Friday 30 July 2010

Fleadh Cheoil in Kilrush - 1963 and 1966

Fleadh Cheoil in Kilrush, 1963

"Vintage footage of the first Fleadh Cheoil in Kilrush. Captured by, local chemist, James A. Doyle and rescued from the skip by his nephew, Richard. Look out for shots of: Pattersons Stores, Coffeys' Fish & Chipper, Anjie Kelly.s and other long gone places." Posted on Youtube on the 10th of October 2009 by franciedonnellan.

Kilrush Fleadh Cheoil 1966. Fiddle Player Denis Murphy & Tin Whistle Player Joe Cunneen from Quilty,County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 7th of April 2008 by clarebannerman

Summer Fun at Scariff Library

Teddy Bear’s PicnicThe children’s summer project has become an annual event at Scariff Public Library since its opening in 2007. Each year library staff organise a week-long project offering a range of fun events to their young members and encouraging others to join the library and enjoy all it has to offer through its excellent range of books and its many children’s activities throughout the year. This year’s line-up included visits to local places of interest, art and craft wokshops, living history presentations and a teddy bears’ picnic. Specialising in historical re-enactment, Viking Dave Mooney visited Scariff Library to bring a typical day in his life to a young audience. In an hour and a half-long presentation Dave put together a large display of Viking weapons and armour and spoke to the children about how the Vikings came to Ireland, where they came from, the types of clothes they wore, the food they ate and even let the children try on their helmets and chainmail. Scariff library staff Aileen McDonagh and Samantha Morrissey organised a craft session to coincide with the Viking visit, making Viking masks and swords out of cardboard and tinfoil. The week-long programme also included an Art Workshop facilitated by Shona Mac Gillivray for 24 children. Using an oceanic theme the children created pictures using see- through plastic with coloured fish and shells on a paper mount resulting in each finished picture looking like an underwater sea view. The highlight of the week for little ones was a Teddy Bear’s Picnic which included an indoor picnic with stories, games, goodies and a best dressed bear competition. Fifty children came along accompanied by their bears dressed in their best clothes! Library staff read several bear stories and games of Pass the Parcel yielded prizes for everyone. The activities were followed by party time with treats and goodies for all and prizes for the two best dressed bears.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Summer Book Review - National Parents Council

National Parents CouncilThe National Parents Council is running a summer book review to enhance parental involvement in children’s reading. Parents are encouraged to join with their children in a helping and supervisory role in this exciting initiative to promote reading. There are excellent prizes available suited to all ages from 4 to 13 year olds. Prizes are not based on merit. Submitting a review is all that’s required for entry in the draw. Closing date for entries is 27th of August 2010.

Click here for the questionnaire to be completed by the parent and returned with child’s book review. (Word doc)

Click here for the Summer Book Review Rules (Word doc)

Application forms will also be available in all branches of Clare County Library from Thursday the 29th of July onwards. More info...

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Lady Sykes Visits Reprisal Scenes in Sixmilebridge - 1921 film clip

Click on image below

On January 20th, 1920, an IRA unit led by Michael Brennan ambushed a lorry containing police and Black and Tans at Glenwood, on the Sixmilebridge-Broadford road. A district inspector and five Black and Tans were killed. The British forces retaliated by burning houses in Sixmilebridge and the surrounding area. Michael Brennan wrote that “within a few hours of the ambush we counted thirty-six burning houses from our position up on the mountains.” Two weeks later Lady Sykes of the Peace with Ireland Movement visited Sixmilebridge to survey the damage to the village from the reprisals.

Craggaunowen - the Living Past Experience

"Craggaunowen the Living Past Experience" is Ireland's original award winning Pre-historic Park. Situated on 50 acres of wooded grounds, the Park interprets Irelands pre-historic and early Christian eras. It features a stunning recreation of some of the homesteads, animals and artefacts which existed in Ireland over 1,000 years ago. Posted on Youtube on the 6th of October 2010 by ShannonHeritage. More info...

Séamus Bugler on accordion, Mícheál O'Rourke on piano and Paddy O'Donoghue on flute play a set of jigs

Three County Clare musicians, Séamus Bugler on accordion, Mícheál O'Rourke on piano and Paddy O'Donoghue on flute, play a set of jigs: "Scatter the Mud" and "The Luck Penny". Mícheál is also an accomplished fiddle player, having won the All-Ireland Senior title in 2004. Posted on Youtube on the 14th of June, 2008 by comhaltas

What is a Public Library?

Posted on Youtube on June 13, 2010 by starsandfrogs

Friday 23 July 2010

St Patrick's Day 2010 in Miltown Malbay

Posted on Youtube on March 17th, 2010, by VisitMiltownMalbay

The Building of the Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme - film clip from 1928

Click on image below

"The Shannon Scheme" - silent film from 1928 showing earth being tipped into a ditch and shots of a machine with shovels attached digging earth out of a canal. 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.

Thursday 22 July 2010

25 Books Every 'Lost' Fan Should Read

Lord of the FliesThe Onlineuniversities blog has recently posted a very interesting article featurung twenty five books referenced on the popular TV show 'Lost'. They include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lord of the Flies and The Third Policeman. According to the blog, "If you’re a fan of 'Lost', you know that well-placed books were just some of the many clues (and red herrings) that the producers tossed in to heighten the mystery. Some of the books speak directly about the castaways’ situation, while others are more philosophical. The books on this list were all referenced on the show in some way, whether being read by a character or student, glimpsed quickly on a shelf, or just used as thematic inspiration". Click here for 25 Books Every 'Lost' Fan Should Read...

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Corofin flute player Garry Shannon with some Jigs and The Contradiction Reel

Concert flute maestro Garry Shannon from Corofin plays a set of jigs: the first is a composition of Dublin fiddle player Paul O'Shaughnessy, who was one of the team of tutors at the 2008 Meitheal Residential Summer School. Garry Shannon is the co-ordinator of the school. Inaugurated in 2004, the school has been a huge success, attracting participants from all over Ireland and overseas. The 2010 Meitheal Residential Summer School takes place from July 19th to 23rd at Villiers School, Limerick. Posted on Youtube by comhaltas on September 10, 2008

From the Nyah Festival, flute player Garry Shannon lets us in on his incentive to master the playing of "The Contradiction Reel" in the key of A. With accompaniment by Pádraig O'Reilly on keyboard and Siobhán O'Donnell on bodrán, Garry plays two reels commencing with "The Contradiction Reel".
Posted on Youtube by comhaltas on March 14, 2008

Tuesday 20 July 2010

De Valera arrested in Ennis - 1923 film clip

Click on image below

During the Civil War of 1922-1923 between the pro-Treaty Provisional Government under Michael Collins and its opponents, Eamonn de Valera supported the anti-Treaty Republicans. An ‘Emergency Government’ was formed by the Republicans with de Valera as president. In May 1923 the Republicans called a cease fire and resistance ended. De Valera was arrested on 15 August 1923, under the Public Safety Act, as he was about to make a speech at Ennis and was imprisoned until July 1924. Despite this, Clare elected de Valera top of the poll in the general election on 27 August 1923. Eamonn de Valera continued to represent Clare for the rest of his active political career.

Friday 16 July 2010

Over 17,000 links added to library website

We’ve recently added over 17,000 (yes seventeen thousand) links to the website. There are now links from each of the townland and monuments pages to the new MapBrowser maps system. There are of course reciprocal links from the maps to the townlands and monuments.

The best way to get to a townland page is to go the library homepage at and click on the ‘Places and Placenames’ link. Then click on the ‘Townlands’ link . This brings you to an alphabetical index to the townlands of County Clare with the Parishes, District Electoral Divisions' names and numbers, Registrars' Districts and Poor Law Unions in which they are situated. It is based on, and uses the spellings of, the 1901 census. The townland is the smallest territorial division within each county and can range in size between one and several thousand acres. They have been used extensively in land surveys, censuses and polling systems since the 17th century and are the basis for rural postal addresses. Navigate to a townland. If, for example you were looking for Teeskagh, click on the section ‘Lack to Woodpark’ and then scroll down and click on the link to Teeskagh to arrive at the page dedicated to this townland. On this page you will see a link to “On 1842 Ordnance Survey Map (via MapBrowser)” – click on this to get to the MapBrowser version of the Ordnance Survey maps centring on Teeskagh townland.

For monuments, on the library homepage click on the link to ‘Archaeology’ and select a monument type from the list on the left. As an example, select ‘Tower Houses’. Between the 15th and 17th centuries the custom of building castles gave way to the building of structures whose main function was as a residence, rather than a solely defensive site. These buildings were called tower houses. There are c.80 tower houses surviving in County Clare, many of them in a very good state of preservation. Click on the link to ‘Carrigaholt Castle’ and this will bring you to a page dedicated to this monument. On this page you will see a link to “On 1842 Ordnance Survey Map (via MapBrowser)” – click on this to get to the MapBrowser version of the Ordnance Survey maps centring on Carrigaholt Castle.

Clare County Library launches Children’s Book Festival on October 1st 2010 with best-selling author Darren Shan.

Birth of a KillerDarren Shan will meet with hundreds of his fans in Glor Theatre, Ennis, during a two-hour visit beginning at 10.15am. HarperCollins Children’s Books are delighted to confirm the forthcoming event as part of the author’s autumn tour, to promote Birth of a Killer, Book One in The Saga of Larten Crepsley. Long before Twilight, Darren Shan had immersed himself in the dark and mysterious world of vampires, which he brought to millions of fans in The Saga of Darren Shan. Over ten years on, and with 15 million books sold worldwide, he returns to the place where it all started – in fact to the place before it all started. Birth of a Killer is part one of The Saga of Larten Crepsley, the outcast vampire beloved of Shan’s readers. This new four part saga will span centuries and continents, taking in sea voyages, murder, war and love, all in Larten’s discovery that once you become a vampire, there’s no way back. Bookings for this event will take place through Clare County Library and teachers are invited to reserve places for classes from Sept 1st onwards by contacting 065 6846266.

Pathe News in Ennis - 1949 & 1954

Pathe News visited Ennis in 1949. Their short film contrasts the basic living conditions of many of its inhabitants with the arrival of the motor car and the opening of the Old Ground Hotel. Click on image below...


In April 1954 the Hon Deirdre O'Brien, eldest daughter of Donough O'Brien, 16th Baron Inchiquin, of Dromoland, married New Yorker Dr Horace Beecher Chapin, in Kilnasoolagh Church in Newmarket-on-Fergus. Pathe News filmed the wedding party and guests attending the ceremony. Click on image below...


Tuesday 13 July 2010

A fourth Millennium novel from Stieg Larsson?

Stieg LarssonThere is growing interest in the whereabouts of the 4th novel in Stieg Larrson’s Millennium series as the dispute continues between his long term partner and the Larsson family. Mr. Larsson died aged 50 in 2004, before his three Millennium novels were published. So far, the trilogy about a darker side of Sweden, where a tattooed computer hacker and a journalist get entangled in murder mysteries, sex trafficking scandals and secret government units, has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and is selling more than 50,000 copies a day in the United States. A Swedish-language film of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor) came out last year and was a huge hit. However, Eva Gabrielsson, Larsson’s partner of more than 30 years, has not inherited any of the estimated €20 million estate nor the rights to the books, as they weren't married and Larsson died without making a will. Larsson’s father and brother inherited everything after the author's premature death. Now it has emerged that Larsson left about 320 pages of a fourth novel, including a beginning and an ending, on a laptop computer. It was initially cliamed that the computer was in Gabrielsson's possession but she has said she doesn't want to see any other book in the Millennium series published and said she does not have the manuscript. The Larsson family, who had made Gabrielsson an offer to buy the unfinished manuscript, also claim not to know of its whereabouts. A friend of Larsson’s has confirmed the existence of the 4th book, as he claims to have received an e-mail about the book from Larsson less than a month before his death. Talks between lawyers for the Larssons and Gabrielsson broke down again in June. Millennium fans may have to hold their breaths for a long time yet!

Friday 9 July 2010

Street Sessions at the Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay

Street session in Miltown Malbay during the Willie Clancy Summer School 2009, featuring two reels: Humours of Ballyconnell and Rakish Paddy. Posted on Youtube by Bile3 on the 16th August 2009.

Street Session, Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, 1997, with Paul O'Shaughnessy and Paddy Mills. Posted on Youtube by clarebannerman on the 5th of April 2008.

Ian Rankin and Bret Easton Ellis at Galway Arts Festival

Galway Arts FestivalThe volcanic ash cloud interfered with author Ian Rankin’s plans to attend this year’s Cúirt Festival of Literature in Galway. Inspector Rebus fans are hoping for better luck this time when Rankin is scheduled to appear at the Galway Arts Festival on July 20th. The UK’s bestselling crime writer will read from his work and discuss the presence of music in his writing with musician and broadcaster Philip King. A frustrated rock star himself, Ian Rankin includes a great deal of music in the Inspector Rebus novels. Leonard Cohen, the Rolling Stones and many other bands and musicians make appearances in the books which are set in Edinburgh where Rankin lives.

Bret Easton Ellis, author of the cult novel American Psycho will give a reading in Galway on July 19th. Ellis was born in Los Angeles and his first novel, Less Than Zero, told the tale of disaffected Los Angeles teenagers. His latest novel, Imperial Bedrooms, is the sequel to his debut novel. Set 25 years later, it revisits the characters from Less Than Zero as they face an even greater period of disaffection as they hurtle towards middle age. Ellis warns that this book may make fans of Less than Zero feel betrayed.

The Galway Arts Festival runs from July 12th until 25th. This is the 33rd year of the festival which, as usual, will feature an internationally acclaimed line-up of music, dance, theatre, comedy, street events and art. The theme for this year’s renowned Macnas parade which takes place on July 18th is ‘The Wild Hunt’. For further details see

Thursday 8 July 2010

Feakle Traditional Music Festival – 4th to 10th August

Feakle Traditional Music Festival

From Wednesday 4th to Tuesday 10th of August, the Feakle Traditional Music Festival will celebrate its 23rd year with a vibrant programme of Traditional music, song, and dance. The Festival continues to attract genuine music lovers from all corners of the globe, while providing a platform for local musicians to demonstrate their musical heritage. Click here for more info…

‘Landscapes of N & W Clare’ – at Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery

2 July - 29 July, Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery

These three artists roam the roads of Clare; no longer with knapsack and easel but driving as we all do, and suddenly seeing something across a field or even in the wing mirror. Mike O'Connor arrives home with scraps of notes and pencil-drawings, which also may stay pinned in view for many months before being processed as a black and white or multicolour linocut. The need then since a print is made through indirect stages, is to restore the energy of the first viewing - through varied style / technique of block-cutting and hand printing. Tom Prendergast hunts by road, from Kilkee to Kilbaha, often spending painstaking hours on a postcard-size oil painting onto hardboard. Other images are brought home to be formalized into strong, simple elements with cutout paper. For Richard Sharp and his dog there will be a screech of brakes, a clatter of dulux cans, and some bright thing will be rapidly recorded in pastels, Indian Ink or gloss paint, on canvas or MDF board. Some will be completed in minutes while others may wait their turn for a year before being resolved…
In conjunction with this exhibition
The Courthouse Gallery presents in the Red Couch Space
MICHAEL HANRAHAN ‘Ennistymon Horse Fair’
2 July – 29 July opening 3 July at 5 pm
Michael Hanrahan is a studio artist at the Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon. He is just back from a world cruise on the largest ocean liner in the world having been the Art instructor on board the Cunard's flagship 'Queen Mary 2'. He travelled and taught watercolour painting as he cruised from Cape Town to St.Helena, Rio de Janeiro, Barbados, Florida, New York, and back to Southampton. Michael has followed up a long banking career with a move to the world of Art. He studied at NCAD and at the Burren College of Art. His new work is inspired by the Horse Fair held each April and November in the busy market town of Ennistymon and he captures the colour, the excitement, and characters of the horse fair.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a MockingbirdReclusive author Harper Lee has surprisingly spoken to the Mail on Sunday for the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird, which occurs this year. The world-famous author now aged 84 and living in Monroeville, Alabama, agreed to be interviewed if she was not asked about her famous Pulitzer prize-winning novel. To Kill a Mockingbird, which follows the trial of a black man accused of raping a white girl, was first published on 11 July 1960. Named best novel of the 20th century by American librarians, it has sold more than 30 million copies around the world and has been translated into more than 40 languages, according to its publisher. Writing in The Irish Times Weekend Review, Sat July 3rd, Eileen Battersby said "Her one and only work remains as fresh as the first time we encountered it, as bright and as full of purpose as when it was first published on July the 11th, 1960, 50 years ago next week".
Click here for the interview in the Mail on Sunday…

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Spraoi Heritage Weekend at Caherconnell Stone Fort

Caherconnell Stone Fort

The first annual Spraoi Heritage Weekend will take place at Caherconnell Stone Fort on the 10th & 11th July this year, where you can get a guided tour of the day-to-day workings of Irish Medieval Society. Age-old skills such as pole-lathe wood-turning, black-smithing, Bronze Age pottery making and cooking will be displayed on both Saturday and Sunday. You can also enjoy horse shoe pitching, family fun with a bouncing castle and much more throughout the weekend. This event is included free with admission to Caherconnell Stone Fort, with the Spraoi Heritage Weekend activities underway from 11-5pm each day. Caherconnell Stone Fort is open from March to October, 10am to 5.30pm daily. Café, craft shop and car-parking are available on site. Admission to the fort is €5 for an adult, and €14 for a family. Tel. 065 708 9999

Monday 5 July 2010

Boru fun and games at Killaloe Library

Boru fun and games at Killaloe Library

On July 1st between 2 and 4 pm, Killaloe Library hosted Boru fun and games sponsored by the Brian Boru Festival Committee. 60 children enjoyed a make and do craft session with Mary Goss making Viking helmets/masks, swords and shields. David Mooney of Mogh Roith Living History Group gave a fantastic demonstration and talk about Viking armoury and lifestyle. We also had Mary Donaghue with Brian Boru based board games and card games. A great time was had by all. The whole session was very interactive and creative.

Holiday reading - Observer & Sunday Times recommendations

Both the Observer and Sunday Times newspapers have recently featured lists of books to take with you on your holidays. The Observer's "The best summer books: from fishing to finance" features writers and Observer critics picking "the best books to pack along with the straw hat and suncream", while The Sunday Times "100 best holiday reads" offers "a guide to this summer's most rewarding reading".
For the Observer's list click here...
and for the Sundays Times list click here...

West Cork Literary Festival – July 4th to 10th

West Cork Literary Festival

The West Cork Literary Festival 2010 runs in Bantry from Sunday, July 4th to Saturday July 10th. The festival features some of the finest writers and poets from Ireland and abroad. The main events are evenings with poet Eavan Boland, novelists Margaret Drabble and Fay Weldon, travel writers Tim Mackintosh-Smith and Michael Palin and a stage performance of poems by Liz Cowley. There are workshops on fiction, poetry, journalism, song writing and playwriting. John Boyne and Hugo Hamilton are among those doing readings. Novelist Carol Drinkwater will host a literary afternoon tea in Bantry House on Saturday 10th. There are storytelling sessions and readings for children too with authors such as Anthony Horowitz and a writing workshop with Enda Wyley. For further details see

Friday 2 July 2010

Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea - BBC Samuel Johnson Prize 2010

Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara DemickA journalistic investigation into the real lives of North Koreans in the 21st century has been named as the winner of the 2010 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick weaves together the stories of adversity, resilience and survival of six ordinary people living in Chongin. Demick interviewed a range of defectors from North Korea to give a compelling insight into the lives of the citizens of a country where there is no internet access and all radio and television broadcasts are government sponsored. The title of the book comes from a song North Korean children are taught, “We have nothing to envy in the world”, and until recently people seem to have believed this as they had so little access to information about life outside their own borders. Evan Davis, chair of the judges commented "I think we knew this book had something when we found ourselves reading it out loud to spouses and partners. And it is a real testament to Demick’s writing, that a book on such a grim topic can be so hard to put down. It is very, very readable". Barbara Demick is a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. She is currently living in Beijing. Her coverage of the war in Sarajevo won various awards and she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. The BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction is the richest non fiction prize in the UK, worth £20,000 to the winner. The prize aims to reward the best of non-fiction and is open to authors of all non-fiction books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.

The other shortlisted titles were:
Alex’s Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos – a book about maths;
Blood Knots by Luke Jennings – a fishing memoir;
Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin – an account of the financial crisis;
A Gambling Man by Jenny Uglow – a portrait of Charles II and
Catching Fire: How Cooking made us Human by Richard Wrangham – an examination of cooking’s role in human evolution.

Last year’s prize was won by Philip Hoare’s Leviathan, a study of whales.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Johnny Patterson “The Irish Singing Clown” - Feakle, July 24th

Johnny PattersonDue to popular demand Johnny Patterson “The Irish Singing Clown” will return to the stage in 2010. One of the performances will take place in the marquee at Peppers Bar on July 24th at 8.30pm in the village where the great Johnny Patterson was born, namely Feakle, County Clare. Muiris Crowley has taken time out from his career in the US to fulfil the lead role of Johnny Patterson and will be supported by a strong cast to include former Kerry Rose Karen McGillycuddy who will play the part of Biddy Donoghue. This production will also feature Jack Healy of Killarney Musical Society who this year played a magnificent role as The Scarecrow in their production of “The Wiz”. The script-writer is Killorglin's very own Declan Mangan and the show features many of John Patterson's best known songs. Mick Jones supplied fresh arrangements of Patterson's old favourites and composed original new songs to complete the story. The musical is dedicated to Pa Houlihan, the much loved local historian who passed away peacefully at his home in Killorglin (Feb 2010). It was Pa who started the ball rolling by suggesting to Declan that there should be a tribute to the original 'Irish Singing Clown'. Not only have Declan and Mick the luxury of being able to draw on the wealth of acting and musical talent that abounds in Killorglin, but they have also secured the skills of Oliver Hurley, who has agreed to direct the show; and Jackie O'Mahoney who will mastermind the choreography. Oliver's reputation is known and respected far beyond the Kerry county boundary. Both Oliver and Jackie have been involved with countless successful productions at Siamsa Tire in Tralee. Check out all the latest updates on