Monday 18 December 2017

Healthy Ireland at Your Library

Healthy Ireland is the national strategy to improve health and wellbeing, placing a focus on prevention, individual awareness and keeping people healthy for longer.

Public libraries are currently delivering the nationwide Healthy Ireland at Your Library programme that will establish libraries as a valuable source within the community for health information.

Funding granted by Healthy Ireland has enhanced health and wellbeing book collections (digital and hardcopy), and provided for staff training, events, and promotion.

The Healthy Ireland at Your Library programme will continue to build on this and contribute to improving the health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life of communities and individuals at all life stages. Find out more on the services offered see

Monday 4 December 2017

Every Child a Poet

The Poetry Collective has, with the support of Creative Ireland, produced a short film for teachers entitled: Every Child a Poet This 10-minute film will be previewed at the De Valera Library from 5.00 pm through 5.30 pm on Thursday 7th December.

The film is aimed at primary schools and teachers and includes poetry learning and teaching in action along with recitals by children of their own poems and some by well-known writers. The cooperation of children and teachers at Barefield NS in the making of this film is gratefully acknowledged.

The Poetry Collective’s ‘Every Child a Poet’ campaign is aimed at helping all children in County Clare primary schools enjoy, understand and create poetry. This campaign is being organised by the Poetry Collective in conjunction with Clare Education Centre – whose support is greatly appreciated.

Every Child a Poet’ includes a poetry contest. Last year there were 200+ entries, some of exceptional quality; this year it is hoped entries will be 1,000+ and, more than that, to encourage the appreciation and creation of poems by – as the title says – ‘every child’.

A guidebook is available and this, along with further information, may be obtained from Mike Douse at:

Monday 13 November 2017

Shortlist unveiled for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2017

The shortlist for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2017 features a diverse mix of exceptional writing from new and established writers across fifteen categories, including Novel of the Year, Children’s, Cookery, Crime Fiction, Popular Fiction, Nonfiction, Sports, Short Story, Poetry and the new Teen and Young Adult book of the year category.

Hundreds of books were submitted for consideration this year and the public are now being asked to cast their votes online for the best books of the year on the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards website

Votes may be cast until midday on Thursday 23rd November, and the winners will be announced at the gala ceremony on Tuesday, 28th November. This year, the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards will be presented by Keelin Shanley and will be televised on RTÉ One at 9:30pm on Wednesday 29th November.

David Walliams, the mega-selling children’s author, has been announced as the recipient of the 2017 ‘Bord Gáis Energy International Recognition Award’ at this year’s awards. Walliams will be presented with the accolade in recognition of his significant contribution to children’s literature in the past decade.

Monday 23 October 2017

20017 Man Booker Prize winner

The American short story writer George Saunders has won the Man Booker prize for his first full-length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. The book is based on a real-life event – the death of Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son Willie in 1862. Shattered by grief and imagining the boy trapped in the Bardo – a Tibetan Buddhist term for a kind of limbo – Lincoln paces the graveyard on the eve of the boy’s burial. The book intersperses historical accounts, both real and imagined, with monologues from a cast of ghosts watching over the boy in the after-life.

The other shortlisted titles for the 2017 award were
4321 by Paul Auster
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
Autumn by Ali Smith

Monday 25 September 2017

Learn a new skill or take up a new hobby for free from the comfort of your own home

Register for one of the 400+ free online courses available through Clare County Library and learn at your own pace and in your own time. The areas of study covered range from accounting, through DIY and pet and animal care to writing skills. Courses on offer include cake decorating, landscaping, how to write a business plan, early childhood development and internet marketing basics. Follow the Universal Class link from the library homepage All first time users must register with Universal Class using their library card number and PIN number.

Thursday 14 September 2017

Booker shortlist 2017

Books by two debut novelists Fiona Mozley and Emily Fridlund have been shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker prize. They join Ali Smith who has made the shortlist for the fourth time while Mohsin Hamid previously made the list in 2007 with The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Irish writer Mike McCormack and Sebastian Barry failed to be shortlisted.

The shortlist covers a wide range of subjects, from the struggle of a family trying to retain its self-sufficiency in rural England to a love story between two refugees seeking to flee an unnamed city in the throes of civil war.

The titles are:

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Autumn by Ali Smith

The winner will be announced on October 17th. Visit for more information.

25 greatest comedy films

The BBC have compiled a list of the 25 greatest comedy films based on recommendations from critics from around the world. The top 10 films are

1. Some like it hot
2. Dr Strangelove
3. Annie Hall
4. Groundhog day
5. Duck soup
6. Life of Brian
7. Airplane
8. Playtime
9. This is spinal tap
10. The general

To see the complete list and to read why these films deserved to make the list, see
These films and many more can be borrowed from Clare County Library.

Thursday 17 August 2017

Clare County Library Celebrating our National Heritage

Clare County Library is proud to once again take part in National Heritage Week, which in 2017 will run from August 19th to 27th. National Heritage Week is part of European Heritage Days, which is celebrated in over 40 countries across Europe. The Week is coordinated by The Heritage Council and its aim is to build awareness and education about our heritage thereby encouraging its conservation and preservation. Each year, during the last week of August, many national and hundreds of local community organisations participate by organising events throughout the country. Many of the events that take place during the week are free and the programme highlights the abundance of great work that is carried out in all communities in Ireland to preserve and promote our natural, built and cultural heritage. In 2017, the Heritage Council is inviting you to be active, have fun and get involved with our natural heritage

For its part in celebrating the week, Clare County Library will host a number of free events throughout the week. On Tuesday, 22nd August staff from Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge, DCU will visit library branches in Ennis, Shannon and Sixmilebridge to provide information sessions on Meitheal Dú and Meitheal

Meitheal Dú is an opportunity to transcribe folklore material collected by schoolchildren for the National Folklore Collection in the 1930s in Ireland. It is one of the most successful crowdsourcing projects of its kind in the world. Discover more at Meitheal encourages the recording and sharing of minor placenames. The public is asked to record minor placenames, such as field names, via a simple online form. Discover more at

The aim of the talks/workshops is to show the public how easy it is to access the information contained in these valuable cultural resources - via PCs in their local library or from the comfort of their own homes. The sessions also aim to show that these resources are available to everyone - no matter how limited your computer skills may be you can still get involved!

Also on Tuesday 22nd August at 6pm, to coincide with Clare County Library's touring display based on the 1917 East Clare By-election, writer Kieran Sheedy will visit Shannon Library to give a talk on that topic. On June 7th 1917 Willie Redmond, the Member of Parliament for East Clare, was killed in the battle of the Messines Ridge and a contested election (the first in fifteen years) took place in the following month. The candidates were Patrick Lynch K.C., a native of Ennis (Home Rule Party) and Eamon De Valera (Sinn Fein), the Irish Volunteer Commandant at Boland’s Mills during the 1916 Rising who had been recently released from an English jail. The election campaign and its result became pivotal in the emergence of Sinn Fein as a National party and is equally as significant in Clare political history as the 1828 by-election, won by Daniel O’Connell. Kieran Sheedy held a number of posts in RTE Radio One, including Head of Documentaries, before concentrating on a career in writing. His historical works include Upon the Mercy of Government, The Tellicherry Five, Peerless Tom Malone, The Clare Elections, The Horse in County Clare (2 volumes), The United Irishmen in County Clare and The Clare Anthology (Ed.). The Library’s display continues to travel to various branches throughout the county. See for details.

On Thursday 24th August, at 12 noon, Scariff Public Library will host a special lecture by Steve Dolan of the Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna entitled The Workhouse System in Ireland. The topic of the lecture will be the workhouses system in Ireland, with a specific focus on Scariff, and the afternoon will also see the launch of a free booklet by the Irish Workhouse Centre staff.

The following day, Friday 25th August, John Rattigan, curator of Clare County Museum, will visit Scariff Library at 2.30pm to give a presentation on some of the ancient objects found in east Clare that are housed in the Museum in Ennis. He will also bring the catalogue of objects from Clare that are in the National Museum so individuals can find out about archaeological items found in their parish/townland over the last 150 years. This is a free event hosted in conjunction with CABES.

To finish off the week, on Friday 25th August at 6.30pm,  native of north Clare and author of The Fanore School Case, Joe Queally will visit the De Valera Public Library in Ennis to give a talk based on his book about "one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of Irish education". As Joe shows in this fascinating book, the conventional account does not tell the full story. Leaning on a wide range of sources, from court records to oral history, Queally reveals many new aspects to the case, the violent means used by his supporters to intimidate the new teachers who succeeded him, and the bitter divisions caused in the community by the results of the affair. This absorbing and exhaustively researched book brings together all the facts of the Fanore School Case. It balances previous accounts with the Catholic Church's version of events, derived from diocesan archives, which were made available for the first time to the author. A short documentary commissioned by RTE on the story will also be shown during the talk. Copies of the book will be on sale after the event. For more visit

All library events are free of charge and everyone is welcome so be sure to take this opportunity for the whole family to discover and enjoy your heritage and history. Details of all events can be found at or by phoning 065-6821616/6846350. Information on nationwide events is available at

Thursday 20 July 2017

Learn a new language today

Like to learn conversational skills in a new language for your holidays? Check out Mango Languages, the free online language learning resource through your local library at

Mango Languages is an online language-learning system that teaches actual conversation skills for over 70 languages from around the world. Each chapter aligns your learning to a set of conversational and grammar goals, with highly relevant culture notes sprinkled into each lesson. Intuitive popups help you tune your pronunciation with precision. Record your speech and compare it directly to audio from a native speaker to hear exactly how to tune in your accent. You can even download the mobile app by searching Mango Languages in your app store. Check it out and learn a new language today! To use the service you will need to create an account or profile on Mango. You will also require your library card number.

Monday 10 July 2017

Get all the facts! – go online with Encyclopedia Britannica through Clare County Library

Clare County Library provides FREE access to the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica. It contains hundreds of thousands of objective articles, biographies, videos, and images.

Britannica has thousands of expert contributors from around the world, including Nobel laureates and world leaders such as former President Bill Clinton and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It also has a staff of more than 100 editors.

Content is updated daily - at least 1,200 new and revised articles and media per month - to keep users informed and engaged.

Britannica Library gives you three sites in one:
Young adults,
Reference material for older students and adults.

Members can choose the age-appropriate level that works best for them and will find it easy to conduct research, complete homework assignments, and work on special projects either in the library or at home. Save your research in your own personal My Britannica account. Britannica Library works on any device - PC, laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

Log on with your library card number here:

Wednesday 28 June 2017

New opening hours for Corofin Library

We are delighted to announce increased opening hours for our branch library in Corofin. The new opening hours, effective from the 3rd of July, are:
Wednesday: 10.00 - 1.00 & 5.00 - 8.00
Thursday: 10.00 - 1.00 & 5.00 - 8.00
Friday: 10.00 - 1.00 & 1.30 - 5.30

See Corofin Branch Library page for location and contact details.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

World Refugee Day, June 20th

To mark World Refugee Day on June 20th, the UNHCR is partnering with libraries and bookshops across the country in encouraging people to read a book or watch a movie about refugees.

The 2017 campaign will run from 19 June to 3 July with libraries all over Ireland participating.

Using UNHCR’s specially selected book lists for children and adults, readers will have a wide selection of stories from around the world to choose from in the form of fact, fiction, autobiography and photography.

Popular titles include The Kite Runner, which documents the boyhood friendship of two friends in Afghanistan and Four Feet, Two Sandals, a picture book about two girls in a refugee camp.

World Refugee Day is an opportunity to salute the strength and courage of refugees; the solidarity of those countries, including Ireland, who assist refugees; and the contribution refugees make to countries around the world.

Libraries in County Clare will have a book display highlighting books that explore refugee related issues. Killaloe Library presents a showing of the film The Good Lie at 7.30 on Friday 23rd of June. The film tells the story of a group of Sudanese refugees as they struggle to acclimatise to their new life in Kansas City. Kilrush bookclub have chosen The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna as their book for their June meeting. A novel set in Nigeria, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adicihe, has been chosen as the Clare FM Radio Bookclub read for June.

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Summer Stars Reading Adventure for children

Clare County Library Service will run the Summer Stars Reading Adventure for children in all library branches during the summer from the 3rd of July to the end of August. Summer Stars is an exciting reading-based programme which is available free of charge to children across the country. We are very happy to work with teachers and families to encourage children to continue reading and also to participate in our range of storytelling and other fun activities during the summer.

Each child is invited to register for the adventure at their local library and enjoy reading many books as part of the adventure during the summer holidays. All participants will be given a Summer Stars Reading Card to record and track their own progress and a library reward stamp will be added to their reading card at the library after each book read. There will be rewards and incentives along the way. At the end of the adventure, all children who participate are invited to attend an award event at which they will be presented with their own Summer Stars certificate.

Children and families will also have access to fun reading activities on the Summer Stars website, The site has lots of online activities as well as a range of animated ebooks. You will find a children’s books discussion board and interviews with well-known people about their favourite books. There are also helpful tips for reading and recommended titles by age group for children to read. The books can then be borrowed from your local library service, and it’s all free.

Further information is available from Clare County Library or on

Wednesday 31 May 2017

East Clare By-election 1917 – Clare County Library display

Clare County Library has produced an 8 panel illustrated display to commemorate the East Clare by-election of 1917. With easy-to-read text and contemporary illustrations, this display gives an introduction to the election and its significance locally and nationally.

In July 1917 a significant event took place that not only changed the political landscape in Clare, but in the whole of Ireland as well. Following the death in France of Major Willie Redmond, Member of Parliament for East Clare, a by-election was held which was to have seismic consequences on many levels.

Eamon de Valera, fresh from his exploits in the Easter Rising, was nominated by the fledgling Sinn Féin party to contest the by-election in Clare. His opponent was Clareman, Patrick Lynch, of the Irish Parliamentary Party. The election sparked huge interest in Clare and beyond, and de Valera’s clear-cut victory was a massive show of support for Sinn Féin and the Republican movement nationally. It also did untold damage to the Irish Parliamentary Party.

De Valera’s election victory in 1917 catapulted him onto the national stage and heralded the start of a long and significant political career representing County Clare which continued until 1959 when he went on to serve two consecutive terms as President of Ireland.

The display will travel to a number of venues in the coming months.
1st June - 14th June, DeValera Public Library, Ennis
16th June – 28th June, Kilfinaghty Public Library, Sixmilebridge
30th June – 26th July, Scariff Public Library
28th July – 9th Aug, Killaloe Public Library
11th Aug – 30th Aug, Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon

Contact your local branch library or visit

Monday 29 May 2017

Books 24/7

Clare County Library now offers a wide range of e-books and e-audiobooks which can be borrowed for free by library members. The collection includes adult fiction, non-fiction and children’s titles.

Members can browse the collection on a computer or laptop via the website link, or on a mobile device by using the BorrowBox app. Compatible devices include an eReader, Kindle Fire, Mp3 player, Android smart phone or iPhone, as well as a PC, laptop or tablet.

Up to five e-books and five e-audiobooks can be borrowed at one time. This is in addition to normal lending from your branch. Books are returned automatically so there are never any overdues. You have 24/7 access to the collection so you can use it whenever you want. This service is free to library members. All you need is your library card number and PIN to get started.

We’re always adding new titles, so visit often and make the most of your library membership. Follow the BorrowBox link on to find out more about this service.

Libraries Ireland Launch

The official launch of Libraries Ireland took place on Monday 29th May at 12 noon in Navan Library. Your local library is the place to get information and learn new skills in a relaxed and comfortable environment. It is your community and cultural hub with exciting events throughout the year.

Your library membership enables you to use all 333 public libraries, read, browse, study, borrow items such as books, DVDs, games or other formats, use Wi-Fi, PCs and printing services. You can also reserve up to 12 items at a time from the 15 million titles available in the libraries. You can do this when you visit a library or you can request online from home. Your selected titles will be delivered quickly to your local branch, generally within the week.

The Libraries Ireland service also provides access to a huge range of online resources, e-books, e-audiobooks, e-newspapers, e-magazines, e-courses and e-languages. All of these services are available free of charge provided by the local authorities through your public libraries. Libraries Ireland Makes Every Library Your Local Library. Visit for more information.

  • Free service
  • 333 libraries
  • Over 15 million items
  • Wide range of services and e-services
  • Community and cultural hub
  • Welcoming and friendly staff

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Communities across Clare planning Street Feast celebrations including Ballyvaughan, Lisdoonvarna and Ennis

Street Feast are delighted to confirm that over 1000 Street Feast parties around the country have been registered to date, including many taking place in Clare. The 8th Annual Street Feast Day, which is to be held on Sunday, 11th June 2017 is attracting greater numbers than ever before. In Clare this year, Street Feast parties are taking place throughout the county, including in Ballyvaughan, Lisdoonvarna and Ennis. It is expected that over 1040 neighbours will take part in county-wide Clare Street Feasts, which are supported by Clare County Council.

Street Feast is an Irish local community initiative and is an all-for-fun, do-it-yourself, not-for-profit celebration. The initiative invites individuals, groups or clubs to host a lunch on their street, in a local park or in their front gardens – inviting other neighbours to come along and join them. The all-inclusive, age-friendly initiative aims to encourage active participation, bring communities together and reduce isolation. Everyone is encouraged to bring something along to share, whether it be a dish, a chair or a tune.

Patron of Street Feast, President Michael D Higgins congratulated the initiative,
We must all by now realise the importance of community, inclusion, creativity and togetherness - all values that require support and a conscious effort of care, protection and solidarity. Initiatives such as Street Feast provide exactly that type of opportunity.”

Nicole Bukley, one of the hosts of a Street Feast in Clare, said
"Last years Street Feast was one of the greatest days in the estate. It just worked. We had one of the funniest days ever. It'll be low key again this year- the simpler you keep it, the better it is. That's what I've found. We had films and music and a couple of tables and loads of food and drink. It was a super fun day. People came out of the woodwork. There was no fighting between the kids- just outdoors in the sun!"

Speaking today, Sam Bishop, one of the founders and Co-Ordinator of Street Feast said:
We are very excited for Street Feast 2017! We want it to help rejuvenate communities, introduce new faces, bridge the gap between generations, share culture, stories and skills, and make our streets safer places to be.
“The registrations are coming in fast and the feedback has been exceptional, with some theming their celebrations or running them to coincide with other community projects. Over 1000 Street Feast parties are confirmed to date and 13 confirmed in Clare so far. There are still three weeks to go and we encourage as many individuals, friends, neighbours, clubs, community groups, faith groups, resident associations, etc. to get involved in this special all-inclusive community initiative. It can be as simple as laying out a few picnic blankets in your nearest green area! Go for it!

Street Feast will support these individuals and community groups to host their own celebration, which is repeated on streets, parks, carparks and gardens all across Ireland. Everyone who registers can claim a free Street Feast party pack which includes balloons, bunting, invites, posters and a DIY guide, everything you need to kick start your celebrations.

There is still time to register and include your community in the 2017 celebrations. Please visit
Registration for free mailed-out packs ends – Thursday, 1st June 2017
Registrations for Street Feast 2017 (inc. downloadable packs) ends – Friday, 9th June 2017

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Free e-magazines

Clare County Library's free e-magazines service offers a collection of 300 popular magazines to library members. All areas of interest from Astronomy to Wildlife are covered. Titles include Top Gear, Hello, The Economist, New Scientist, Xbox, Irish Roots, Rolling Stone, Pro Wrestling illustrated, PC World, National Geographic, The Knitter, Lonely Planet Traveller, Amateur Photographer and Men’s Health.

Children are catered for with magazines such as National Geographic Kids, Match of the Day, Minecraft World and Horrible Histories while magazines such as Teen Vogue and Seventeen will appeal to teenagers.

The full-colour magazines can be read online or downloaded to a PC, tablet, iPad, or smartphone and offers changeable print sizes and viewing options. Using the platform, readers can move seamlessly within each publication page between text, interactive graphics, animated illustrations, videos and much more.

The most popular e-magazines ‘borrowed’ by Clare County Library members so far in 2017 are Woman’s Weekly, Amateur Photographer, Time, 25 Beautiful Homes and Best.

To use this service, follow the e-magazines link on the library homepage You will need to create an account and will be asked for your library card number when creating the account. Members can check out an unlimited number of magazines and keep them in your account for as long as you wish.

More information about this service is available at

Thursday 27 April 2017

Come Together Now! at Clare County Library to celebrate the annual Bealtaine Festival this 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! The theme for 2017 is All Together Now! Collectivism, civic engagement and protest!, which continues Bealtaine’s three-year exploration of Nationhood and Citizenship. Age and Opportunity states that this theme aims "to explore the concept of ‘people power’, the collective, civic engagement (and yes protest!), as well as the empathy that accompanies these human activities". Bealtaine, established in Ireland in 1996, is an Age and 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, making it one of Ireland’s biggest arts festivals. 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 talks, craft displays, workshops and movie screenings as part of the Bealtaine Film Tour which is presented by access>CINEMA in partnership with the Irish Film Institute.

This year’s chosen films for the Bealtaine Film Tour are Dare to be Wild (2016) starring Emma Greenwell, Tom Hughes, Don Wycherly and Carrie Crowley, Pride (2014) starring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Andrew Scott, Paddy Considine and Dominic West and 12 Angry Men (1957) starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden and Jack Klugman. Screenings begin on Tuesday 2nd May in Ennis and will take place throughout the month in library branches in Ennis, Ennistymon, 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 Killaloe Public Library will also host a film screening of A Date for Mad Mary (2016) starring Seána Kerslake, Tara Lee, Charleigh Bailey and Denise McCormack on Friday, 26th May at 7.30pm. Movie screenings for adults take place monthly at Killaloe and Scariff libraries. Details are available on the Library’s website.

On Saturday 13th May at 11am in the Dr. Patrick J. Hillery Library in Miltown Malbay Cora O’Grady will hold a workshop on the art of Decoupage. Participants will learn how to transform everyday objects into works of art by pasting cut-out images on to an object and then covering the object with several coats of varnish or lacquer. Cora will first give a demonstration followed by a workshop with audience participation. People are advised to bring a small sturdy cardboard box to decorate, e.g. a jewellery box. Everyone is welcome, no booking required.

On Tuesday, 23rd May at 12pm Carmen Cullen presents her show Hello Delia Murphy, a tribute to her aunt, the singer Delia Murphy, in the De Valera Library in Ennis. Delia Murphy, from Hollymount, Co. Mayo, was one of Ireland's best known recording stars of the 30s and 40s in Ireland. A revered figure in Irish music Delia is thought of today as being one of the major figures of Irish song. She was a mould-breaker and pioneer in her field and created a role for herself as an Irish female popular singer that, some would say, hasn't been equalled yet. Having established ballad singing as an acceptable song form, she was known for such songs as The Spinning Wheel, If I were a Blackbird and Three Lovely Lassies from Bannion. Along with musician Gerry Anderson, Carmen Cullen will give the audience a special opportunity to hear about Delia's life as well as listening to her songs. Carmen will also give a dramatised reading from her novel Two Sisters Singing, published by Liberties Press in 2013 and loosely based on Delia's life. Carmen says, "We are making a special effort to bring back memories of my aunt to people who recall her, as well as attracting new interest in her as a unique woman and artiste".

Also on Tuesday, 23rd May at 6.30pm Breda Stack, the Declutter Therapist, will host an event at the Seán Lemass Public Library in Shannon. Breda teaches her audience how to break free from being overwhelmed by clutter so you can enjoy a simpler, happier life. Breda is author of Declutter Therapy, founder of Ireland’s National Declutter Day and International Declutter Day, creator of The Declutter Academy for professional student training and a regular contributor to TV, radio and print media. Breda’s talk covers a variety of practical wardrobe and home decluttering information, tips and guidelines on personal style, organisation, storage and lifestyle as well as her uniquely specialised and essential area of decluttering mindset, challenges and benefits. Breda visited the library in Ennis in early April when her event attracted a huge audience so this is a great chance to catch the event if you missed it then.

On Thursday, 25th May at 11.30am Ennistymon Public Library will host Eamon Doyle, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark Geologist, with his talk entitled There’s Life in the Old Rocks of Clare. This is a fascinating insight into the variety of fossils found in the rocks of County Clare and the interesting stories they tell.

The Library continues to team up with Friends Ireland, a group that provides volunteers to teach basic computer/laptop/tablet/mobile phone classes on an ongoing basis. The classes are free and run in four week slots but places are limited and should be booked through the participating branches. These classes are currently running in the libraries in Ennis and Shannon. Full details are available on the Library’s website. For more information on Friends Ireland visit

On Wednesday 31st May staff from Clare County Library will join Gavin Grace on Clare FM’s Morning Focus show to discuss a title chosen especially for the Bealtaine Festival as part of the monthly radio book club, which is a collaboration between the two organisations. Stay tuned to Clare FM for more details and/or see the Library’s Facebook page at

Membership of the Library is free and Clare County Library boasts 15 branches throughout the county. So, during the Bealtaine Festival, why not join your local branch? You’ll discover a whole world of books, CDs, DVDs, free online resources including e-books and e-magazines and so 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. Remember all events at the Library are free of charge! For information on Bealtaine events happening nationwide visit

Monday 24 April 2017

Diarmuid de Faoite to read at Ennistymon Library

Clare native Diarmuid de Faoite will visit Ennistymon Library at 6.30pm on Wednesday 26th April to read from his new translation of Pádraic Ó Conaire’s seminal collection of short stories, Seacht mBua an Éirí Amach/Seven Virtues of the Rising. Listed in The Irish Times/ Royal Irish Academy’s Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks and first published in 1918, Seacht mBua an Éirí Amach is considered the first literary response to the Rising in any language and is beautifully presented here as a dual language book with a fascinating and detailed introduction by Brendan McGowan of Galway City Museum.

The idea for this dual language publication was first mooted by Brendan and Diarmuid to bring the work of Pádraic Ó Conaire to a wider audience and is the result of a collaboration between Galway City Museum, publishers Arlen House and Cló Iar-Chonnacht, Galway City Council and the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. The book will be part of RTE’s Book-On-One throughout the month of April.

Seacht mBua an Éirí Amach secured Ó Conaire’s position as the foremost writer in modern Irish and, arguably, the only one of international standing. As to the stories themselves, Brendan McGowan points out they are not directly concerned with the actual events of the 1916 Rising (although there are several allusions to key figures and locations); instead they reflect “the seismic shift in public opinion in favour of those pursuing Irish independence rather than Home Rule, which culminated in the electoral success of Sinn Féin in 1918.”

Diarmuid adds that Ó Conaire himself played a role in de Valera’s own success in Co. Clare, having campaigned on his behalf. “Ó Conaire worked as an election agent for de Valera in East Clare, having first gotten to know him as a student in Blackrock College.”

Diarmuid maintains that Ó Conaire’s Clare connections have been severely overlooked in the past: “Pádraic had at least as many close relatives in Clare as he had in Galway. He spent a year in school between Rinneen and Miltown Malbay and it was these same relatives who arranged for his subsequent education. Ó Conaire would return to West Clare almost every year up until a few years before his death.” Diarmuid hopes to put the Clare connection to rights in this reading.

Born in Galway town and reared in Connemara and Co. Clare following the deaths of his parents, Pádraic Ó Conaire (Patrick Conroy) was the most innovative Irish-language writer to emerge from the Gaelic Revival, producing much of his best work between 1901 and 1915 while working as a civil servant in London. Having returned to Ireland in 1915, he wrote profusely but unprofitably. He died in poverty in Richmond Hospital, Dublin in 1928 and was buried in Bohermore Cemetery, Galway. In his relatively short lifetime, he published more than 400 short stories, six plays and one short novel, as well as some 200 journalistic essays on a variety of topics. A statue of Ó Conaire by master sculptor Albert Power, which was commissioned by the Gaelic League, was unveiled in Eyre Square by Éamon de Valera in June 1935.

Diarmuid de Faoite’s translation is available in libraries, instore and online from,, The Ennis Bookshop, An Siopa Leabhair (Harcourt St, Dublin), Kennys, Charlie Byrne’s and Dubrays in Galway. His reading at Ennistymon Library on Wednesday 26th April at 6.30pm is free entry and all are welcome.

2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award

10 novels have been shortlisted for the 2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award (formerly the IMPAC award), sponsored by Dublin City Council and managed by Dublin City Libraries. The list includes The Green Road by Irish author, Anne Enright, six novels in translation from Angola, Austria, Denmark/Norway, Mexico, Mozambique and Turkey, and novels from Nigeria, Vietnam and the USA.

The International DUBLIN Literary Award is worth €100,000 to the winner and is the world’s most valuable annual literary award for a single work of fiction published in English. If the winning book is an English translation, €75,000 is awarded to the author and €25,000 to the translator. Books are nominated for the award by invited public libraries in cities throughout the world. The winner will be announced on June 21st.

The shortlisted titles are:
1. A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa (Angolan)
2. Confession of the Lioness by Mia Couto (Mozambican)
3. The Green Road by Anne Enright (Irish)
4. The Prophets of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine (Danish/Norwegian)
5. The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli (Mexican)
6. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Vietnamese/American) First novel.
7. Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (Nigerian-American) First novel.
8. A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk (Turkish)
9. A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler (Austrian)
10. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (American)

Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian said of the shortlist ‘Issues of conflict and communication are set against a myriad of cultural and family settings and in contemporary and historic time periods. For readers, these stories add new and absorbing characters to our circle of international literary acquaintances’.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Cruinniú na Cásca at Clare Museum

Clare Museum will be holding two family oriented events for Cruinniú na Cásca on Easter Monday, 17th April.
At 2.30pm, Storyteller Ruth Marshall will tell about traditions and stories associated with the start of spring and Easter for children aged between 7-12 years.

The museum will also host a quiz and egg hunt based around the museum exhibition, beginning at 4pm.

While the museum will be open to the public for general visitors between 2pm and 6pm, booking for these events is essential. There is a maximum of 35 children and parents permitted for each event and parents are required to be present throughout. Bookings can be made by contacting John Rattigan at

Tuesday 4 April 2017

2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist announced

This year’s six shortlisted books include one previous winner of the prize and one debut novelist with books by well –renowned authors Margaret Atwood, Annie Proulx and Rose Tremain failing to make the shortlist.

The 6 shortlisted books are:
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀ - a story of marriage and motherhood set against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria.

The Power by Naomi Alderman - a science fiction thriller imagining a world where women develop a power to hurt or kill men with a single touch.

The Dark Circle by previous prize winner Linda Grant - a story of East End London teenage twins suffering from tuberculosis, who are sent to a sanatorium in deepest Kent where they meet a very different world.

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan - a story about race and horse racing following a father and daughter who try to mould a wilful thoroughbred into a champion.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley - draws the reader into the battleground of a marriage between a mid-30s author and her older husband.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien - the story of China's Cultural Revolution told through the interwoven lives of three Chinese musical prodigies.

The prize, worth £30,000 celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women in English from throughout the world. The winner of the 2017 prize will be announced on 7 June 2017.

Monday 3 April 2017

Curtin Clan Gathering, April 21-23, 2017 at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis

“You can’t know where you are going until you know where you’ve been”, Old Irish Proverb

Ennis, County Clare, Temple Gate Hotel: The Curtin Clan will celebrate their 10th Gathering at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis on April 21-23, 2017. The Curtin Clan are a group of people with a connection to the Curtin surname that are curious about how generations before lived in Ireland. The Curtin surname is found in counties Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick. It involves an international community for genealogy, research and fellowship.

The Gathering will include speakers on the impact of the Penal Code on late 19th century Ireland, history of Curtins in Clare, Cork War of Independence, Clan DNA update, Rambling House, Gala Dinner, dancing, traditional music, Mass at the Franciscan Friary, and a tour of the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.

For registration information, visit

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Spring Into Storytime at your Local Library

Libraries in County Clare are inviting you to Spring Into Storytime this April.

Spring Into Storytime is a national library initiative taking place in all counties in the coming weeks. Parents and young children are welcome to visit any of the participating branches of Clare County Library to celebrate the importance of families reading together and sharing stories.

deValera Library Ennis will host a storytime session every Thursday morning at 11.30am during April.

Ennistymon Library’s next storytimes will be on Saturday the 25th of March and Saturday the 22nd of April and will continue once a month as usual thereafter, beginning at 11am.

Storytime at Kilkee Library will take place on Friday the 31st of March at 10.45am with special invited guests from Giggles Montessori while monthly storytime sessions continue in Kilrush Library, the next one taking place on Saturday the 11th of April at 11am.

Miltown Malbay Library will welcome the children of Spraoi playgroup to a special storytime on Thursday the 6th of April at 12 noon.

Scariff Library will host a series of Spring Into Storytime sessions on Sat the 8th of April at 12 noon, Wed 12th at 3.30pm, Sat 22nd at 12 noon and Wed 26th of April at 3.30pm.

Neighbouring Killaloe Library will also join in the fun of sharing stories and will host special Baby Bear Rhyme Time sessions for very young children and their parents at 11am on the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th of April. This series of stories will run in tandem with a separate storytime programme that will take place regularly at the branch beginning on the 27th of March and continuing on a weekly basis every Monday at 3.30pm.

Shannon Library’s storytimes will take place each Tuesday in April at 4 pm and Sixmilebridge Library will welcome the children of Tomorrow’s Child Montessori to join in a fun storytime session at the branch at 11.30am on the 4th of April.

Through this initiative which is part of the National Right to Read strategy, parents of children from toddlers to five year olds will have a special opportunity to help engage in the experience of sharing stories and laying the foundations for their little ones to become readers. Children automatically and unknowingly reach the pre-reading stage when parents begin to read stories to them and they begin to listen. This can happen in infancy and the process of becoming a reader spans the first four years of your child’s life.

During the series of scheduled storytimes in the library, children along with their parents/carers will be invited to participate in some of the most suitable stories for young children expertly chosen by staff. Simple fun activities based on the featured stories may also be planned. There will be a special focus on demonstrating to parents how best to read and share stories with your child at this crucial time. Listening to stories at an early age has a major impact on your child’s development that is guaranteed to have a lasting effect.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Public Consultation on proposed County Library for Clare

Members of the public and stakeholder groups interested in the proposed new County Library for County Clare are being asked for their input at one of seven public consultation events being held later this month. Clare County Council says the public consultation events are aimed at gathering information on the design and use of the new facility which will be developed at the site of the existing glór facility on The Causeway Link providing a new County Library and art gallery for Clare to replace the existing public Library on Harmony Row.

A full design team has been appointed to progress the design and planning phases of the new build project and Clare County Council anticipates that a planning application will be lodged in early summer 2017. Helen Walsh, Clare County Librarian commented, “The purpose of the upcoming open public consultation events is to explain the scope of the project and provide opportunity for interested stakeholder groups and individuals to share their views. Graphic explanatory materials will be on display along with informal opportunities to engage with members of the team to offer input and comments.”

The open public consultation events will be held at glór, Ennis (4.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.) on Monday 27th March, Scarriff Library (11.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.), DeValera Library, Ennis, (3.00 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.) and Shannon Library (6.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.) on Tuesday 28th March, and at Ennistymon Library (11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.) and Kilrush Library (3.00 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.) on Wednesday 29th March. Submissions will be accepted at the open events. Written submissions and observations may also be made to the County Librarian, Library Head quarters, Harmony Row, Ennis, Co. Clare by 4.00pm on the 5th of April 2017.

Clare County Council has been allocated a €3 million capital grant towards the cost of the proposed project under the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s Capital Funding Programme for Public Libraries. An additional €1 million in EU funding was also allocated from the Southern Regional Assembly’s Operational Programme 2014-2020. Clare County Council will fund the balance of €4.6 million of the overall cost of the project.

The architect-led design team appointed by Clare County Council comprises Keith Williams Architects Ltd (Architects), Ove Arup & Partners Ireland Ltd T/A Arup (Civil & Structural), Axiseng M & E Ltd T/A AxisEng (Mechanical & Electrical), AECOM Professional Services (Quantity Surveying Services) and OLM Consultancy (PSDP).

For more visit

Creative Ireland Public Consultation

Creative Ireland is the Government’s legacy programme for Ireland 2016. It is a five-year initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which places creativity at the centre of public policy and to mainstream creativity in the life of the nation. It is essentially a culture based programme designed to promote individual, community and national wellbeing. It follows the same design as the 1916/2016 programme with five pillars - the Local Authority curating the second pillar - ‘Enabling creativity in every community.’

Clare County Council and the Creative Ireland national team will host an open meeting to share details about the Programme and to explore opportunities to increase access, engagement and collaboration in the local arts and creative industries. This public consultation will take place in the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis, at 7.30pm on Thursday, 30th March 2017.

For further details please contact County Librarian, Clare Library HQ., Mill Road, Ennis, Co. Clare.
Email: Tel 065 6846350
Full details of the Creative Ireland Programme are available at

Monday 13 March 2017

Being an Archaeologist

A group of adult local history students from the Ennis campus of the Limerick Clare Education and Training Board recently took part in our first ‘Be an Archaeologist’ workshop of the year at Clare Museum. It is the first time that LCETB students have taken part in this programme, which is primarily targeted to support Transition Year programmes in Secondary Schools around the county.

Professional archaeologist Kate Taylor from TVAS Archaeological Services took the students through a power point presentation initially, and then gave them some practical experience of ‘digging’ in excavation boxes containing real artefacts. This taught the adult learners how to excavate, describe and record their finds. They also learned about radio carbon dating and how tree rings are used to date wood found in an archaeological context.

Although none of the students intend to be archaeologists in the future, the experience shed light a profession that often rouses curiosity and is frequently misunderstood. Kate also took the opportunity to discuss recent archaeological excavations and finds from around the county which was of particular interest given their area of study.

Feedback from the LCETB has been very positive, and there is a possibility of extending the programme to other adult education courses.

There are still workshops available for booking by Transition Year or community groups. Bookings for groups of up to 25 students can be made by emailing These will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Thursday 9 March 2017

Killaloe Library Craft Club featured at International Women’s Day Event

The Killaloe Library Craft Club was invited to demonstrate crafts at an International Women’s Day 2017 Event organised in Nenagh Arts Centre on Sunday 5th March. There was great interest in the display of spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet and tatting that the group put on. Mary Goss, Library Assistant at Killaloe Library, spoke about the group’s charitable knitting project making hats, cardigans and blankets for premature babies and Monica Hannaford told how the group had knitted 34 jumpers for orphans in Missionvale in South Africa.

Monday 6 March 2017

YA Book Prize 2017

The YA Book Prize established in 2014 is awarded annually to the best young adult book written by an author living in the UK or Ireland. Its aim is to showcase the best Young Adult writing by awarding the special book prize to a piece of work deemed something special by a panel of expert judges, including young people.

It is the first UK and Ireland prize to specifically focus on fiction for young adults and addresses an important need for a prize in the growing YA and teen market. It celebrates great books for teenagers and young adults and aims to get more teens reading and buying books. Previous winners of the prize are Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours (2015) and Sarah Crossan's One (2016).

The winning author receives a £2,000 prize which is presented at Hay Festival.

This year’s shortlist includes a new YA book by Francesca Simon and Ireland’s Peadar O Guilin’s The Call is also shortlisted.

Thursday 2 March 2017

Ennis Book Club Festival Children’s Programme in partnership with Clare County Library

For the first time Ennis Book Club Festival, in partnership with Clare County Library presents a children’s programme as part of the annual weekend festival running from March 3rd-5th.

Children’s events taking place over the weekend include the following:
Ruaille Buaille event with Aidan Courtney in Scéal Eile book shop in Ennis at 9am. Aidan, aka Coimicí Gael, will lead this fun, magical workshop teaching children aged 9-13* how to draw a cartoon character through the medium of Irish (no need to be fluent - a few words of Irish will be just fine!). The theme of the workshop is your favourite Harry Potter character. Some materials supplied, but children are welcome to bring their own pencils if preferred. Numbers for this event are very limited, so please come EARLY to avoid disappointment.
*Younger children welcome with older siblings
Le tacaíocht ó Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia

Book Clinic with Children’s Books Ireland on Saturday 4th March from 10am-1pm in Visit Clare, Abbey Street Car Park in Ennis.

Throughout the year Children’s Books Ireland (CBI) brings the Book Clinic around the country, working with many different partners. Parents and children are invited to drop in for an informal consultation with one of CBI’s friendly panel of Book Doctors, who are ready to offer the best advice for the young readers in the family. The visit begins with a few moments in the waiting room with the Doodle Doctors, working on a Doodle Starter and learning more about drawing as well as enjoying a selection of children’s books. When the Book Doctor is ready to see a patient, the consultation begins with some questions about books the young reader previously enjoyed as well as activities, movies, TV shows and video games they enjoy. This lets the Book Doctor know a little bit more about the patient so she can write a book prescription, which is a personalised list of books recommended for the individual patient. Every patient and their family leave with a Reading Passport containing this book prescription to take to their local library or bookshop to have it filled! Remember, the Book Clinic is always free of charge!

There will also be a Children’s Book Club event with author Caroline Busher in the De Valera Library, Ennis on Saturday 4th March at 2.30pm. This is a first for Ennis Book Club Festival, to include a children’s book club event. Festival organisers and Library staff are very excited and hope many young people will come along to meet Caroline and discuss the book. It could even be the start of a new children’s book club in De Valera Library, Ennis so we want to call out to all 11 & 12 year-old readers to come along to this free but ticketed event. Call De Valera Library on 065-6846353 for more information.

Ennis Book Club Festival and Clare County Library also partnered for this year’s Teen Week at the Library with events featuring authors E.R. Murray and Dave Rudden in the libraries in Ennis and Ennistymon.

For all details of the Ennis Book Club Festival visit

The 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal

Recently an unexpected package arrived by mail from the Irish Defence Force HQ in County Kildare. The package contained a sample 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal, one of a type presented by President Michael D. Higgins to all members of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps to mark the fact that the Defence Forces had played such a prominent role in the commemorations to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising.

The medal has a familiar look to it, which is intentional according to documentation that was included in the package. It explains that, as the Defence Forces trace their origins to the foundation of the Irish Volunteers in November 1913, the medal was designed to reflect the tradition of the original 1916 medal but was made respectfully different in deference to the men and women of 1916 to whom the original medal was awarded.

The documentation also explains that because of the prominent role played by the Defence Forces at local authority level during the commemorations, it is considered appropriate to provide local authority museums with a sample for our collections.

We at Clare Museum would like to thank the Defence Forces for their generosity. The medal is a welcome addition to our collection and will serve as a tangible link to the centenary commemorations in the years to come.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Waterstones Book of the Year 2016

Historical novel The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry has beaten the likes of J K Rowling and Beatrix Potter to be crowned the Waterstones Book of the Year for 2016.

Described as “a novel of rare intelligence”, it was voted “overwhelmingly” as the title which booksellers were most proud to recommend to customers Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890s, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two people who fall for each other, despite agreeing on absolutely nothing. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned.

Monday 20 February 2017

Balancing Care with Access: Patrick Brennan’s Autograph Book

In a previous blog post, we told the story of how Clare Museum acquired Patrick Brennan’s Frongoch autograph book and its significance as a link between County Clare and the Easter Rising in 1916. The autograph book records the names, thoughts, hopes and political aspirations of fifty-four Frongoch internees from all over Ireland and is beautifully illustrated, but since its acquisition it has been mostly in storage and away from the public eye. It is probably no surprise then that as part of Clare’s contribution to mark the centenary of the Rising, the opportunity was taken to place this album of signatures in the long-term exhibition at Clare Museum.

However, early in the planning there was an awareness that, paradoxically, placing the autograph book on public display would actually restrict access in many ways as only two pages can be displayed to the viewer at any one time. The decision to display the item would also pose another problem which would become apparent over time: in order to make it available to researchers it would require the autograph book to be taken off exhibition for periods, while the handling of its delicate pages would place it at increased risk of damage and deterioration.

In order to overcome these restrictions to access while simultaneously protecting the artefact, it was decided early on to produce a book as a resource that would make available the original material the autograph book contains. With funding provided by the Clare 1916 Programme, Dr Tomás Mac Conmara, oral historian and an expert on Clare during the Irish War of Independence was commissioned to research and write the text of the publication.

Titled ‘An Interpretive Guide to Patrick Brennan’s Autograph Book’, Dr Mac Conmara provided biographical notes on each of the signatories and translations from Irish to English of their compositions. He also provided an analysis of both the compositions and of life in Frongoch as experienced by the internees.

In addition, because the Clare 1916 Programme provided the funding for the printing of the book, it became possible to provide the ‘Guide’ free of charge to the public. Dr Mac Conmara’s research and the funding received for publication has allowed the museum to provide:

- The widest possible access to the original document.
- An educational resource for adult learners, students, local historians and the general public
- Reduced risk of damage the original document through handling

In addition, the project allowed the museum and the Clare 1916 Programme to:
- Provide scholarly research for our objects as outlined in our Exhibition Policy
- Provide a significant souvenir for the people of Clare of the county’s contribution to the centenary commemorations.

Patrick Brennan’s Autograph Book is on display in the Riches of Clare exhibition at Clare Museum, where admission is free.
The Interpretive Guide was launched on 22nd December, 2016, to bookend the Clare’s commemorative programme. It is available to the public at Clare Museum.

Thursday 2 February 2017

2016 Costa Book of the Year

Sebastian Barry has become the first novelist to win the Costa Book of the Year a second time. His latest book Days Without End has been announced as the winner of the 2016 overall award. The book, set in 1850s America, tells the story of Sligo-born comrades and lovers Thomas McNulty and John Cole. The chair of the judging panel described the book's gay relationship as "one of the most wonderful depictions of love in fiction". The Dublin-born author was inspired to write about a gay relationship after his son came out.

Barry previously won the Costa Book of the Year award, regarded as one of the UK’s most prestigious literary awards, for his novel The Secret Scripture in 2008.

Celebrating books across five categories – novel, first novel, children’s fiction, poetry and biography – the Costa awards shortlist four writers in each category, with the winner in each then eligible to win the overall book of the year award which attracts a prize of €35,000.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

The Big Picture Event with PJ Lynch and Eoin Colfer

Photo © Peter Cavanagh taken at dlr Lexicon, 20 Nov 2015

Clare County Library in association with glór welcomes Laureates na nÓg past and present to Ennis on February the 15th 2017.

At a special schools event for 5th and 6th classes, teachers and pupils are invited to attend a live drawing experience by current Laureate PJ Lynch. PJ will be accompanied by fellow award-winning, world renowned author and ex Laureate Eoin Colfer.

Visiting schools will learn about PJ's illustrations for Patrick and the President, a book created with broadcaster Ryan Tubridy. Eoin Colfer will share his well-known stories with special emphasis on Once Upon a Place, a collection of short stories and poems collated during his time as Laureate na nÓg. The event will end with one lucky audience member having their portrait drawn by PJ, with some assistance from Eoin and the audience!

School bookings can be made by contacting Clare County Library at tel. no. 065 6846266.

PJ Lynch was appointed the fourth Laureate na nÓg in May 2016. An exhibition of his paintings will be available for viewing in glór from Friday the 3rd of February to Sat 25th February. This is a unique opportunity for visitors to the arts centre during the coming month, including teachers and schoolchildren, to see the work of one of the finest illustrators of children's books of all times.

Entitled the 'Pilgrims, Princesses and Beardy Old Men Exhibition' the collection of original paintings by the award-winning Irish artist includes pictures from the million-selling The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, and classics such as Dickens' A Christmas Carol right up to the newly published The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, as well as PJ's charcoal drawings for Once Upon A Place, a new anthology of stories by top Irish writers compiled by Eoin Colfer. PJ Lynch has worked as a children's book illustrator for many years. He has lectured on his own work, and on Art and Illustration at the National Gallery of Ireland, The National Library of Ireland and at the National Print Museum of Ireland, as well as at numerous conferences and colleges across the U.S.

Museum Advocacy, Survey and ‘1916 Around the County’

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys launched Museums Advocacy Day in the National Library of Ireland on Wednesday November 30th 2016. The event was organised by the Local Authority Museums Network (LAMN), working in partnership with the Irish Museums Association (IMA) and with the assistance and support of the Heritage Council. Clare Museum is one of the twelve local authority members that make up the museum network.

The key focus of the day was to highlight the significant work of museums on our island, both north and south of the border, with a particular emphasis on the role museums played in this historic year of commemoration. Museums across the country, working in collaboration with communities, have brought epic tales of passion, patriotism and sacrifice to the public in an array of thought-provoking and engaging exhibitions and events.

The Minister also officially launched the LAMN’s new exhibition ‘1916 Across the Country’ and the IMA’s new Irish Museums Survey. This exhibition was developed by the LAMN to provide a snapshot of some of the key stories brought to light through the work of the local authority museums that make up the network. Clare Museum’s contribution, highlighted in an earlier blog post, features the Committal Form of Countess Markievicz from May 1916.

The exhibition represents the key role played by museums in exploring and presenting the story of 1916 to millions of visitors throughout the year. This point was highlighted by Minister Humphreys when she referred to the legacy of the 1916 year of commemorations and the vital part that the museum sector has and will play in the future development of the heritage sector in Ireland.

The Irish Museum Survey was carried out by the IMA in partnership with University College Dublin and is the first comprehensive quantitative and qualitative survey of Irish museums, north and south, for more than a decade. The report shows that more than six million people visit Irish museums annually and also outlines the challenges being faced by our museums, with the effects of the economic recession clearly evidenced since the last report in 2004. The real value of the survey is that it provides the tools to make evidence-based arguments both for the importance of museums and the need for increasing the supports available to them.

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Sebastian Barry wins Costa Novel award for the second time

Sebastian Barry's Days Without End has been announced as the Costa Novel Award Winner 2016 . Barry's The Secret Scripture won the award in 2008. The judges described the novel as
“A miracle of a book - both epic and intimate - that manages to create spaces for love and safety in the noise and chaos of history”.

The novel tells the story of Thomas McNulty and John Cole who have fled 1850s Sligo to rebuild their lives in America. Fighting in the Indian wars and the Civil War, they find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and endangered when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

The Costa Children's Book Award Winner 2016 was another author of Irish interest, Brian Conaghan. Brian was born and raised in the Scottish town of Coatbridge but now lives in Dublin. His winning novel is The Bombs That Brought Us Together

It tells the story of Charlie Law lives in Little Town almost on the border with Old Country where over there he has heard that life is better even though you play by the rules. No one argues with the Rascals who run it and most especially not with the Big Man. Charlie becomes friends with Pavel from Old Country, a dangerous liaison that will force him to make impossible decisions. When the bombs come Charlie must decide between country or friend, trust or betrayal, future or past, right or wrong. Nationalism, war, refugees, trust and friendship are the major themes explored in this thought-provoking novel that will surprisingly make you laugh while you consider such serious issues.

What the Costa judges said about The Bombs That Brought Us Together:
“Timely yet also hilariously funny, Bombs is a necessary take on modern life in extraordinary circumstances.”

The Costa Book Awards honour some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. There are five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - with one of the five winners chosen as Book of the Year, announced at an awards ceremony in London every January. This year the ceremony will be held on January 31st.