Friday 30 May 2014

Riches of Clare 2014 session with Eamonn Cotter, Blackie O'Connell, Meabh O'Hare, and Cyril O'Donoghue

"Fleadh Nua continues the kick off of the Riches of Clare 2014 season on Day 2. The musicians, from your left, are Eamonn Cotter, Blackie O'Connell, Meabh O'Hare, and Cyril O'Donoghue." Posted on Youtube on the 22nd of May 2014 by Niamhaines.

Early morning cafe session with Eoin O Neill, Yvonne Casey and Friends at Fleadh Nua Ennis 2014

"Early morning cafe Session in The Rowan Tree Cafe, Ennis, with Eoin O'Neill, Yvonne Casey and friends during Fleadh Nua 2014." Posted on Youtube on the 21st of May 2014 by Anthony O'Loughlin.

Kilfenora Céilí Band Concert - Fleadh Nua 2014

The Kilfenora Céilí Band perfoming at Glór as an event of Fleadh Nua 2014, with guests Deirdra Kiely, Laura Minogue, Michael Donnellan, Don Stiffe, Mick Moloney, Seamus Connolly, Kevin Crawford & Chris Droney. Posted on Youtube on the 28th of May 2014 by IsMiseKey.

Lough Gealáin dawn, the Burren, County Clare

Dawn rising at Lough Gealáin, in Gortlecka Townland, in The Burren, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 30th of January 2010 by Peter O'Donnell.

Ballyganner South Wedge Tomb, The Burren, County Clare

"Ballyganner South Wedge Tomb sits on a small hill in The Burren with a field wall extending out from the sides. It is at least 5.5 metres in length by 3 metres at the west tapering to 2.4 at the east end. It is also 2.4 metres high at the western end. The huge roof-slab has broken in four parts." Posted on Youtube on the 24th of May 2014 by Damian Mac.

Driving in Kilkee, County Clare, 2014

Posted on Youtube on the 27th of May 2014 by Joyce McDonogh.

The Vandeleurs of County Clare

The Vandeleur family in Clare is descended from Maxmilian Van Der Leur, a Dutch merchant, who had settled in Ireland by the early 17th century. They first settled in Clare in Ralahine, Sixmilebridge in the 1660s. In 1665 Giles Vandeleur became High Sheriff of Clare , and his son, also Giles, was appointed High Sheriff in 1683. Maxmilian’s grandson, Rev John Vandeleur moved to Kilrush as Rector in 1687. This branch of the family became one of the best-known landlord families in West Clare and were instrumental in the development of Kilrush town. Their involvement with the Kilrush area is evident in the early chapters of ‘Kilrush, County Clare: Notes from c 1760 to 1960’ by Senan Scanlan.

By the mid 19th century the Vandeleur estate amounted to almost 20,000 acres in, a large portion of it in the Barony of Moyarta. The family’s history is related in another book by Senan Scanlan, ‘The Vandeleurs of Kilrush, County Clare’.

Two beautiful family photograph albums capture the world of the Vandeleurs and their circle about this time.

The family was also associated with evictions in the Kilrush area during the Land War of the late 1880s, memorably photographed by the Lawrence Studio. The Kilrush estate was eventually taken over by the Land Commission in the 1910s.

At the original estate in Ralahine John Vandeleur invited socialist Edward Craig to set up an ill-fated co-operative in 1831 but the experiment failed and the estate was sold in 1834.

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

The winner of the Women’s prize for Fiction, sponsored for the first time by Baileys, will be announced on June 4th. Previously known as The Orange Prize for Fiction, the award worth £30,000 is open to any woman writing in English - whatever her nationality or country of residence.

Three of the authors on the 2014 shortlist are debut writers. They are Irish authors Eimear McBride for A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing, Audrey Magee for The Undertaking and Australian author Hannah Kent for Burial Rites. They are competing with one previous Orange Prize winner, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one previously shortlisted author Doona Tartt and Jhumpa Lahiri whose book The Lowland was shortlisted for last year's Man Booker Prize.

Jon Howells, of Waterstones, praised what he called "a fabulous shortlist", which had "great scope of style, nationality; small publishers and giants; debut authors and established ones. The judges have hit a perfect balance, six novels of inarguable quality." He tipped one of the debut books to win.

The shortlisted books are:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah
Hannah Kent - Burial Rites
Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland
Audrey Magee - The Undertaking
Eimear McBride - A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing
Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch

Movie screening at Kilrush Library for Bealtaine

Kilrush Public Library recently hosted a movie screening of Quartet, as part of Bealtaine celebrations, starring Pauline Collins, Billy Connolly and Maggie Smith. Quartet is "a wickedly comic film about redefining old age and growing old with hope; demonstrating how art illuminates life and the human spirit remains undimmed even as the brightest stars start to fade." - BBC Films.

Maya Angelou 1928 - 2014

The death has occurred of Maya Angelou, celebrated poet, novelist and civil rights activist. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, charts a childhood of oppression and abuse in the American South and is considered an American classic.

Thursday 22 May 2014

Guinness Record Attempt in Kilfenora for Largest Irish Traditional Band

"On Sunday 27 April 2014 a huge crowd of musicians and onlookers assembled in the Square in Kilfenora in a successful attempt to create the largest Irish traditional céilí band ever. 270 players of all ages - and a multitude of instruments and nationalities - played the celebrated 'Kilfenora Jig set'. Guinness had asked for 250 musicians to create the entry. They were led by the world-famous Kilfenora Céilí Band (in its 105th year). Banjo player and RTE broadcaster Kieran Hanrahan joined the band and made the announcements. Many well-known musicians participated in the attempt, among them this year's TG4 Gradam Ceoil Lifetime Achievement award winner, Chris Droney. Donations were collected for Irish Cancer Society and the Kilfenora Senior Citizens support fund." Posted on Youtube on the 17th of May 2014 by IsMiseKey. See also Kilfenora Céilí Band and friends break world record.

Patrick Ourceau, Laura Byrne & Josh Dukes play three reels

"Laura Byrne on flute, Patrick Ourceau on fiddle, and Josh Dukes on guitar, play three reels beginning with 'Youghal Quay', moving to 'Devaney's Goat' and finishing with 'Eddie Moloney's'. The first tune can be found on the seminal recording Banks of the Shannon, released by accordionist Paddy O'Brien and fiddler Seamus Connolly in 1973. Performed at the CCE & Institute of Musical Traditions Concert, Takoma Park Community Center, Takoma Park, MD, USA, on July 20, 2011."

"Fiddle player Patrick Ourceau has been playing Irish Music since his early teens. Born and raised in France, Patrick moved to the U.S. in 1989, settled in New York City where he lived for seventeen years, and is now based in Toronto, Canada. Mostly self taught, Patrick’s taste for Clare and East Galway music developed early in his playing after being introduced to recordings of the legendary fiddle players Paddy Canny, Paddy Fahey and Bobby Casey. Patrick regularly visits Ireland and especially county Clare. Over the years, he has during those trips, been able to play with and learn from Paddy Canny, as well as from many other local musicians including flute and fiddle player Peadar O’Loughlin. "

Posted on Youtube on the 11th of August 2011 by imtfolk.

Riches of Clare concert with Tola Custy, Karol Lynch and Gerry Paul

Riches of Clare concert with Tola Custy, Karol Lynch and Gerry Paul

A Riches of Clare concert with Tola Custy, Karol Lynch and Gerry Paul in the Clare Museum, Ennis on the 21st of May 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 21st of May 2014 by bflatflute.

Riches Of Clare Concert with Rafe Morgan, Fergal Burke & Fintan McMahon

A Riches of Clare concert in the Clare Museum, Ennis. Posted on Youtube on the 24th of January 2014 by Niamhaines.

Loop Head Pilot Canoe being built in Querrin, West Clare, by members of Kilkee Currach Club

"Built in Querrin, West Clare, by members of Kilkee Currach Club in 2014. 5 hand canoes were used by pilots on the Shannon Estuary over 100 years ago. The boat will be used for longer sea expeditions along coast. Lug sail on the bow will assist the rowers. Lots going on in West Clare." Posted on Youtube on the 10th of March 2014 by Richard Collins.

Return to Liscannor: a homecoming

Return to Liscannor: a homecoming. "Final project by Michael Spear for the Notre Dame-Dublin course Documenting Ireland." Posted on Youtube on the 15th of May 2014 by Michael Spear.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Ennis hosts open-air art exhibition in the Temple Gate Car Park

The Clare Arts Office, supported by Ennis Town Council, has announced that an open-air art exhibition will take place in the Temple Gate Car Park in Ennis between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday the 24th of May. The exhibition is being held in conjunction with the Fleadh Nua and follows the success of previous year’s events. "Art for All", the brainchild of local art student Ann Cronin, and was piloted in 2012 when Ann, along with a group of artists from the Ennis-based Vincent Killowry Art Group, added a splash of colour during the Fleadh Nua Weekend with their open air exhibition in the Friar’s Walk Car Park. As someone who regularly attends the Fleadh, Ann proposed the provision of visual art to accompany the music during the Fleadh to the Clare County Arts Office and Ennis Town Council. “The initiative is based on a similar event hosted in St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin and responds to the desire of local artists to show their work to the general public. Based on the level of interest to date we anticipate that the Temple Gate Car Park will provide a kaleidoscope of colour over the weekend,” commented County Arts Officer Siobhán Mulcahy. Ms. Mulcahy added: “It is wonderful to see local artists adding to the cultural atmosphere of the town during the Fleadh Nua and we are delighted to build on this and work the Ennis Street Festival for a similar event in July and to host another during the October Bank Holiday weekend.' Registration is now open for the event, with a limited number of pitches available. To register, contact the Arts Office, Clare County Council on (065) 6899091 or

Monday 19 May 2014

New Laureate na nÓg announced

Eoin Colfer was announced as the third Laureate na nÓg, Ireland’s laureate for children’s literature, at a special event at the Arts Council on Thursday 8th May 2014. Laureate na nÓg is an initiative of the Arts Council of Ireland with the support of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Children’s Books Ireland, Poetry Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The honour was established to engage young people with high quality children’s literature and to underline the importance of children’s literature in our cultural and imaginative lives.

Eoin Colfer’s first book, Benny and Omar, was published in 1998, followed by its sequel, Benny and Babe in 1999. He attained worldwide recognition in 2001, when the first Artemis Fowl book was published and became a New York Times Best Seller. His latest novel, W.A.R.P. The Reluctant Assassin, was nominated for the CBI Book of the Year 2014. To date, more than half of his books have reached the New York Times list at least once.

Speaking about his appointment as Laureate na nÓg, Eoin Colfer said: “I feel incredibly honoured and incredibly petrified to be taking on the Laureate mantle after Niamh and Siobhán, (referring to his predecessors, Niamh Sharkey and Siobhan Parkinson). “I feel I am representing my family and my county and indeed all book people in Ireland which is not something I mean to take lightly. I intend to spend my time spreading stories to every nook and cranny in the country. Nobody is safe.”

Author and illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick wins the 24th CBI Book of the Year Award

Author and illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick has won the 24th CBI Book of the Year Award as well as the Honour Award for Fiction for her novel Hagwitch. Hagwitch draws on ancient folk superstitions and the magic of the stage tradition to craft a haunting tale. The judges said, ‘Fitzpatrick brings the reader on a journey down a canal, through a world of theatre and puppetry, and into a realm of magic and mystery. Marie-Louise’s previous novel Dark Warning, won the CBI Honour Award for Fiction in 2013.

The CBI Book of the Year Awards judging panel also made awards to the following:

Special Judges’ Award: Paula Leyden for The Sleeping Baobab Tree. The judges said, ‘Combining robust character development with vivid descriptions of the Zambian landscape, Leyden skilfully creates an evocative and atmospheric narrative that explores themes of friendship, family and human rights.’

Honour Award for Illustration: P.J. Lynch for Mysterious Traveller. The judges said, ‘With an emphasis on browns, tans and blues, Lynch’s superb and stunning textured paintings transport readers/viewers into the desert landscape of the tale and guide us through the emotional journey of Issa and Mariama.’

The CBI Book of the Year Awards are the leading children’s book awards in Ireland. The awards are a celebration of excellence in children’s literature and illustration and are open to books written in English or Irish by authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland and published between 1st January and 31st December each year. Previous winners include John Boyne for his book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; Chris Haughton for A Bit Lost, Sheena Wilkinson for Grounded and Kate Thompson for her books The New Policeman, Annan Water and The Alchemist’s Apprentice.

Storyteller Niall de Burca at Killaloe Library

On Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th May 2014, Killaloe Public Library was honoured to host six storytelling sessions by Niall de Burca as part of the Brian Boru Millenium Commemorations. Niall, one of our top traditional storytellers, shared tales of Brian of the Tributes and other tales. When Niall was invited to take part in these celebrations he said "I would not miss it for the world, to be in the heart of Munster sharing tales of the mighty King Brian". This rollicking, roller-coaster ride of tales brought to life our Gaelic and Viking ancestors.

In 2011 Niall was voted Irelands Best Children's Entertainer by the Association of Irish Festivals. He has a powerful stage presence and delivery and he can evoke a wide range of emotions from his rapt audience. This was an unforgettable experience for 175 boys and girls from the local schools who attended five storytelling sessions over the two days. One storytelling session was dedicated to the Bealtaine Festival and an Active Age group of 25 thoroughly enjoyed his animated performance. He cast a spell over young and old alike - the staff included! Hopefully he will return to Killaloe soon. This event was co-funded by North Tipperary and Clare County Councils.

Friday 16 May 2014

Damien Morris, Aisling & John Lyons, James Kennedy, Eddie Moloney and Conor Cummins play in Quin for Geantraí

Damien Morris (banjo), Aisling Lyons (concertina), John Lyons (accordion), James Kennedy (tin whistle), Eddie Moloney (mandolin) and Conor Cummins (flute) play two reels - The London Lasses and the Kerry Reel - in Malachy's Pub, Quin, County Clare, for the Geantraí TV programme. Posted on Youtube on the 20th of August 2011 by GDAEDADGAD.

Michael Falsey sings Éireann Grá Mo Chroí in Miltown Malbay

Michael Falsey sings Éireann Grá Mo Chroí in Cleary's (The Blonde's) pub in Miltown Malbay, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 6th of August 2011 by griffind2000.

Fairy Lore: Tom Lenihan

A National Folklore Collection audio interview on Fairy Lore with Tom Lenihan from Knockbrack, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 13th of March 2013 by National Folklore Collection.

Corofin Dramatic Society presents The Two Loves of Gabriel Foley

Corofin Dramatic Society perform the play The Two Loves of Gabriel Foley by Jimmy Keary at the St. Vincent De Paul Theatre, Kells, County Meath. Founded in 1950, Corofin Dramatic Society has competed regularly on the three-act and one-act festivals, picking up numerous acting, production, and set design awards down through the years. Posted on Youtube on the 12th of March 2014 by glynn i k.

Lahinch sunset, March 2014

Sunset at Lahinch, County Clare, 31st March 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 2nd of April 2014 by frnkybaby.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Clare County Library's Local Studies Centre: Donations - How you can help

Clare County Library's Local Studies Centre is a reference library and research centre dedicated to the collection of material on any aspect of County Clare, and there is strong usage of the centre by researchers, students, tourists, and the general public.

Each year the centre receives queries on how funds can be donated or given to the centre to enhance services there or to contribute in some meaningful way to the work of the centre. Some of these requests have come from on-line queries or directly in person at the centre.

Clare Local Studies Centre now formally seeks donations of funds to develop its services in ways which would not normally be possible within its existing resources. All monies received will be receipted, and all donations acknowledged on the library website unless the donor wishes otherwise. All donations under this process will be restricted to the use of the centre. Donations may be small, medium or major and the centre will utilise these donations in a number of ways. Please click here for more information...

A Great Find - The Butler-Graham Collection of photographs, 1860s-1950

In the 1970s Ian Crawshaw was interested in a few photographs in a second-hand book shop in his hometown of Ilkley, West Yorkshire in the UK. The proprietor insisted that he buy the whole album for £5. As he was leaving the shop the owner handed him a box of photographs which had come in with the album. The photographs in the album and the box relate to the Butler-Graham family of Castle Crine, Sixmilebridge. Over the years, Mr Crawshaw has been gleaning information from the photos, a big clue being a photo of the grave of Sophia Mary Graham which told him that she was the wife of Colonel J.H. Graham & relict of James Butler Esq DL of Castle Crine and that she died in 1887 aged 53. In February of this year, he decided to scan the photos and Googled ‘Castle Crine’, leading him to an article on Clare County Library’s website - The Memoirs of Keighley Edward Graham 1904-1974 - donated by Keighley’s grandson, Grant Miocevich. Ian has now identified many of the people in the photographs, is in contact with descendants of the family and had met Liz Clennett, Keighley Graham’s daughter. Ian Crawshaw has very generously donated his scans of the collection to Clare County Library, and they can be viewed here...

Scariff Adult Literacy Group - “Six Books Challenge” presentations in Scariff Library

Students from Scariff Adult Literacy Group were presented with certificates of achievement at Scariff Public Library on 14th May to mark their completion of the “Six Books Challenge”. County Librarian Helen Walsh and Senior Executive Librarian Carrie Stafford kindly attended the event to mark the occasion. The challenge, designed by The Reading Agency, ran over a six month period at Scariff Library under the direction of library staff member Aileen McDonagh, VEC coordianter Mary Mullane, and the support of a number of representatives from the Brothers of Charity. Students were encouraged to read six pieces of literary material over the given period ranging from books to magazines, newspapers, poetry and audio material. All students were delighted and deservedly proud to receive their certificates after several months of hard work.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Launch of ‘Our Town’ by Ennistymon Vocational School at Ennistymon Library

The launch of ‘Our Town’ a book created and published by Second Year students from Ennistymon Vocational School took place in Ennistymon Public Library on the 13th of May 2014. Teachers and students from Ennistymon Vocational School were present along with members of the North Clare Historical Society. The book includes all the most prominent landmarks in the town including the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon Castle, the West Clare Railway and the renowned Ennistymon shopfronts.

The end product of the history project, co-ordinated by Halimah Heaslip, a teacher at Ennistymon Vocational School, and Oonagh Kelly, the second year JCSP co-ordinator, is a beautifully finished book presented in a purposely created display case which is reminiscent of the Book of Kells. Staff at Ennistymon Library are delighted to have “Our Town” on public display during the coming weeks and invite anyone with an interest in local history to come and see the book during regular library opening times.

Monday 12 May 2014

Author Morgan Llywelyn at Killaloe Library

On May 6th and 7th Killaloe Public Library was privileged to host talks by the renowned author Morgan Llywelyn, best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction and historical non-fiction. She has received several awards for her works which amount to over 30 publications and sales of over 40 million copies to date. Having lived in Killaloe for several years she has an obvious love and affinity for the area and its people. She introduced the audience to her latest publication “1014 – Brian Boru and the Battle for Ireland”, and it was fortuitous that Clare County Library had chosen two of Morgan’s books for the One County One Book 2014 initiative to commemorate Brian Boru and The Battle of Clontarf. These are “Lion of Ireland” and “Brian Boru: Emperor of the Irish”.

On Tuesday night her audience was fascinated, entertained and amused by her tales of Brian Boru, the Battle of Clontarf and life in general. County Librarian Helen Walsh presented Morgan with a beautiful painting of Killaloe Bridge by local artist Tim Moloney. On Wednesday we were joined by sixty 5th and 6th classes from local schools for a similar talk about the young Brian and his life, the importance of the river Shannon and the intricacies of how the Battle of Clontarf was actually won. This was very interactive and beneficial as the pupils were very familiar with Brian and with her writings. She has promised to return to Killaloe at the latter end of the year – we’re looking forward to the return visit.

Friday 9 May 2014

Outdoor Caledonian Set at Kilfenora Traditional Music Festival

"On a sunny April Sunday afternoon, the Kilfenora Céilí Band came to Kilfenora, County Clare, to play for some outdoor dancing. This Caledonian Set was part of the céilí. The video only recorded the first two figures." Posted on Youtube on the 29th of April 2014 by Bill Lynch.

The Teetotallers at WCU - Reels from Junior Crehan

"The Teetotallers playing for the Coatesville Traditional Irish Music Series at West Chester University on April 14, 2014. Kevin Crawford, Martin Hayes & John Doyle." Posted on Youtube on the 15th of April 2014 by playthis.

Quentin Cooper with Eoin O'Neill & friends in Brogan's, Ennis

"Quentin Cooper on guitar with Eoin O'Neill on bouzouki, Tommy Nelson from Argentina on charango, Paddy Mulcahy on guitar, Noirin Lynch on bodhrán, and Dan Possumato on accordion in Brogan's Bar, Ennis, County Clare." Posted on Youtube on the 7th of May 2014 by michael lynch.

Tony Mac Mahon & Steve Cooney in Jimmy Crowleys's Folk Club

County Clare's Tony MacMahon on button accordion accompanied by Steve Cooney on guitar at Jimmy Crowleys's Folk Club in Cork. Posted on Youtube on the 5th of October 2012 by goodonya13.

Walking The Burren In County Clare

"On a windswept day, Jean and I took time to walk The Burren in County Clare, in Ireland. On our walk we crossed the countryside on the open limestone, and discovered the wonderful flora of the Burren." Posted on Youtube on the 31st of March 2014 by Bob Hilscher.

Carrowkeel Cottage, Inagh - About The House

Carrowkeel Cottage, Inagh, County Clare, featured on RTE's About The House programme. Posted on Youtube on the 7th of March 2013 by extrasalesproperty.

Carrigaholt Mussels prepared by Tony of The Long Dock

"Carrigaholt Mussels prepared and cooked by The Head Chef and Owner of The Long Dock Restaurant. The Long Dock was voted by McKenna Guides as one of the top 100 restaurants in Ireland. The restaurant is located between the Shannon Estuary and the Atlantic ocean on The Loop Head Peninsula County Clare, Ireland. The restaurant is also located on the Wild Atlantic Way and is a Failte Ireland visitor point." Posted on Youtube on the 7th of april 2014 by Long Dock.

Writes of Passage: A Book Promotion for Teenagers - We need your help

If you are aged between 13 and 17, Clare County Library is looking for your help to choose the best reads for teenagers.

The list of titles below is compiled from the World Book Day website, from a mood-boosting book list for young people drawn up by The Reading Agency, and from Clare County Library staff choices.

Teenage Book Promotion - proposed titles for you to review:

  • Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari
  • Being Billy by Phil Earle
  • Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  • Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery by Keren David
  • Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
  • Numbers by Rachel Ward
  • The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
  • The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Gone by Michael Grant
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Before I Die by Jenny Downham
  • Geek Girl by Holly Smale
  • Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicholson by Louise Rennison
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman
  • Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty
  • Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Loser by Jerry Spinelli
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Grounded by Sheena Wilkinson
  • The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
  • Worse Than Boys by Catherine McPhail
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
  • If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
  • You Don’t Know Me by Sophia Bennett
  • Ketchup Clouds by Anabel Pitcher
  • BZRK by Michael Grant
  • Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught
  • Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness
  • I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Please choose one or more books from the list and give us your thoughts about them by completing a form. Please click on Writes_of_Passage_form.rtf and print out and complete the form. Completed forms can be returned to your local library or posted to Patricia Fitzgerald, Executive Librarian, Clare County Library Headquarters, Mill Road, Ennis, County Clare.


Being Billy by Phil Earle
“This is written by an author who understands pain and hope… Before I read this book, I didn’t really get people who were trying to help me. Now I give people more of a chance.”

Holes by Louis Sachar
“I dare anyone in the world not to love this book. It’s so original and gripping.”

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
“The Sky is Everywhere deals with death and loss but it’s still rich and romantic and has great characters.”

Clare County Library would like to include your evaluation of some of the titles in the list on its book promotion publicity leaflets and on our website. Please note that the final selection of books included in this promotion will be based on teenage readers’ recommendations. Reviews received may be subject to editing by library staff.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Lisdoonvarna and Loop Head Peninsula in final 10 of Foodie Towns Competition 2014

Both Lisdoonvarna and the Loop Head Peninsula have been shortlisted for the Foodie Towns 2014 competition, run by The Restaurants Association of Ireland in conjunction with from An Post. The ‘Foodie Town of Ireland’ award will recognise a destination that actively promotes itself through joint promotional activities such as food festivals, gourmet trails or farmers’ markets as well as great dining experiences. Each of the ten finalists will now be visited by independent assessors. A national public voting campaign will also take place, with each of the ten finalists canvassing the country to vote for them. Online voting will take place via from Friday, May 2nd at 12noon. The final decision will be made by combining the judges’ votes with the public vote that carry equal weight – both components account for 50% of the overall mark a town receives. The ultimate ‘Foodie Town of Ireland 2014’ will be announced on June 9th at the final of the Irish Restaurant Awards in the DoubleTree by Hilton, Dublin.

Vote for Lisdoonvarna, Gateway to the Burren, by clicking here...

Vote for Loop Head Peninsula by clicking here...

Tuesday 6 May 2014

The Bookclubs’ Favourites

We asked 18 bookclubs in County Clare to list their favourite books from those they had read and which they would recommend to others looking for a good read. The bookclubs from all over the county from Cratloe to Miltown and from Kilkee to Killaloe - some based in libraries and others not - mentioned 89 books overall. 25 of those books were mentioned by two or more bookclubs as being their favourites. The most popular book overall was The Help by Katherine Stockett chosen by 7 of the 18 bookclubs. The book is about an aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s who decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese was the second most popular book being recommended by 5 bookclubs. This book tells the story of twin brothers born of a secret union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. The most popular author overall was Khaled Hosseini whose 2 titles The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns - both set in Afghanistan - each received 4 recommendations. Other books receiving 4 recommendations were The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Shaffer, The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal and Room by Emma Donoghue.

Emma Donoghue was one of 3 Irish authors to have two books recommended – the others were Benjamin Black and John McGahern, with 15 books by Irish authors being recommended overall.

Many of the books recommended by the bookclubs were word-of-mouth successes that initially did not have big advertising budgets to promote them but became bestsellers based on recommendations from one reader to another. The Help was rejected by 60 literary agents before being published – it has sold over ten million copies and spent more than 100 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

The 25 top titles recommended by the bookclubs of County Clare (in order of popularity) are:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Shaffer
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Room by Emma Donoghue
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Island by Victoria Hislop
Let the Great World Spin by Colm McCann
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
Christine Falls by Benjamon Black
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The speckled people by Hugo Hamilton
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Wild Swans by Jung Chan.

Library book clubs in Clare...

Friday 2 May 2014

Kilfenora Céilí Band and friends break world record

"The Kilfenora Céilí Band and 270 musicians played this selection of jigs together in the square in Kilfenora for over five and a half minutes in a successful attempt to break the world record for the largest céilí band. The event was part of the Kilfenora Traditional Music Festival 2014." Posted on Youtube on the 27th of April 2014 by Bill Lynch.

Clare Lancers Set outdoors in Kilfenora

The Kilfenora Céilí Band played music for the Clare Lancers Set which was danced on the square in the village of Kilfenora, County Clare, during the Kilfenora Traditional Music Festival 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 28th of April 2014 by Bill Lynch.

Kilnaboy XPO community arts centre

"3min promo for the XPO community arts centre in Kilnaboy, County Clare, Ireland." Posted on Youtube on the 1st of May 2014 by Fergus Tighe.

Bunratty Castle - a bird's eye view

A bird's eye view of Bunratty Castle, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 1st of May 2014 by Tony Grehan.

Athlone Sub Aqua Club in Kilkee, April 2014

Athlone Sub Aqua Club diving in Kilkee, County Clare, April 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 26th of April 2014 by Gaileyish.

New online tool to help budding entrepreneurs

The European Commission has launched a new online tool to promote digital entrepreneurship. The Watify platform is an interactive, responsive website aimed at European entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. The website features:

  • Watify Awareness events going on across Europe
  • Answers to the doubts raised by (potential) entrepreneurs
  • A tool that provides guidelines to entrepreneurs that are starting up their online business or expanding across border.
  • Videos and inspiring quotes of successful entrepreneurs

It is estimated that 1. 5 million additional jobs could be created in the EU Internet Economy if the entire EU mirrored the entrepreneurship performance of the US, where 13% of the adult population is engaged in a new business compared to only 6% of the adult population of Europe. More info...

Thursday 1 May 2014

Community Tourism Diaspora Project - Clare County Council

What is the purpose of the Community Tourism Diaspora Project?
The key objective of the Fund is to provide support to local and community event organisers and activities / projects that will harness diaspora links for the benefit of local and community tourism.

What Fund amounts are available?
Fund amounts will be for a minimum of €500 and a maximum of €3,000 and will be directly related to the number of overseas visitors that will be delivered. Overseas visitors are those who travel from outside of the island of Ireland.

Who is eligible to apply?
It is open to groups or organisations that are organising community events / activities in 2014. To be eligible for funding, the event / project must:
Deliver a number of incremental overseas visitors (where incremental overseas visitors are those additional visitors over and beyond those which would normally visit the county);
Be focused on developing strong diaspora links with the community;
Demonstrate a capacity to deliver i.e. the Community Event Organiser(s) must provide evidence of and have a clear plan for tapping into international networks;
Have the capability to promote the event and provide a potential for media coverage;
Contribute at a local level to the city’s / county’s calendar of events in relation to attracting overseas visitors;
Be either a new event which will take place in 2014 or an addition to an existing event which is being expanded to specifically deliver incremental overseas visitors.

There is no guarantee of funding for events which achieve the minimum eligibility criteria. The fund is limited and eligible applications will be evaluated on a competitive basis against the criteria above.

What types of Events will be funded?
Various types of Community Events will be considered for funding – however they must have a strong focus on the Diaspora and therefore attract overseas visitors to the county / locality. They also must have the potential to be repeated.

What items and expenses are excluded from the fund?
Infrastructural / tourism development projects / capital costs for the county;
Festivals which have already received funding under the Fáilte Ireland National or Regional Festivals Fund;
Spend on alcoholic beverages, fines, penalty payments, legal cost, audit fees, financial consultancy fees and wages and salaries of consultants;
In general the cost of items for resale are ineligible.

How do I apply?
You should apply directly to Clare County Council. Only completed submissions received via the approved application form will be considered. The completed form must be sent to:
Clare County Council
Tourism & Community Department
Áras Contae an Chláir
New Road
Co Clare Email:

A signed version of the application must be scanned in and then emailed (with the appropriate signature(s) of the organiser). You may also submit accompanying additional documentation with your completed application form as appropriate. Applications must be received at our offices by 4.00pm on the 9th May 2014.

Click here for more info and an application form (PDF document).

The Burren in Bloom – walks & talks, May 2014

The month long Burren in Bloom festival celebrating Burren wildlife is packed with walks on topics ranging from butterflies to bats and farming to flora, while the talks schedule is equally varied and includes talks on botanical art, climate change, wild gardens, prehistoric archaeology and the Burren’s first people. There are also exhibitions, a photography workshop, book launches, a family book picnic event and the Burren Ecotourism Network food and adventure trail events. There are also some great prizes to be won as part of a Burrenbeo Trust fundraising raffle including accommodation, dinners, walks, caving and surfing throughout the festival. Click here for the Burren in Bloom festival programme...