Wednesday 30 September 2009

Irish Wildlife TrustThe Irish Wildlife Trust (Clare Branch) is holding talks and a guided walk to look at erosion of sand dune systems at Fanore on Saturday 10th October, meeting at Fanore National School at 11am. There will be speakers from the IWT, Clare Coounty Council, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Birdwatch Ireland, a botanist and geologist. After a break for lunch, there will be a guided walk looking at the Fanore sand dunes at 2pm. This event is free. For further details contact Jim Martin 087 9319459 or see and its Facebook page.

Overlander in Doolin

Australian travel writer Overlander meets Tom Frawley in Lahinch, and interviews banjo player Kevin Griffin about why Doolin has become the traditional music capital of Ireland...

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Autonomous Librarians Liberation Front - by Buzzbee

Autonomous Librarians Liberation Front - copyright Buzzbee

Clare Mental Health Week 5th-10th October

Clare Mental Health Week runs from Monday 5th October to Saturday 10th October inclusive. During this week talks/forums from health and community experts will be taking place throughout the county at various locations. A Burren walk has also been organised to take place on Saturday 10th October. For anyone wishing to seek further information a leaflet providing details of events (which are free to the public) can be obtained from one of the following areas: Reception at Clare County Council HQ; Ennis Town Council; Clare County Council Area Offices; Motor Tax Office; Public Libraries; Ennis Leisure Complex; Fire Stations and BDB Waste Management Facility. Alternatively, further details may be obtained from the following

Monday 28 September 2009

"Sport and Social Life in 19th Century Clare" at the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon

The North Clare Historical Society presents is a creative writing community where Irish writers can share and develop their work. As well as allowing aspiring authors to showcase their work, the site features a forum where members can chat to each other, and it provides updates of writing competitions and events, lists of local writing groups and a list of magazines to submit work to. In the Getting Started as a Writer section, well known Irish writers share their experience with new and aspiring writers and offer a step by step guide to help you achieve your writing goals. Gabriel Fitzmaurice, one of Ireland's best known poets, offers some timely advice for those taking the plunge into poetry writing, while Carlo Gébler shares tips, techniques and insights drawn from a lifetime's experience as a successful author. Later guides covering Short Fiction, Popular Fiction, Journalism, Travel Writing and Memoirs will be added. Each guide draws on the author's experience and provides a simple, easy to follow route map to get the best out of your writing ideas. Membership is free and the site already has 600 members in its online writing community.

Mayor of Clare to launch CBF 2009 in Shannon

The Mayor of Clare, Councillor Tony Mulcahy, will officially launch Children’s Book Festival 2009 in Sean Lemass Public Library, Shannon, on Saturday the 3rd of October at 11.30am, kicking off four weeks of library events to promote children’s books and reading. Jugglers, unicyclists and magicians will entertain children of all ages in a fun-filled four hour celebration from 10am to 2pm. To find out what’s on in your area visit your local library or view the full programme on the library website. Join us on Saturday Oct 3rd for some delightful treats from the chocolate fountain, meet well known characters from the world of children’s books and join in the magical entertainment throughout the day. For a feast of festival fun all are welcome to drop in any time between 10am and 2pm.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Thomas Moore Exhibition

Thomas MooreThe Thomas Moore Festival, in association with the Royal Irish Academy, is delighted to announce that due to public demand, the travelling exhibition “My Gentle Harp” continues its nationwide tour, this month stopping off in County Clare. The exhibition can be viewed at the DeValera Library, Harmony Row, Ennis, where it will be on display during library opening hours from 23rd September to 22nd October. The exhibition outlines the story of Thomas Moore's life and literary works, and his world-famous songs - the Irish Melodies. The exhibition opened at the RIA in Dublin, in June 2008, and then travelled to Cork, Wexford, Belfast, Castlebar, Kerry and NUI Galway, receiving a very good response and attendance. The exhibition formed part of the very successful Thomas Moore Festival 2008, which also featured an extensive concert touring programme, a number of conferences and a large recording project.

Monday 21 September 2009

Man Booker Prize 2009 Shortlist

The Children's Book by A. S. ByattThe shortlist for the Man Booker Prize 2009 was announced on September 8th. Chosen from a longlist of 13, the shortlisted titles are:
The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt
Summertime by J. M. Coetzee
The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.
Having previously won in 1999 with Disgrace and in 1983 with Life & Times of Michael K, South African writer J.M. Coetzee would be the first author to win the Man Booker Prize three times if successful this year. A.S. Byatt is in the running for a second win - her novel Possession won the Booker Prize in 1990. Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black was longlisted in 2005 and both Mantel and Byatt have been judges of the prize. Sarah Waters has been shortlisted twice for Fingersmith in 2002 and The Night Watch in 2006. Adam Foulds and Simon Mawer are newcomers to the shortlist.
There is a strong focus on historical fiction in this year’s list. Mantel's Wolf Hall is a piece of historical fiction set in the court of Henry VIII and centering on the character of Thomas Cromwell and is the critics’ favourite to win the prize. The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds centres on the incarceration of the great nature poet John Clare in an asylum in the 1840s. Byatt’s The Children’s Book follows the intersecting fortunes of four families across a quarter of a century from 1895 to the aftermath of the first world war. Sarah Water’s The Little Stranger is the people's choice for this year's prize selling some 50% more copies than any other title longlisted for the award. Her book is a chilling ghost story set in postwar Britain. The Glass Room by Simon Mawer is set in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. It follows a newly-wed couple, a Jew and a gentile, as their optimism fades when the storm clouds of the Second World War gather and the family must flee. Coetzee’s Summertime is the third volume in his trilogy of fictionalised memoir that began with Boyhood and Youth. Summertime tells the story of an English biographer, writing a book about the late author John Coetzee. Three Irish authors – Colm Toibin (who has been shortlisted twice), William Trevor (shortlisted four times) and Ed O’Loughlin – featured on the longlist but missed out on reaching the shortlist. The winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be revealed on Tuesday 6 October 2009. The winning author will receive £50,000 and can look forward to greatly increased sales and worldwide recognition. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga was the winner of the 2008 prize. See for more information.

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Outdoor screening of “I Was Happy Here” in Liscannor

I Was Happy Here

As part of the “Strange the rooms we've all lived in” a new multimedia exhibition by Fiona O’Dwyer in the Courthouse Gallery Ennistymon from 18 Sept - 19 Oct, there will be a special outdoor screening of “I Was Happy Here” on Wednesday 23rd September at 8.00pm at Egans Pub, Liscannor. The film was shot in County Clare in 1965 and was directed by Desmond Davis and starred Cyril Cusack and Sara Miles. A collection of archive material from the film will be exhibited in Egan’s pub at the same time. The screening will take place outdoors under a canopy with outdoor heating, but please be advised to dress warmly. Put your fold up chair in the boot in case it is needed! The event is weather dependent and as a result may need to be moved indoors or rescheduled. For more information and updates on film and video screenings and related events see For further information, please contact Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery, Parliament Street, Ennistymon, Co. Clare, or telephone 065 707 1630, or email

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Positive Ageing Week at Clare County Library

Positive Ageing WeekPositive Ageing Week is a festival which highlights the positive aspects of ageing and celebrates the contribution older people have made, and continue to make, to their communities. This year it runs from 25th September to 3rd October and to mark the event Clare County Library has organised a very special evening of entertainment with the Forever Young choir at the DeValera Library, Ennis, on Friday 25th September at 8.00 pm. Forever Young are a mixed choral group from County Clare. A performance in 2007 by the American group The Young at Heart Chorus, whose members are senior citizens, provided the inspiration for founding the Forever Young Choir. Based in Ennis, the 28 member, over 70s choir formed in 2008 and received a standing ovation at their first performance at the Active Retirement Ireland AGM in Clare. Since then they have been going from strength to strength, proving that there are certainly no age barriers in music. Their signature tune, Bob Dylan's "Forever Young", inspired their name. Conducted by choir mistress Joan Duggan, they practise weekly in the Ennis Cathedral choir room. Members show enormous commitment to their choir while always retaining a degree of levity in their attitude towards life and performing. The choir has performed at several venues and always to great acclaim. They regularly perform such long standing hits as "Lillie Marleen" and "Swing Low Sweet Chariot". “Positive Ageing” is the term chosen to encapsulate all that is being done to make Ireland a good place in which to grow old. Coordinated by Age Action Ireland, the central aim of the week is to dispel the many negative perceptions that surround ageing and to transform attitudes towards ageing and older people. We need to celebrate the fact that we are living longer and that ageing is not a burden but an opportunity. The library event begins at 8.00 pm. All are welcome and entry is free. It’s sure to be a very special evening - don’t miss it!

Monday 14 September 2009

Children’s Book Festival 2009: Demons, Dinosaurs and Beardy Authors!

Children's Book Festival 2009Demons, Dinosaurs, Beardy Authors and other beasts will be at large this October during Children’s Book Festival! That’s the word from Children’s Books Ireland, the national children’s book organisation of Ireland, whose website is well worth a visit. Throw in a whole host of activities organized by Clare County Library, from printing workshops to hilarious children’s theatre shows, with a generous helping of poets and storytellers to transport you to the world of the imagination, and you have what promises to be a “cool” month of October. The official launch of Clare County Library’s Children’s Book Festival takes place in Seán Lemass Library, Shannon, on Saturday 3rd October at 10am. Clare County Library invites all young, and not so young visitors to join in the fun on the day. Why not tell us a story, sing a song or showcase a special act, on your own, or with friends. Join us for some delightful treats from the chocolate fountain, meet well known characters from the world of children’s books and join in the magical entertainment throughout the day. There will be juggling, unicycling, magic and much more in a fun-filled four hour celebration of CBF 2009 from 10am to 2pm.

The festival will run for the full month offering young audiences across the island of Ireland a host of opportunities to engage in a wide range of book-focused activities and to celebrate all that’s positive about libraries and reading. Children’s Book Festival is the biggest celebration of books and reading which takes place in Ireland every year. Thousands of events take place in libraries, schools, bookshops and arts centres all over the country to bring children one of the most varied and exciting programmes of events available. Approximately four thousand children visit Clare library branches each year during the festival and with the quality and variety of this year’s programme, libraries all over Clare are expecting hordes of young visitors each week. The full programme of events is available on the library website and at your local branch library. Authors visiting the county this year include Sarah Webb, Kieran Mark Crowley, Fiona Tierney, Meadhbh Ni Eadhra and Enda Wyley.

October 1st is All-Ireland Poetry Day and as part of this year’s children’ book festival Clare County Library is pleased to announce the hosting of poetry readings for children in Kilrush, Kilkee, Kildysart, Shannon and Newmarket on Fergus libraries by poets Gabriel Fitzmaurice, who needs no introduction, and Paul Tubb whose recently published collection of poetry called Please Do Not Encourage This Nonsense by Purchasing this Book contains “23 Poems Not about Football, 11 that are about Football and 5 Limericks” - according to himself.

Later in the month one of Britain's favourite children's poets, Brian Moses, will visit Ennis, Ennistymon, Miltown Malbay, Kilrush and Kilkee libraries. Brian’s poems range from the familiar to the peculiar and audiences are guaranteed an excellent hour of rhyme, rhythm and rap in all his performances which will prove that poetry isn’t something that just sits on a page. The National Print Museum will hold printing workshops in four libraries for children aged 6 to 8; Dog and String Theatre will tour with their new show, Tales from the Forest; and The Kids Party Club will also perform two excellent puppet shows based on everyday classroom occurrences that are sure to strike a chord with teachers, parents and children alike.

One of the highlights of this year’s CBF programme is the performance by Galway Community Theatre, ALá, of The Stinky Cheese Man in Miltown Malbay Community Hall on the 21st of October at 1pm. The performance by a cast of twenty, which is kindly sponsored by Clare County Arts Office, is based on the picture book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by John Scieszka and is adapted for stage by John Glore. The play deconstructs not only the tradition of the fairy tale but also the entire notion of a book. The naughty narrator, Jack, makes a mockery of the title page, the table of contents, and even the end paper by shuffling, scoffing, and generally paying no mind to structure. Characters slide in and out of tales; Cinderella rebuffs Rumpelstiltskin, and the Giant at the top of the beanstalk snacks on the Little Red Hen. There are still lessons to be learned, but mostly just good fun that smart alecks of all ages will love. Bookings for the show by 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th classes in National Schools can be made by contacting Helen Flynn, Miltown Malbay Library 065 7084822.

This is just a taste of what’s on offer for children through Clare’s library network this October. Contact your local branch to check out times, age suitability and get the finer details on any of the 70 or more events that are coming your way for Children’s Book Festival 2009.

The Other Hand

The Other HandThe Other Hand by Chris Cleave is the latest word of mouth phenomenon, having achieved huge sales without a film adaptation, a Richard & Judy backing or a prize winning. The Other Hand is about two women who meet on a beach in Nigeria and the impact that the terrible event of that day has on the rest of their lives. The book – a book club favourite - has achieved sales of over 5,000 copies each week in recent weeks and has sold almost a quarter of a million titles since its publication last year. Cleave’s first book, entitled Incendiary – about the human impact of a terrorist attack on London - was removed from sale in many shops the day after the London bombings in July 2005. Incendiary was re-released recently and sold more than 6,000 copies in its first full week on sale.

Writing for Children

Do you have an idea for a children's story that you would really love to share with the world? Not sure exactly how to go about doing so? Want to learn how to turn your ideas into reality? "Paths to Publication", an information seminar on writing or illustrating for children, is being held in Pearse Street Library in Dublin on Saturday, Sept 19th. The panel for the seminar will include established Irish authors Oisin McGann, Niamh Sharkey and Sarah Webb. For further details contact Children’s Books Ireland at 01-8727475 or see

Thursday 10 September 2009

Muhammad Ali visits Ennis, 1st September 2009

This video was produced by Moon TV, Production 63 and Edgecast Media. For extra footage of the visit click here...

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Wikipedia: Beneath the Surface

What is a wiki? How does information get into Wikipedia in the first place? Who creates it? This short animation introduces viewers to what goes on behind-the-scenes so they can make the best use of what's on the surface. Watch a higher quality version with captioning here... This video was created by North Carolina State University Libraries.

Friday 4 September 2009

What Clare’s Readers are Reading

Lessons in HeartbreakA look at the top 50 adult fiction books borrowed from Clare County Library so far this year shows that Irish authors continue to be hugely popular with library members. Twenty-two of the top fifty titles were written by Irish authors – mostly in the chick-lit genre. Books by Cecelia Ahern claimed five of the top spots, with Maeve Binchy, Colette Caddle, Cathy Kelly and Sheila O’Flanagan claiming two places each. John Boyne’s Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – a crossover book which is read by adults, teenagers and children - is the most popular adult fiction book so far in 2009. The release of the movie last year gave the book an extra boost. Another “crossover novelist”, Stephenie Meyer, has two books on the top fifty list. Her Twilight series of vampire novels, which are read by both adults and teenagers, have gained worldwide recognition, won multiple literary awards and sold over 70 million copies worldwide. Another notable feature of the top fifty list is the popularity of the crime genre with readers. Books by Linwood Barclay, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen are in constant demand as are those by more established authors James Patterson, John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell. Jodi Picoult is the only other author besides Cecelia Ahern to have five books appearing on the top 50 list. Picoult targets hot issues such as the death penalty and high-school shootings and centres on families and relationships. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini has been hugely popular since it’s release in 2003. It is joined on the list by A Thousand Splendid Suns by Hosseini which is aslo set in Afghanistan. Joanne Harris’ The Lollipop Shoes from which she read at the 2008 Ennis Bookclub Festival also makes the list of most popular adult fiction books. Anne Enright’s The Gathering and Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton also featured among the popular titles. Library membership and loans of books from Clare County Library have increased by 10% over this time last year.

Top ten adult fiction books of 2009:
Boyne, John Boy in the striped pyjamas
Kelly, Cathy Lessons in Heartbreak
Meyer, Stephenie Twilight
Binchy, Maeve This Year it will be different
Scanlan, Patricia Forgive and Forget
Keyes, Marian This Charming Man
Patterson, James Sail
O’Flanagan, Sheila Someone Special
Picoult, Jodi Salem Falls
O’Flanagan, Sheila Bad Behaviour
Ahern, Cecelia Thanks for the memories

Immobile Library - Buzzbee

Immobile Library - copyright Buzzbee