Thursday 29 January 2015

Poulnabrone Bone Pendant

This beautiful bone pendant was found during an excavation of Poulnabrone Portal Tomb which was used for burials from c3800 to 3200 B.C. Various other dress accessories like stone disc beads and bone pin fragments were also uncovered at the tomb. The artefacts are displayed as part of the Earth theme in Clare Museum, Ennis. The entire Riches of Clare Collection can be viewed here online. Take time to click the images for stunning larger photos of the artefacts. For background information, Mairéad Dunlevy’s article, Costume in Clare, is a fascinating history of dress in the county.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

The Cliffs of Moher by Explore TV Ireland

"No visit to Ireland, especially the wonderful Wild West, would be complete without heading to the Cliffs of Moher, one of nature’s true wonders. And the Wild Atlantic Way takes you right to the 8km stretch of some of the most rugged coastline on the planet. It’s a sight to behold!" Posted on Youtube on the 24th of January 2015 by GurusExploreTV.

Clifden to the Burren on the Wild Atlantic Way

Motorbike road trip from Clifden in Connemara to the Burren in County Clare on the Wild Atlantic Way in 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 19th January 2015 by RoadTrooper.

Kilkee by the Sea from the Air

"O'Donovan Productions filmed activities and events taking place in beautiful West Clare town of Kilkee. We used our Helicam drone to capture these lovely images." Posted on Youtube on the 14th of January 2015 by O'Donovan Productions.

Ennistymon Falls Race

Kayak racing on the Falls in Ennistymon, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 24th of January 2014 by Robert Kierans.

Clare Arts Office Bursaries in 2015

Clare Arts Office is pleased to announce that it is maintaining its grants scheme for the arts in 2015. Applications for the Arts Act Grants scheme are now being accepted. The aims of the scheme are to stimulate public interest in the arts, provide knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts or improve the standard of the arts in Clare and the scheme is open to arts organisations and individual artists.

The Arts Office will also be providing one bursary to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan to enable one artist of any discipline (music, writing, film, dance, visual arts etc.) to stay at the internationally renowned artists’ retreat for up to two weeks, all expenses paid.

Closer to home, a bursary is being provided to a member of the amateur dramatic community in the county to attend the Drama League of Ireland's Summer School in the University of Limerick.

Young people are also catered for with a bursary available for a young trad musician to attend the Meitheal Summer School in Limerick in July whilst young singers can apply for a bursary to enable them attend the Irish Youth Choir summer school in the University of Limerick.

A new scheme, 'Creating Space', aimed at promoting opportunities for the public and contemporary visual artists to interact and engage with one another is also being launched this year.

According to Siobhán Mulcahy, County Arts Officer with Clare County Council, 'We are delighted to be able to continue with our range of supports available to artists and arts organisations throughout County Clare. Bursaries can allow for artists and young people to immerse themselves in opportunities which can have significant impact on future career developments. Our grants scheme offers small supports to groups and individuals to assist them in planning their projects and events throughout the county. We are especially pleased to introduce a significant new scheme for Visual Arts in the county, which we believe will have a significant impact over the coming years.'

Closing dates for the various schemes vary and application forms for all grants and bursaries are available from or from Tel: 065 6899091. Image above is of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

February bookclub at Kilrush Library

The Children’s Book Club at Kilrush Public Library meets on the last Tuesday of every month at 3.30pm. The book of the month for February is ‘Danny the Champion of the World’, by Roald Dahl. Copies of this book are available at the library desk. New members are always welcome.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Oscar Nominations 2015 - at your local library

The 8 films nominated in the Best Picture category for the 87th Academy Awards are: American Sniper; Birdman; Boyhood; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game; Selma; The Theory of Everything; Whiplash. The Theory of Everything is based upon the 2008 memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen written by Jane Wilde Hawking, ex-wife of famed scientist, Stephen Hawking.

The Boxtrolls has been nominated for Best Animated Feature. The story was adapted from the fantasy children’s novel, Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow. Rosamund Pike has received a nomination for her portrayal of Amy Dunne in Gone Girl. The bestselling book of the same name on which the film is based was written by Gillian Flynn. Julianne Moore has also been nominated in the best actress in a leading role category for her part in the film Still Alice. Based on the book of the same name by Lisa Genova, Moore plays the role of a college professor suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

The DVDs Boyhood and Grand Budapest Hotel are available for borrowing from Clare County Library. The books Travelling to Infinity by Jane Wilde Hawking, Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Still Alice by Lisa Genova are also available for borrowing at the library.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

The Parishes of County Clare

Most of the genealogical and geographical information on Clare County Library’s website is arranged by civil parish. The reason for this is that between the 17th and early 20th centuries, the civil parish was the territorial unit used by government for its land surveys and censuses. Click here for a list of the civil parishes of Clare, and they are mapped here... They are divided into townlands, the smallest territorial unit, and are arranged into Baronies, the largest unit in the county system. Civil parishes are no longer in use for administrative purposes.

The Catholic parish system is a separate system and forms the basis for much of Ireland's social, educational and sporting activities. Catholic parishes are still evolving, with some parishes combining and new parishes being established in densely-populated areas. Clare is divided between the Dioceses of Killaloe, Galway, and Limerick. The Catholic parish registers of Baptism and Marriage are very important for genealogists, and are usually the only source of family information in Ireland before the 1901 census. See this list of Catholic parish records, available on microfilm in Clare County Library's Local Studies Centre in Ennis.

Ewan MacColl and the Clare Connection

Next Sunday, ‘Burns Night’, marks the anniversary of the birth of English/Scot’s folksinger Ewan MacColl and numerous events are taking place in Britain and Ireland celebrate the occasion. This includes two hour-long radio programmes on MacColl’s life and work produced by Clare FM’s Paula Carroll, the first of which is scheduled to be broadcast on Friday, 23rd January at 7.00pm.

Paula has based her programmes on Ewan’s and Peggy Seeger’s long-term working association with two County Clare residents, Pat Mackenzie and Jim Carroll, now living in Miltown Malbay. Both were members of MacColl’s workshop, The Critics Group, and helped to run and to perform at The Singers Club in London; regular guests at the club were Clare piper Tom McCarthy from Sheyan, Kilmihil, and fiddler Bobby Casey of Mullagh.

Pat and Jim have been recording singers in Clare since the early 1970s and have been permanent residents here since 1998; their collection of the older generation of singers is about to go live shortly on Clare County Library’s website for public access.

The first programme deals with MacColl’s early life in Salford, and his move from agit-prop theatre into folk song; it includes part of a long interview they did with Sea Nós singer, Joe Heaney, from Connemara. Programme two will be broadcast at 7pm on Friday 30th January 2015. The photo above was taken of Ewan MacColl by Michael Tigar in 1962.

Monday 19 January 2015

New Book on Killaloe and Ogonnelloe Parishes

Brisbane author Patrick O’Brien has written a definitive and detailed account of the townland of Carrownakilly (and the adjoining townland of Carrowbaun) in the parish of Killaloe. In the civil parish of Killaloe both townlands are in the Catholic parish of Ogonnelloe. “Looking over my shoulder: life for an O’Brien family from the townland of Carrownakilly in 19th century Ireland” (published by the author, 2014) chronicles the family of Cornelius O’Brien in Carrownakilly, his antecedents and his successors. Cornelius O’Brien left Clare for Australia in 1883. The author was prompted to write his book on his family history and on Carrownakilly in order to find out why Cornelius left Killaloe in 1883, and why he chose Australia. “Were you pushed out of Ireland or pulled towards Australia?” he asks the ghost of Cornelius O’Brien.

Looking over my shoulder” is an exhaustive study of this small part of County Clare. It examines local land-holding patterns from the perspectives of landlords, agents and tenants; farming methods and practices; poverty and survival mechanisms including the local workhouse; evictions and ejectments (“an estimated one in ten persons living in Clare at the time [of the Great Famine] was evicted”, O’Brien writes); social and cultural practices including religion (“throughout the 19th century local families would have set out across the fields through Ogonnelloe on well-worn ‘mass paths’ to attend church … In pre-famine Ireland church attendance was on average only 33%”); folk beliefs and customs (local holy wells, patterns, wakes); and education and local hedge schools (“the space was too crowded to sit down [in the local hedge school, circa 1835]. A middle-aged barefooted man was teaching children in rags”).

The daily lives of our ancestors are also delineated - food and diet, illicit distillation, local fairs and markets, and faction fights (“men typically wore heavy felt hats, partially as a defence against the blackthorn shillelagh”). Patrick O’Brien has written a detailed, engaging and engrossing account of this part of North Killaloe and South Ogonnelloe, a work which also touches on neighbouring families and townlands. At 305 pages, with a seven-page bibliography, “Looking over my shoulder”(ISBN 9780646921815) is a model work of local history and a valuable addition to the scholarship of County Clare. The author has kindly deposited copies of his book in Killaloe Public Library and in Clare County Library’s Local Studies Centre in Ennis.

Children’s Local History Project in Kilrush Library

Fourth class children from St Senan’s Primary School in Kilrush have completed a history project which includes information on the Vandeleurs, the Glynn family and Scattery Island, and models of several historical buildings of the area including the church and town hall. This project can be viewed at Kilrush Public Library until the end of January.

Friday 9 January 2015

Sharon Shannon and Alan Connor play Lament For Limerick

County Clare's Sharon Shannon and Alan Connor play Lament For Limerick (and a few more tunes as well!) at the Musician Pub in Leicester, UK. Posted on Youtube on the 17th of November 2014 by terry ashton.

Kirsten Allstaff's CD Launch Party in Lahinch

Liscannor based Kirsten Allstaff and friends at the launch of her new album 'Gallowglass' in Kenny's Pub, Lahinch. Posted on Youtube on the 7th of December 2014 by irishmusicacamdemy.

Mary MacNamara and Friends CD Release Party in Boston

Mary MacNamara and friends, including the Tulóg Céilí Band and Réalta Geala, performing at her CD Release Party at The Burren, Boston, USA, on Sunday, 9th of November 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 10th of November 2014 by Concert Window. For more info see

Seisiún hosted by Josephine Marsh at Ennis Trad Fest 21

"Seisiún hosted by Josephine Marsh in Glór at the Ennis Trad Fest 21 on the 7th of November 2014. Musicians include Josephine Marsh (accordion ), Yvonne Casey (fiddle), Caroline Casey (fiddle),Tommy Carew (guitar), Gerry Madden (mandolin), Jo Dengate (flute), Bernard Devlin (fiddle), and Andrew Newland (uilleann pipes and whistle)." Posted on Youtube on the 18th of November 2014 by PRAK14.

Yvonne Casey and Eoin O´Neill play Bluebells in the Glen

Yvonne Casey and Eoin O´Neill play Bluebells in the Glen, a reel composed by Yvonne, in Brogan's Bar, Ennis. Posted on Youtube on 14th of November 2014 by Jon Antonsson.

Ebert Vacation – County Clare and Ireland 2014

The Eberts visit the Cliffs of Moher, Corcomroe Abbey and The Burren on their vacation in Ireland. Posted on Youtube on the 30th of November 2014 by Jeff Ebert.

Polldubh Cave, County Clare

"Caving in Polldubh Cave, Burren, County Clare." Posted on Youtube on the 5th of Decmebr 2014 by Cave Hunter.

Phil Spencer explores the Island of Ireland

"From the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher and The Burren to the iconic Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, Phil Spencer uncovers some of the wonders of the island of Ireland." Posted on Youtube on the 6th of October 2014 by discoverireland.

Kilkee Hell of the West Triathlon 2014

The Kilkee Hell of the West Triathlon is an Olympic Distance Triathlon which is up and running since 1985 – making it one of the longest continuously running triathlons in Ireland and in the World. Organised by the Limerick Triathlon Club this race falls annually on the last weekend in June. Hell of the West starts with 1500m in the relatively calm waters of Kilkee’s horse shoe bay, but with a 44km cycle against the winds of west Clare and a 10km hilly run along the rugged coastline of Loop Head. Posted on Youtube on the 23rd of November 2014 by fishhughes.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Planning your holiday for 2015?

Don’t forget that Clare County Library has a range of travel guides available to borrow. Travel guides covering destinations from Korea and Bangkok to Istanbul and London are available from publishers Lonely Planet, Dorling Kindersley, Time Out, APA Publications, Berlitz, Fodor and National Geographic. If you prefer to travel light, there are ebooks to download on destinations such as Melbourne, Naples and Dubai.

To get yourself in the mood for your trip or if you are an armchair traveller, Clare County Library has compiled two travel related book promotions with reading lists. One is a compilation of some of the best of non-fiction travel writings entitled Around the World in 22 Books. Featuring books from authors such as Jan Morris, Freya Stark and Bill Bryson these books will transport you down the Ganges and the Congo, into the Arabian sands and by train across America.

A book promotion entitled Novel Destinations features novels set in destinations popular with Irish holidaymakers. These novels will transport you from the wild landscapes of Western Australia via the Piazza of Venice and the rural French village of Lansquenet to the streets of New York. For further details on travel books available from Clare County Library, check out our online catalogue at