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.

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