Monday 30 November 2015

2015 Irish Book Awards

Anne Enright, Joe Duffy, Niall Breslin, Sara Baume and Louise O’ Neill were some of the winning authors at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2015, presented in Dublin recently.

Niall Breslin, aka Bressie, won the popular non-fiction book of the year for his first book Me and My Mate Jeffrey, a memoir which chronicles the TV star’s struggles with depression and mental health. Donegal football manager Jim McGuiness’ memoir Until Victory Always was named the sports book of the year.

Sinead Gleeson won the best Irish published book of the year for The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers. The novel of the year award was won by Anne Enright for The Green Road whilst the popular fiction book of the year was won by Sinead Moriarty for her novel The Way We Were.

Oliver Jeffers and Eoin Colfer were named the Children's Book of the Year (Junior) category winners for their picture book Imaginary Fred. Louise O'Neill was awarded the Children's Book of the Year (Senior) prize for her harrowing novel Asking For It.

Renowned Irish American novelist JP Donleavy was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year, over 45,000 readers made their voices heard and voted to select the winners in each category. The public can now vote for their overall ‘Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year’ on the awards website. Voting is open until midnight on 17th December and anyone who votes is in with the chance of winning €100 in National Book Tokens. Previous winners of the ‘Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year’ include Mary Costello for Academy Street, Donal Ryan for The Spinning Heart, Michael Harding for Staring at Lakes, and Belinda McKeon for Solace.

Clare County Council to launch extensive programme of events as part of Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme

Clare County Council will launch its Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme of Events on Tuesday, 1st December 2015 at the De Valera Public Library in Ennis. Cllr James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council and Cllr Pat Hayes, Chairperson of the County Clare 1916 Steering Committee, will officially launch the programme at 6.45pm. The County Clare programme is the outcome of consultations with interested local groups, organisations and individuals, who were invited to participate in the planning and implementation of the local programme. Led by Clare County Council and under the guidance of the local 1916 co-ordinator Helen Walsh, the programme contains events and initiatives ranging across all seven strands of the national Ireland 2016 programme. Further information on the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme is available at

Following the launch, at 7pm, Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara will give the first in a series of lectures/workshops that will explore the Easter Rising of 1916, its impact in County Clare, the key people involved from the county and a focus on how the event has been remembered and commemorated over the last 100 years in the county. Importantly, the lecturer will afford the public a chance to contribute their inherited stories of 1916. Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara is an oral historian who has been documenting memory and tradition relating to the Irish revolutionary period across the country for over ten years. He has interviewed over 150 of Clare's oldest citizens connected to the revolutionary period. He was awarded a doctorate by the University of Limerick in 2015 for his study into the social memory of the Irish War of Independence.

The other venues hosting the lecture series are Kilrush Library on Friday 4th Dec, Scariff Library on Tuesday 8th Dec, Shannon Library on Friday 11th Dec and Ennistymon Library on Friday 18th Dec. There is a start time of 7pm for all venues.

Dates for the lectures are as follows:
Tuesday, 1st Dec – De Valera Public Library, Ennis at 7pm
(Preceded by the launch of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme of Events for County Clare at 6.45pm)
Friday, 4th Dec - Kilrush Public Library at 7pm
Tuesday, 8th Dec - Scariff Public Library at 7pm
Friday, 11th Dec - Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon at 7pm
Friday, 18th Dec - Ennistymon Public Library at 7pm

Thursday 26 November 2015

The Brock McGuire Band performs a mashup on WDVX's Blue Plate Special

County Clare's Brock McGuire Band performs a mashup of the slide "Chase Me, Charlie," old time American pieces "Poor Old Liza Jane" and "Dance, Boatman, Dance" and the "Miss Monaghan" reel on WDVX's Blue Plate Special. Posted on Youtube on the 20th of September 2011 by Knoxville News Sentinel.

Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan play "Green Grow the Rushes"

"County Clare's Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan playing Green Grow the Rushes (Polka and Fling) at the kitchen table on a sunny afternoon." Posted on Youtube on the 15th of May 2015 by Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan.

Sharon Shannon & Alan Connor on The Late Late Show

County Clare's Sharon Shannon with Alan Connor performing on a recent edition of RTE's Late Late Show. Posted on Youtube on the 7th of November 2015 by The Late Late Show.

Caherconnell Stone Fort from the air

"Caherconnell (Irish: Cathair Chonaill, meaning "Conall's stone ringfort") is a medieval, exceptionally well-preserved stone ringfort in The Burren of County Clare, Ireland. It lies about 1 km south of the Poulnabrone dolmen." Posted on Youtube on the 1st of September 2015 bu joeire60.

Cliffs of Moher with Newsocracy

"Viewed from the top or from a boat at the bottom, the 700-foot Cliffs of Moher are spectacular and not to be missed." Posted on Youtube on the 6th of October 2015 by Newsocracy.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Celebration of Creativity in Shannon Library

Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon, celebrates creativity for the next few weeks. Colin Thickbroom's Art Exhibition has been in the library throughout the month of November and will be on display until Friday, 27 November. This is followed by an exhibition by the local Shannon Art Group under the guidance of tutor Natalie El Baba. Their art works will be exhibited from Monday 30th November to Friday 4th December. The following week sees the annual Christmas Craft Fair, running from Tuesday 8th December to Sat 12th December inclusive, during library opening hours. This year, exhibitors will range from knitwear to jewellery to food items, with plenty of variety to be had. To mark the launch of the Craft Fair, we will host a talk on Tuesday, 8th December at 6.30pm entitled 'Making Money from Your Craft'. Emer Ferran, Enterprise Manager with the Design and Craft Council of Ireland, will present an essential tool kit of what to know if you are starting a craft enterprise or marketing a craft product. This talk is a must for anyone interested in trying to make money from crafting. The event is free of charge and all are welcome to attend. Finally, our celebration of creativity will close with an Art Exhibition of works from clients of Rehab Care in Shannon - this will run from Monday 14th to Wednesday 16th December.

Image above shows Colin Thickbroom at work in the library.

Dympna O’Sullivan RIP

Sadly, Lissycasey-born concertina player Dympna O'Sullivan passed away this week. Dympna showed musical talent from an early age and her style of playing was fluid and relaxed. She was a regular performer at the Willie Clancy Summer School and also composed and taught music. Dympna released two CDs – Bean Cairdín (2007) and Enriched : Saibhriú (2014) and has accompanied other musicians on recordings. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Here are some clips featuring Dympna’s playing:

Dympna O'Sullivan and Danny O'Mahony playing during Feakle Festival 2011. Posted on Youtube on the 8th of August 2011 by scrapbooktraveler.

Dympna O'Sullivan and Willie Kelly playing two reels, Cormac O'Lunny's and Chris Droney's, at Catskills Irish Arts Week, July 2012. Posted on Youtube on the 22nd of November 2015 by garyamartin.

Photo above shows Tom Carey & Dympna O’Sullivan at the launch of her CD Bean Cairdín. © Peter Laban

Photo below shows Dympna in Crotty's Bar, Kilrush c.1997. © Peter Laban

More photos of Dympna in the Laban Traditional Music Collection...

Friday 20 November 2015

Two Irish authors shortlisted for Costa Book Awards

Two Irish authors have been shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Book Awards. Anne Enright is shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Novel Award for her book The Green Road. Sara Baume makes the shortlist for the 2015 Costa First Novel Award for her debut book Spill Simmer Falter Wither.

There are three other categories of awards – the Costa Biography Award, the Costa Poetry Award and the Costa Children’s Award.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on January 4th, 2016. The overall winner of the 2015 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced on January 26th. Last year’s winner was H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.

For the full shortlist see

New ebooks added to stock

New ebooks just added to stock include Until Victory Always, Jim McGuinness's unforgettable and highly personal account of his years at the helm of the Donegal football team and Lonely Planet: Best in Travel 2016. For children there is David Walliams’ hilarious Grandpa’s Great Escape and Sarah Crossan’s poignant story of conjoined twins entitled One. To see all new ebooks recently added to stock, see

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Science Week celebrations at Clare County Library

Thirty children attended the Trouble with Titanic Show at Kilkee Library on Thursday last from Kilbaha National School and from the neighbouring Scoil Réalt na Mara, Kilkee. The show which came to Clare County Library, compliments of Science Foundation Ireland, was also hosted by Ennis, Shannon and Kilrush libraries. All four audiences simply loved the workshop that was highly informative using a most interactive and interesting approach as to why the ship sank while also explaining several other scientific principles on the science of floating and sinking. Matthew and James, the facilitators, gave a seamless presentation that included lots of information delivered in an informative but fun way and included lots of participation from the children in the audience. The number of intelligent questions that followed each show was testament to the children’s enjoyment and appreciation of the Science Week event. For an added bonus specially branded Science Week rulers and pencils were gifted to each child who attended. Clare County Library wishes to thank Science Foundation Ireland for another excellent workshop this year.

Friday 13 November 2015

Mary and Andrew MacNamara, Riches of Clare Concert, Feakle, August 2015

"Mary and Andrew MacNamara performing at the last Riches of Clare concert of the 2015 season on August 10, 2015 as part of the Feakle Festival (04)." posted on Youtube on the 18th of August 2015 by Niamhaines.

Sharon Shannon at Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2015

County Clare's Sharon Shannon and her band pay their first visit to Shrewsbury Folk Festival. Posted on Youtube on the 25th of October 2015 by shewsburyfolkfest.

Burren Chernobyl Project - Better Together 2015

"Burren Chernobyl Project (BCP) was established in 1993 to help with the child and adult victims of the fallout from the Chernobyl reactor explosion. Many projects have been carried out to assist the children and their families who are enduring the effects of exposure to radiation and the other social and economic problems facing them in Belarus. BCP's volunteer programme runs all year round. Whether you are a qualified medically or otherwise, great with children, can lay a brick or two or can make a good cup of tea, there's a place for you at BCP. For more information check out our website and our Facebook page Burren Chernobyl Project, Monastery House, Ennistymon, County Clare."

"Link to vote for us in Better Together Competition"

Posted on Youtube on the 4th of November 2015 by Ruthie Marie.

North West Clare Family Resource Centre - Better Together 2015

"The North West Clare Family Resource Centre aims to support the growth of a strong and inclusive community in North West Clare. The FRC has been in operation since 2004 and is managed by volunteers from the local community. The FRC assists families through the Parents Plus and Rainbows programmes, supports a women’s group and a Men’s Shed, runs three youth club groups, provides childcare and after school care for fifty children aged 1-12 years, operates a homework club for Travellers, provides information, talks and events for parents, supports community groups, offers counselling for loss and bereavement, and is member of North Clare Happiness Project, which organises activities around well-being."

"Link to vote for us in Better Together Competition"

Music: Los Paddys De Las Pampas

Posted on Youtube on the 6th of November 2015 by Los Paddys De las Pampas.

Poulnabrone Dolmen, County Clare, from the air

"This tomb was in use during the Neolithic period and radiocarbon dates place its use between 3,800 - 3,600 BC. The first excavation of Poulnabrone Dolmen was in 1986 and then again in 1988 by Ann Lynch. During this excavation, one portal stone was replaced, and the team excavated the chamber, portico, and cairn. The remains of up to 22 individuals from the Neolithic were found. Sixteen adults, six children, and one newborn (from the Bronze Age) were among the remains. Their bodies were not cremated. Only one adult was over the age of 40 while most died before they reached 30. Most of the children were between the ages of five and fifteen. The skeletal remains show evidence of arthritis. The tip of a flint or chert projectile point was found embedded in the hip of one individual. Two other healed fractures, one skull and one rib, were also found. Dental wear analysis shows evidence for the consumption of stone-grounded cereals. Also found in the burial chamber was a polished stone axe, 2 stone beads, a decorated bone pendant, a fragment of a mushroom-headed bone pin, 2 quartz crystals, several shards of coarse pottery, and a number of arrowheads and scrapers. Grykes are crevices in the limestone that were then filled with remains. Chamber and grykes also were filled with the bones of various large and small animals." Posted on Youtube on the 1st of September 2015 by joeire60.

Finavarra Tower, County Clare, from the air

"Finavarra Tower is a Martello tower in Finavarra, County Clare, Ireland. Built during the Napoleonic wars in 1812-16, and situated on Finavarra Point, the tower protected the north-eastern side of Ballyvaughan Bay and the south-western entrance of New Quay harbour from possible attack from France. British military engineers built many such fortifications as signal towers to protect the coast against a French invasion. Most of these towers are oval or round and stand between forty and sixty feet high. Their staircases were incorporated within the walls and the doorway was usually some distance above ground level. This ovoid tower had three gun placements on the roof. The usual garrison of these towers was about ten men who would have lived in a nearby barracks. The remains of such a barracks lie north-east of the tower. However, nearby Aughinish Tower which is thought to have been of similar and contemporaneous construction, included quarters for around 40 men. At the site of Finavarra Tower, a small stone has the following: "This property including the Martello Tower and Appurtenances was bequeathed to the State for the benefit of the Nation by MRS. MAUREEN EMERSON who died on the 4th day of November 1999." Posted on Youtube on the 1st of November 2015 by joeire60.

Early Morning Fog Rolling Over the Cliffs of Moher

An early morning fog moves out to sea over the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, November 2015. Posted on Youtube on the 8th of November 2015 by Ashley Best.

Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards – Children's Books of the Year

2015 marks the tenth anniversary of the Irish Book Awards.
The shortlists for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards have been announced with twelve excellent books chosen in both of the Specsavers Children's Book of the Year categories.

Specsavers Children's Book of the Year Junior Category:
I'm a Girl by Yasmeen Ismail
The Snow Beast by Chris Judge
The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
The Boy who Fell of the Mayflower by P.J. Lynch
A Dublin Fairytale by Nicola Colton
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers

Specsavers Children's Book of the Year Senior Category:
Asking for It by Louise O'Neill
Darkmouth: Worlds Explode by Shane Hegarty
Demon Road by Derek Landy
One by Sarah Crossan
Once upon a Place collated by Eoin Colfer
The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne

You can find out more about the awards that bring together readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians to celebrate the very best of Irish writing, on the Irish Book Awards website at

Vote for your favourite Irish book of the year

The shortlist for the 2015 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards has been announced. Readers are asked to vote for their favourite books across thirteen categories, including Novel of the Year, Popular Fiction, Non-fiction, Crime, Children’s, Sports, Short Stories and Cookery.

Last year, over 45,000 readers and book lovers made their voices heard and voted to select the winners in each category. Votes can be cast until midnight 19th November 2015 and the winners will be announced at a gala event in Dublin on Wednesday, 25th November. Vote for the book you would like to win in each category and enter the prize draw to win €100 of National Book Tokens.

For the list of shortlisted books see and

Library Ireland Week 2015, November 16th-22nd

Library Ireland Week 2015 runs from November 16th-22nd. Every year the library service celebrates its worth during this week, a week that raises the profile of libraries and information service professionals and gives libraries and information services the opportunity to showcase their resources, facilities, events, contacts and services through different programs and events. The theme of this year’s Library Ireland Week is that of books as a portal into a world of ideas and opportunities: a world of imagination and creativity, of study and travel, of new possibilities in all areas of life. There will be a host of activities taking place in libraries to celebrate the week that will reflect the multi-faceted nature of library and information services across the country.

Clare County Library invites you to visit one of its fifteen branch libraries throughout the county and rediscover what is available to you from your local library service. You’ll discover a whole world of books, CDs, DVDs and more. Surf the internet or check your email at our free internet access points. You could begin tracing your family tree at the Local Studies Centre. Get information about all of the free events that take place at your library throughout the year for both adults and children including story time sessions, arts and craft sessions, free Internet classes, workshops, author visits, exhibitions and much more. You may even join one of the many clubs including children's, adult and teenage book clubs, movie clubs and scrabble clubs. Membership is free for pre-school, primary, secondary and third level students and for senior citizens. Remember, it is never too early or too late to join your local library! A whole new experience awaits you!

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Science Week 2015: Clare County Library presents The Trouble with Titanic

Science Week Ireland runs from the 8th to the 15th of November 2015 marking the 20th anniversary of this national, annual event that celebrates the fascinating worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Clare County Library is taking part in the celebrations by hosting a science show, compliments of Science Federation Ireland, in its branches at Kilrush, Kilkee, Ennis and Shannon.

The Trouble with Titanic will take place on the 12th Nov at Kilrush Library beginning at 10.15am and the second show on the same day will be in Kilkee Library at 1 o’clock.

On the 13th Nov the show will be hosted by Shannon Library at 10.15am and by DeValera Library, Ennis in the afternoon at 1.00pm.

During the 45 minute show children will find out why the Titanic is so famous and what is it about it that keeps people interested.

In this interactive show for 9-12 olds, audiences will explore what makes things float or sink, what was so special about the Titanic’s design that made people think it was a very safe ship, and what went so wrong on that night to remember in 1912 when it struck an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic. After all, it was alright when it left Belfast…!!

Science Week Ireland is an annual event which first took place in 1996 and has grown to a programme of over 800 events scheduled across the country.

It aims to make science more interesting and accessible to children and adults alike. It highlights how science, technology and engineering are hugely relevant to us all in our everyday lives, leads to interesting and exciting career options and develops creativity in our children.

Clare County Library is pleased to invite primary schoolchildren to this free event to experience science first-hand and enjoy a science demonstration, have fun with experiments and discover the answers to the most curious science questions.

Children’s Book Festival 2015 in Clare – more than 3,000 children at over 50 events

Children’s Book Festival 2015 has drawn to a close with endorsements from children, teachers and the array of festival guests who travelled the county during the month of October.

The library’s aim to encourage children to enjoy the experience and the magic of reading saw close on three thousand children attend over 50 reading related events, including author and illustrator visits, live history shows, nature and wildlife presentations and story and song workshops, catering for the reading preferences of everyone from toddlers to teens and beyond.

The festival is the biggest celebration of books and reading in Clare County Library’s events calendar for children and this year’s programme featured some of the best authors and entertainers for young people that Ireland has to offer.

The main event took place in Glór on October 20th. Shane Hegarty was there to meet with over 500 children from schools in the county to bring them the background to, and stories from Darkmouth, his sensational series that has secured him record-breaking publishing deals in the UK, US, Germany, Brazil and further afield.

Other authors and illustrators that toured library branches included Alan Nolan, Ré Ó Laighléis, Matt Griffin, Derek Mulveen, Kim Hood and Debbie Thomas.

Ré was, as ever, delighted to be invited to be part of the library’s festival and his readings and workshops not only captivated the interest of the youth of Clare, both in Ennis and Shannon, but specifically two North American teachers of literature who had drifted into Shannon Library on the morning. They absolutely loved the session (which was bilingual) and were heartened by the fact that a County Library would schedule such a comprehensive programme of events for young people.

Sadie Cramer’s delightful story workshops for younger children were loved by teachers, their classes attending and librarians alike, while Dave Rudden’s and Gráinne Clear’s stories of sea kings, stuffed monsters, invisible warriors and mysterious witches also went down a treat.

Niall de Burca did the rounds again holding young audiences in the palm of his hand with his amazing repertoire expertly delivered.

Michael Moylan’s 1916 presentations from Irish History Live transported children to the founding of our nation, giving them real life experiences of dressing in the clothes of the time and handling the weapons of the Irish Volunteers and the I.R.B.

Music and story workshops came courtesy of singer, songwriter, musician, TV presenter and script writer, Tadgh Mac Dhonnagain who is also the founder and director of the publishing company Futa Fata.

Older children explored key areas of literacy through the art of songwriting in workshops delivered by Muso, an educational company that provides alternative learning workshops to schools around Ireland.

David Lyons, Wildlife Ranger, National Parks and Wildlife Service brought examples of the amazing wildlife to be found on our doorsteps to the children in Tulla, Sixmilebridge and Newmarket on Fergus libraries and drawing and illustration sessions came courtesy of the multi-talented Aidan Courtney, cartoonist, and the founder of Coimicí Gael.

Staff at all branches of Clare County Library were delighted to see such support from schools in their catchment area and look forward to welcoming the children who attended events to return time and again to borrow from their extensive book collections throughout the coming year.

The library service gratefully acknowledges assistance with funding the Children’s Book Festival, received from local organizations and businesses and from its book suppliers. A list of this year’s contributors is now posted on the library website at

Image above shows Dave Rudden and Grainne Clear in the library in Kilkee.