Friday 29 January 2010

"Ennistymon Inside Out" - at Courthouse Gallery Ennistymon

Ennistymon Inside Out photo exhibitionClare County Library presents an exhibition of photographs of Ennistymon taken in 1988 by Alex Browne and Anthony Edwards, recording the interiors of some of the houses and shops in Ennistymon − including the famous murals in the Falls hotel, which have since disappeared, as indeed have many of the scenes depicted in this exhibition. The exhibition runs from Tuesday 2nd to Friday 26th February. Admission free. The photos can be viewed online and downloaded freely by clicking here...

Irish Authors on 2009 UK Bestseller List

This Charming ManBooks by four Irish authors were among the 50 bestselling books in the UK in 2009. Marian Keyes’ book This Charming Man was in 7th place on the overall list and secured the top place on the list of bestselling paperback books of 2009. Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture, Maeve Binchy’s Heart and Soul and Cecelia Ahern’s The Gift were the other books by Irish authors that secured a place on the bestseller chart.

According to Nielsen’s Bookscan, the bestseller list in 2009 was topped in the UK, as expected, by Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. Brown’s book smashed the previous record (held by Thomas Harris’ Hannibal) for the most books sold in the initial five days after publication by selling 550,900 copies. But it was Stephenie Meyer who dominated the list with 6 titles in the top 50 list. The four books in Meyer’s Twilight series have proved popular with both adults and children. Her first novel specifically aimed at adults , a sci-fi novel entitled The Host, published in 2008, secured 22nd place on the list. The first two books from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy also featured on the list. The eagerly awaited finale to the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, was published in English in October 2009 and failed to make the top 50 list despite selling an impressive 152,000 copies in three months. Noticeably absent from the 2009 bestselling list was the 'Mis Lit' category – books describing a miserable childhood - which has been very popular in recent years. Celebrity biographies failed to attract anticipated sales figures but still were the most popular books in the non-fiction category. Barack Obama’s Dreams from my Father was the bestseller in this category.

Friday 22 January 2010

The Building of the Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme

"Footage of the construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the river Shannon, Ireland" posted on Youtube by siemens

In August 1925 one of the most important under-takings for the economic and social life of the country was begun when the first sod was cut at Ardnacrusha, Co. Clare, for the construction of the Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme. The scheme was the beginning of the electrification of the country and led to the establishment of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB). The Shannon Scheme was one of the largest civil engineering projects of its type in the world at the time it was built, and was regarded by many Irish people as ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World.’ More information...

Asterix and Tintin celebrate significant birthdays.

2009 marked the 80th birthday and 50th birthdays respectively of two of the most well-known and well-loved comics Tintin and Asterix the Gaul. Asterix and Obelix’s Birthday: The Golden Book was published to mark the occasion with a print run of three million copies. The first in a trilogy of motion-capture 3D Tintin films from Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson is due for release in 2011.

Shakespearean Drama goes Manga

Classical Shakespearean literature is getting the Manga treatment. With this revolutionary approach to English teaching the lure of the graphic presentation effortlessly promotes the educational aspect of these classic plays. The target audience is teenagers who may be reading Shakespeare for the first time and the books are designed to complement the original works rather than taking their place. The adaptations are futuristic, showcasing many modern technologies in the world of print. Writing in The Irish Times Wed Jan 6th 2010, Sara Keating contemplates if Shakespeare’s greatest dramas are a comedy of errors or a literary triumph. “In Romeo and Juliet, for example, Romeo is the rock-idol son of a mafia boss in present-day Tokyo, while in The Tempest, a global energy crisis sees Prospero washed up on the island. Crucially, however, Shakespearean verse remains verbatim, albeit in abridged form”. First published by Self Made Hero in 2007 these adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays offer an opportunity for a new approach to their exploration by students.

Thursday 21 January 2010

Evening Classes at Glór starting Monday January 25th

GlórKick off your new year resolutions at Glór with a selection of evening classes to tickle your fancy. Classes run each Monday from January 25th to March 1st. Classes include:
Ethnic vegetarian cookery - choose from Mediterranean, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Thai and Indian. Some classes sold out and others almost full. More info...
Art therapy - this gentle healing process can be used to explore yourself more deeply or as an introduction to studying art as a form of therapy. More info...
Traditional singing workshops with Tim Dennehy - A practical workshop for anyone interested in traditional song and singing. More info...
First aid - classes in Paediatric First Aid, Basic First Aid, Defibrillator, and Common Infant and Child Emergencies. More info...
Environment and heritage - a series of lectures on a range of topics. More info...
Wildlife photography - a series of classes for the budding photographers amongst you. More info...
Booking now on 065 6843 103

SEASIDE STORIES... on Saturday January 23rd

Seaside Stories...

Following a successful screening in Lisdoonvarna, SEASIDE STORIES... returns by popular demand to the COURTHOUSE GALLERY, Ennistymon, on Saturday January 23rd at 6pm(€5) & 8pm(€7). 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. Meanwhile Sally arrives home determined to tell Locky that she is really his mother. This does not go as planned and sets the scene for a series of events that revolve around young Locky, and changes the lives of all involved.

FIONN BURKE of Ennistymon plays Locky, the young boy around which the whole story twists and turns with CAOLANN O'DWYER as his tearaway mate, Callo. The film features also several members of the successful local drama group, BURREN PLAYERS, in their first roles on film. GERRY HOWARD, formerly the local butcher but now a professional actor, plays Shanker, a bewildered irish army peacekeeper who left a little of himself in the Lebanon. He tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Clara, played by AILEEN MURPHY from Ballagh, Ennistymon. The Ballyvaughan headmaster, MICHAEL CANAVAN, plays the local detective with problems on the home front, opposite THERESA LEAHY, who works with the youngsters in the Clare Youth Drama. The well known local barman and chairman of Bórd na nÓg, BILLY ARCHBOLD, lends a bit of gravitas as the convener of the AA meeting. These local actors are working with professionals Maggie Byrne and Jacinta Sheerin, from Dublin and Michael Diamond Playing a "bad man" from Belfast. The Writer/Director FERGUS TIGHE will introduce the film and some of the actors will attend. The film was made over the past 3 years from Gallivanting Media's base at the Courthouse Gallery & Studios, Ennistymon.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

2010 - International Year of Biodiversity

United Nations, New York, November 2009 - UN Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon delivers his video message for the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.

The Irish National Biodiversity Data Centre has just released its new website to celebrate International Year of Biodiversity 2010, and to mark establishment of the Centre exactly three years ago today. The website is a national resource presenting data and information on all aspects of Ireland’s rich biological diversity.

More info: and

Monday 18 January 2010

Spring Evening Classes at Clare VEC

Ennis Community College, Harmony Row (near Lahinch Road roundabout), are currently enrolling for their Spring Evening Classes. They have many classes on offer including Computers, French, Spanish, Art and Photography. Check their website for details. All are welcome at their open information evening on Wednesday 27th January 6-8pm.

Friday 15 January 2010

Molly the Collie's new ride

Molly the Collie, the star of the video, belongs to Samantha Morrissey who works in Scariff Public Library in East Clare. Nearly two years ago Molly was hit by a car just outside her home, a cottage on Lough Derg. The vet wanted to put Molly to sleep but no, Samantha would not let that happen. The vet saw Molly in her trolley since and said he was wrong to want to put her down! Her first trolley was made by Eddie Dee from Gort from a child's buggy. This served her well for a year until it started to fall apart. Luckily, while out walking on the lakeshore in front of their cottage Sam and Molly met Eileen who was on holidays in the area from the U.S. Eileen could see Molly struggling with the bumps on the grass and said "That dog needs an off-road wheelchair". She bought Molly the best trolley in the world from Eddie's wheels in the U.S. which you can see in the video. Molly is an inspiration and loves to say hello to everyone on her walks. The first part of the video is set in in Dingle on the beach and the rest features walks around the cottage on Lough Derg in East Clare during the recent Big Chill. Posted on Youtube by jamspangle.

Read Everything by Your Favourite Author? New online guide inspires everyone to try a new author.

Who else writes like...?Who Writes Like …..? is now available for the first time online and is designed to help anyone who enjoys reading fiction to expand the number of writers they read. It is designed to answer the perennial question "I've read all the books by my favourite authors, who shall I read next?". The sixth edition of the book Who else writes like...? was published by The Department of Information Science at Loughborough University, in 2008. It points readers in the direction of other writers they might like to try, by recommending up to 12 alternative authors, who write in a similar style to each of the 1,970 authors included in the guide. The online version - - builds on the book and currently has 144 more authors included, as well as recommending up to 16 alternatives for each author. Users can browse by genre or go straight to an author of interest, check up on characters or the latest prize-winning writers, and follow the links to authors' websites for additional information. Annual subscription to the website is £5 for individual membership and free trials are currently available. The guide is compiled by experienced librarians with input from across the UK and Australia, and with a starting point of the most popular authors in terms of UK public library loans. This combination of reader popularity and expert opinion make this guide invaluable for all who love reading, not just for librarians.

Thursday 14 January 2010

Literary figures book in to Ennis Book Club Festival

Ennis Book Club Festival 2010The growing interest in book clubs throughout Ireland is reflected in the line-up for one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the literary calendar, details of which were officially unveiled today. Tickets go on sale on Friday 15th January for the 2010 Ennis Book Club Festival which takes place in the County Clare capital from March 5-7. Supported by Clare County Library, the three-day programme of events is expected to attract hundreds of Book Club members and book lovers from all over Europe and North America. The Festival programme features author visits, readings, lectures and workshops, exhibitions, walking history tours, musical entertainment and chocolate tasting in various venues around Ennis. It also includes Ireland’s first ‘Book Club of the Year Award’ and a professional development workshop for library staff.

Among the contributors to the fourth annual festival will be Lionel Shriver, prolific journalist and Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Post-Birthday World; Joseph O’Connor, journalist, screenwriter and author of ten Irish number one bestsellers including Star Of The Sea, Cowboys and Indians, Desperadoes, The Salesman and Inishowen; Tim Pat Coogan, biographer, historian, journalist and writer of Michael Collins and Ireland in the Twentieth Century; Diarmaid Ferriter, author, historian, and university lecturer; Paul Howard, journalist, author and creator of the cult character Ross O'Carroll-Kelly; and Fiona Looney, columnist, playwright, scriptwriter and media personality.

Other participants include multi-award winning poet, Paul Durcan; Irish historian, crime novelist, journalist and broadcaster, Ruth Dudley Edwards; Irish author of Tenderwire, Claire Kilroy; US essayist, poet, short stories writer, funeral director and winner of the American Book Award and The Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, Thomas Lynch; historian and author of 1916 Rising novel Blood Upon the Rose, Gerry Hunt; American poet Knute Skinner, Irish journalist, columnist and politician, Senator Eoghan Harris; poetry group Clare Three-Legged Stool Poets; editor of Irish magazine ‘Rí-Rá’, Aidan Courtney; Ennis-based graphic novel analyst David O’Leary; and journalist, broadcaster, author and founder of Grow-It-Yourself Ireland, Michael Kelly.

Academic contributors to the festival include Dr. Paul Delaney, School of English at Trinity College, who will lead a discussion on popular writer Colm Tóibín's work; Alan Titley, author, playwright, poet and Professor of Modern Irish and Head of Department at University College Cork; and Niall MacMonagle, reviewer, editor and English teacher at Dublin’s Wesley College, who will present a workshop entitled ‘How to Read a Novel’.

Claire Keegan, award-winning short story writer and author of Antarctica and Walk the Blue Fields in reading and discussing her writing with join Clare-based author Niall Williams. One of the highlights of the festival weekend will be The Sunday Symposium, during which Tim Pat Coogan, Ruth Dudley Edwards Senator Eoghan Harris and Diarmaid Ferriter will partake in a panel discussion on the subject of “Reading History”. The session will be chaired by experienced broadcaster, journalist and communications consultant, Caimin Jones.

Meanwhile, the Festival is inviting library staff nationwide to a free workshop on how to start, develop and challenge a Book Club. The professional development workshop, which will be presented by Anne Downes of Opening the Book, has been designed specifically for library staff who are interested or involved in book clubs and will cover areas such as managing group dynamics, injecting new life and bringing new ideas to reading groups.

The 2010 Festival also features Ireland’s foremost ‘Book Club of the Year Award’. The winning Book Club (up to a maximum of six people) will receive a prize of free weekend passes to festival events and overnight accommodation at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis. According to Festival Chairperson Ciana Campbell there has been a surge in membership among new and existing book clubs throughout Ireland. She added: “The festival is a wonderful social and literary event that brings together Book Club members, readers and authors from all over Ireland and beyond. This year’s event presents a unique opportunity for all literary enthusiasts to share their joy of reading, to meet authors, to discuss books, and to have a weekend break with friends.” Ms. Campbell says the significant increase in interest in book clubs is the focus of a questionnaire by the Ennis Book Club Festival Organising Committee. “We are inviting people to complete the questionnaire on our website, which aims to gather information on the scale and nature of book club activity across Ireland”, she commented.

The inaugural Ennis Book Club Festival was held in 2007. Past participants include Patrick McCabe, John Boyne, Carlo Gébler, Edna O’Brien, Joanne Harris, Brian Keenan, Roddy Doyle, Diarmuid Gavin, Hugo Hamilton, Allan Guthrie, Jennifer Johnston, John Connolly, Dermot Bolger, Salley Vickers, Fintan O'Toole, Gerard Donovan, Lorna Landvik, Gerry Adams and the late Nuala O Faolain. Previous festivals have attracted literary enthusiasts from all over North America and Europe, including members from many of Ireland’s 150 Library Book Clubs and more than 300 Private Book Clubs.

Tickets for all events are on sale at Glór Box Office 00353 656843103 / Further details on ticket prices and the festival are available from (web), (t), (e) and (t) 087 2262259 or 087 9723647

Wednesday 13 January 2010

War of Independence in Clare

The Rineen Ambush MemorialA new website on the War of Independence in Clare has been launched. Created by author and historian Padraig Óg Ó Ruairc, its content includes eyewitness accounts of events, period photographs, history articles, accounts of ambushes and barracks attacks and an interactive map with photographs and diagrams showing where key events took place and the location of war memorials and war graves today. Padraig says three other local historians who specialise in the War of Independence and Civil War period will be contributing articles and content to the site as it develops. See for more information...

Our own library website has a number of articles on the War of Independence including The War of Independence in West Clare by Rita Marrinan;
War of Independence, Memoirs of Andrew O'Donoghue;
War of Independence and Civil War: Patrick (Pat) Keane, Kilnamona;
and images of the Frongoch Manuscript of Art O'Donnell.

Padraig Óg Ó Ruairc has also written Blood On The Banner - The Republican Struggle in Clare, and his new book Battle For Limerick City will be available soon. Both books are published by Mercier Press.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

The Internet Public Library - take a second look

ipl2This month sees the launch of ipl2, the revamped online guide to 'information you can trust' on the web - edited by librarians and volunteers, hosted by a consortium of colleges and universities in the US with library science programmes. The new site has sections on Resources by Subject, Newspapers and Magazines, and Special Collections created by ipl2. It also has sections for Kids and for Teens, and is fully searchable. Check it out now at

Monday 11 January 2010

Harp music from Paul Dooley at Crosses of Anna

Recorded at the Crosses Of Annagh Pub, Miltown Malbay, County Clare during the Willie Clancy Week, 1997. Posted on Youtube by clarebannerman. Clare-based Paul Dooley is one of the very few Irish people who play the Irish harp in its historical form and style - using a metal-strung harp, playing with the fingernails and damping unwanted string resonance with the fingertips. More info at

"Brooklyn" favourite for the 2010 Costa Book of the Year

Colm Toibin’s sixth novel Brooklyn, a sparely written account of a young woman's emigration from 1950s Ireland to New York, has been awarded the 2010 Costa novel award and is the favourite to win the overall Costa Book of the Year award. Raphael Selbourne won the First Novel Award for Beauty, the story of a young Bangladeshi woman on the run from her family. Graham Farmelo was awarded the Biography Award for his work on the pioneer of quantum mechanics, The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius. Christopher Reid who, having been nominated twice previously, finally claimed the Poetry Award for A Scattering, a tribute to his wife following her death in 2005. Patrick Ness was awarded the Children's Book Award for The Ask and the Answer (Book Two of the Chaos Walking trilogy). The Costa Book Awards recognise the most enjoyable books by writers based in the UK and Ireland in five categories: novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children’s book. This year's five successful authors now go forward to compete for the 2010 Costa Book of the Year prize, which will be announced on January 26th in London. The winner in each category receives £5,000 (€5,500), while the overall winner receives a further £25,000. The awards were established in 1971 by Whitbread, but coffee-shop chain Costa took over the sponsorship of the prize in 2006.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

The Costa Book Awards - Winner of the Children’s Category

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick NessThe shortlist for the 2009 Costa Children’s Award contained four fine novels by the most highly regarded writers for young adults. On the 5th of January 2010, Patrick Ness’s The Ask and the Answer was announced the winner, chosen above Siobhan Dowd’s Solace of the Road, Mary Hoffman’s Troubadour, and Anna Perera’s Guantanamo Boy. The Ask and the Answer is Book 2 in "The Chaos Walking" trilogy. Book 1, The Knife of Never Letting Go, won the 2008 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the BookTrust Teenage Prize. Both books explore the themes of war crime, terrorism, and genocide. Ness’s novel was described by this year’s Costa judges as "a strikingly original and compelling work".

The Costa Book Awards are unique in many ways, being the only prize awards which place children's books alongside adult books in the same competition. Since 1998, the Children’s Book Award has been judged against the other category winners for the main Book of the Year by the final judging panel. A winner is selected in five different categories and one of these five books is selected as the overall winner of the Book of the Year. Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn is hotly tipped to become this year’s overall winner which will be announced near the end of January.