Wednesday 14 December 2016

Launch of Clare County Library's Toy and Sensory Resource Collection in Shannon Library

Clare County Library will launch their Toy and Sensory Resource Collection in Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon on Friday, 16 December at 11am. This collection provides a service for children with complex needs and their families in County Clare. The aim of the collection is to support both these children and their parents in choosing and utilising these specialist resources for the developmental growth of the children. Clare Library has selected over 70 assistive toys which were purchased specifically to meet the requirements of children with complex needs. These toys were selected with the advice of speech and language therapists, special education needs organisers and occupational therapists. Items for lending include sensory and tactile toys, toys that build on fine and gross motor skills and toys that help develop play and life skills.

The collection is housed in Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon but is a county-wide resource and items for borrowing can be delivered to any branch throughout the county. For more information phone Shannon Library at 061-364266 or ask at the desk.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Clare County Council wins Excellence in Local Government Award

Representatives of Chambers Ireland and ‘Supporting Tourism’ category sponsors Failte Ireland pictured with Liam Conneally, Director of Services, Clare County Council (2nd from left), Emer O’Connell, Chair of Ennis Book Club Festival Organising Committee (third from left), Cllr. Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council (third from right) and Helen Walsh, Clare County Librarian (right) at the 2016 Excellence in Local Government Awards

Clare County Council has received national recognition for its longstanding support of the Ennis Book Club Festival. The Local Authority was named overall winner of the Supporting Tourism Award category, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland, at the 2016 Excellence in Local Government Awards held in Dublin on Thursday night. The award scheme is run by Chambers Ireland and showcases best practice in local government. The awards are judged by a panel of expert judges and have been taking place since 2004.

The Ennis Book Club Festival takes place in early March every year and attracts thousands of book club members and book lovers from all over Ireland, Europe and North America. The annual programme of events features author visits, readings, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, poetry sessions and lively debate on current topical issues.

Councillor Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council said, “This award nomination is testament to Clare County Council’s ongoing support for festival organisers throughout the County. Since its inception in 2007, the Ennis Book Club Festival is has drawn many thousands of tourists to Ennis. It is has presented a unique opportunity for book club members and authors to meet and exchange ideas about all aspects of literature and therefore, has added greatly to Clare’s status as a County of Culture.”

Mr. Pat Dowling, Chief Executive for Clare County Council, said, "Clare County Council, through Clare County Library, has been a key supporter of the Festival for the past nine years. This support, which is both logistical and financial, has helped establish the Ennis Book Club Festival as one of the leading events of its kind anywhere in Ireland and beyond. We look forward to providing continued support in the future.”

Helen Walsh, Clare County Librarian said, “Clare County Library works closely with the Festival Organising Committee to help deliver a successful event every year. In doing so, thousands of people travel to Ennis each March to engage in everything Ennis has to offer as well as visiting the town’s many bookshops and host venues, including the excellent facilities at glór. This award recognition will instil confidence in everybody involved to further develop the Festival offering into the future. I also wish to congratulate Emer O’Connell (Chair) and her dedicated committee members on delivering consistently on what is a mainstay of the cultural calendar in the county each March.”

Clare County Council's support for the Ennis Book Club Festival was named overall winner from a Supporting Tourism category shortlist also including Carlow County Council (Carlow Food Tourism Project), Cork County Council (Fortress Spike Island - Phase 1) and South Dublin County Council (Dublin Mountains Partnership). Visit for more information.

Monday 28 November 2016

Library Ireland Week 2016

Library Ireland Week 2016 will take place from 28th November to 4th December. 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 Libraries: empowering through online access and the focus is on the incredible range of online resources available in our libraries. It is an opportunity for librarians and information professionals to remind everyone that there’s more to libraries than books, and to highlight the amazing array of online resources and services that are provided and which can be accessed anytime, anywhere and at the flick of a fingertip. 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.

During Library Ireland Week 2016 selected branches of Clare County Library, including Ennis, Ennistymon, Shannon, Scariff, Killaloe, Kilkee, Kilrush and Miltown Malbay, will host information sessions for members of the public on how to use and enjoy the wide range of e-Resources, available for FREE from your local library. These resources include e-books, e-audiobooks, digital magazines, online newspapers, online language learning resources and online e-learning courses. Free WiFi is currently available at the Ennis and Shannon branches but you will need to have your own data usage available if you wish to download the services during the sessions at the other branches. The information sessions are free of charge but places are limited. Each branch can be contacted regarding dates and times for their sessions or visit for more information. You should also keep an eye on the Library’s Facebook page throughout the week for your chance to win National Book Tokens, just in time for Christmas!

In the run up to Library Ireland Week, on Saturday, 26th November at 12 noon, Kilrush Public Library will host an event with writer Brian Collins. Brian will read from his new book The Rath. Brian’s work has appeared in the Broadkill Review, Licking River Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and The New Inquiry. This is a free event and all are welcome.

Clare County Library invites you to visit any, or all, of their fifteen branches 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 the 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 & craft sessions, Internet/computer 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 and movie clubs.

Membership of County Clare’s library service is free and entitles you to access to libraries in 12 other counties in Ireland, in line with the country’s new Library Management System. Remember, it is never too early or too late to join your local library! A whole new experience awaits you!

For more information on Library Ireland Week events and much more visit Clare County Library’s website at or phone 065-6821616 / 6846350. You can also follow them on their Facebook page and Twitter feed. Information on Library Ireland Week events nationwide is available at

William Trevor 1928 - 2016

William Trevor, one of the Ireland’s greatest short story writers, has died at the age of 88. Trevor, born in Mitchelstown, Co Cork was the author of over 15 novels and many more short stories which featured darkly humorous tales of ordinary lives in small-town Ireland. He won the Whitbread prize three times, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize four times and was awarded an honorary knighthood for his services to literature. He is best known for his short story The Ballroom of Romance – a story of a middle-aged woman tending her widower father while waiting for her chance at love.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Congratulations to the Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year Winners 2016

Dave Rudden has been announced the Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior Category) winner for his debut novel Knights of the Borrowed Dark at the Irish Book Awards.

This is the first book in what will become a trilogy featuring Denizen Hardwick, an orphan with a pretty normal life until a particularly dark night when “the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that almost growls with power.” Denizen soon learns that monsters can grow out of the shadows and there is an ancient order of knights who keep such monsters at bay. If he joins the Order will he fulfil his destiny, or turn his back on everything his family did to keep him alive?

Dave Rudden was one of Clare County Library’s visiting authors for Children’s Book Festival 2015. We are pleased to announce that he will make a return visit in February 2017 when for the first time the Ennis Book Club Festival partners with the library service for Teen Week.

Congratulations also to E.R. Murray whose second title The Book of Shadows in the Nine Lives Trilogy (Mercier Press) was shortlisted in the same category at the Irish Book Awards last week. Elizabeth met with her many fans in County Clare during the Children’s Book Festival in October and she will make a welcome return to our branches during Teen Week 2017.

The winner of the Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior Category) was Pigín of Howth (Gill Books) written by Kathleen Watkins and illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs.

Monday 21 November 2016

Clare’s Rebecca Ryan at Irish Book Awards 2016

Clare schoolgirl Rebecca Ryan joined celebrities including Graham Norton and Paul O’ Connell at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards held in Dublin last Wednesday. Rebecca’s book Dictatorship – My Teenage War With OCD was shortlisted for the RTÉ Radio 1’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award 2016.

This year, over 45,000 readers and book lovers made their voices heard and voted to select the winners in each of the 12 categories. The public are now being asked to vote for their overall Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book of the Year. Voting is open until midnight on 9th December and anyone who votes is in with the chance of winning €100 in National Book Tokens. To vote see

The category winners are

  • Holding by Graham Norton – Listener’s Choice
  • I Read The News Today, Oh Boy by Paul Howard
  • Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden
  • Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent
  • Making It Up As I Go Along by Marian Keyes
  • Pigín of Howth by Kathleen Watkins, illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs
  • Red Dirt by E.M. Reapy
  • Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
  • The Battle by Paul O'Connell
  • The Glass Shore by Sinéad Gleeson
  • The Trespasser by Tana French
  • The World of the Happy Pear by Stephen & David Flynn

Monday 14 November 2016

Irish Book Awards 2016

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2016 will be announced at a gala ceremony in Dublin on 16th November. Now in its 11th year, the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards was founded to celebrate and promote Irish writing to the widest range of readers possible. Each year it brings together a huge community passionate about books – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians – to recognise and celebrate the very best Irish writing talent. The 2016 shortlist features a diverse mix of writing from new and established writers across fourteen categories, including Novel of the Year, Children’s, Cookery, Crime Fiction, Popular Fiction, Nonfiction, Sports, Short Story and Poetry. Asking for It by Louise O’ Neill was named the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book of the Year for 2015. To see the complete shortlist see

Thursday 10 November 2016

Clare County Library celebrates Science Week 2016

Scariff, Killaloe, Ennis and Ennistymon libraries invite children from 3rd to 6th classes to celebrate Science Week by taking part in this year’s annual show for national schools. Science show facilitator Simon Watt will bring his fun, interactive performance to two libraries each day on the 15th and 16th of November.

The first hour-long show takes place at Scariff Library at 10am on the 15th with a later show in Killaloe Library on the same day at 1.40pm. On November 16th de Valera library Ennis will open its doors for Simon’s show at 10am and the second performance that afternoon will take place in Ennistymon Library at 1.30pm.

In collaboration with Science Foundation Ireland, Clare Library Service is delighted to be involved once again in the annual Science Week programme of events taking place nationwide. The Ugly Animal Roadshow promises to be an unforgettable show that celebrates and explores the incredible biology of the animal kingdom’s most monstrous creatures. Why should the panda get all the praise while The Ugly Animal Preservation Society is dedicated to raising the profile of the world’s most aesthetically challenged endangered species!!. Biologist and presenter Simon Watt’s will provide all the answers in his interactive show featuring videos, demonstrations and lots and lots of audience participation.

This workshop is just one of the hundreds of events taking place nationwide from the 13th to the 20th of November. 2016 marks the 21st year of Science Week; a national, annual event that celebrates the fascinating worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Places can be booked by teachers for their classes by contacting Scariff, Killaloe, Ennis and Ennistymon libraries.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Man Booker Prize Winner 2016

A book described as a searing satire on race relations in contemporary America has been awarded the Man Booker Prize for 2016. The Sellout by Paul Beatty is narrated by African-American ‘Bonbon’, a resident of the run-down town of Dickens in Los Angeles County, which has been removed from the map to save California from embarrassment. Bonbon is being tried in the Supreme Court for attempting to reinstitute slavery and segregation in the local high school as means of bringing about civic order.

Amanda Foreman, who chaired this year’s judging panel, called it a “novel for our times”, particularly in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. She said ‘Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl’.

The Sellout beat five other novels: the psychological thriller Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh, a book about revolutionary China Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, All That Man Is by David Szalay, the Scottish crime thriller His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet and the coming-of-age psychodrama Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (UK).

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner receives a further £50,000. On winning the Man Booker Prize, an author can expect international recognition, plus a dramatic increase in book sales.

Volunteering at Clare Museum – Case Study 2

In a previous case study we outlined the role that volunteer Karen Dunn has played at the museum and how her skill set has opened up new options in support of our exhibitions. This case study examines how the museum’s educational activities for primary schools has been developed by one of our volunteers.

Caitriona O’Sullivan joined the museum as a volunteer in January 2016 and came with a background in both primary school education and as an experienced field archaeologist. Caitriona initially volunteered to fulfil a research role at the museum, but following the departure of a staff member shortly before she started, Caitriona was offered the opportunity to develop curriculum based museum workshops for schools.

In the past Clare Museum’s educational activities for primary schools had centred around quizzes based on images of artefacts on our website and tours of the Riches of Clare exhibition. While use of the website in this way was quite innovative – it provided remote access to the museum collection – follow up school tours were of limited educational value as they failed to make the most of our unique selling point which is of course our collection of authentic objects.

A new approach was needed which would address this situation, one that would take the opportunity presented by a curriculum that encourages schools to utilize resources in the local community. Following consultation with the Clare Education Centre, the idea of curriculum-based workshops was born. Caitriona took up the challenge of researching and developing the programme to improve the museum as an educational resource to local schools. Her first workshop, entitled ‘Prehistoric Ireland’, has been developed to support teachers of 5th and 6th classes in the delivery of the curriculum strand ‘Early people and ancient societies’. This workshop focuses on the museum’s collection of prehistoric artefacts to teach children about the lives of Stone Age and Bronze Age people in Clare, as well as giving the children the opportunity to handle some of the more durable objects in the collection such as stone axes and quern stones.

Caitriona drew on her own field experience and utilises excavated material from Roughan Hill, a Neolithic farmstead and items from the burials of the same period at Poulawack, Parknabinnia and Poulnabrone which are all on display in the Riches of Clare exhibition. The workshop has been developed with an emphasis on pupil engagement and interactivity and Caitriona has also helped the children to develop an understanding of the work of the museum and an appreciation of its value to the community. It has been promoted to local primary schools through the Clare Education Centre and has proven very popular. The workshop is conducted on the gallery floor surrounded by the objects associated with early people and ancient societies.

Piloted to local schools in the Spring of 2016, feedback from teachers has been very positive. Teachers appreciate the value of enabling the children to experience authentic archaeological objects at first hand and have commented that the experience really brings the past to life for the students in a way that wouldn’t be possible in the classroom. Having a trained teacher and experienced archaeologist to deliver the workshop is appreciated by teachers, and has only been possible through the engagement of a volunteer. For the museum, Caitriona has provided the ability to achieve one of its strategic goals – the provision of workshops that are supportive of the school curriculum.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Children's Book Festival 2016 at Clare County Library

'There's So Much in a Book!

That’s the message from libraries across the country this October when the annual Children’s Book Festival gets under way. Clare County Library is hosting close on sixty events scattered throughout its branch network.

Visiting authors include Alan Nolan who’s known the length and breadth of the country for his Cartoon Capers workshops and for his very popular books for children including the Murder Can Be Fatal mysteries series. Alan’s more recent titles for children, Fintan’s Fifteen and Conor’s Caveman were published in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

E. R. Murray is a writer, reader, lover of adventures and all things outdoors will join us also for CBF 2016. She is the author of The Book of Learning (Nine Lives Trilogy Book 1) and her first young adult novel Caramel Hearts (Alma Books) is coming out very shortly. In her workshops she will make stories come alive in her Magical World of Senses & Storytelling workshops. There will be games and experiments included in Elizabeth’s talks and she will also answer questions about what it’s like to be a writer.

Alan Early returns to Clare’s libraries this October. Alan is the critically acclaimed author of the Father of Lies Chronicles (Mercier Press) including Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent, Arthur Quinn and the Fenris Wolf and Arthur Quinn and Hell’s Keeper. His events for schoolchildren are always engaging, interactive, and varied. In his new workshop, THOR BLIMEY! The Secrets of the Vikings and their Gods, children are invited to take part in the oldest game show in history – Who Wants to be a Viking God? They will learn all the secrets of the Vikings; how they lived, what they believed in, even how they kept themselves clean. Alan’s audiences will make up their own stories as he answers as many questions as they can ask at the end of this fun, interactive event.

Junior classes are guaranteed to thoroughly enjoy debut author Etain McCooey’s presentations including lots of chat, music and song based on her children’s book, Deefer’s Day Out. Illustrated by Alison O’Brien, the self-published book tells the story of Deefer the adventurous border collie puppy and her travels through a snowy countryside.

Other events for younger children include visits by first time guests for CBF in County Clare. Sarah Murphy, BA, H. Dip in Ed. loves to write children’s stories and is also a self-taught artist. She has worked for many years as a teacher at both secondary and primary level. Her workshops will be fun and interactive and are guaranteed to fire up, cultivate and give free reign to children’s imaginations.

Author Valerie Sheehan has written a series of stories for very young children featuring Tony the Turtle. These she describes as “short social stories to help families with children who see and feel the world a little differently.” In her workshops in Clare’s library branches Valerie will present circle time activity where, sitting on the floor everyone can interact with the story, ask questions and use a loveable puppet to bring Tony in and out of his shell while following the story. Valerie’s books have been showcased by Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Toy Show.

Clare County Library are also delighted to welcome the O’Brien Press published author, Gillian Perdue to four branches on the 21st and 22nd of October. Gillian worked as a primary school teacher for many years and this experience both informs and inspires many of her stories for children. Her first novel, Adam’s Starling, won the Eilis Dillon Memorial Award for that year (2002), and the Evening Herald hailed it as a book that ‘belongs on the shelf of any home with school-going children.’ Subsequently her Conor Stories in the O’Brien Press Panda Series for younger children were published - Conor’s Cowboy Suit (Panda 23), Conor’s Concert (Panda 25) and Conor’s Canvas (Panda 35). Gillian is also a dance teacher (ballet and jazz) and she brings this expertise to all her school and library visits, combining them with dance and drama workshops. Gillian encourages even the youngest or most reluctant children to engage with the characters in her stories, to get involved in the action and to bring the stories to life.

Children’s Book Festival was an ideal opportunity to join in the 1916 commemorative events and who better than author Brian Gallagher to bring a sense of the Easter Rising to children, through his novel Friend or Foe (O’Brien Press, 2015). Brian’s books have been hugely popular with schools, and have been chosen for many “One Book One Community” projects. In his visits to Clare libraries, Brian will reveal the nuts and bolts of how a historical novel is put together, using Friend or Foe, as a reference point to explore inspiration, research, plotting, and characterization.

Another 1916 commemorative event that needs little introduction is Irish History Live’s 1916 show. The inimitable Michael Moylan will be here with his display of weapons, ammunition, costumes and an impressive volume of information for four shows that are guaranteed to be presented with fun and laughter but will impress upon his young audiences the story of the Rising. During the hour-long show children will become Irish volunteers! join the Irish Citizen’s Army or the I.R.B.! and discover how our country became a nation.

Libraries are proud to present another event with an historical theme coming to us courtesy of Brid O’Sullivan, Learning and Outreach Department, National Library of Ireland. In the Ancient Art of Heraldry, Children’s Coat of Arms Workshop, classes will learn about the ancient art of heraldry and look at the ways coats of arms are used today. They can design their own imagined coat of arms at this fun workshop! Heraldry had its birth on the battlefields of Medieval Europe. This workshop has been specially developed for a primary school audience. Specifically, it explores themes covered by the SPHE syllabus for 5th and 6th class, including: Myself, Myself and My Family, My Friends and Other People and Developing Citizenship. An accompanying exhibition entitled Hosting Heraldry: Coats of Arms Uncovered consisting of eight banner stands and a discovery box containing hands-on learning materials and activities will be available for viewing at participating libraries. The exhibition was inspired by the National Library’s unique collection of genealogical manuscripts and explores the related themes of identity and citizenship.

Illustration and drawing workshops come courtesy of Alan Shoosmith and Aidan Courtney who will both focus on the books of Roald Dahl celebrating the famous author who would have been 100 years old on the 13th of September this year. Children and teachers are requested to attend in Roald Dahl fancy dress and library staff are very much looking forward to seeing the 2016 representations of Charlie Bucket, Veruca Salt, Harry Wormwood or Agatha Trunchbull from schools all over County Clare. In Kilrush and Kilkee libraries Alan Shoosmiths’s art workshops will be followed by helpings of Roald Dahl style delumptious delights; Liquid Chocolate Mixed By Waterfall, Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight Sauce or Fizzy Lifting Drinks are all possibilities, compliments of Marie Clohessy who is in charge of the menu!

Declan Holmes of Science Ireland will have children participate in activities and demonstrations, launching rockets, playing songs and making waves in Ennistymon, Miltown Malbay, Newmaket on Fergus and Sixmilebridge. Flight, pressure, density, waves, light, sound and electricity are among the topics covered in this interactive learning experience. His not-to-be missed show includes a multimedia presentation, experimental demonstrations and lots of group participation.

The closing event of Children’s Book Festival 2016 takes place in Glór Theatre, Ennis on the 27th of October. Renowned storyteller Niall de Burca will take to the stage for two shows beginning at 10am for junior primary school classes and at 12 noon for senior classes. A lover of stories and an advocate of reading and libraries, Niall’s show will be a fitting end to the festival. His memorable and bewitching stories are guaranteed to enchant audiences of all ages.

Monday 10 October 2016

Photograph from Clare County Library's Foto collection to appear on Building Ireland on RTE One on the 14th October.

In the Building Ireland series a team of expert presenters in engineering, architecture and geography explore some of the finest example of Ireland’s building and engineering heritage. The series marries local heritage with construction technology and engineering. Architecture, geography and engineering are the disciplines brought to bear; each programme focuses on a prime example of Ireland’s built heritage and recounts the fascinating story of its construction.

The episode airing on Friday 14th October on RTE One at 20.30, explores the scheme that brought Ireland into the electric age – The Shannon Scheme and Ardnacrusha power station. The photograph from the Miscellaneous Photographs Collection shows workers on the building of the Ardnacrusha power station outside one of the offices and it was taken in the early 1930s.

In the episode Engineer Tim Joyce fulfills a life-long ambition to get up close and personal with Ardnacrusha power station and to explore the innovative engineering that made it the biggest hydroelectric project in the world when it opened in 1929. Tim meets with Plant Manager Alan Bane, who details how the scheme turns water into electricity. By any standards, Ardnacrusha was a marvel of modern engineering. Within ten years of opening, it was generating 96% of the state’s electricity. Tim also looks at the head race of the Shannon Scheme, which is a 100 metre wide and 12.5 kilometre long canal. It feeds water from the weir at Parteen to the turbines in the Ardnacrusha station. Tim speaks to Professor Tom Cosgrave to find out what it took to construct these huge man-made canals.

Geographer Susan Hegarty sets out to investigate why the engineers chose the Ardnacrusha site and to examine the River Shannon - an almost completely flat, slow-moving river. Susan speaks to Tom Hayes, Civil Engineering Manager at Ardnacrusha, about the challenges of diverting the river to create enough of the drop and provide sufficient water for the hydroelectric power station to function.

Above the surface, Ardnacrusha is an impressive structure. Its weirs, sluice gates, and penstocks are instantly recognisable as icons of Irish engineering. However, the buildings themselves have their own unique character, as architect Orla Murphy will explain. Orla meets with Jan Frohburg of the University of Limerick, to discuss the stylistic features of the building and the different cultures which inspired them.

The scheme was formally completed on the 22nd of July, 1929. By that stage, 700 tonnes of explosives had been used to blast away 1.2 million cubic metres of rock – and Ireland had changed forever. Tim concludes the episode by describing the value of Ardnacrusha as a national institution.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Clare County Library rewards Summer Reading Stars

The presentation of certificates to the children who completed Summer Stars, the Summer Reading Programme promoted by Clare County Library will take place for children in the North, West and East of the county in the coming days. On the 28th of September storyteller Liz Weir will entertain a large gathering in the Bellbridge House Hotel where children from Ennistymon, Lisdoonvarna, Miltown Malbay, Kilrush, Kilkee, Kildysart and Kilmihil libraries will attend a special library event to reward them for taking up the challenge to read at least six books during school summer holidays.

Liz Weir is a professional storyteller who works with all age groups promoting the traditional art for which Ireland is world famous. A children’s librarian by training, she now travels the world telling stories to adults and children, organising workshops on storytelling, and speaking at courses for parents, teachers and librarians. Her wealth of stories is drawn from both the oral and written traditions. Her publications for children include Boom Chicka Boom, a book full of magic and drama that comes with a nine track CD of stories, old and new, with participation rhymes and playful verses. Here, There and Everywhere is a collection of stories which is also available on CD, from many lands, for children aged six and upwards and she has also written a delightful and moving picture book called When Dad Was Away about a child whose father is in jail. Tales of the Road is another of her children’s books about Irish Traveller life. Liz Weir has told her stories to people of all ages on five continents. She has performed in pubs and prisons and hospital rooms. She worked on stages in the mighty Vanderbilt Hall of New York’s Grand Central Station and in the Royal Albert Hall. Clare County Library staff are delighted to welcome her to Clare this September to share her stories with readers young and old.

The Summer Stars Awards ceremonies for libraries in North and West Clare will take place on September the 28th beginning at 6.30pm at the Bellbridge House Hotel, Spanish Point and on the following evening, September the 29th at Sean Lemass Public Library Shannon at 6.30pm also.

Meanwhile Scariff Public Library staff welcomed all who had completed the Summer Stars Reading Challenge in the East of the county to their presentation of certificates on Saturday 24th September. Children and parents alike joined in a fun-for-all library day with facepainting and a host of arts and craft activities throughout the afternoon. The staff at Scariff Public Library wish to acknowledge that this year’s Summer reading programme has been extremely well received with approximately 130 children taking part.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

New book by author with Ennis roots

Curiosity about her Ennis-born grandmother and an innocent question she asked about a family name instigated the research that led to Mary Burns’s new book, The Reason for Time, an historical novel set in Chicago during one wild ten-day period in July, 1919.

Her Grandmother never talked much about the past, in Ireland or in Chicago, but Burns learned that she had lived in the city during those hot July days that began with a dirigible crashing into a downtown Chicago bank, and ended with the most deadly of the race riots that occurred in twenty-five U.S. cities that year. As she scrolled through the microfilm containing old newspapers, Burns thought, this has to be a novel.

Her first person character, Maeve Curragh, who comes from Ennis just as Burns’s grandmother did and may have some other things in common with her, works at the Chicago Magic Company in the grand Marquette Building and happens to have been on an errand to the bank just before the dirigible fell. Another Clare notable, Eamon de Valera, was also visiting Chicago that week, but no doubt navigating higher levels of society than Maeve, who becomes smitten with a streetcar conductor, Desmond Malloy.

“It’s all in the power to make people believe,” Maeve’s boss, the magician Mr. R frequently tells his small staff. Coming from a culture rich with superstitions, and having been born at the hour that she was sets up Maeve for wonder and possibility.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Man Booker Prize announces 2016 shortlist

Two British, two US and two Canadian authors have seen their books shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.
The shortlist is as follows:

Paul Beatty (US) - The Sellout
Deborah Levy (UK) - Hot Milk
Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) - His Bloody Project
Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen
David Szalay (Canada-UK) - All That Man Is
Madeleine Thien (Canada) - Do Not Say We Have Nothing

The 2016 winner will be announced on Tuesday 25 October in London’s Guildhall. Judges for the prize this year are Amanda Foreman (chair), Jon Day, Abdulrazak Gurnah, David Harsent and Olivia Williams. Last year, the Man Booker Prize was won by Marlon James for A Brief History of Seven Killings.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Celebrate 100 years of Roald Dahl

2016 marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl - the world’s number one storyteller. To celebrate Lisdoonvarna Public Library and Ennistymon Public Library are holding craft workshops and film screenings.

On Wednesday 14th September there will be a Make your own Fantastic Mr. Fox Mask workshop in Ennistymon Public Library from 3.15pm to 4.00pm. Later that evening there will be two film screenings:
Fantastic Mr. Fox at 4.00pm
Matilda film at 6.30pm

On Thursday 15th September, there will be a Make your own Fantastic Mr. Fox Mask workshop in Lisdoonvarna Public Library.

All welcome, contact the branch for more details.
Ennistymon: (065) 7071245
Lisdoonvarna: (065) 7074029

Monday 22 August 2016

Book launch: A Clarewoman’s Journey by Anne Loughnane

When Edinburgh-based author Anne Loughnane was a young social worker in West Clare during the early 1970s, she found an elderly woman and her grown-up son inhabiting a semi-derelict cottage. During their short acquaintance, she learned of the woman’s astonishing life, which led from late 19th century West Clare, where memories of the Famine and terror of the workhouse were still all too present, across the Atlantic to years of service among the prosperous of New York, and back to marriage with a respected Clare farmer in a dramatically transformed Ireland. Then came widowhood and a descent into poverty, still haunted by a debilitating “Famine mentality”.

The result is A Clarewoman’s Journey, part authorial memoir, part fictional reconstruction, which vividly evokes Eilin’s contrasting lives on both sides of the Atlantic, in a moving and illuminating account of a life that encompassed enormous personal, cultural and historical change.

Anne, whose previous book, In Pursuit of Kate Corbett, charted her great-grandmother’s extraordinary migration from Dublin to a ranch in Wyoming, will launch A Clarewoman’s Journey in De Valera Public Library, Ennis, on Tuesday 6th September at 7.00pm. All welcome.

Thursday 30 June 2016

Traditional Music of Clare - Live Recordings, from the 1960s to the 1990s; over 100 sessions with over 60 hours of music, featuring the BR Taylor Collection, the John Joe Healy Collection and Carroll Mackenzie Music Collection

Traditional Music of Clare: Live Recordings

Shortly after Clare County Library launched the online Singers & Songs of County Clare from the Carroll Mackenzie Collection, we were approached by Barry Taylor who wondered if we would be interested in his collection of live recordings of Clare musicians from the 1960s and later. When we took a look at the collection we recognised its value immediately, and began work on a new music of Clare project based on live recordings; when Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie donated their song collection to us, they had also donated a substantial music collection, and the music collection of John Joe Healy which they had been caretaking.

The result is this new online collection of traditional Irish music, played by Clare musicians, recorded from the 1960s to the 1990s, totalling over 100 sessions with over 60 hours of music in total.

As well as the actual recorded sessions, names of tunes are included and the timing for each tune in each session is also included on each session’s webpage.

We are extremely grateful to Barry Taylor, John Joe Healy, Pat Mackenzie and Jim Carroll for donating their collections for this project. We are also grateful to Peter Laban and Pat Mackenzie for allowing us to use some photographs from their collections, and to Mary Custy and Paddy Comber for their help in identifying tunes.

Musicians featured in this project include Paddy Canny, Bobby Casey, Willie Clancy, Martin 'Junior' Crehan, Elizabeth (Mrs) Crotty, Michael Downes, Martin Hayes, P Joe Hayes, John Kelly, Patrick Kelly, Paddy Killourhy, Séamus MacMathuna, Peadar O'Loughlin, Seán Reid, Micho Russell, Seamus Ennis, Martin 'Junior' Crehan, Miko Doyle, Thady Casey, James Flynn, JC Talty, Angela Crehan, Ita Crehan, Paddy Fahy, Martin Talty, PJ Crotty, Christy Dixon, Martin O'Brien, Tommy McCarthy, Kevin Burke, John Joe Healy, Tommy McCarthy Jnr., Stevie O'Halloran, John Kelly, Jnr., Joe Ryan, Joe Rynne, Sean Keane, Kitty Hayes, Peter Laban, Paddy Galvin, JP Downes, JC Talty, Michael Falsey, Michael Sexton, and Ita Crehan.

Sessions were recorded in Doolin, Mullagh, Ennis, Feakle, Coore, Cree, Tulla, Miltown Malbay, Annageeragh, Spanish Point, Kiltannon, Lahinch, Crosses of Annagh and Knocknahilla in County Clare, and in Dublin and London.

This new project adds greatly to the traditional music services of Clare County Library; the library offers a wide range of music for lending throughout the county, and we have had a very strong traditional music collection (tapes & CDs) in our branch library in Miltown Malbay for many years.

In 2012, we launched the Music of Clare project on the library website, offering a sample of the rich musical culture of the county of Clare, featuring traditional tunes associated with County Clare, played by musicians who are from the county or who have lived in it for many years. The tunes were accompanied by transcriptions designed to help anyone who wishes to learn the basic notes of a tune.

In March 2015, we launched the online Singers & Songs of County Clare from the Carroll Mackenzie Collection, featuring over 400 songs from over 40 Clare singers, collected by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in London and west Clare over a period of 40 years, with transcriptions of song lyrics accompanying each recording, and various playlists for easy listening. The project was also enhanced by the addition of articles on singers and the song tradition in County Clare.

And now we are delighted to launch the Traditional Music of Clare: Live Recordings project, featuring live recordings of Irish traditional music sessions from the 1960s to the 1990s, from the archived tapes of three outstanding collections of Clare music: the BR Taylor Collection, the John Joe Healy Collection and the Carroll Mackenzie Collection.

Maureen Comber, Executive Librarian,
Anthony Edwards, Senior Executive Librarian,
Library ICT & Information Services Department,
Clare County Library,
June 2016

Image above shows Barry Taylor and Michael Downes, photo by Pat Mackenzie.

Friday 17 June 2016

TG4’s HUP FEAKLE with Mary McNamara, Andrew McNamara & Sorcha Costello

Mary McNamara, Andrew McNamara, Sorcha Costello playing in Feakle, County Clare, on TG4's TV Series HUP, which filmed musicians within particular locations and traditions. Posted on Youtube on the 1st of April 2016 by Hup.

TG4’s HUP FEAKLE with Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill

Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill playing in Feakle, County Clare, on TG4's TV Series HUP, which filmed musicians within particular locations and traditions. Posted on Youtube on the 1st of April 2016 by Hup.

TG4’s HUP FEAKLE with Joe Fitzgerald

Joe Fitzferald playing in Feakle, County Clare, on TG4's TV Series HUP, which filmed musicians within particular locations and traditions. Posted on Youtube on the 1st of April 2016 by Hup.

Riches of Clare concert featuring Elaine Hogan, Padraig Rynne, Tara Breen, & Conor Crimmins, June 1, 2016

"Riches of Clare featuring Elaine Hogan, Padraig Rynne, Tara Breen, & Conor Crimmins - June 01, 2016. #1." Posted on Youtube on the 2nd of June 2016 by Niamhaines.

Riches of Clare concert featuring the Droneys- Chris Droney, Ann Kirrane, Aine McGrath, and Francis Droney on May 23, 2016

"And so it begins - Riches of Clare - Concert #1 featuring the Droneys - Chris Droney, Ann Kirrane, Aine McGrath, and Francis Droney on May, 23, 2016- #1." Posted on Youtube on the 23rd of May 2016 by Niamhaines.

Riches of Clare concert featuring Padraig O'Reilly, Edel Vaughan, Francis Cunningham, & Eimear Coughlan, June 8, 2016

"Riches of Clare featuring Padraig O'Reilly, Edel Vaughan, Francis Cunningham, & Eimear Coughlan - June 8, 2016. #14." Posted on Youtube on the 9th of June 2016 by Niamhaines.

Summer Stars - Summer Reading Programme for Children at Clare County Library

Clare County Library will run the Summer Stars Reading Programme for children in all library branches during the summer holidays up to the end of August. The Summer Stars programme is a free programme and libraries in Clare will be delighted to welcome all children and their families to join in. Staff look forward to working with teachers and families to encourage children to continue reading and to participate in a range of storytelling and other fun activities taking place in some of our branches during the summer months.

Each child who registers for Summer Stars at their local library joins in the fun of reading lots of exciting books during their summer holidays. They will receive their own Summer Stars Reading Card to record their progress along the way and a library reward stamp will be added to their card at the library after each book read. Children will be encouraged to continue reading throughout the programme. Fun rewards will be provided as they discover new books and authors. At the end of the challenge, all children who participate are invited to attend a special Family Reading Programme event at which they will be presented with award certificates.

Children and families will also have access to fun reading activities on the Summer Stars webpages at The resource includes lots of fun activities, games, talking ebooks, stories, reading tips, book suggestions and funny interviews with children’s authors and other celebrities.

Further information about the Summer Reading Programme and about reading related events taking place during school summer holidays is available from your local library service or on

Summer Stars - children’s activities in Shannon Library

Seán Lemass Public Library in Shannon will host their ‘Summer Stars’ activity programme for children from Sat 2 July to Friday 15 July inclusive. These summer activities are always popular and this year, we welcome back some old favourites along with new events. Activities include Gardening for Kids with Sinéad Monahan, two workshops with Susanna Anker - one on Sewing and one on Wool Spinning, a Music Workshop with Noel Madigan, a Fire Engine visit, Poetry for kids with Elaine, Fun with Words with Catherine, Craft Session with Siobhán as well as Storytimes and Film Screenings. Numbers are limited on activities so pre-booking is required. All activities are free of charge and the timetable is available at Further information can be sourced at the library at 061 364266. Shannon Library will also participate in the Summer Stars Reading Challenge where each child is encouraged to read six books over the summer and will receive a Certificate in September as well as some incentives along the way.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Launch of The Ennistymon Art And Craft Trail on 23rd June 2016

On June 23rd 2016, follow the Ennistymon Art and Craft Trail to find your way to 13 art galleries, artists’ studios and exhibitions in Ennistymon, County Clare. The trail follows a free map which contains details of free workshops, exhibitions and events running throughout the town as part of the Ennistymon Midsummer Festival. The Trail takes in 5 permanent art galleries, 10 artists’ studios, a full-time art course, a sculpture and poetry garden, and temporary art exhibitions in 5 Ennistymon businesses.

Ennistymon is rapidly gaining a name as an art town! Since 2005, with the opening of the Courthouse Gallery and Studios, Ennistymon has gained a reputation as the best place in County Clare to see contemporary art exhibitions of all kinds. Any casual visitor to Ennistymon will now see a wide range of art galleries throughout the town. Less well-known are the many artists’ studios and the full-time VS Art Course also hidden away in nooks and crannies of this not-so-sleepy market town. Now you can find them too with the free art trail map!

The idea for the Ennistymon Art and Craft Trail came as a result of a collaboration between Peter Goossens of The Secret Vault Art & Craft Gallery and Sara Foust of Foust Gallery. “When I opened in April this year, Peter came across the street from his gallery, delighted that another gallery was opening and to propose the idea of an Art Trail in the town,” says Sara Foust. “I immediately saw the advantage of working together to bring art-lovers to Ennistymon as a destination. The upcoming Ennistymon Midsummer Festival was the obvious time to begin! “

The Ennistymon Art and Craft Trail Launch includes:
Free music, poetry readings, art workshops, artist presentations, historical presentations, watch artists at work, sculpture garden and many many photography and art exhibitions at these participating venues in Ennistymon:
Foust Gallery; The Secret Vault, Art and Craft Gallery; Courthouse Gallery and Studios; Byrnes Art Gallery and Violin Shop; The Salmon Bookshop and Literary Centre; Centre Artists Studios, Ennistymon Community Centre; Art by Caitriona Sheedy; Blue Frog/Ennistymon VS Art Course; Byrnes Wine Dine and Stay; Wall’s Picture Framing; Hair Design; Market House Café; ‘Gateways’, exhibition in empty storefront. For more information, please contact: Sara Foust, Foust Gallery, Phone 0863366908/ Email Kathryn Comber or Trudi van der Elsen, Courthouse Gallery, Phone 065-7071630 Peter Goosens, The Secret Vault,

Kindly supported by Clare County Council - Clare County of Culture.

New e-books, e-magazines and online learning at the library

Want to browse an e-magazine while in a waiting room, pack books for your holiday without the weight or learn a new language or take an online course? Then log on to to see the new online resources available free to library members.

There are now two e-books services – Bolinda BorrowBox and Wheelers with almost 7,000 titles to chose from. BorrowBox also offer almost 2,000 e-audiobooks which can be enjoyed either on your PC/laptop via the website link or on your mobile device via the BorrowBox app.

Zinio is a digital magazine service offering the latest and back issues of popular magazines such as Gardeners’ World, Hello, Ideal Home and Amateur Photographer.

Proquest Newspapers provides access to almost 700 of the world’s top newspapers including the Irish Times, Irish Independent and Examiner.

Mango Languages is an online language learning resource that teaches real conversations in over 70 foreign languages.

Universal Class features over 400 e-learning courses on topics such as Excel, creative writing and dog training.

All services are free of charge. Separate registration is required for each service.

University College Cork museum studies intern creates a disaster plan for Clare Museum

This is Andrew Songhurst, a Masters student from University College Cork. Andrew served an internship at Clare Museum during the spring where he was charged with the creation of a Disaster Plan for the museum building and offsite storeroom which would help the museum achieve one of the standards for Full Accreditation under the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland. It is the first time that Clare Museum has facilitated an intern from UCC.

The placement provides obvious advantages to the student in terms of relevant work experience, but from the museum’s perspective we benefitted from having a trained person who could concentrate on bringing all of the elements of the plan together efficiently, something that the full time staff found difficult as we juggled our regular duties.

There are a number of reasons why having a Disaster Plan is a good idea.

Firstly, it is considered best practice for museums to have a Care of Collections strategy as there is an ethical responsibility to look after items donated or loaned to the museum by the public for the public benefit. A disaster plan is an important part of this strategy.

Secondly, across the world there are disasters - both natural and manmade - on an almost daily basis, and many of these disasters will also impact museum buildings, exhibitions, artefacts, staff and visitors. These threats can include:

• Weather extremes
• Flooding
• Earthquakes
• Civil disorder and war
• Theft and vandalism
• Terrorismp

We have an obligation to the taxpayer to protect our public resource to the best of our ability from such threats.

Thirdly, appropriate planning helps to counter the threat of poor building maintenance and pest infestation. While we cannot control nature, a lack of planning for minor problems can result in avoidable disasters befalling a museum.

Finally, it makes economic sense to have a Disaster Plan, as potentially years of investment in conservation can be eliminated in very short time when disaster strikes.

In our Disaster Plan, Andrew sets out maintenance regimes and the procedures to follow in the event of a list of threats in order to save the collection. Andrew conducted risk assessments of the museum building and the offsite storeroom and identified a number of areas were a maintenance schedule was required or needed review.

With the assistance of museum curator, John Rattigan and Facilities Manager Eamon Fennessy, Andrew also drew up a salvage priority of list of objects in the collection, consulted with the fire service for advice and helped to identify alternative accommodation in the event of the collection requiring evacuation.

At the end of process, Clare Museum now has an emergency preparedness and response plan that is tailored to the needs of our museum. As for Andrew, aside from gaining valuable experience in the creation of a Disaster Plan, he also sat in on a number of meetings between the curator and the museum’s education programme partners while on placement. As a consequence, he was able to establish contacts that would assist in his MA research which relates to learning and museums.

We look forward to an ongoing relationship with Andrew and also to reading the results of his post-graduate research.

Friday 3 June 2016

Riches of Clare concert with Elaine Hogan, Padraig Rynne, Tara Breen, & Conor Crimmins, 1st June 2016

A Riches of Clare concert featuring Elaine Hogan, Padraig Rynne, Tara Breen, & Conor Crimmins, 1st June 2016. Posted on Youtube on the 2nd of June 2016 by Niamhaines.

Riches of Clare concert with Aine Bird, Jack Talty, Damien O'Reilly, and Mick Conneely, 27th May, 2016

A Riches of Clare concert featuring Aine Bird, Jack Talty, Damien O'Reilly, and Mick Conneely, 27th May, 2016. Posted on Youtube on the 30th of May 2016 by Niamhaines.

Sea Kayaking at Diarmuid & Grainne's Rock, Loophead, County Clare

Sea Kayaking at Diarmuid & Grainne's Rock, Loophead, County Clare

"Attack on Diarmuid & Grainneʼs Rock Loop Head, County Clare, Ireland. This was incredible, paddling through there you are padding downhill at a fair gradient. All the breathing is due to a fair adrenaline rush." Posted on Youtube on the 29th of May 2016 by kayak Man.

Tebing Moher (The Cliffs of Moher) - Pemandangan yang menakjubkan

"Tebing Moher (The Cliffs of Moher) - Pemandangan yang menakjubkan (Stunning scenery)". Posted on Youtube on the 25th of May 2016 by yusniati noni.

Killaloe & Ballina from the Air

"Killaloe is a large village in east County Clare, Ireland. The village lies on the River Shannon on the western bank of Lough Derg and is connected by Killaloe Bridge to the "twin town" of Ballina on the eastern bank of the lake. The surrounding area is popular for hill-walking." Posted on Youtube on the 19th of May 2016 by Aerial Video & Photo Production.

Thursday 26 May 2016

Bobby Gardiner and friends playing at his TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award 2015

"Bobby Gardiner is a legendary accordion player and teacher. He was born in the townland of Aughdarra near Lisdoonvarna in north Clare in 1939. There was music in the blood. His mother, Dilly, played a German two- row concertina and from her he learned his first tune – the fling What the devil ails you? His brother introduced him to a new Hohner two-row button accordion and after that, Bobby bought a grey Paolo Soprani accordion.

"An elderly concertina player by the name of Margie Flanagan lived near his grandparents’ house and her hearty style also left an impression on young Bobby. Later, he was also influenced by the recordings of Tipperary man Paddy O’Brien’s and his mastery of the B/C system of accordion-playing. He had also heard and greatly admired all the old masters on the 78 gramophone recordings – Coleman, Killoran, Morrison, John Kimmell and box player Michael Grogan. Other influences included the piper Patsy Touhy, flute player John McKenna and the Flanagan Brothers.

"He remembers vividly playing for mummers’ dances (Wren Boys) which lasted all night. He had many sessions with the Russell brothers, Paddy Killourihy, Willie hannon, Gerald O’Loughlin and Tom Doolan on fiddles, Micilín Conlon, Tommy Scullane, Murt O’Dwyer, and Peter Griffin on accordions and Chris Droney on concertina. Pattey Flanagan of Doonagore, Doolin was another influence as he had a rare collection of tunes, some with different versions. In the 1950s, he joined the Kilfenora Céilí Band and also played with Malachy Sweeney’s Céilí Band from Armagh." Posted on Youtube on the 19th of February 2015 by TG4.

Explore County Clare

Posted on Youtube on the 22nd of May 2016 by Cacogee Multimedia.

Walking on Black Head, County Clare

"Some HD footage of my adventures today on Black Head "mountain" in County Clare, Ireland!" Posted on Youtube on the 16th of May 2016 by Esther Kempen.

Surfing in Lahinch, County Clare, March 2016

Surfing in Lahinch, County Clare, March 2016. Posted on Youtube on the 21st of March 2016 by Jonathan Marr.

International Dublin Literary Award 2016 - Shortlisted Titles

Public libraries around the world nominate titles for the International Dublin Literary Award (formerly known as the Impac award), which typically results in an eclectic shortlist of prizewinners and less well-known titles - and 2016 is no exception. Four novels in translation have made the shortlist: Outlaws by Spanish author Javier Cercas; The End of Days by German author Jenny Erpenbeck; Diary of the Fall by Brazilian author Michel Laub; and Our Lady of the Nile by Rwandan author Scholastique Mukasonga. There are two debut novels on the list and one each by Man Booker winner Marlon James and Pulitzer prize winner Marilynne Robinson. Irish novelist Mary Costello’s Academy Street is also on the shortlist.

At €100,000 the prize is the world’s most lucrative for a single novel published in English and is open to novelists of any nationality. The winner of the 2016 award will be announced on June 9th.

The novels shortlisted for the 2016 International Award are:

Outlaws by Javier Cercas
Academy Street by Mary Costello
Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers
The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub
Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga
Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Family Life by Akhil Sharma

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Funding Available for National Play Day and National Recreation Week

Clare County Council invites applications from groups who wish to provide recreational and play activities to children and young people under 18 years for National Recreation Week (3rd - 9th July 2016) and National Play Day (3rd July 2016).

This fund is targeted at groups who wish to provide “Commemorating 1916” themed activities for children and young people under 18 years for either of these events. This financial assistance is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

National Play Day is generally targeted at children up to 12 years and National Recreation Week targets the 12-18 age group.

The award criteria will include:

Relevance to the theme & age category
The use of the grant
The focus of the activity
The number of participants
The date or dates over which the activity will run
The likelihood that the activity will be undertaken regularly by young people after the Recreation Week and Play day is ended
The level of matching resources (financial and personnel) that will be contributed by the promoting organisation

A brief application form and further details are available from the Tourism & Community Development Department, Clare County Council, Arás Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare, Tel 065-6846511. Email

Closing date for receipt of applications is 4.00pm on 3rd June 2016.

Plymouth University Students visit Clare Museum for Famine Emigration Project

Recently, eight Stage Two Geography students from Plymouth University visited Clare Museum as part of a week-long field trip to Western Ireland. They had chosen to carry out projects researching emigration from County Clare during the years of the Great Famine.

During their visit they spent two days researching archival sources held at the Clare Local Studies Centre where they were assisted by Peter Beirne, while Clare Museum staff had the pleasure of giving them a talk about emigration during the famine years.

In subsequent correspondence Plymouth University Geography Lecturer, Dr Nichola Harmer, who supervised the students’ projects, said:

“We were very grateful to John Rattigan for giving us a really informative talk about the causes, impacts and historical legacies of the Great Famine and the relationship between the famine and emigration from County Clare. This really helped the students to gain a deeper insight into the events of the time and they found the talk both thought-provoking and moving.”

The museum was delighted to assist the Plymouth students and it is a good example of the direction the museum is headed as an educational resource. An Education Policy is being drafted at present as the museum pursues Full Accreditation under the Heritage Council’s Museums Standards Programme for Ireland.

The policy is not only intended to make the museum more relevant to the primary and secondary school curricula, but will also provide support to national and international universities and will develop the museum as a resource for life-long learning.

The visit also highlighted the paucity of artefacts related to the Great Famine in the museum, a phenomenon shared by many museum collections. This is not surprising when one considers that those most deeply affected by the famine were the poorest in society, with few material possessions. It is also undoubtedly influenced by the meaning we give to and the memories provoked by objects – we are not inclined to treasure objects associated with trauma and they are consequently less likely to survive over time.

Of course, if you do happen to have an object or document that dates to the period of the Great Famine in County Clare, and would like to donate it to the museum, you can find out what would be involved here.

Such items would be a wonderful addition to the museum’s collection and would assist the museum in its educational programmes for schools and institutions such as Plymouth University in the future.

Image above shows museum curator John Rattigan (centre) and the eight students from Plymouth University at Clare Museum.

Friday 13 May 2016

Liam O'Brien & Cian Talty play some reels at Concertina Cruinniú, Miltown Malbay 2016

"Liam & Cian playing a set of reels during the Concertina Cruinniú 2016 in Miltown Malbay, County Clare." Posted on Youtube on the 29th of February 2016 by Liam O'Brien Music.

Clare Egan with Terence O'Reilly at Corofin Trad Fest 2016

"Clare Egan with Terence O'Reilly at the Corofin Traditional Festival on March 2, 2016. #04." Posted on Youtube on the 3rd of March 2016 by Niamhaines.

The Kilfenora Céilí Band with set dancers at Kilfenora Music Festival 2016

The Kilfenora Céilí Band with set dancers at Kilfenora Music Festival 2016. Posted on Youtube on the 1st of May 2016 by doolinmusic.

Kitesurfing in Lahinch, County Clare

"Kite surfing on the beautiful beach of Lahinch, County Clare." Posted on Youtube on the 17th of March 2016 by The Magic Camera.

Coast of County Clare and the Burren in April 2016

"A short video compiled from a trip to the Coast of County Clare and the Burren in April 2016." Posted on Youtube on the 2nd of May 2016 by Phil & Fran Gregson.

Tagging of Basking Sharks in Kilkee, County Clare

"The first basking sharks tagged of the Clare coast. Number 328 red was one of five sharks tagged off Kilkee by Simon Berrow. For more information visit" Posted on Youtube on the 17th of April 2016 by john collins.

The Bookseller’s 2016 YA Book Prize

The Bookseller’s 2016 YA Book Prize has an array of strong titles vying for this year’s prestigious award. The shortlist includes submissions from the UK and Ireland and includes historical thrillers, fantasy and dystopian satire. But whatever the subject or genre, all shortlisted titles are exciting and thought provoking.

The Costa winning book The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge pops up again in the YA Book Prize list beside The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, an interesting book that alternates between reality and dystopia exploring many relevant topics for teenagers.

Last year’s winner, Louise O’Neill’s second novel is shortlisted for her second book, Asking For It.

The other titles on the list are Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe, One by Sarah Crossan (also shortlisted for the Irish Children’s Book Awards) Unbecoming by Jenny Downham and The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson.

Also in the running are The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson, Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne and The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury.

Full details of the YA Book Prize shortlist can be found at

The winner will be announced at a special event at the Hay Festival on 2nd June 2016.

Irish Children’s Book Awards 2016

The winners of the Irish Children’s Book Awards will be announced on the 23rd of May.

All shortlisted authors will be familiar to children’s book lovers with perhaps the exception of John and Fatti Burke whose beautifully illustrated, entertaining reference book, Irelandopedia, was the runaway publishing success of Christmas 2015.

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt was the highly anticipated sequel to the hit picture book The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) and featured in Time magazine’s Top 10 children’s books of 2015.

The fantastic collaboration between Oliver Jeffers and Eoin Colfer resulted in the creation of the much lauded Imaginary Fred, the second picture book included in the running for this year’s awards.

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver is retold by Mary Webb in an exquisitely illustrated publication by The O’Brien Press and is a deserving contender for this year’s awards.

The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde published by Little Island Books is an excellent read for adults as well as children. Indeed this contender along with One by Sarah Crossan are notable for their original concepts as well as their story delivery.

John Boyne is never far from awards shortlists and this time it’s the turn of The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, a thought-provoking book that looks at the very best and worst in human nature through the eyes of Pieter as he and The Führer grow closer.

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill is no surprise inclusion. One of the most powerful books for young adults in recent years the author delivers a harrowing story based on the issue of sexual consent. A wide range of titles and genres in this year’s line-up makes choosing the winners no easy task.

Thursday 12 May 2016

Polska Éire Festival 2016 - Launch at Ennis Library

It is estimated that there are presently 150,000 Polish citizens living in the Republic of Ireland, resulting in Polish becoming the second most widely spoken language on the island. The Polish population in County Clare is approximately 2,500. The Polish Irish Association (PIA) was established in Ennis in 2013 by a group of Polish immigrants living and working in the town and county. The aim of the group is to help to facilitate a wider call among Polish immigrants in Clare to organise Polish cultural and national events. It is hoped that by promoting these events the group will help to encourage cultural integration between Polish, Irish and other nationalities and provide the opportunity to share Polish traditions with the wider community.

To champion the diversity that Polish people bring to Ireland, Polska Éire has been established as a nationwide festival. It is an event that was introduced in 2015 and has been strongly supported by former Minister of State Mr Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Ambassador of Poland Mr Ryszard Sarkowicz. In 2015 the festival was a fantastic success with almost 150 events held across Ireland. This year's edition of the festival has been prepared and managed by the group of devoted Polish and Irish members of the Polska Éire Steering Committee, chaired by Mr. Piotr Rakowski from the Polish Embassy in Dublin and supported by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and the Department of Justice and Equality staff. The aim of the festival is to promote and strengthen Polish-Irish bilateral relations, both at national and community level; to celebrate cultural diversity as well as similarities between the two nations; to further strengthen integration between Irish and Polish communities; to address important issues faced by Polish people in Ireland, such as multilingualism, identity and economic issues and to celebrate the diversity that Polish people bring to Ireland. The festival aims to accomplish all this by means of various cultural, sports, business, academic and community events.

The grand opening of the 2016 Polska Éire Festival will take place in the De Valera Public Library in Ennis on Thursday 19th of May at 6.30pm. It is the second time that the PIA is organising this event in Ennis. The launch will begin with the traditional Polish custom of welcoming guests with bread and salt. There will also be some traditional Irish treats on offer with a mix of Polish and Irish traditional music to entertain guests as they arrive. At 7pm Councillor James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council will officially launch the Polska Éire Festival, along with members of the PIA. Following the speakers, the library will transform into a cinema for a showing of the 1980 Polish cult movie Miś (Teady Bear) directed by Stanisław Bareja.

The Polish Irish Association and Clare County Library invite you to celebrate Irish-Polish friendship - the craic will be dobry! For more information on nationwide events during the Polska Éire Festival visit

A Chance for Young Burren Adults to ‘Subvert the Screen’ - The Ann O’Connor Dunford ‘Young Burren Ambassador’ Bursary 2016

Technology has transformed our lives in so many, largely positive, ways and its remarkable how young people in particular have engaged with it. It has been suggested however that our increasing use of technology has contributed to the growing ‘disconnect’ between us and the natural world that surrounds us. Perhaps we need to find new and exciting ways to enable nature and technology to work better together? We believe the young people of the Burren have the solutions as to how we can do this! That is why Burrenbeo Trust has opened a call for applications for The Ann O’Connor Dunford ‘Young Burren Ambassador’ Bursary 2016. This award aims to encourage teenagers and young adults from the Burren to explore innovative ways to enable technology and nature to complement each other and work in harmony. It is designed to encourage youth engagement with the Burren landscape, through exploring themes of environment, heritage and conservation.

In its 2nd year, the Young Burren Ambassador Bursary is awarded by Ireland’s only landscape charity, Burrenbeo Trust, to commemorate and honour the Trust’s late co-founder and patron, Ann O’Connor Dunford. Ann had a great vision for and belief in the capabilities and potential of the Burren’s youth; acknowledging and encouraging their role as the future custodians of this unique and special landscape. The winner of the bursary will receive support to develop an innovative project which will create awareness, be informative, showcase the Burren’s exceptional potential, and most importantly highlight the wonderful skills and imagination of the individual/group themselves. This is a fantastic opportunity for any young creatives, to think about new, fun and exciting ways to engage with the Burren’s unique landscape and community.

This year’s theme is: ‘SUBVERTING THE SCREEN - Harnessing the power of technology to explore and share the wonder of nature’. As Burrenbeo Community Engagement Officer Elaine Williams says “This is a fabulous opportunity for any young individual to think outside of the box, showcase their talents and explore the potential power of technology to reconnect people with nature. Burrenbeo Trust are extremely passionate about investing in the future generations of this unique landscape. It is through the support and generosity of its members, that this bursary is possible – so don’t wait around to apply, you could be the next Young Burren Ambassador!”

Applicants must be between 13 and 21 years of age and should have a strong connection to the Burren. The deadline for applications is 31st May 2016, with the awardee being announced on the 14th July 2016. For more information see, email:, or call 091 638096

Thursday 5 May 2016

Clare County Library celebrating creativity during the Bealtaine Festival in May

The Bealtaine Festival is Ireland's national celebration of creativity as we age. During May, all over the country Bealtaine events are running in arts centres, theatres, libraries, galleries, community centres, local halls, care settings, cultural spaces and even out in the open air! This year, the Festival celebrates its 21st birthday. For 2016, the theme is Iconic Citizens, which continues Bealtaine’s three-year exploration of Nationhood and Citizenship and specifically reflects on the first generations of citizens inhabiting the new Irish State. Bealtaine is an Age & Opportunity initiative part-funded by the Arts Council and delivered by hundreds of organisations around the country with over 120,000 people now taking part. From dance to cinema, painting to theatre, Bealtaine showcases the talents and creativity of both first-time and professional older artists.

Once again Clare County Library will participate in the Bealtaine Festival with a varied and widespread programme of events throughout the month of May in library branches throughout the county. All events are free of charge and everyone is welcome. Events will include movie screenings as part of the Bealtaine Film Tour which is presented by access>CINEMA in partnership with the Irish Film Institute, craft displays in selected branches, millinery demonstrations, talks and workshops.

This year’s chosen films for the Bealtaine Film Tour are A Walk in the Woods (2015) starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson, Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939) starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains and Harry Carey and Irish film Men at Lunch (Lón sa Spéir) (2013) directed by Seán Ó Cualáin. Screenings will take place in branches in Ennis, Ennistymon, Killaloe, Kilkee, Kilrush, Scariff and Shannon where the libraries will be transformed into a cinema with a difference for your viewing pleasure. You can contact your local library for screening times or visit

Dr. Patrick J. Hillery Library in Miltown Malbay will hold a craft display of locally produced items from the 3rd – 20th May. These items include knitting, crochet, paintings, baskets and mosaics. To coincide with the start date of this display Marie Clohessy will visit the library to give a ‘How to make a Fascinator’ millinery demonstration on Tuesday 3rd May at 6.30pm. Marie will provide a similar demonstration in Tulla Public Library on Thursday, 5th May at 12pm. Kilfinaghty Public Library, Sixmilebridge will play host to a craft display produced by the local Men’s Shed with viewing available during library opening hours.

Author and landscape researcher Jackie Queally will give a talk entitled 'Legendary Landscapes of Clare' in the De Valera Public Library, Ennis on Wednesday 11th May at 12pm and in Ennistymon Public Library on the same date at 6.45pm. Jackie has woven together the rich store of legends in the various landscapes of County Clare into a meandering tale of interconnecting themes, highlighting the monuments and landscape features that have shaped deep mythical associations. There will be an opportunity at the end of the presentation for audience members to give feedback on their local experiences growing up or living in Clare. For more information about Jackie Queally visit

Cuimhneamh an Chláir, the Clare Oral History and Folklore Group, will bring an audio visual celebration of people from Clare involved in the 1916 Rising, taken from their archive, to Seán Lemass Public Library in Shannon. Presented by Jackie Elger and entitled “The Banner Rising”, this event will feature excerpts from interviews with local Clare people and will take place on Tuesday, 10th May at 6.30pm. Shannon Library will also host a 'Story Time with Granny and Grandad' on Thursday, 19th May at 11.30am. Grandparents are invited to bring their grandchildren along to a story time session where all the books read will be stories about grandparents.

The Library has teamed up with Friends Ireland, a group that provides volunteers to teach basic computer/laptop/tablet/mobile phone classes in Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon on an ongoing basis. The classes are free and run in four week slots but places are limited and should be booked through the library at 061-364266. These classes are also being planned for the library branches in Ennis and Kilrush. For more information on Friends Ireland visit

On Wednesday, 11th May staff from Clare County Library will join Gavin Grace on Clare FM’s Morning Focus show to discuss the first book chosen as part of a newly launched radio book club. The Book Club is a collaboration between the two organisations and the first book for discussion is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.

Clare County Library will also take a small section of the Local Studies Library on tour throughout the month of May when library staff will visit nursing homes and day care centres in various areas including Ennis, Ennistymon, Newmarket-on-Fergus and Tuamgraney. Excerpts from Clare Champion newspapers from times past will be transported, along with old photographs and local history books so that the material can be read and discussed evoking memories of those times past. The Local Studies Centre, on Harmony Row in Ennis, houses a complete set of Clare Champions dating back to 1903 which are available to the public for reference use. This year’s visits will also have a focus on material from 1916 as part of the centenary celebrations.

Senior Citizens can avail of free library membership in all of Clare County Library’s branches. So, during the Bealtaine Festival, why not join your local branch? You’ll discover a whole world of books, CDs, DVDs and much more. You may even join one of the many clubs being run including book clubs, movie clubs and scrabble clubs. A whole new experience awaits you! For more information on the Bealtaine events and much more visit Clare County Library’s website at or phone 065-6846350. For information on Bealtaine events happening nationwide visit

Image above shows Chris Droney playing some tunes in the Burren, County Clare.

Friday 29 April 2016

Session in Daly’s Bar during Corofin Trad Fest 2016

"An outstanding session of traditional irish music with some of the country's best musicians including Owen o Neil, Brian and Keith O Loughlin, and many more. Teach Uí Dálaigh (Daly's bar) Corofin, during the Corofin Traditional Festival 2016." Posted on Youtube on the 18th of March 2016 by Derek Daly.

The O'Reillys, Linnane, Bergin, & Cullinan at the Corofin Trad Fest 2016

"Damien O'Reilly, Tony Linnane, Mary Bergin, Padraig O'Reilly, and James Cullinan performing at the Corofin Traditional Festival on March 4, 2016 - #02." Posted on Youtube on the 24th of April 2016 by Niamhaines.

Doolin, County Clare - a snapshot

"Here is a snapshot of Doolin, we are a coastal village in County Clare, Ireland, on the Wild Atlantic way. Home of traditional Irish music, which is played nightly in our pubs. An ideal base when visiting the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren . Doolin offers an array of accommodation options, craft shops, restaurants, and activities." Posted on Youtube on the 15th of April 2016 by Doolin Tourism.

A Life In The Day - Surf’s up in Lahinch, County Clare

"This short video, brought to you by Paddle Pillow, follows four locals on a day of clean, off-shore surf in and around Lahinch aka Surf City, County Clare, Ireland, on the 2nd April 2016. Featuring Alan Coyne, Dave Flynn, Stuart McMullen and Dave Collins, the video was shot by award winning director, photographer and surfer Kev L. Smith, and also features Kenny's Bar and Restaurant, Main Street, Lahinch." Posted onn Youtube on the 21st of April 2016 by David Collins.