Thursday, 26 May 2016

Bobby Gardiner and friends playing at his TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award 2015

"Bobby Gardiner is a legendary accordion player and teacher. He was born in the townland of Aughdarra near Lisdoonvarna in north Clare in 1939. There was music in the blood. His mother, Dilly, played a German two- row concertina and from her he learned his first tune – the fling What the devil ails you? His brother introduced him to a new Hohner two-row button accordion and after that, Bobby bought a grey Paolo Soprani accordion.

"An elderly concertina player by the name of Margie Flanagan lived near his grandparents’ house and her hearty style also left an impression on young Bobby. Later, he was also influenced by the recordings of Tipperary man Paddy O’Brien’s and his mastery of the B/C system of accordion-playing. He had also heard and greatly admired all the old masters on the 78 gramophone recordings – Coleman, Killoran, Morrison, John Kimmell and box player Michael Grogan. Other influences included the piper Patsy Touhy, flute player John McKenna and the Flanagan Brothers.

"He remembers vividly playing for mummers’ dances (Wren Boys) which lasted all night. He had many sessions with the Russell brothers, Paddy Killourihy, Willie hannon, Gerald O’Loughlin and Tom Doolan on fiddles, Micilín Conlon, Tommy Scullane, Murt O’Dwyer, and Peter Griffin on accordions and Chris Droney on concertina. Pattey Flanagan of Doonagore, Doolin was another influence as he had a rare collection of tunes, some with different versions. In the 1950s, he joined the Kilfenora Céilí Band and also played with Malachy Sweeney’s Céilí Band from Armagh." Posted on Youtube on the 19th of February 2015 by TG4.

Explore County Clare

Posted on Youtube on the 22nd of May 2016 by Cacogee Multimedia.

Walking on Black Head, County Clare

"Some HD footage of my adventures today on Black Head "mountain" in County Clare, Ireland!" Posted on Youtube on the 16th of May 2016 by Esther Kempen.

Surfing in Lahinch, County Clare, March 2016

Surfing in Lahinch, County Clare, March 2016. Posted on Youtube on the 21st of March 2016 by Jonathan Marr.

International Dublin Literary Award 2016 - Shortlisted Titles

Public libraries around the world nominate titles for the International Dublin Literary Award (formerly known as the Impac award), which typically results in an eclectic shortlist of prizewinners and less well-known titles - and 2016 is no exception. Four novels in translation have made the shortlist: Outlaws by Spanish author Javier Cercas; The End of Days by German author Jenny Erpenbeck; Diary of the Fall by Brazilian author Michel Laub; and Our Lady of the Nile by Rwandan author Scholastique Mukasonga. There are two debut novels on the list and one each by Man Booker winner Marlon James and Pulitzer prize winner Marilynne Robinson. Irish novelist Mary Costello’s Academy Street is also on the shortlist.

At €100,000 the prize is the world’s most lucrative for a single novel published in English and is open to novelists of any nationality. The winner of the 2016 award will be announced on June 9th.

The novels shortlisted for the 2016 International Award are:

Outlaws by Javier Cercas
Academy Street by Mary Costello
Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers
The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub
Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga
Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Family Life by Akhil Sharma

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Funding Available for National Play Day and National Recreation Week

Clare County Council invites applications from groups who wish to provide recreational and play activities to children and young people under 18 years for National Recreation Week (3rd - 9th July 2016) and National Play Day (3rd July 2016).

This fund is targeted at groups who wish to provide “Commemorating 1916” themed activities for children and young people under 18 years for either of these events. This financial assistance is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

National Play Day is generally targeted at children up to 12 years and National Recreation Week targets the 12-18 age group.

The award criteria will include:

Relevance to the theme & age category
The use of the grant
The focus of the activity
The number of participants
The date or dates over which the activity will run
The likelihood that the activity will be undertaken regularly by young people after the Recreation Week and Play day is ended
The level of matching resources (financial and personnel) that will be contributed by the promoting organisation

A brief application form and further details are available from the Tourism & Community Development Department, Clare County Council, Arás Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare, Tel 065-6846511. Email

Closing date for receipt of applications is 4.00pm on 3rd June 2016.

Plymouth University Students visit Clare Museum for Famine Emigration Project

Recently, eight Stage Two Geography students from Plymouth University visited Clare Museum as part of a week-long field trip to Western Ireland. They had chosen to carry out projects researching emigration from County Clare during the years of the Great Famine.

During their visit they spent two days researching archival sources held at the Clare Local Studies Centre where they were assisted by Peter Beirne, while Clare Museum staff had the pleasure of giving them a talk about emigration during the famine years.

In subsequent correspondence Plymouth University Geography Lecturer, Dr Nichola Harmer, who supervised the students’ projects, said:

“We were very grateful to John Rattigan for giving us a really informative talk about the causes, impacts and historical legacies of the Great Famine and the relationship between the famine and emigration from County Clare. This really helped the students to gain a deeper insight into the events of the time and they found the talk both thought-provoking and moving.”

The museum was delighted to assist the Plymouth students and it is a good example of the direction the museum is headed as an educational resource. An Education Policy is being drafted at present as the museum pursues Full Accreditation under the Heritage Council’s Museums Standards Programme for Ireland.

The policy is not only intended to make the museum more relevant to the primary and secondary school curricula, but will also provide support to national and international universities and will develop the museum as a resource for life-long learning.

The visit also highlighted the paucity of artefacts related to the Great Famine in the museum, a phenomenon shared by many museum collections. This is not surprising when one considers that those most deeply affected by the famine were the poorest in society, with few material possessions. It is also undoubtedly influenced by the meaning we give to and the memories provoked by objects – we are not inclined to treasure objects associated with trauma and they are consequently less likely to survive over time.

Of course, if you do happen to have an object or document that dates to the period of the Great Famine in County Clare, and would like to donate it to the museum, you can find out what would be involved here.

Such items would be a wonderful addition to the museum’s collection and would assist the museum in its educational programmes for schools and institutions such as Plymouth University in the future.

Image above shows museum curator John Rattigan (centre) and the eight students from Plymouth University at Clare Museum.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Liam O'Brien & Cian Talty play some reels at Concertina Cruinniú, Miltown Malbay 2016

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

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

"Clare Egan with Terence O'Reilly at the Corofin Traditional Festival on March 2, 2016. #04." Posted on Youtube on the 3rd of March 2016 by Niamhaines.

The Kilfenora Céilí Band with set dancers at Kilfenora Music Festival 2016

The Kilfenora Céilí Band with set dancers at Kilfenora Music Festival 2016. Posted on Youtube on the 1st of May 2016 by doolinmusic.