Thursday 26 February 2015

Micho Russell, 1915-1994, and the Russell Memorial Weekend

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Micho Russell, so the Russell Memorial Weekend which takes place this weekend should not be missed! The festival begins today (Thursday 26th February) and runs until Monday 2nd March.

The videos above feature Micho Russell on TG4's The Pure Drop in 1988 (with Noel Hill, James Cullinane and Madonna Heron).

'Bell Harbour Droneys' from The Clare Concerto - Dave Flynn & The Clare Memory Orchestra

"In November 2013 Dave Flynn & The Clare Memory Orchestra were joined by 50 'apprentice' musicians to create a 70 piece 'Memory' orchestra. They premiered Dave Flynn's hour long 'Clare Concerto' entirely from memory. The only person on stage with sheet music was the conductor Bjorn Bantock. (The few sheets viewable on the floor are one page set-­lists with no dots!). The orchestra featured some of the best Irish traditional, classical and jazz musicians around. Including multiple award winners and international soloists. Ranging from renowned Fiddlers like Martin Hayes, Brid Harper and Aoife Ní Bhriain to piper Mick O'Brien and four members of Ensemble Eriu (Jack Talty, Neil O'Loghlen, Matthew Berrill & Paddy Groenland). At the end of the 2nd Movement 'North Clare' when Clare concertina legend Chris Droney came on stage as special guest with his children Francis and Aine the age range on stage was from 11-88. Thus the orchestra featured some of the finest talent in Irish music from several generations.The music and the orchestra itself represent the past, present and future of Irish music. The instrumentation was unlike any orchestra ever assembled, mixing usual classical orchestra instruments with Irish folk instruments like Uilleann Pipes and Low Whistles and modern instruments like electric guitars. The orchestra also included ancient bronze age Celtic horns like the Loughnashade Trumpet and Carynx. The Clare Concerto was premiered in Glór, Ennis, Ireland and commissioned by the Arts Office of Clare County Council under the Per Cent for Art Scheme." Posted on Youtube on the 23rd of February 2015 by Dave Flynn & the Clare Memory Orchestra.

The Dillon-Harkin family find their roots in Ballygastell and Ballyteige, Lisdoonvarna, County Clare

"In July 2014 my Dillon cousins and I visited the ruins of the ancestral Dillon-Harkin cottage on the townlands of Ballygastell and Ballyteige, Lisdoonvarna County Clare. We found a local man Paddy Fitzgerald who guided us through the overgrown entrance and old rose garden to find the old walls of Lizzie Harkins cottage. We later visited Cliffs of Moher then finished off at McGanns Pub that night. Next day Paddy showed us through another house in Ballygastell once occupied by Dillons and later Kennys." Posted on Youtube on the 20th of February 2015 by desiodineen.

A trip to the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

A trip to the Cliffs of Moher in 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 9th of February 2015 by Aleksandra Lazorenko.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Children’s Events at Your Local Library in March

The month of March each year provides an ideal opportunity for Clare’s libraries to showcase its services for children and teenagers through a variety of events in its county-wide network.

Book related events will take place in many branches to celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge and World Book Day.

Seachtain na Gaeilge in Leabharlannaí Contae an Chláir:

Beidh páirt mór le glacadh ag Leabharlann Contae an Chláir i gceiliúradh Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015, leis na himeachtaí atá beartaithe go speisíalta acu do dhaltaí bunscoile agus meanscoile.

First and second classes in primary schools are invited to seisiúin scéalaíochta in many libraries. Details of times and venues are available from your local branch.

Beidh an t-údar Ré Ó Laighléis ag labhairt faoina úrscéalta le daltaí meánscoile Dé hAoine 6 Márta sna leabharlannaí phoiblí Sráid na Cathrach agus Inis Díomáin.

Scríobhann Ré Ó Laighléis ábhar ficsin don pháiste, don déagóir agus don léitheoir fásta, é sin idir Ghaeilge agus Bhéarla. Tá aistriúcháin déanta go forleathan ar a chuid úrscéalta agus cnuasaigh gearrscéalta agus tá iliomad duaiseanna agus gradaim bronnta air.

Ré will speak on his life as a writer, focusing particularly on writing for a teenage readership. He will give an insight into the writing of his novels with lots of inspirational advice on the importance of reading and writing for life.

World Book Day 2015:

Over the last 18 years World Book Day has become firmly established as Ireland’s biggest annual event promoting the enjoyment of books and reading. The aim of the celebration is to encourage children to explore the pleasure of reading and to this end all school children will receive book tokens that they can exchange in bookshops providing them with an opportunity to have a book of their own.

On the 4th,5th and 6th of March 2015 children of all ages will come together to celebrate World Book Day in a variety of ways in Clare’s libraries.

Artist Alan Shoosmith from Tubber will host five workshops on book-based themes in Kilrush, Kildysart, Shannon, Sixmilebridge and Ennis libraries. Alan has a keen interest in watercolour painting and creative photography and has a great love of wildlife & nature which manifests itself regularly in his paintings. His World Book Day workshops for children will be based on two specific children’s writers. Young children will bring Julia Donaldson’s Gruffalo to life under Alan’s expert guidance while older children can choose to re-create their favourite characters from the stories of Roald Dahl. Further details of Alan’s workshops for children are available from participating libraries.

Miltown Malbay Library will host an interactive storytime for the children from the nearby ‘Spraoi’ Montessori school on the 5th of March at 11.30am and Ennistymon Library are making plans for a books “lucky dip” fun day. Art workshops for children will take place in Killaloe and Scariff libraries compliments of local artist, Grace Burton and library staff in other branches are seizing the occasion to visit local schools to showcase what’s on offer for children through the public library service.

For details on what’s happening in a library near you to celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge and World Book Day 2015 contact your nearest branch library.

Tuesday 24 February 2015

A Poem for Ireland

A Poem for Ireland is a campaign being run by RTE that encourages the public to vote for their favourite Irish poem from the last 100 years. The purpose of the campaign is to celebrate Irish poetry, and in particular the vast wealth of Irish poetry of the past 100 years. The public were asked to choose the stand-out Irish poems of the past 100 years. The long list of 130 nominations has now been whittled down to just 10 poems by the jury and the public are now asked to selected the winner which will be revealed on March 13.

On all 10 poems are printed in full, and there's information on each poem and poet, plus video and audio clips from the RTÉ archives on this website. Every week on RTÉ Radio and Television, there'll be items about all the poems on the shortlist on RTÉ One's The Works (Fridays, 8.30, RTÉOne) and RTÉ Radio One's The John Murray Show (9am, weekdays, RTÉ Radio One). The public voting deadline is Sunday, March 8 and the poem with the most votes will be revealed on Friday, March 13. You can vote at or by Freepost to A Poem For Ireland, PO Box 12575, Freepost F5087, Dublin 4.

The 10 shortlisted poems are:

A Christmas Childhood by Patrick Kavanagh
A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford by Derek Mahon
Dublin by Louis MacNeice
Easter 1916 by W. B. Yeats
Fill Arís by Seán Ó Ríordáin
Filleadh ar an gCathair by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh
Making Love Outside Áras an Uachtaráin by Paul Durcan
Quarantine by Eavan Boland
The Statue of the Virgin at Granard Speaks by Paula Meehan
When all the others were away at Mass by Seamus Heaney

Friday 20 February 2015

Dom de diddle dom... Bobby Gardiner Lilting Masterclass

"Bobby Gardiner lilting followed by Ciaran Ó Geallabháin chatting to Bobby Gardiner about his playing style, particularly triplets. Also featuring an archive clip with Bobby Gardiner and Johnny McDonagh." Posted on Youtube on the 10th of February 2015 by TG4.

Josephine Marsh and friends playing at the Willie Clancy Festival

A promotional trailer for TG4's Port TV programme on the Willie Clancy Festival in Miltown Malbay, County Clare, featuring Josephine Marsh and friends. Posted on Youtube on the 19th of January 2015 by TG4.

Siobhan Peoples, Murty Ryan and Brian Mooney play Anthony Frawley's Jig

County Clare's Siobhan Peoples, with Murty Ryan and Brian Mooney, playing 'Anthony Frawley's' from TG4's Bosca Ceoil, Episode 4. Posted on Youtube on the 20th of November 2014 by brummydubliner.

Thursday 19 February 2015

Searching for answers about County Clare? See our Visitors’ Book and Clare Past Forum

If you have queries about Clare history or genealogy it’s worth checking out the Visitors’ Book and the Clare Past Forum on Clare County Library’s website. The Visitors’ Book contains comments and questions from visitors to the library website with answers provided by Clare County Library staff. In the Clare Past Forum answers are provided by other forum users, many of whom are very knowledgeable about Clare matters. You might just find your question has already been asked and answered...

See and

Ann Kirrane sings In the Bleak Midwinter

"In the Bleak Midwinter - Ann Kirrane. The title track of EP to be launched Dec 8th as a dedication to Ann's father, Chris Droney, Clare concertina player and Gradam Saoil recipient 2014 on the occasion of his 90th birthday on Dec 21st 2014." Posted on Youtube on the 19th of November 2014 by Ann Kirrane.

Sharon Shannon - Live at Dolan's Warehouse 2006

"Sharon Shannon in concert recorded live at Dolan's Warehouse, Limerick on 20th & 21st July 2006, featuring a plethora of Irish music stars including Damien Dempsey, Declan O'Rourke, Dessie O'Halloran, Mundy, Jon Kenny and more." Posted on Youtube on the 25th of January 2015 by Conor Ryan.

Brock McGuire Band playing 3 reels in New York

"The Brock McGuire Band play a rousing set of reels (Cooley's, The Galway Rambler and The Skylark) in a rare and intimate house concert in upstate New York. Great step dancing by Dave Curley. March 2014." posted on Youtube on the 29th of January 2015 by TimRaabNorthern.

Kevin Crawford, Colin Farrell & John Doyle play a Whistle Set

County Clare's Kevin Crawford with Colin Farrell and John Doyle at the St Louis, USA, Tionól Concert 2013. Posted on Youtube on the 23rd of january 2015 by Colin Farrell Music.

Kayaking at Black Head, County Clare

"A surreal coastal paddle in the haar at Black Head." posted on Youtube on the 10th of February 2015 by Yellaperl.

Monday 16 February 2015

Valentine Card Making Workshop in Scariff Library

Scariff Public Library recently held a workshop for children aged from between 4 to 12 years to make a personalised Valentine card for their loved one, with three different designs to choose from using card, tissue, stickers, ribbons, doilies, foam monsters with sticky eyes and chocolate sweets. Lots of fun and creativity ensued.

Friday 13 February 2015

Previously unpublished O'Curry letters on the antiquities of County Clare

Seven letters of Eugene O’Curry were recently published on Clare County Library's website. The letters were written while O’Curry was working in the Limerick Lunatic Asylum. He was employed by the Ordnance Survey shortly afterwards. Previously unpublished – apart from letter V, which was published in the Ordnance Survey Letters – the originals are held in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin and in the National Library of Ireland and have been transcribed and edited by Brían Ó Dálaigh. In them O’Curry briefly describes castles near Limerick, Sixmilebridge, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Miltown Malbay, Doonbeg and on the Loop Head peninsula. He also discussed forts on Loop Head and the naming conventions relating to them. Finally he writes on the origins of the land divisions Triúch-céid; Bailte; Ploughlands and Townlands and discusses his native ploughland of Doonaha West in detail. See

The Burren with Tony Kirby & GurusExploreTV

"The Burren is an anglicisation of the Gaelic term 'An Bhoireann' which means 'a stony place'. The Burren includes most of the north of County Clare and parts of the south east of County Galway. The region covers an area of over 350 square kilometres." Posted on Youtube on the 24th of January 2015 by GurusExploreTV.

Richard Staunton Cahill (1826-1904), Reading the News (in Clare), 1871

"An accomplished figure painter in oil and watercolour, Richard Staunton Cahill was born in County Clare. Having trained at the Royal Hibernian Academy School in 1850, he exhibited there from 1851 until 1900. Research shows he painted in Clare and Galway, concentrating on genre subjects such as The Irish Peasant Boy (1853), The Spinning Wheel (1879) and An Impending Eviction (1888). He exhibited from the early 1850s at London's The Royal Academy, and when living in London, at Royal Society of British Artists and the New Watercolour Society and elsewhere in English galleries. His detailed, sympathetic paintings form useful historical sources for authentic furnishings and clothing." Posted on Youtube on the 9th of Fenruary 2015 by Whyte's Irish Art & Collectables Auctioneers.

Tree of Generations Sculpture Project Lough Graney Youth Club

"This short film documents the Tree of Generations Sculpture Project, facilitated by Artist Margaret Curran, as part of a community project involving Lough Graney Youth Club in Killanena, County Clare, Ireland. The film, which was shown to the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, at the official unveiling of the sculpture in 2012, charts the project from the original design stage, to the completed sculpture. The Tree of Generations Sculpture is situated at Lough Graney Kids Corner, in Flagmount, County Clare." Posted on Youtube on the 9th of February 2015 by Hilary Dully.

Thursday 12 February 2015

February Fun in Ennistymon Library

Children of Ennistymon, and the surrounding areas, are enjoying a packed programme of events in 2015 offered free of charge and facilitated by the staff in their local branch library. During the month of February there was an array of events to choose from including a dragon-making session to celebrate Chinese New Year, Springy Snakes for St. Patrick’s Day and a Happy Hearts Craft Session for St Valentine’s Day. Activities for children continue for the coming months. Follow this link for more details:

DeValera Library celebrates Harry Potter Book Night 2015

February 5th 2015 saw the first ever Harry Potter Book Night celebrated throughout the world and at deValera Public Library, Ennis, the fun began early that day when 5th class from Scoil Chriost Rí took part in the very first Harry Potter Quiz to celebrate the occasion. Quizmaster and Ennis Library’s very own Severus Snape along with Madame Trelawney with a little help from Professor McGonagall, welcomed the school children and their teachers to the event designed to promote and re-kindle interest in J.K. Rowling’s wonderful books. It is eighteen years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone captured the imaginations of children and adults for the first time. The Sorting Hat divided the children of fifth class into the four Hogwarts house teams Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw and the quiz was closely contested by all four groups. The winning team left with book token prizes, each child was presented with a Harry Potter themed certificate and a selection of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans! chocolate mice and jelly snakes compliments of Clare County Library. The prize for the best dressed Muggle went to class teacher Mr. Crehan!

Holy Island on Lough Derg, County Clare - an aerial view

"A short aerial video of the ancient Round Tower and churches on Holy Island, Lough Derg, County Clare. Shot in freezing fog the video has a mysterious and timeless feel. Except for the camera movement, the island seems frozen in time." Posted on Youtube on the 10th of February 2015 by clare virtually.

Educational Workshops at Clare Museum

During late January and early February, Clare Museum held St Bridget’s Day workshops for local schools. Over 500 school children from nine local schools attended to hear Ruth Marshall tell Irish and Scottish folktales about the ancient Celtic festival and to make St Bridget’s Crosses.

During spring this year archaeology workshops for Transition Year students will be held at the museum. In addition, museum staff members are currently busy preparing workshops for Primary Schools based around objects in the museum collection that relate to the Stone Age, the War of Independence and the First World War. These curriculum focused education initiatives - along with a new Education Policy - are planned for launch before the end of 2015.

Stone, Water, Ice: The Burren, a landscape shaped by time

The Burren Outdoor Education Centre presents a five night course for all with an interest in The Burren, from the 25th of February to the 25th of March 2015. Contact or phone 065 7078066.

Hanging with the Elephant: An Evening with Michael Harding in Glór

Following his hugely popular nationwide tour of venues in Ireland in the autumn of 2013, Michael Harding, author, playwright and Irish Times columnist, is on his travels again in his unique one man show, talking with great honesty and wit about life, love and growing old. Coinciding with the publication of his latest book Hanging with the Elephant, he will once again enthral audiences with a night of storytelling, musings and readings from his very best work in Glór, Ennis, on Thursday the 19th of February at 8pm. Hilarious yet poignant, homespun yet profound, down-to-earth yet prone to amazing flights of fancy, there's nothing quite like an evening with Michael Harding. Tickets (€16) on 065 6843 103 or

Blind Date at the Library for Valentine's Day

This Valentine’s Day Clare County Library would like to play matchmaker for you and set you up on a blind date…with a book! We’re excited to be presenting, for the first time, Blind Date with a Book, where you take a chance and check out a book we’ve selected, without knowing exactly what that book is until you get it home. We’re hoping we can introduce you to a book you’ll love, but may not have chosen for yourself otherwise. It could be the book you’ve been searching for all your life!

From February 12th-14th you are invited to visit any of the six participating library branches in Ennis, Ennistymon, Kilrush, Killaloe, Scariff and Shannon where there will be a display of books wrapped in plain paper. Make your selection and bring it to the checkout desk where you will also receive a sweet treat to take home along with your newfound book love. The selected books will include a range of genres and themes but you won’t be able to judge any of them by their cover before you get to know them. Here’s hoping it will be love at first page but there is no need to worry about any hard feelings or awkwardness if it’s not! If you don’t make that special connection you can simply return it and move on to the next book!

Thursday 5 February 2015

Kevin Crawford, Colin Farrell and John Doyle in St Louis, USA

County Clare's Kevin Crawford (flute) plays a jig and two reels - Bill Collins'/Sweeney's Wheel/Major Harrison's Fedora - with Colin Farrell (fiddle) and John Doyle (guitar) at the St Louis Tionól Concert 2013. Posted on Youtube on the 2nd of February 2015 by Colin Farrell Music.

Mary McNamara and John Coyne play a set of jigs in Masachusetts

"County Clare's Mary McNamara gives us a set of jigs with John Coyne accompaning on the bouzouki, at her CD release party, at The Burren Backroom in Somerville, Masachusetts, USA, the epi-center for Irish Traditional Music outside of Clare." Posted on Youtube on the 11th of November 2014 by Stephen Shepard.

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill play at the Indo Irish Cultural Fest in New Delhi

County Clare's Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill play at the ‘Indo-Irish Culture Fest’, an event of Dance and Music to commemorate the Golden Jubilee year of the embassy of Ireland in India, held on Monday, 8th December 2014 at the Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi, India." Posted on Youtube on the 16th of December 2014 by Manish Mohan.

The Kilfenora Céilí Band – Guth an Phobail, TG4

"This piece was one of the GUTH an PHOBAIL (voice of the community) series that we were commissioned to produce for the news on TG4, the Irish Language television station. This piece focuses on the famous Kilfenora Céilí Band from County Clare - The Banner County." Posted on Vimeo by Matt Kelly Productions.

Doolin Folk Festival: an Insight

Scenes from the first Doolin Folk Festival in County Clare, 14th-16th of June 2013. This year's festival takes place on 12th-15th June 2015. Posted on Vimeo by Héctor Castells.

Flying around the Cliffs of Moher

Aerial views of the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 27th of January 2015 by Charles Layton.

Libraries Change Lives

"There is a lot coming our way these days, and many of us could use some help - but did you know help is already here?" posted on Youtube on the 10th of December 2014 by Public Libraries 2020.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

School Days in County Clare: Registers, Roll Books, Histories - and Photos

The recent addition of the CBS Ennis Registers to Clare County Library’s website means we now have historic Registers and/or Roll Books for 21 National Schools in Clare online: Ballyea, Bansha, Ennis National, Ennis CBS, Ennistymon CBS (Primary & Secondary), Kilbaha, Kilchreest, Kilfenora, Kilshanny, Kinturk, Knockjames, Lack, Lacken, Lahinch, Leitrim, Lisroe, Miltown Malbay, Pitfield, Rockmount, Ruan and Tiermaclane. These can be found on our Genealogy & Family History page.

For histories of some schools - Clooney, Connolly, Coore, Knockjames, Labasheeda, Lack, Quin and Tiermaclane - see our History of Education in Clare.

Search for your school among the 1342 photographs of pupils in our online photo collection - maybe you can help us identify some of the unnamed pupils. If you can, just click on the ‘Do You Recognise’ form and fill in details.

Digital Clare Launch Night

"Digital Clare is officially launched! At the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis people from around the county came to be part of a special night which saw social media connecting County Clare and getting it trending in Ireland." Posted on Youtube on the 3rd of February 2015 by Digital Clare.