Thursday, 1 December 2016

Clare County Council wins Excellence in Local Government Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 28 November 2016

Library Ireland Week 2016

Library Ireland Week 2016 will take place from 28th November to 4th December. Every year the library service celebrates its worth during this week, a week that raises the profile of libraries and information service professionals and gives libraries and information services the opportunity to showcase their resources, facilities, events, contacts and services through different programs and events. The theme of this year’s Library Ireland Week is Libraries: empowering through online access and the focus is on the incredible range of online resources available in our libraries. It is an opportunity for librarians and information professionals to remind everyone that there’s more to libraries than books, and to highlight the amazing array of online resources and services that are provided and which can be accessed anytime, anywhere and at the flick of a fingertip. There will be a host of activities taking place in libraries to celebrate the week that will reflect the multi-faceted nature of library and information services across the country.

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

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

Clare County Library invites you to visit any, or all, of their fifteen branches throughout the county and rediscover what is available to you from your local library service. You’ll discover a whole world of books, CDs, DVDs and more. Surf the internet or check your email at the free internet access points. You could begin tracing your family tree at the Local Studies Centre. Get information about all of the free events that take place at your library throughout the year for both adults and children, including story time sessions, arts & craft sessions, Internet/computer classes, workshops, author visits, exhibitions and much more. You may even join one of the many clubs including children's, adult and teenage book clubs and movie clubs.

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

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

William Trevor 1928 - 2016

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

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 21 November 2016

Clare’s Rebecca Ryan at Irish Book Awards 2016

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

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

The category winners are

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

Monday, 14 November 2016

Irish Book Awards 2016

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

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Clare County Library celebrates Science Week 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Man Booker Prize Winner 2016

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

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

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

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

Volunteering at Clare Museum – Case Study 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Children's Book Festival 2016 at Clare County Library

'There's So Much in a Book!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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