Friday 31 July 2015

T.J. Westropp and 1916 Rising Photographs

Anyone interested in County Clare antiquities will have come across the work of Thomas Johnson Westropp who surveyed, recorded and photographed many of the archaeological sites of the county.

Westropp also photographed Dublin in the immediate aftermath of the 1916 Rising. He concentrated on the devastation in O’Connell Street, taking some of the photographs from the top of Nelson’s Pillar. This week, Trinity Library featured these photographs in their blog on the Rising at

An album of Westropp’s photographs on Clare archaeology is available on Clare County Library’s website at as are many of his articles at

Clasp Press published a selection of his articles some years ago as Archaeology of the Burren: Prehistoric Forts and Dolmens in North Clare and also a collection of his essays on Clare Folklore.

Photos above shows T.J. Westropp and friend at Crevagh Wedge-tomb, Carron, County Clare.

Certificate of Excellence for Clare Museum

Earlier this summer, Clare Museum was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor, the travel website where tourists can post their reviews of hotels, restaurants, museums and other tourist attractions. The museum had received a high number of very positive reviews from visitors during 2014 and at present some 71 of the total 76 reviews received to date rate the museum as either “very good” or “excellent”.

At Clare Museum we employ a Summative Evaluation Form to obtain feedback from the visiting public about the standard of our exhibitions and we also keep a close eye on our visitor’s book to gauge the experience of the visitor. While Tripadvisor, with its user generated content, is primarily for the benefit of potential visitors, it is also a useful tool for the management and staff of the museum to assess what we are doing right and where we need to make improvements.

So what does Tripadvisor tell us about the visitor experience? Here is a selection of some of the comments listed:

A user called coyotebanjo, from Lubbock, Texas, posted on 18th May, 2015

‘Excellent regional museum, informative friendly staff. Hosts many arts & culture events, often free. Important site for the Fleadh Nua.’

Michael Gleeson Snr, from County Leitrim posted this on 23rd April, 2015

‘The Museum exhibits were excellent, as were the staff. It had a real sense of County Clare in all that was displayed - not just shiny, attractive items - of which there were indeed many, but also the ordinary people who lived there and the extraordinary people who lived there with ordinary evidence to prove it. The displays were crystal clear with good info for each item. There were people there to help with answers on the items people found most interesting (a great asset to any decent museum). Gives a massive sense of place for people visiting the county. A must visit.’

A user from Wales, maryDyffrn Ardudwy, posted this review on 22nd October, 2014

‘The museum has excellent exhibits from prehistory to modern day and is to be recommended. Well researched and written boards, manageable size and pleasant layout makes this accessible for most age groups.’

Most of the reviews posted about the museum comment on our policy of Free Admission. Admission fees were abolished in June 2004 in an effort to make the museum more accessible to the local community, but since the economic crisis we can see that free admission has become increasingly appreciated by tourists and other non-local visitors. Other comments indicate that visitors find the staff of the museum welcoming and helpful - an area of visitor services that we pride ourselves in - and that the exhibition is of a high standard, often surpassing expectations.

One comment suggests that the opening hours of the museum are not clear, while another states that the museum can be hard to find.

This is useful information which we can now put to good use to ensure that both out opening hours and directional signage are improved for our visitors.

Clare Museum is a Clare County Council initiative and is managed by Clare County Library.

Books to pack for the holidays

Anna Carey in The Irish Times recommends 25 books for holiday reading

For those with less time on their hands, 8 books have been chosen as Richard and Judy Summer Reads

Eason’s Bookclub In association with The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk have four book recommendations for July

while The Observer’s Best Holiday Reads

and The Guardian’s at should provide enough ideas to satisfy anyone’s holiday reading needs.

Monday 27 July 2015

Kilmurry McMahon - A Rambling Night Out on the Wild West Irish Tour!

"A major part of the Wild West Irish Tour is meeting the locals for some traditional Irish music. In this video filmed in County Clare, our friends provided the best in Irish hospitality to our guests, the Wild Westies! Our thanks to the people of Kilmurry McMahon, County Clare." posted on Youtube on the 15th of July 2015 by Wild West Irish Tours.

Kilkee - undersea adventures June 2015

Underwater photography at Kilkee on the 14th of June 2015. Posted on Youtube on the 18th of June 2015 by Waldemar Grzanka.

George's Head, Kilkee, from the air

"O'Donovan Productions filmed George's Head in Kilkee using a Helicam Drone. Breathtaking views can be seen of this stunning landscape in this clip." posted on Youtube on the 23rd of June 2015 by O'Donovan Productions.

Monastic Europe: Landscape & Settlement Conference – Ennis 22nd - 25th August 2015

The Monastic Ireland team has gathered together a wonderful collection of the best speakers from Ireland and international guests from as far afield as Wales, Norway, Romania, Scotland, Catalonia and America. A variety of themes will be covered, including:

The topography of medieval monastic settlement (1100-1700), in both urban and rural environments
The impact of Church reforms on the physical structures and landscapes of the monastic Church;
Monastic space (liturgical, social and architectural aspects);
Patronage networks;
Architecture and identities;
Written sources for understanding the monastic environment.

The highlight of the conference will be the daily excursions to the wonderful heritage in the region, featuring entertaining and expertly guided tours of the monastery and round tower at Kilmacdaugh, Quin friary, the abbeys at Killone and Corcomroe and the historic town of Adare. This conference will appeal to anyone, scholar or enthusiast, with an interest in Irish history, art and architecture, the history of monasticism and European medieval history. Early bird tickets for the full conference and tours are €95, while there are options for single day attendance, conference attendance without the tours and our conference dinner in the Cloisters restaurant in Ennis. All details are available from the conference website

Friday 24 July 2015

Leonardo da Vinci crash-lands at Clooneyogan, County Clare, 1934

This short film on the crash-landing of the Leonardo da Vinci at Clooneyogan, Moy in May, 1934 has just been released on Youtube. The airplane was on a first attempt to fly directly from New York to Rome, but crash-landed on Hennessy’s farm in Clooneyogan, Moy, County Clare. The pilots - Lieutenant Cesare Sabelli and Captain George Pond – were feted in Lahinch, Ennis, and later in Dublin. An account of the landing by Colin Hennessy can be found on Clare County Library’s website at and more photographs of the event can be seen in Foto here...

Dysert O’Dea ecclesiastical remains with historian Ciarán Ó Murchadha

Historian Ciarán Ó Murchadha discusses the ecclesiastical remains of Dysert O’Dea including Dysert Church. Posted on Youtube on the 10th of July 2015 by Brooksvideocom.

De Valera Opens Election Campaign

"Meeting at Ennis, County Clare, applauds Fianna Fail leader's fighting speech in open air." Posted on Youtube on the 21st of July 2015 by British Movietone.

The Beautiful Burren - by Jamie Malone

"The Beautiful Burren, County Clare, Ireland." Posted on Youtube on the 16th of July 2015 by Jamie Malone.

Lough Derg - The Jewel of the Shannon

"Lough Derg - The Jewel of the Shannon filmed by drone. A beautiful day at the Millennium Cross in the Arra Mountains overlooking Lough Derg. A short walk from the carpark under Tountinna Mountain brings you to this breathtakingly beautiful spot." Posted on Youtube on the 5th of July 2015 by clare virtually.

Thursday 23 July 2015

Merriman Summer School 2015: Love and Marriage Revisited. Glór, Ennis 12th -15th August

Booking is now open for this year’s Merriman Summer School, which will be launched in glór, Ennis, County Clare, on Wednesday, August 12th by former Supreme Court Judge, Catherine McGuinness. Running until Saturday August 15th, the school offers an attractive mix of lectures and seminars, concerts and poetry readings in a convivial atmosphere open to all. This year’s theme is Love and Marriage revisited, and a range of topics will be addressed by a fine panel of speakers chosen by this year’s Director, UCC sociologist, Dr. Linda Connolly. Academics and writers, sociologists and historians will all bring their own perspectives on this timely theme. 20 years ago this year the 1995 Divorce Referendum, which passed by a narrow majority, took place, and in his opening lecture, Prof.Tony Fahey of UCD will take a look at what actually happened following that decision. The introduction this year of the Children and Family Relationships Act, and the passing by a large majority of the same sex marriage referendum set the context for many of the other presentations. There will be a historical perspective as well, culminating in a History Ireland hedge school with Tommy Graham and others entitled ‘Love and Marriage since the Famine’ on the Saturday evening.

In addition, there are free lunchtime poetry readings (with Rita Ann Higgins, Ailbhe Ni Ghearbhuigh and Doireann Ni Ghriofa), a special author interview with Donal Ryan on the Saturday morning, a talk from Cork writer Cónal Creedon entitled Love or Marriage? and a gala concert on Friday evening presented by Canada-based Clare-born academic and musician, Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin. The event is entitled Love and Marriage in the musical landscape of Co. Clare and will feature performances by some of Clare’s finest musicians.

The Director of the 2015 summer school is Dr. Linda Connolly, Director of the Institute for Social Science in the 21stCentury in UCC. Her publications include work on Irish feminism, social movements and family life. Other speakers addressing the school are Roy Foster, Lucy McDiarmid, Tom Inglis, Patricia Coughlan, Conor O’Mahony, Carol Coulter, Anne Byrne, Sandra McAvoy, Roisín Ryan-Flood, Máire Ni Annracháin, Síle Ní Mhurchú, Diarmuid Ó Giolláin, William J. Smyth.

All events take place in glór, Ennis. Tickets may be bought for the full school or for individual events, and may be pre-booked, or bought on the door. More info at Booking: & 065 684 3103.

Thursday 16 July 2015

Riches of Clare Concert June 2015 - Neill Byrne, Edel Fox, Tommy Fitzharris, and Colm O'Caoimh

"Neill Byrne, Edel Fox, Tommy Fitzharris, and Colm O'Caoimh performing at the Riches of Clare concert series on June 17, 2015 (12)." Posted on Youtube on the 21st of June 2015 by Niamhaines.

Riches of Clare Concert June 2015 - John Kelly, Sheila Garry, Aiobheann Murphy, and Brian Mooney

"John Kelly, Sheila Garry, Aiobheann Murphy, and Brian Mooney performing at The Riches of Clare concert on June 10, 2015 (09)." Posted on Youtube on the 10th of June 2015 by Niamhaines.

Riches of Clare Concert June 2015 - Seanie McGrath, Kieran Kissane, Kieran Hehir, and John Maloney

"Seanie McGrath, The Kierans - Kissane & Hehir, and John Maloney performing at the Riches of Clare concert series on June 24, 2015 (08)." Posted on Youtube on the 30th of June 2015 by Niamhaines.

Old Shanakyle Graveyard in Kilrush with historian Ciarán Ó Murchadha

Historian Ciarán Ó Murchadha talks about Old Shanakyle Graveyard in Kilrush, County Clare, in which three large burial pits are filled with victims of the Great Famine and subsequent evictions, dying as a result of starvation, disease and cold. Posted on Youtube on the 3rd of July 2015 by Brooksvideocom.

Hell Of The West Kilkee Triathlon 2015

"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 – this race is one for your calendar. The route stays the same annually." Posted on Youtube on the 7th of July 2015 by VideosOnTheNet.

An Post Cycle Tour de Burren 2015

"Over 2,200 cyclists from all over the world traveled to Ballyvaughan, County Clare, for the the 2015 An Post Tour de Burren on the 20th June. Filmed by Seanchas Productions." Posted on Youtube on the 23rd of June 2015 by Clare Sports Partnership.

Bunratty Folk Park - a short video by Vito Werner

"A short movie about Bunratty Folk Park, County Clare, Ireland." Posted on Youtube on the 14th of July 2015 by Vito Werner.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

The Clare Coastal Architectural Heritage Survey

If you’re on the County Clare coast this summer and wonder about the background of the signal towers, lookout-posts, lighthouses, piers, bathing shelters, fish ponds or any of the many structures around the coast, have a look at the Clare Coastal Architectural Heritage Survey.

The Survey, compiled by Sarah Halpin & Gráinne O’Connor, will provide you with an explanation and history of the structure. There are many more excellent publications available on the Heritage of Clare section at covering subjects such as Geology, Trees, Shrubs and Hedgerows, Bats & Birds, Shopfronts, Stone Walls and Ironwork.

Record sales for Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a Watchman, the long-awaited follow-up to Harper Lee's classic novel , was released yesterday. The story takes place 20 years after events in To Kill a Mockingbird.

The book was Waterstone’s biggest pre-sale ever, beating JK Rowling’s final Harry Potter book in 2007. Pre-orders of the novel were outselling EL James’ Fifty Shades Of Grey by more than three times over the weekend. Fans queued up in bookshops across the world on Monday 13th July in anticipation of the novel’s midnight release.

Clare Museum Recognised for its High Standards

Clare Museum was among seven of Ireland’s museums which were this week recognised for high standards of management, care of collections and visitor services by the Heritage Council under its Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI).

Clare Museum’s relationship with MSPI goes back several years having first applied for initial assessment under MSPI when the Programme was launched in 2007, with the initial assessment to benchmark the museum occurring in November of that year. However, participation of the Ennis-based museum went into hiatus following cutbacks in January 2008 when the economic crisis began to loom large and public services across the board were deeply affected.

With improved circumstances, the museum became active in the programme again in February 2014 with participation led by the curator, John Rattigan. Crucial to the delivery of Interim accreditation was the dedication and co-operation of staff members Tomás Mac Conmara and Darren Higgins and volunteer Jakub Kacprzak, and relevant training provided by the Heritage Council. Indeed, the process also required the support of Clare County Council’s management and elected representatives in the adoption of policies and a Strategic Management Plan.

The specific Standards of the MSPI are based on thirty-four minimum standards in relation to Management, Care of Collections and Visitor Services. These are divided into seven categories:

1. Constitution and policies
2. Museum management
3. Caring for the collection
4. Documenting the collection
5. Exhibition (long term and temporary)
6. Education
7. Visitor care and access

A panel of assessors, drawn from senior museum professionals based in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain was appointed to review applications for accreditation. Two assessors reviewed the museum’s written application in the autumn of 2014, conducted a site-visit and submitted a written report with their recommendations to the Programme’s Advisory Group. The Advisory Group reviewed the assessor’s reports before making its recommendations regarding the awarding of accreditation to the Heritage Council. The Heritage Council then reviewed the Advisory Group’s recommendations and confirmed the awarding of accreditation.

The citation which accompanied the award to Clare Museum stated:

Clare Museum submitted a high quality and thorough application and the Museum strove hard to complete any outstanding matters in particular, the Museum regularised the questions about collection ownership, documentation and disposal policy. It has also prepared a sound Strategic Management Plan, something it did not have in 2007. The preparation of an SMP is one of the more onerous tasks of the MSPI scheme and the Museum is to be congratulated on presenting a sound and sensible plan. Clare Museum is to be congratulated on the very high standard of the Collection, Disposal, and Loan policies submitted. It is also to be commended for already achieving two Full Standards in advance of its application for Full Standard accreditation. Also commended are the Curator’s studies for a Post-graduate Diploma in Museum Practice and Management at the University of Ulster. It is clear to assessors that Clare Museum has approached the scheme in a professional manner and that it conducts its business in a similar fashion.

It is intended to apply for Full Accreditation in September 2016.

The image above shows Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gealtacht Heather Humphreys with Michael Starrett Chief Executive of the Heritage Council at the presentation of an award for interim accreditation under the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland to Cllr James Breen Mayor of Clare and John Rattigan of Clare Museum. Photograph: Gary O'Neill.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Catholic Parish Registers in the National Library of Ireland now online at

The National Library of Ireland has made images from its collection of Catholic parish register microfilms available on its website The registers contain records of baptisms and marriages from the majority of Catholic parishes in Ireland and Northern Ireland up to 1880. These registers are considered to be the single most important source for family history researchers prior to the 1901 census. The registers may be searched by parish and are not indexed. Transcriptions of some Clare parish registers may be seen on Clare County Library's website at

Friday 3 July 2015

Riches of Clare Concert 22nd May 2015 - Johnny Ringo McDonagh, Kevin Finnucane, Conor Keane, and Dave Harper

Johnny Ringo McDonagh, Kevin Finnucane, Conor Keane, and Dave Harper performing at The Riches of Clare Concert series as part of the Fleadh Nua, May 22nd, 2015. Posted on Youtube on the 25th of May 2015 by Niamhaines.

The Fiddle Case and friends live in Doolin

The Fiddle Case playing live in Doolin, County Clare, with friends in November 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 27th of June 2015 by burrencrawler.

Stockton's Wing - "Slip Slide"

County Clare's Stockton's Wing playing Slip Side, an original composition, recorded in the 1980s. Posted on Youtube on the 25th of May 2015 by DOUGLAS HADDEN.

Doolin Folk Festival 2015 - Some Highlights

"Highlights of a few concerts I managed to catch at the Doolin Folk Festival 2015. Start - Christy Barry; 0:41 - Bryan O'Leary & Friends; 1:08 - Fiddle Case with Christy Barry; 1:37 - Tola Custy & Cyril O'Donoghue; 2:04 - Session outside Fitz's Bar; 2:28 - FourWinds; 3:02 - We Banjo 3; 3:38 - Sharon Shannon Band; 4:11 - Fiddle Case." Posted on Youtube on the 24th of June 2015 by Tunes From Doolin.

Moylussa, Highest Point in County Clare

"Goretti Campbell's B walk to Moylussa, the highest point in County Clare, overlooking Lough Derg, on Sunday June 14th, 2015." Posted on Youtube on the 18th of June 2015 by Galtee Walking Club.

St Michael's Villas a History and Miscellany, Book Launch

"St Michael's Villas - a History and Miscellany", compiled by Vora McNulty and published by the Clare Roots Society, was recently launched at the Templegate Hotel, Ennis, County Clare. Video was posted on Youtube on the 2nd of July 20154 by brennerjay.

Surfing in Lahinch, Late Evening June 2015

Surfing in Lahinch, County Clare, late evening June 2015. Posted on Youtube on the 29th of June 2015 by lorrynpa.

5K Run in Craggaunowen, County Clare

Precision Timing Exclusive Run 5K Series in Craggaunowen, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 29th of June 2015 by Precision Timing.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Burren walk for the Blind, 9th July 2015

On Thursday 9th July 2015, Burrenbeo Trust, in association with the National Council for the Blind, are organising a Burren walk for people who are visually impaired. Building on the very successful ‘Walk with a Difference’ for wheelchair users, the walk for the blind will enable participants to experience the Burren in all its glory through the guidance of some of the Burren’s leading heritage experts.

The day will begin in Carron with a brief introduction to the Burren, before the group travels to the Burren Perfumery to visit their scented flower garden and a short demonstration of the work at the perfumery. The walkers will then travel the short distance to the local green road, where a number of experts will bring the landscape, farming and the flora and fauna of the Burren to life.

‘We’re delighted to be working with the NCBI this year,’ explained Richard Morrison, walk organiser with the Burrenbeo Trust. ‘The Burren is such an amazing landscape with vast natural, built and cultural heritage, it’s great to be able to open it to a wide range of new audiences, particularly for those that might ordinarily have access difficulties.’

Burrenbeo Trust is Ireland's only landscape conservation charity working to raise awareness and appreciation of the Burren. NCBI, the national sight loss agency, is a not for profit charitable organisation which provides support and services nationwide to people experiencing sight loss.

This walk is open to anyone who is visually impaired however there are a limited number of spaces available on the walk so booking in advance is essential. For more information contact or 091 638096. Burrenbeo Trust are grateful to the International Charities Bazaar for supporting this event and the ‘Walk with a Difference’ for wheelchair users which will be held on the 26th August 2015.

The ‘Stories in a Box’ Project at Clare Museum

Recently, the Clare Family Learning Project (part of Clare Adult Basic Education Service), Clare Museum and Scoil Chríost Rí in the Cloughleigh area of Ennis came together as partners in a new and exciting project called “Stories in a Box”.

The project involved 6th class children and some of their parents working together under the supervision of their Class teacher Joe Garrihy and Family Learning Tutor Colette O’Brien. The end result comprises a selection of very personal and individual stories around objects of importance to each child. Parents helped guide pupils initially and children completed the display boxes on their own in class.

The museum supported the project and now these little displays have been removed from their boxes and placed on exhibition in showcases in the museum. In due course, photographs of these special objects will be posted on the Clare Museum website as a snapshot as to the kind of items that were of importance to the children at that given moment in time. Projects like this one remind us that objects are important to us because of the meaning, emotions and stories they evoke. As this is very much what museums are about, it is appropriate for the museum to assist in displaying the objects these children consider meaningful to them today.

The project also reflects the cultural diversity of Ennis with the sixteen children involved having backgrounds in Kenya, Togo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Albania, Serbia, the UK and of course Ireland. The exhibition will remain on display at the museum until September when the items will be returned to the children. Admission to the exhibition is free.