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.

The Burren from above

The Burren, County Clare, from the air. Posted on Youtube onthe 31st of March 2016 by dan dwyer.

Liscannor, County Clare, from the air

Liscannor, County Clare, from the air. Posted on Youtube on the 17th of April 2016 by seanpburke.

St Bridgets Well, Liscannor, County Clare

"The layout of this Holy Well is very Pagan in origin. In Pre Christian Ireland this type of Well was deemed to be a place where the gods of the underworld communicated with humankind and where offerings to these gods were made for favours either received or requested. When Christianity was introduced into Ireland these Wells had their names changed to those of Christian saints and used as places of religious worship and gathering..." Posted on Youtube on the 22nd of March 2016 by Martin Coffey.

See also

The Calling Card - by The Shack Ennistymon Youth-club Film Club

"A Film About Cyber bullying. The shack Ennistymon Youth-club Film Club." Posted on Youtube on the 3rd of March 2016 by jaymzie shep.

1930s Schools’ Folklore Collection material from County Clare now online

Folklore and local history from County Clare is now available on The Schools’ Collection, an important component of the National Folklore Collection, UCD, contains the folklore material recorded by pupils between 1937 and 1939. It consists of over half a million pages recorded by around 50,000 primary school pupils in the 26 counties.

Material from the Schools’ Collection has been published on an ongoing basis on dú since the end of 2013 and all volumes from the Collection, covering all 26 counties, will be available by the end of 2016. Folklore material from Dublin, Mayo, Donegal, Waterford, Galway, Leitrim, Kildare, Kerry, Sligo, Limerick, Monaghan, Laois, Kilkenny, Louth and Tipperary has already been made available on the site since the end of 2013. dú is the result of a partnership, beginning in 2012, between the National Folklore Collection (UCD), Fiontar (DCU) and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The site will be of interest to a great many Irish people and to the Irish diaspora. For specialist researchers in the fields of folkloristics, local history, archaeology, genealogy, linguistics, and a range of other disciplines, dú offers considerable research potential. The site can currently be searched by place or by person, and a search facility according to topic will be made available this year. Almost 170 schools in Co. Clare took part in the scheme and 49 volumes of material were compiled.

Some examples: Stories from County Clare

Biddy Early has been a topic of debate and fascination in County Clare for the last 200 years. She is mentioned in stories collected in County Galway and also in County Tipperary as well as in stories collected in her native Clare.

There are many differing accounts of Biddy’s life. This story tells us that Biddy was married three times and that she acquired her powers from a magic bottle that fairies gave to her son after he defeated them in a game of hurling. The bottle, it is said, enabled her to cure any disease or ailment. This story offers a different explanation and tells us that her son stole the magic bottle from the fairies. Biddy’s reputation has suffered in Clare. She was despised by the public up until 1995 when Clare won their first All-Ireland Hurling title since 1914. Many Clare people blamed Biddy for the Clare hurling team’s misfortune citing a curse that she had apparently placed on the team.

The Story of the Colleen Bawn is very famous in Clare. It is a tragic story that concerns a young girl who falls in love with William Scanlan (‘William’ is given as a name in certain stories, however, John Scanlon was the man’s actual name). The Colleen Bawn’s family were well off but William Scanlan was in debt. According to this story, Scanlan decided to get rid of the Colleen Bawn. He invited her to go on a boating trip with him and he drowned her somewhere between Tarbert in County Kerry and Kilrush in County Clare. Daniel O’Connell defended him but he was found guilty and hanged. Many different versions of this story are to be found in the Clare collection. Take a look at the results of the search ‘colleen bawn’ and ‘cailín bán’.

Irish was still spoken in West Clare until the 1970s and there were a number of Irish-language stories and accounts collected in Carrigaholt, Kilbaha and in other areas around Loop Head. The majority of this manuscript is in Irish; stories collected around the Carrigaholt area in Loop Head. A story about Fionn Mac Cumhaill is the very first story that greets you with many more treasures contained within the manuscript. Read this lament (‘Brón na Farraige - Caoineadh ó Chill Bheathach’’) about the melancholy of the sea. The sea is often the subject of folklore in West Clare as one would expect from a county whose environment is heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean.

Click here to delve into the history and traditions of Clare and learn more about the county through both Irish and English from

For more Clare folklore and oral history see

Young members of Polish Community leave a gift for the future at Clare Museum

During the past week, some of the youngest members of the Polish community in the Ennis area came to visit the Clare Museum with their parents and to make a presentation to the museum.

The photograph shows Ula Jadowska of the Polish-Irish Association with a Map of Origin made by the children, marking the places in Poland where they were born or have family connections.

This map was presented to the museum for display and is currently on exhibition in the stairwell between the two galleries. The initiative, which came from the Polish community of Ennis, builds on the Festival of Poland instigated by Clare Museum a few years ago.

In due course, the Map of Origin will be donated to Clare Museum for posterity and will be a great gift from the Polish community to their future descendants and to the broader Clare community.

Friday 22 April 2016

Teen Week 2016 in Scariff and Killaloe Libraries

Students of Scariff Community College, St. Anne’s Community College, Killaloe and Raheen Wood Steiner Secondary School enjoyed a number of teen-centered events during a very successful Teen Week in Scariff and Killaloe branch libraries.

A 1916 theme was much in evidence with an author visit from Sheena Wilkinson whose book Name Upon Name deals with the complexities of the period in a Belfast setting. Students, having read the book and enjoyed Sheena’s presentation, gained a greater understanding of this most pivotal time in Irish history. Artist Maeve McCarthy used Brian Merriman’s epic poem Cúirt an Mhean Oíche to explore Ireland’s position as taken from Poblacht na hÉireann.

Career guidance also featured in a packed programme with Science Ireland providing an interactive physics show that was great fun and inspired a future interest in the science subjects according to the participants. Sarah B. of youth radio station SPIN southwest spoke about how she pursued her goal of working in the media. Her enthusiasm for her chosen profession was evident and made for an interesting, lively talk. She also gave practical advice on producing demos for job applications and the interview process.

Limerick & Clare Education & Training Board Family Learning Project visits Clare Museum

Over the last few months the Clare Museum has been exploring partnerships with the various educational and training programmes provided by the Limerick & Clare Education & Training Board (LCETB) in Ennis.

Yesterday, one of these programmes - the Family Learning Project - visited the museum with their tutor. The programme comprises a wide range of courses to support parents / carers of children at different stages of learning. This visiting group has a special interest in sewing, so museum staff took the opportunity to show them tools and equipment on display that were used in Clare from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, to make and repair clothes.

It was also a good time to show some of the costumes from the Clare Embroidery School collection that was recently donated to Clare Museum. Museum staff were delighted that the tutor and students remembered an exhibition that was held at the museum on the Clare Embroidery School ten years ago.

It is intended to feature some of the remarkable items from the Clare Embroidery School in a future post.

Monday 18 April 2016

Literature, Drama, Science and Media during Library Teen Week 2016

Clare County Library’s annual Teen Week saw a diverse and enjoyable programme of events delivered to teenagers in Ennis, Scariff and Killaloe libraries during the second week in April.

The purpose of setting aside a week specifically for young adults serves to promote the county library service as a place of welcome for young people in the branches’ catchment areas. Events are programmed with the age of the audience attending in mind and the choice of performers this year was commended by the teenagers attending and their teachers.

On Tuesday 12th of April Sarah Blennerhassett from the Zoo Crew Show that goes out weeknights from 18.45 to 20.45 on SPIN South West Regional Radio Station based in Limerick was the library’s opening event of the week. Sarah presented a lively and informative account of her education, experience and progress through her career to date to forty Transition Year students from Rice College and Ennis Community College in Ennis and to a similar sized group from schools in Scariff later in the day.

Sarah gave humorous accounts of her meetings with celebrities and her first days in the industry as well as practical advice on producing demos for job applications and the interview process. Her audiences gave her their full attention. Sarah’s enthusiasm for her chosen profession was evident, making for a lively and interesting multi-media presentation for students from Scariff Community College and Youthreach on the afternoon of April 12th at Scariff Public Library.

Science was the focus of the second Teen Week event when Killaloe and Ennis libraries hosted Science Ireland’s physics show. This hands-on science show had plenty of scope for students to participate in activities and demonstrations. Flight, pressure, density, waves, light, sound and electricity were among the topics covered in the interactive learning experience. The show included a multimedia presentation, experimental demonstrations and group participation and most importantly lots of fun which was provided effortlessly by presenter Declan Holmes.

Award-winning author Sheena Wilkinson was the library’s special guests at no less than four events during the week, giving talks about her book Name Upon Name based on the 1916 rebellion in Scariff, Killaloe and Ennis libraries. She was also the library’s guest of honour at a commemorative event held in deValera Library on the evening of the 14th of April. Five students received prizes in a creative writing competition based on her book, while three students from second level schools also received prizes in the County Final of the National Poem for Ireland competition.

The county winner of the poetry competition was Chris O’Donoghue from Kilrush Community School, with Brooklyn Bond and Noreen Kennedy from St. Anne’s Community College, Killaloe joint runners up.

Áine Rainford, St. Anne’s Community College Killaloe was the winner of the creative writing competition with four highly commended prizes going to Ami Louise Doherty, Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Liam Lenihan, St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point, Kayla Sheridan, Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon and Ciara Sunderland, St Patrick’s Comprehensive School, Shannon.

All prize winners read their poems and prose writing for an audience of fellow students, teachers and parents in what was a most enjoyable event for all present on the evening.

Following on from her very generous mentoring and advice to approximately 150 students who entered the creative writing competition, Sheena Wilkinson spoke to a large teenage audience from Coláiste Muire and Gaelcholáiste an Chláir on Friday morning before departing for her home town of Castlewellan, Co. Down. Students who attended got a clear insight into her extensive research for the book Name Upon Name and a first hand, real account of how the characters came to be, how they developed and how they fitted into one of the best historical novels for young people, set at the time of the Easter Rising 1916.

With media, science and literature covered, young people were invited to participate in the fourth event of this year’s Teen Week programme. This was a dramatic experience based on Brian Merriman’s epic poem Cúirt an Mhean Oíche. Feedback from participants in both Ennis and Scariff libraries was extremely positive on what was deemed to be a hugely successful participatory performance. Ennistymon based artist Maeve Collins’ staging of A Midnight Court Sitting based on Brian Merriman’s epic poem inspired dialogue between males and females in relation to power and gender as expressed in the poem and in the 1916 Proclamation.

The workshop for teenagers was a multi-disciplinary event that combined performative action, laughter, conversation, song, language and lots of audience participation to explore Ireland’s position as taken from Poblacht na hÉireann.

Friday 15 April 2016

Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016 Shortlist

Irish authors Anne Enright and Lisa McInerney are among the six writers on the shortlist for this year's Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Enright has been shortlisted for The Green Road with McInerney nominated for The Glorious Heresies.

The Green Road follows the return home to County Clare of five members of a family at Christmas. The reunion forces them to confront the weight of family ties and the road that brought them home. Enright won the Man Booker prize in 2007 for her previous novel, The Gathering, another Irish family saga detailing much conflict and complication.

Lisa McInerney's The Glorious Heresies is her debut novel. It tells of how an accidental killing in Cork affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland's post-crash society.

Two other debut novelists have been shortlisted for the Baileys award. They are Hannah Rothschild for The Improbability of Love and Cynthia Bond for Ruby.

The Improbability of Love follows the purchase of a lost masterpiece by Watteau which draws Annie McDee unwillingly into the art world where she finds herself pursued by a host of interested parties that would do anything to possess her picture.

Ruby tells of 30-year-old Ruby Bell’s return to her hometown in Texas where she is forced to deal with the racism and sexism that darkened her childhood.

The other titles on the shortlist are by American authors Hanya Yanagihara and Elizabeth McKenzie.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is a powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance. It follows the steady decent of the chronically damaged Jude St Francis despite the support of his intimate circle of three friends.

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie is about a Norwegian translator on the cusp of marriage with brilliant neuroscientist Paul, but is their love strong enough to survive the combined seismic pressures of respective dysfunctional families, corporate greed and terminally-stretched morals?

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award for fiction written by a woman. Founded in 1996, the Prize was set up to celebrate excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women throughout the world. Margaret Mountford, Chair of judges said "Our choices reflect a really diverse mix of brilliant writing from new and established authors around the world and we hope that everyone will find much to enjoy in them".

Wednesday 6 April 2016

After I am hanged my portrait will be interesting - Colm Tóibín tells the story of Easter 1916

"Colm Tóibín tells the story of Easter 1916, following the main personalities involved, in particular Thomas Clarke and Patrick Pearse. Tóibín also discusses how interpretations of the rebellion by writers such as Sean O'Casey, W. B. Yeats and James Joyce challenged the popular myths surrounding the uprising, and considers the "stark divergence in the after-image" as it appeared in England and Ireland. Read the full article:" Posted on Youtube on the 5th of April 2016 by London Review of Books (LRB).

The Easter Rising and the International Press – A Clare County Library Exhibition

Clare County Library has produced a special touring exhibition as part of the 1916-2016 commemorations. The exhibition features headlines and excerpts from newspaper publications around the world during 1916. Notwithstanding the dark shadow of The First World War which dominated world news during 1916, news of the events of The Easter Rising in Ireland received extensive coverage around the globe. Comprehensive daily stories of events in Dublin were provided in both broadsheets and small-town newspapers in places such as New York, Washington, Tacoma and Rock Island in America, all across France and Germany and as far away as Prague, Vienna, Warsaw, Vilnius, Innsbruck and Budapest. News reports even made their way to such places as Iceland, Argentina, Singapore and the Dutch-Indonesian colony of Batavia.

On a local level, newspaper editors were mixing international news stories with the parochial. Alongside news of The First World War, The Easter Rising and the search for Mexican bandits were headlines such as “Increase of 5 Cents on Iron” and “Mayor Gets Two Squirrels for Zoo”.

The exhibition will travel to selected branches of Clare County library over the next few months. It can currently be viewed in Killaloe Public Library during library opening hours and will remain there until Thursday, 28th April and will then move to the Dr. Patrick J. Hillery Public Library, Miltown Malbay.