Tuesday 29 March 2016

‘The Power of Vested Interests & the Law: A contemporary and Brehon perspective’, Burren Law School, Ballyvaughan, April 29th to May 1st 2016

Is the law as enacted by politicians and adjudicated by judges and regulators adequate to the task of ensuring that the common good prevails over vested interests in these turbulent times? This is the theme that will be examined by a distinguished line-up of speakers from the judiciary, the academy and the arts at this year’s Burren Law School that takes places over the May bank holiday week-end in Ballyvaughan, County Clare.

The School will feature the time-honored Brehon and arts perspectives on the theme which make the Burren Law School an unique event in the Irish calendar.

Brexit, mass migration and Donald Trump in the Whitehouse are just some of the spectres confronting contemporary western civilization as vested interests and whole societies feel threatened as never before by the chill winds of global competition, creative technological destruction and mass migration challenging the established order. Those who are economically and politically powerful or well organized have a habit of fiercely protecting their prerogatives – monopolists versus new entrants, citizens versus migrants, trade-unionists versus the unemployed, the elderly versus the young. Are the sophisticated judicial and regulatory mechanisms we have put in place really a match for the power of vested interests?

Does judicial review and consultation really mean that the public interest is best served? When can they make things worse? Are there better solutions that we can try? Does the increasing use of social media change things? And to what extent does all of this lead to a lack of confidence in our decision-making institutions and processes, and the rise of populism and nationalism? See http://www.burrenlawschool.org/ for more information.

Thursday 24 March 2016

Cruinniu at The Corofin Traditional Festival 2016

"Cruinniu Concert - (Siobhan O'Donnell, Aine Bird, Annemarie Grogan, Jack Talty, & Damien O'Reilly) with guest musicians Cyril O'Donoghue, & Caoilfhionn Ni Fhrighil on March 5, 2016 at The Corofin Traditional Festival - #12." Posted on Youtube on the 11th of March 2016 by Niamhaines.

Brendan Mulkere, Clare Egan, & Terence O'Reilly, Corofin Traditional Festival 2016

"Brendan Mulkere, Clare Egan, & Terence O'Reilly performing at The 15th Annual Corofin Traditional Festival on March 2, 2016, #05." Posted on Youtube on the 4th of March 2016 by Niamhianes.

Reading the Rising – 2 book promotions from Clare County Library

To commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Rising, Clare County Library has developed book promotions on the theme for both children and adults.

More than 800 titles have been published on the subject with almost 500 currently in print. The two reading promotions feature selections of the best of the currently available books on the Rising. The adult books selected are non-fiction and include general introductions, biographies of the individual leaders, first-hand accounts of particular battles, details of the rebellion in particular parts of the country and accounts of the civilian experience of the insurrection.

Historical fiction is the perfect way for young people to get inside the skins of children of the same age from other times and give them a real understanding of major events in the past. The collection of books specifically chosen for children and teenagers will introduce them and to and immerse them in one of the most important events to ever happen in our country’s history, the Easter Rising of 1916.

Leaflets have been produced giving a brief introduction to each of the chosen books and multiple copies of each book will be available for borrowing in the library. The reading promotions are currently on display in the DeValera Library in Ennis from where there will travel to other branches throughout the County. We hope that these books will enhance our members understanding of the Rising and assist them in engaging with the events planned throughout the County to mark the centenary of one of the most important events in our country’s history.

Reading The Rising for adults: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/library/services/book-promos/reading_the_rising.htm

Reading The Rising for children: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/library/services/book-promos/reading_the_rising_children.htm

‘Every County Has a Story’: County Clare’s 1916 story by RTE

RTE Television has produced short video postcards from every county in Ireland in relation to the commemorative year of 1916 called ‘Every County Has a Story.’

This video for Clare was filmed by RTE at Clare Museum last February. It features the autograph book of Patrick Brennan from Meelick, County Clare, which was purchased by the museum in 2014.

Brennan had the autograph book with him when he was rounded up after the 1916 Easter Rising and interned at Frongoch Prison camp in North Wales and it contains the quotations, drawings and signatures of 54 internees, including Michael Collins and Richard Mulcahy.

Clare Museum is delighted that RTE chose the autograph book for the Clare video as it will be the centerpiece of the museum’s activities for this year. It will be placed on exhibition and subject to a publication which will feature research into the signatories.

Monday 21 March 2016

Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards 2016

The 2016 Children’s Books Ireland, Book of the Year Awards Shortlist was announced on Tuesday the 8th of March. Nine titles will compete for the most prestigious awards for children’s books in Ireland.

The annual awards also include the Children’s Choice Award, voted for by young readers from all over Ireland. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held on 23rd May.

The shortlisted titles are:

Imaginary Fred written by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne
Gulliver retold by Mary Webb and illustrated by Lauren O’Neill
Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
Ná Gabh ar Scoil written by Máire Zepf and illustrated by Tarsila Krüse
Irelandopedia written by John Burke and illustrated by Fatti Burke
The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde
One by Sarah Crossan

Dr Patricia Kennon, chair of the judging panel that read almost 80 titles, said: ‘The nine shortlisted titles take us on an imaginative journey around Ireland and beyond, showcasing the range of excellent books being created by Irish authors and illustrators. These books span a wide range of ages from incredibly engaging picturebooks to hard-hitting, thought-provoking novels for teenagers and young adults, in both languages.

Acting Director at CBI, Jenny Murray said ‘At Children’s Books Ireland our mission is to make books a part of every child’s life. With this year’s shortlist, CBI is honoured to be able to highlight the very best that Irish authors and illustrators have to offer. It is particularly satisfying to note that of the nine shortlisted titles, four are Irish published. This list includes children’s books for all ages covering titles that are challenging, informative, uplifting and funny.

Copies of all shortlisted titles are available in Clare County Library branch libraries.

Clare Museum’s mystery is solved

Less than 24 hours after we posted our blog post seeking public assistance in identifying Gunner J Connell whose medal is in the museum collection, the mystery was solved.

The original owner of the medal has been identified as Gunner John Connell, of Cappa Beg, Barefield, County Clare, a general labourer who enlisted in the British Army shortly after the outbreak of the war at the age of 43. He was a married man with five young children.

Gunner Connell’s military papers indicate that he joined the Connacht Rangers in September 1914 and then deserted the following March before immediately joining the Royal Artillery Reserve.

His records also tell us that he served in France with the Royal Garrison Artillery and that he survived the war.

Clare Museum would like to thank local researcher Ger Browne for providing this information and solving the mystery. The full details of John Connell’s war record will be provided when the medal is included in the recent acquisitions section of the museum website in due course.

1916 Table Discussion Series in Scariff Library

The second in a series of talks around aspects of the 1916 Rising took place in Scariff Public Library on Tuesday 15th March with a large crowd in attendance. The session kicked off with a reading of the Proclamation to mark Proclamation Day, after which Pearse O’Shiel told the fascinating story of his Grandfather, Harry Shiels, who was on active duty in Dublin as a volunteer during the Rising. Pearse had medals and letters relating to his grandfather which further enhanced the story. Following this, a lively and information discussion between the panel and the audience took place about the motives for revolution back then and today. The first session of the talks in February focussed on the Proclamation itself and was equally interesting. It included a presentation by Colm Madden and a letter from Padraig Pearse, which was sent to a relative of a member of the audience, was produced and passed around. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 12th April at 7.30pm and will look at the music, song and poetry of the time. All are welcome to attend.

Friday 18 March 2016

Sonnie Murphy - Kilnaboy’s Olympian: A North Clare Historical Society talk at Ennistymon Courthouse on the 29th of March

The North Clare Historical Society continues its current lecture series at the Courthouse, Ennistymon on Tuesday 29th March when James Neylon and Seán Roche will give a talk on Sonnie Murphy - Kilnaboy’s Olympian.

Michael Sonnie Murphy was a native of Ballycashen, Kilnaboy. He always showed a great interest in sport, and athletics in particular. He was a regular competitor at sports meets and competed at the Kilnaboy Parish sports which were a regular feature of the late 1920s and early 1930s. He was secretary of the Kilnaboy sports which took place in September 1931. In those days, he did most of his training in the fields and roads of his native Ballycashen and his daily schedule would have been a frequent sight for all his neighbours.

The National Championship took place at Croke Park in 1932 and Sonnie entered the 3,000 metres steeplechase. He won this event in a time of 9 minutes 51.8 seconds, a then Irish record. Considering that this was not his more favoured event it was an exceptionally good performance and on the strength of this Sonnie was selected to compete at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Sonnie ran in the second heat of the 3,000 metres steeplechase, with five from each heat to qualify for the final. Making things even harder for him was the fact that the heats of this race took place on one of the hottest days of the Games, temperatures that naturally would have been totally unfamiliar to him. For the first three laps everything seemed to be going well for Sonnie as he ran shoulder to shoulder with both Iso-Hollo and McCluskey and the possibility of running in an Olympic final was looming on the horizon. However just as the athletes approached the half way mark there were signs that Sonnie was in serious difficulty and he fell back somewhat in the race. Undoubtedly the intense heat was beginning to take its effect on him, as well as the fact that he only had just over two weeks to regain his fitness after the very long boat trip. Typically Sonnie refused to give up and after a short while began to give chase to the leaders. However it was this extra effort that was to be his undoing. At this stage of the race he began to sway on the track and as he approached the water jump, running in third place, he collapsed completely. His fellow Irish athlete, Dr. Pat O'Callaghan recognised that Sonnie was dangerously dehydrated.

Though Sonnie ran at various events during the following four years the effort of competing in such extreme heat had taken its toll on his health and he died on St. Patrick’s Day 1936. He is remembered with pride in his native Parish of Kilnaboy, and the annual memorial road race is indeed an appropriate way to remember a great man and a great athlete. This talk is a tribute to mark the 80th anniversary of his death.

James Neylon and Seán Roche are both natives of Kilnaboy, are active in their local community groups and have a keen interest in local history. They are also members of the Kilnaboy Athletic Club and have been actively involved with the Sonnie Murphy Memorial Race since its inception in 1984.

See also http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/people/michael_murphy.htm

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Who was Gunner J Connell? Clare Museum seeks public assistance

A few years ago a member of the public donated a British War Medal to Clare Museum that he had found in his garden in Station Court, near Ennis Railway Station, in the about the late 1990s. The medal was missing its bar and ribbon and shows some signs of damage, as can be seen in the photographs.

Dating from the end of the First World War, this silver British War Medal was issued to all officers and men who served in the British and Imperial forces following its successful conclusion. They usually carried an inscription around its rim and the Station Court medal is no exception. It reads:

SR 5978 GNR. J Connell R.A.

This information tells us that the medal was awarded to Gunner J Connell of the Royal Artillery. The ‘SR’ indicates he was a Special Reservist - a part time soldier - and the four digits are his service number. But who was this soldier and how did his medal come to be in a suburban garden in Ennis?

A search of the 1911 census revealed a strong lead. There was a John Connell employed by the West Clare Railway and who lived at Ballaghboy, Doora, both of which are in the vicinity of the find place. He was 36 years old and married with two children but the census information does not tell us if he was a Special Reservist in the military.

Prior to the discovery of a John Connell in the census, extensive research had been conducted on Gunner Connell amongst the lists of First World War fatalities from County Clare. He does not appear in either these lists, or amongst the lists of known survivors of the war that local historians have compiled for the county.

This raises the possibility that Gunner Connell was not a Clare man at all. As the medal was found in a garden in a housing estate, could it have arrived in top soil taken to the site from some other location during the construction of the houses? With this scenario it is possible that the medal came from the neighbouring county such as Limerick or Tipperary or perhaps even further afield.

So Clare Museum is reaching out to any readers who might specialise in researching Irish soldiers of the First World War and asking for your help.

If you know who Gunner J Connell was, if you can link John Connell from the 1911 census with the medal or if you can provide any information on how we could extend our research, please contact the museum at claremuseum@clarecoco.ie.

Monday 14 March 2016

A Criminal Ancestor – new PHD study seeks ancestors who were connected to a crime

Are you descended from convict ancestors transported far from home or did great, great, great uncle John end up in court for squabbling with the neighbours? If your ancestor was a hardened criminal, a victim of a miscarriage of justice, a political prisoner, or in court for not paying their dog licence a new study is looking to hear from you.

Criminals in the family have always fascinated family historians and it seems more of us are discovering more of them all of the time. The digitisation of the records of the criminal justice system and newspapers are bringing to light a side of our ancestors that may have previously been kept secret.

The crimes themselves range from the minor, even amusing, to the serious, and tragic. From a few cows wandering unsupervised along a country lane resulting in an appearance at the petty sessions court and a 2 shilling fine, to a young girl stealing some lace and being transported for 7 years to Australia, a sentence which really meant a lifetime exiled from her native land. A young boy imprisoned for vagrancy. A rebel. A highwayman. A murderer.

The documents which record their crimes often have amazingly rich details not found in birth, marriage, or even census records. From prison registers we can get physical descriptions of someone who lived long before the invention of photography, we can learn their height, weight, eye and hair colour, and any distinguishing scars or features such as tattoos. From newspaper accounts of trials we hear their voices as they give evidence.

But how do we feel when we come across an ancestor who broke the law? And how do they shape how we view our family’s history? Is a criminal ancestor someone to be ashamed of, to celebrate, or part of a larger story? What do their crimes, and the punishments they received tell us about them as people, and about the time and society they lived in? You can help provide the answers.

As part of the Digital Panopticon project, Aoife O Connor of the University of Sheffield wants to hear from family historians across the globe who have discovered ancestors who were connected to a crime. She is conducting short anonymous online surveys.

Aoife is based in Dublin, Ireland and is studying for her PhD part-time. Her own family history includes, among others, one ancestor aged 18 imprisoned in 1821 for thirteen days on suspicion of stealing a frame saw (the same ancestor was fined for excise duty evasion to the tune of £12 10 shillings in 1838), and another who was fined two shillings at the Petty Sessions Court on the 24 December 1855 for driving a horse and cart with no reins.

Take part in the survey now at http://acriminalrecord.org/surveys/

Aoife O Connor - amoconnor1@sheffield.ac.uk

Friday 11 March 2016

Free Family History Day in Shannon Library on March 15th

To mark the centenary of the Easter Rising, family history experts from Findmypast and Eneclann are touring Ireland to help you trace your ancestors for FREE! On Tuesday, the 15th of March 2016, they will be visiting the Seán Lemass Public Library.

From 2 to 6pm, they will offer:

free access to billions of family History records on Findmypast.ie;

one-to-one genealogy sessions with an Eneclann expert;

talks on finding your roots and the 1916 rising.

At 5pm, Brian Donovan will give a talk on the day on “Irish Soldiers & Rebels: tracing WW1 and Irish revolutionary ancestors”.

This is a FREE event open to all members of the public, and is the perfect opportunity for anyone who wants to start on building a family tree but just don’t know where to begin.

Thursday 10 March 2016

North Clare Links to 1916 Rising - a North Clare Historical Society Talk

The North Clare Historical Society marks the centenary of 1916 with a presentation of North Clare links to the 1916 Rising at Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon on Wednesday, 23rd March at 8pm.

Colm Hayes will talk on Irish Republican Brotherhood and Volunteer Activities in North Clare prior to 1916 while Mick O’Connor will narrate the story of Gaelic League man Eamonn Waldron’s arrest in Ennistymon in the days after the Rising.

An Ennistymon native, Colm Hayes will outline the creation of an IRB Circle in the Ennistymon area by Tomás O’Loughlin, a native of Carron and a lifelong Republican brought up in the Fenian tradition. Following the establishment of the Irish Volunteers all over the country from 1913, the Clouna Company became the most important unit in North Clare as they trained and prepared for the call to rise up against British rule in Ireland.

Mick O’Connor is no stranger to North Clare. He is married to Anne Dillon from Ennistymon and is a regular visitor to the area. Mick is better known as a musician and music historian and his talk will trace Éamonn Waldron’s time in County Clare, his arrest in Ennistymon, his subsequent internment and his activities during the War of Independence while he was teaching in St. Flannan’s College. At the time of his arrest he was a teacher with the Gaelic League.

In 1929, Éamonn married Harriet Gibson of Ballyvoe House, Kilmaley, and moved to Galway where he devoted the latter part of his life to teaching and promoting the Irish language at Coláiste Naomh Éinne and Coláiste Iognáid.

Éamonn died on the 6th of April 1966 during the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. It is fitting that in the centenary of 1916 the people of Clare would recall the idealism and zeal of Éamonn Waldron who was imprisoned for his nationalist activities in Clare in 1916.

Friday 4 March 2016

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

Clare Egan with Terence O'Reilly at The Corofin Traditional Festival on March 2, 2016. #01

Clare Egan with Terence O'Reilly at The Corofin Traditional Festival on March 2, 2016. #02

Posted on Youtube on the 3rd of March 2016 by Niamhaines.

Liam O'Brien & Cian Talty playing a set of Slip Jigs during the Concertina Cruinniú 2016 in Miltown Malbay, County Clare

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

Some castles in County Clare from the air - Doonagore, Ballinalacken, Muckinish West & Finavarra

Doonagore Castle, Doolin, County Clare; Ballinalacken Castle, Doolin, County Clare; Muckinish West Tower House, Ballyvaughan, County Clare; Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, County Galway; Yeats Tower, Thoor Ballylee, County Galway; Finavarra Tower, County Clare; and Oranmore Castle, Oranmore, County Galway. Posted on Youtube on the 20th of February 2016 by Aerial Video & Photo Production.

Breathtaking aerial footage of the world famous Cliffs of Moher

"The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Ireland, drawing almost one million visitors Since 2011. Some say it should have been the 8th wonder of the world, and based on this footage we definitely agree!" Posted on Youtube on the 17th of February 2016 by Rumble Viral.

Carrigaholt, County Clare with '60 seconds of Ireland'

"60 seconds of Ireland. The town of Carrigaholt on Loop Head in County Clare Ireland. Showing its castle, a drive through, and a little fair going on when we filmed. It was quiet peaceful and cloudy, unlike the buzz going on later that day. This whole area of Loop Head is quite beautiful and rivals the more famous Cliffs of Moher. Got to be seen on any road trip to Ireland." Posted on Youtube on the 10th of May 2015 by A Bit Of Ireland.Com.

A visit to Doonbeg, County Clare

Posted on Youtube on the 8th of February 2016 by LakwatserongCaloy.

Why choose County Clare for locating your business?

Posted on Youtubew on the 3rd of March 2016 by Local Enterprise Office Clare.

Clare Schoolboys/Girls Pre Kennedy Cup Preparation Event 2016

"The annual Clare Schoolboys/Girls Soccer League is a youth football event, that see 14 Kennedy Cup Squads visit County Clare to fine tune their preparations for the SFAI Kennedy Cup in June. The CSSL Pre Kennedy Cup event takes place on May 7th and 8th 2016, and will feature 280 players, at venues across County Clare. For further details on the event contact FAI County Development Officer Denis Hynes at denishynes@fai.ie". Posted on Youtube on the 16th of February 2016 by Denis Hynes.