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.