Wednesday, 30 April 2014

New book on County Clare in the late Middle Ages

Clerical and learned lineages of Medieval Co. Clare: a survey of the fifteenth-century papal registers by Luke McInerney was launched recently in Dysert O’Dea Castle, County Clare. The book takes as its core argument Robin Flower’s proposition that there was an unbroken link between hereditary learned families and the medieval Irish Church. It develops the proposition by surveying fifteenth-century church appointments in Co. Clare. The study reveals how extensive those connections were and, despite reforms, there was no clear severance between the ecclesiastical world and the custodians of the native monastic church. The old clerical lineages remained material elements in the structures of the medieval Irish Church, alongside members of the learned class and aristocratic families. This survey provides a template for bringing all of this together, marshalling an array of original source materials in Latin, Irish and English. Many of the sources are printed for the first time and will be of interest to the historian, archaeologist and genealogist alike. The book is important for the study of Co Clare’s history because so much of the county’s places and families are mentioned, including many obscure references in Irish and Latin language sources. Medieval families of Co. Clare come alive in the book through detailed genealogical tables and the book contains extensive appendices, including all clerical appointments to parishes in Co Clare and an easy-to-use glossary of terms, and lists of surnames with their Irish-English equivalents.

According to the Trinity College medievalist, Dr Katherine Simms: “Students of Irish church history, Gaelic cultural history, Irish historical geography, family and local history are all indebted to Luke McInerney for such a detailed and intensive examination of the ecclesiastical and learned lineages of Co. Clare in the late Middle Ages. Never before has the evidence for this county been brought together in such a comprehensive and detailed manner, and employed to answer such fundamental questions about medieval Irish church and society. This will certainly remain an invaluable reference work for many years to come.“

Photo above shows author Luke McInerney (on right) with Eddie Lenihan at the launch of Clerical and learned lineages of Medieval Co. Clare: a survey of the fifteenth-century papal registers in Dysert O’Dea Castle, County Clare

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Three debut novels on Baileys shortlist

Three debut novels are among the six books shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Previously known as the Orange Prize, the Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.

Eimear McBride’s first novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. McBride grew up in the West of Ireland and her book has already been critically acclaimed having won the the Goldsmiths Prize (a prize that rewards fiction that breaks the mould or opens up new possibilities for the novel form) and been shortlisted for the inaugural Folio Prize.

Former Irish Times journalist Audrey Magee is shortlisted for her debut novel The Undertaking a love story set during the second world war and tackling the battle of Stalingrad.

The third debut novelist on the shortlist is Australian Hannah Kent whose book Burial Rites, inspired by a true story, tells of the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

The other three books on the shortlist are by well established prize-winning authors.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian writer whose Half of a Yellow Sun won the prize in 2007, is shortlisted for Americanah. The Pulitzer prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland - the story of two brothers brought up in Calcutta in the late 1960s - was shortlisted for last year's Man Booker Prize. Donna Tartt completes the list with her best-seller The Goldfinch. Chair of judges Helen Fraser said each of this year’s shortlisted books was “original and extraordinary in its own way” and offered “something different and exciting and illuminating”.

The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced in London on June 4th 2014.

Irish Water - New Contact for Water Services

Clare County Council wishes to advise our customers and the public that as and from Tuesday April 29th 2014, we will not be dealing directly with public queries and complaints in relation to water and waste water services throughout the county.

Instead, you are asked to please ring Irish Water on Lo-Call number 1890 278 278. This is a consequence of Irish Water taking over the role as Water Services Authority. In our capacity as agents for Irish Water, Clare County Council will be tasked with investigating and carrying out any required work but only following instruction from Irish Water. Please be advised that if you do ring the Council offices, we will be unable to transfer your call. Until further notice, we will continue to deal with Group Scheme queries, New Connection queries and Non domestic Billing issues.

Out of Hours queries (Night time and Weekend) will continue to be dealt with as normal by ringing the Council Emergency Service on 087-4169496. Thank you for your assistance and understanding.

Monday, 28 April 2014

World Book Night in Scariff Library

World Book Night 2014 was celebrated in Scariff Public Library in musical fashion as the talented teens of Scariff and the surrounding areas came out to perform in an open mic night held in the library. Free book giveaways on the night, ‘Hello Mum’ by Bernadine Evaristo and ‘The Recruit’ by Robert Muchamore, targeted young adults, encouraging those who had lost the love of reading – or were yet to gain it – to pick up a book and read. A relaxed friendly atmosphere was the order of the night and it was great to see so many performers courageously stepping in front of the microphone - with not one shaky voice to be heard! Teens present on the night were reminded of the young adult events taking place in the library including a monthly teen book club and teen film night which are free and open to all.

‘Battle of Clontarf’ in Limerick Museum

The recently rediscovered historic painting of The Battle of Clontarf comes home to Brian Boru territory to mark the millennium of his death in 1014. The display over the coming summer months complements the Hunt Museum’s recent Symposium on Brian Boru addressed by well-known medieval scholar Prof Sean Duffy, Fellow of TCD.

Fresh from its recent display at the Casino Marino (near the Clontarf site of the original battle) the very large-scale painting (1826) captures evocatively the bloodshed and scale of battle on that fateful Good Friday 1014. ‘Although a fanciful work from the nineteenth century’ said Museum director Dr Hugh Maguire, ‘the painting nonetheless has a considerable emphasis on accuracy from the sweep of Dublin bay to capturing the slaughter and clamour of a battlefield’.

Formerly in the collection of the Isaacs Art Center, Hawaii, USA, the painting by Hugh Frazer (1795-1865) is now owned by Kildare Partners who have kindly loaned the painting to the Hunt Museum for the summer period. It was originally in a private Irish collection until moved to the USA many decades ago.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Sharon Shannon & Friends - Aggie's Waltz and Sally May Melia

Sharon Shannon on stage for a New Year's Eve gig in the INEC, Killarney, 31st December 2009, playing Aggie's Waltz and Sally May Melia. Posted on Youtube on the 16th of March 2014 by TG Craic.

The Céilí Bandits - Concert Reel & Lad O'Beirne's

County Clare's Céilí Bandits play The Concert Reel & Lad O'Beirne's, with a video made in Fanore, Spanish Point and Liscannor, County Clare, by band member Quentin Cooper. Other members of the Céilí Bandits include Eoin O'Neill, Yvonne Casey, and Jon O'Connell. Posted on Youtube on the 23rd of April 2014 by burrencrawler.

Pathé News: De Valera Ireland Arrested in Ennis, 1923

During the Civil War of 1922-1923 between the pro-Treaty Provisional Government under Michael Collins and its opponents, Eamonn de Valera supported the anti-Treaty Republicans. An ‘Emergency Government’ was formed by the Republicans with de Valera as president. In May 1923 the Republicans called a cease fire and resistance ended. De Valera was arrested on 15 August 1923, under the Public Safety Act, as he was about to make a speech at Ennis and was imprisoned until July 1924. Despite this, Clare elected de Valera top of the poll in the general election on 27 August 1923. Eamonn de Valera continued to represent Clare for the rest of his active political career. Posted on Youtube on the 13th of April 2014 by British Pathé.

A magical Easter 2014 surprise in Kilrush

"On Easter Sunday morning, the residents of Kilrush, County Clare, woke up to a surprise Easter treat." Posted on Youtube on the 20th of April 2014 by Tesco Ireland.

Sunset walk at Cliffs of Moher

"A short walk at the Cliffs of Moher - filmed with GoPro 3." Posted on Youtube on the 17th of April 2014 by Bela Szilagyi.

Scariff Harbour Festival 2013

Scariff Harbour Festival 2013. This years Scariff Harbour Festival 2014 dates are 1st to 3rd August. Posted on Youtube on the 17th of April 2014 by Julia Kramer.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

University of Limerick Local History MA

In the Local History MA (2 year part time programme), students are introduced to key sources and approaches that can be applied and used for a local history of any place and the central themes are people, time and space.

The modules start in week one of the autumn semester in September 2014 and the classes are between 6.30 and 9.30 on Wed evenings - there are three modules in semester one from weeks 1-4, 5-8, 9 to 12. The second year of the programme is devoted to the dissertation when the student works with the supervisor and attends three workshops in each semester when the class and all supervisors meet.

The programme is part time so the fee is €2,800 for each of the two years. The fee can be paid in instalments, there is also some tax relief available on it (information available on the Revenue Commissioners website: and the Dept of History, UL, can provide some assistance. See for more information.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Mood-boosting books

If you are feeling stressed, depressed or just want a bit of a pick-me-up, boost your mood with an uplifting read. Reading has been shown to help to reduce stress levels and the UK Reading Agency has asked readers to recommend books which gave them a lift. The result is a list of uplifting titles comprising novels, non-fiction and poetry including humorous and reflective writing.

The Mood-boosting books list and a copy of each of the recommended books is available in each branch of Clare County Library. The titles on the list are:

Bee Journal by Sean Borodale
Dart by Alice Oswald
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Staying Alive: real poems for unreal times edited by Neil Astley
Being Alive: the sequel to Staying alive edited by Neil Astley
Being Human: the companion anthology to Staying alive and Being alive edited by Neil Astley
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
A Sea Change by Veronica Henry
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend
Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen
The Thread by Victoria Hislop
Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd
Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
Turned out Nice Again by Richard Mabey
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka

Further lists of mood-boosting books are available on

Easter Crafts at Ennistymon Public Library

An Easter craft session was facilitated by staff member Caitriona Lucas on Wednesday 16th April at Ennistymon Library. Caitriona inspired a group of very happy children on their holidays from school to produce a selection of decorations including mobiles, Easter bunnies, chicks and eggs to brighten up the newly enhanced children’s space at the branch.

The Books That Define Ireland

A new book entitled The Books That Define Ireland, by academics Tom Garvin and Bryan Fanning is bound to provoke much discussion and debate. The authors look at the key books that capture the development of Irish social and political thought from the 17th Century to the present day. Ranging from history and social issues to the fictional worlds of Flann O’Brien and Edna O’Brien, the authors believe that these books have had "a transformative effect on the course of Irish history and society". The twenty-nine chapters each deal with one or two books in detail while mentioning other works that address the same issue and in all, over 50 books scattered over three centuries are touched on or discussed at length. To see the list see

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Edel Fox - TG4 Young Musician of the Year 2004

In 2004, Edel Fox, from Miltown Malbay, County Clare, was awarded the TG4 Gradam Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana (Young Musician of the Year). "Gradam Ceoil TG4 presents the Young Musician's award to instrumentalists from all parts of Ireland who are just a small example of the thousands of young men and women who are the future of Irish music." Posted on Youtube on the 7th of April 2014 by TG4.

Kieran Hanrahan and The Banjo Heads

County Clare's Kieran Hanrahan playing with The Banjo Heads in the Grand Hall Rathmines, Dublin. Posted on Youtube on the 15th of October 2013 by Jamaicankiwis.

New Song For The Morning - Los Paddys de Las Pampas in Ennistymon

Los Paddys de Las Pampas play "New Song For The Morning" in the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 20th of January 2014 by Paddy Mulcahy.

Siúil, A Rúin - Peneleapaí & Kieran Glas, Killaloe

Peneleapaí and Kieran Glas play Siúil, A Rúin at the Ponte Vecchio restaurant in Killaloe. A "Sunday living room concert", 9th February 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 15th of February 2014 by peneleapai.

Irish-American Wedding, Newmarket-on-Fergus, 1954

A Pathé News film of the wedding in Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, of Deirdre O'Brien, daughter of Lord and Lady Inchiquin of Dromoland Castle, and Dr Horace Beecher Chapin of New York. Posted on Youtube on the 13th of April 2014 by British Pathé.

Michael Tierney of Ennis, July 1989

"This is a brief and rare video clip of the late Michael Tierney taken in 1989 in the town of Ennis, County Clare. He was one of the town's funniest and greatest characters. He was honest,loving, kind and totally true to himself and everyone around him. He was much loved when he was alive and delivering his newspapers and he is still loved and fondly remembered today. He was one of a kind and one of the last true personalities of his generation." Posted on Youtube on the 29th of September 2010 by bernard dilger.

See also "I Could Have Danced All Night, an RTE radio documentary [by Brian O'Connell] about the life of Michael Tierney, a man described as one of the last great characters of County Clare."

Killaloe & Ballina St. Patrick's Festival 2013

Killaloe & Ballina St. Patrick's Festival 2013. Posted on Youtube on the 20th of March 2013 by DergProductions.

Cranny-Coolmeen vs Killimer in the Clare National School Football Final 1997

Cranny-Coolmeen vs Killimer in the County Clare National School Football Final 1997 which took place in Cooraclare, County Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 20th of February 201 by IrishLurker.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Clare County Library presents One County One Book 2014

Clare County Library is inviting adults and children of County Clare to read, discuss, share and experience the same book by participating in a One County One Book programme. The title chosen for adults is Lion of Ireland by Morgan Llywelyn, while the chosen children’s title is Brian Ború: Emperor of the Irish, also by Morgan Llywelyn. These titles were chosen in keeping with the initiatives taking place throughout the county this year to commemorate Brian Ború and the millennium of The Battle of Clontarf. It is hoped that as many people as possible will read these books between April and October 2014 and enjoy the events that are planned at the library to enhance the reading experience. Copies of the books will be available for borrowing at all branch libraries.

The One County One Book initiative will be officially launched in De Valera Public Library, Harmony Row, Ennis on Wednesday 23rd April at 7.30pm. This date coincides with the millennial anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf and the death of Brian Ború. It is also the date on which World Book Night will be celebrated. Michael Moylan will bring his Irish History Live show to the library on the evening when he will enthrall the audience, adults and children, with his interactive show. He will provide hands-on experience of what life was like in the time of Brian Ború. Many more events are planned in the following months as part of the programme including visits by author Morgan Llywelyn, historical talks, quizzes, competitions and a touring Brian Ború exhibition that has been produced by Clare County Library. This programme is a chance for the whole county to rediscover a love of books and reading and to promote a renewed sense of community spirit in sharing that reading experience with each other.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Glór Summer Open Submission Exhibition

Glór is delighted to invite submissions from artists, both established and emerging, who are resident in County Clare. The exhibition will be held at Glór and will officially be opened on Friday 6th June 2014. The exhibition will be selected by an independent curator and decisions are final. More than one piece may be selected for exhibit from successful submissions. The exhibition is open to Clare based artists only. The exhibition is open to wall mounted work only, (could include 2D & 3D). Please note that work in other formats, including digital, is not eligible. The closing date for entries is Friday 25 April 2014. Submissions and queries to Please click here for guidelines and application form.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Bobby Casey & Roger Sherlock - Irish music in London

"Short clip of an Irish session in London. Features Bobby Casey (fiddle), Roger Sherlock (flute). The reels are 'The Duke of Leinster/The Duke Of Leinster's Wife/The Green Groves Of Erin'." Posted on Youtube on the 18th of February 2014 by Douglas Hadden.

Stephanie Keane Sean Nós dancing with Bobby Gardiner in Lisdoonvarna

"At a House party in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, in October 2013 the Sean Nós Dancer Stephanie Keane does a Sean Nós Dance with Bobby Gardiner accompanying her with the music." Posteed on Youtube on the 7th of February 2014 by Stonecrackeder.

The Clew Bay Critters - Walking The Dog, Shannonside Winter Music Weekend

The Clew Bay Critters play Rufus Thomas's Walking The Dog at the Shannonside Winter Music Weekend in Bunratty Castle, County Clare, in January 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 22nd of January 2014 by Hugh Carthy.

The Music & the Story - Brock McGuire Band & Mississippi Symphony Orchestra

County Clare's Brock McGuire Band and Mississippi's Symphony Orchestra celebrate the connection between Irish and American music at a benefit concert for The McCoy House for Sober Living in Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Posted on Youtube on the 13th of March 2014 by newsocracy.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I Was Happy Here, Lahinch and Ennistymon 1966

Scenes from the 1966 film I was Happy Here, starring Sarah Miles as Cass who returns to her home in County Clare from London and remembers her life with her first love Colin (Sean Caffrey). In this clip, Cass walks down the promenade in Lahinch, and by the miracle of cinema then turns the corner to immediately arrive at the top of Main Street, Ennistymon. Later scenes feature Lahinch beach and Dough Castle. Posted on Youtube on the 6th of April 2014 by Paul Thompson.

Féile Brian Ború, Killaloe & Ballina

"The Féile celebrates the life and legacy Brian Boru, the most famous son of the historic twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina. The event has been running since 1993, but since 2012 has received a huge boost in size and scope, with the 2013 Gathering and building towards the 2014 millennial celebrations of Brian Ború's final stand at Clontarf... Killaloe and Ballina may never again regain their status as Ireland's capital, but they will certainly prove the place to be (or to visit) over the next few years." Posted on Youtube on the 17th of September 2013 by DergProductions.

The Burren, County Clare, by TourIreland

"The Burren in County Clare is one of the most interesting landscapes in Ireland. One of the largest Kart-landscapes, it is a unique habitat for many animals and flowers. Add to that various man-made monuments and you have a interesting destination for everybody. Plan your visit today!" Posted on Youtube on the 4th of April 2014 by Tourireland.

Cornelius Shanahan’s Boxer Rebellion Medal in Clare Museum

During the days of the British Empire, many Clare men travelled overseas in military uniform in the service of the crown. One such soldier was Ennis-born Cornelius Shanahan who was awarded a campaign medal for his service in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. An inscription along the edge of the medal reads “3636 Spr. Cornelius Shanahan R.E”. The medal was donated to the museum at Clare County Library some time before its transfer to Clare Museum in 2000.

In 2010, his granddaughter Nora researched his military service record and generously shared this information with Clare Museum. The records show that Cornelius enlisted in the British Army on 4th September, 1899. At the time of enlistment the following information about him was recorded:

Age: 19 years and 7 months
Height: 5 feet 5 ¼ inches
Weight: 175 lbs
Chest measurement: 38 inches minimum
Complexion: fresh
Eyes: blue
Hair: brown
Distinguishing Marks: two scars on his right elbow

Following his enlistment, Cornelius was assigned the rank of Sapper and given the Regimental number 3636. He was then sent to the 12th Field Company, Corp of Royal Engineers to start his training as a soldier. On 12th July 1900, having completed his training and having served a total of 311 days in Britain, he was deployed with his unit to Wei Hai Wei in China. The Boxer Rebellion was underway and it is likely he saw action during his time there, which lasted one year and 263 days. He was transferred from China to Hong Kong on 16th May, 1902 and was on duty there for 45 days before being posted to Gibraltar. He would spend the next two years and 331 days at this Mediterranean outpost carrying out duties in support of the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa.

Cornelius arrived back on British soil on 12th April, 1905 and on 26th May the following year he was promoted to the rank of Sapper 1st Class. He re-entered civilian life on the 4th September 1911 and was transferred to the 1st Class Army Reserve. As a reservist he received a gratuity of £8-72d.

At the outbreak of the First World War Cornelius was mobilized, along with thousands of other reservists. He entered Kilworth Camp in County Cork on 6th August, 1914 and was deployed to France with 12th Signals Company, Royal Engineers, on 9th September. During the war it is understood that his duties included surveying the location of enemy mines.

Medal Index Cards indicate that he was awarded the 1914 Star and clasp for service ashore in France and Flanders between 5th August and 22nd November, 1914. The clasp indicates that he was under fire between those dates. Accompanying this were two small silver heraldic roses that were issued to those recipients who were entitled to a clasp. This was dispatched to him in Ennis on 6th May, 1920 along with his British War Medal, and an Allied Victory Medal.

Cornelius Shanahan was discharged from the Army on 22nd March, 1918. He returned to Ennis and made his living as a painter, a family tradition that could be traced back four generations to 1790. His descendants are still involved in the painting and decorating business to this day.

Máire MacNeill, folklorist and author

Photographs of Ruan New Graveyard taken by Linda Hogan have been added to the Graveyard Inscriptions Collection in Foto. The collection includes the grave of folklorist and author Máire MacNeill and her husband John L. Sweeney. Máire was the daughter of nationalist politician and academic Eoin MacNeill. She worked at the Irish Folklore Commission under James Delargy and is best known for her book on Celtic harvest festivals Festival of Lughanasa. She also published a book on Máire Rua, Maire Rua: Lady of Leamaneh. She moved to Corofin in the 1960s and lived there beside Lake Inchiquin until her death.

Scariff Poetry Group at Palliative Care Conference

Scariff Poetry Group, led by Scariff Public Library staff member Aileen McDonagh, was delighted to contribute to the 3rd International Conference on palliative care run with the University of Limerick and under the guidance of Milford Hospice Librarian Joanne Callinan. Ms Callinan produced a beautiful booklet comprising a selection of poetry from Scariff Poetry Group and other contributors from around the country. The collection explores the thoughts and feelings of loved ones directly affected by death and dying. Its aim is to provide a medium of communication on topics that are often too painful to discuss. It is hoped that the collection will provide support for those dealing with similar situations. It is available to be viewed in the library at Scariff.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill on Hornby Island

County Clare's Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill live from the Hornby Island Community Hall in British Columbia, Canada.

"Saddle Tramp" - Seamus Begley, Oisin MacDiarmada and Padraic O'Reilly at Corofin Traditional Festival 2014

Seamus Begley and Oisin MacDiarmada accompanied By Padraic O'Reilly play "Saddle Tramp", a song by Marty Robbins, at the Corofin Traditional Festival 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 16th of March 2014 by Niamhaines.

De Dannan #4 at Corofin Traditional Festival 2014

De Dannan at the Corofin Traditional Festival, February 2014. Posted on Youtube on the 12th of March 2014 by Niamhaines.

Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark

Posted on Youtube on the 21st of March 2014 by Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark.

Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, 1973

A short film on life in Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) in the early 1970s. Inishmaan (meaning "middle island") is the middle of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland, off the coast of Clare. Posted on Youtube on the 26th of November 2010 by Araninfo.

Atlantic Cycle Challenge 2014

The Stephen Roche Atlantic Challenge is an annual cycling Sportif, with the former Tour de France winner, Giro d’Italia winner and World Champion cyclist, Stephen Roche. The cycle starts and finishes on the stunning beach promenade in Lahinch, County Clare. From the rolling hills of the Burren and the wild Atlantic Coast, the location, the route, the scenery are all breath taking and include the climbs of the famous Cliffs of Moher and Corkscrew Hill. See and Posted on Youtube on the 31st Of March 2014 by Kieran Freeney.

A Sunny Killaloe Ballina from the Sky

"Killaloe Ballina and Two Mile Gate from the sky. Filmed March 12th 2014. Go pro Hero3+, DJI Phantom and some TLC on Final Cut Pro X. Music from" Posted on Youtube on the 12th of March 2014 by DergProductions.

Short story collection wins inaugural Folio Prize

US writer George Saunders has won the inaugural Folio Prize for his short story collection Tenth of December. The award, worth £40,000, was set up by people in the books industry who felt frustrated by what they see as the shortcomings of the Man Booker Prize.

Announcing the winner, Chair of the Judges Lavinia Greenlaw, said: “George Saunders’s stories are both artful and profound. Darkly playful, they take us to the edge of some of the most difficult questions of our time and force us to consider what lies behind and beyond them. His subject is the human self under ordinary and extraordinary pressure.”

The stories in Tenth of December tackle disturbing subjects including rape and abduction. But they are moving and insightful and contain memorable laugh-out-loud moments. Saunders’ works have been compared to those of Kurt Vonnegut and were praised by the judges as truly original and "absolutely of the moment".

The other books shortlisted for the award were:
Red Doc by Anne Carson
Schroder by Amity Gaige
Last Friends by Jane Gardam
Benediction by Kent Haruf
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

Childrens Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards 2014

The shortlist for the 24th CBI Book of the Year Awards was announced on March 18th.

The shortlisted titles are:
The Sleeping Baobab Tree by Paula Leyden
The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer
Heart Shaped by Siobhán Parkinson
Hagwitch by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Too Many Ponies by Sheena Wilkinson
Skulduggery Pleasant Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy
Mysterious Traveller illustrated by P.J. Lynch
The Day the Crayons Quit illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Each of the eight titles will compete for the awards, which includes the ‘Children’s Choice Award’ voted for by young readers located across the country. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held on May 13th.

Pádraic Whyte, chair of the judging panel that read almost 70 titles, said: “The books on this year’s shortlist offer children and young people from a broad age group rich and satisfying reading experiences. Many of the books engage with difficult contemporary or global issues while others are stories of whimsy and fun. This is a wonderfully diverse shortlist that highlights the literary and artistic excellence of current Irish Children’s Literature.”

Elaina Ryan, Director at Children’s Books Ireland said “Empowering children and young people to discover books they enjoy reading is a great pleasure. This year we have eight books which we know will resonate with readers both young and old.”

Copies of all titles are available through the Clare County Library branch network.