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.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Launch of Clare County Library's Toy and Sensory Resource Collection in Shannon Library

Clare County Library will launch their Toy and Sensory Resource Collection in Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon on Friday, 16 December at 11am. This collection provides a service for children with complex needs and their families in County Clare. The aim of the collection is to support both these children and their parents in choosing and utilising these specialist resources for the developmental growth of the children. Clare Library has selected over 70 assistive toys which were purchased specifically to meet the requirements of children with complex needs. These toys were selected with the advice of speech and language therapists, special education needs organisers and occupational therapists. Items for lending include sensory and tactile toys, toys that build on fine and gross motor skills and toys that help develop play and life skills.

The collection is housed in Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon but is a county-wide resource and items for borrowing can be delivered to any branch throughout the county. For more information phone Shannon Library at 061-364266 or ask at the desk.

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.