librarians throughout Britain nominate titles for the long list. Subsequently twelve librarians from CILIP’s Youth Libraries Group meet to discuss the long list and agree the titles for the shortlist. There was a strong Irish presence in this year’s excellent shortlist, with two of this country’s top selling, award-winning writers, Eoin Colfer and Kate Thompson nominated. Thompson’s Creature of the Night won this year’s CBI/Bisto Book of the Year Judge’s Special Recognition Award. The winning book was Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd. Siobhan was born to Irish parents grew up in London and had strong links with Ireland, visiting Waterford and Wicklow many times in her youth. She drew on these experiences for the setting of her award-winning novels before her untimely death in 2007. This year’s CBI/ Bisto Book of the Year Prize was awarded posthumously to her for Bog Child. The London Eye Mystery also by Siobhan Dowd was the 2008 Bisto Book Award Winner.
The complete shortlist was;
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks
Airman by Eoin Colfer
Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson
All seven books explore the theme of teenage boys growing up, set against a variety of backgrounds in a variety of genres encompassing historical, fantasy and adventure writing.
“What really stands out in all the novels on our shortlist is the capacity of each author, in their very different ways to empathise with young people, and really get inside their heads”, comments Joy Court, Chair of the 2009 Judging Panel. “Each book lays bare the thorny process of turning from child to adult and the moral dilemmas, ambivalent relationships and confusing feelings that characterise the business of growing up. These are characters young readers will identify with and books that really do have the power to influence young lives.

Thursday 2 July 2009

New Children’s Laureate

Little BeautyAnthony Browne was announced as the UK’s new Children’s Laureate in June 2009. He pledges to raise the profile of picture books and encourage adults as well as children to draw. The multi-award winning author/illustrator whose picture books are known world wide, is the second illustrator to be named Children’s Laureate. The first was Quentin Blake, ten years ago. Picture books by Anthony Browne available in Clare County Library branches include:
King Kong
Little Beauty
My Dad
Willy the Wimp
Willy and Hugh
Willy the Dreamer
My Mum and

Free lunchtime concert in Courthouse Gallery

Riches Of Clare concert at Courthouse Gallery EnnistymonThe Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon presents a free lunchtime traditional music concert as part of the Riches of Clare 2009 series. The concert will take place this Friday, 3rd July 2009 at 1pm in the gallery. Performers include Conor Crimmins, Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Damien O’Mhuiris. Admission is free and all are welcome. For more information please see and