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Book News

Clare Champion, Friday, 10th October 2008


Birds of Ireland: Facts, Folklore and History by Glynn Anderson
Published by The Collins Press in 2008

“Hearing the hoot of an owl is associated with bad luck. However, if you hear an owl, all is not lost: you must immediately take off your clothes, turn them inside out and put them back on. Luckily, most owls appear at night...”

This is just one of the many informative and entertaining facts contained within this attractive book on Irish birds. The book starts with an overview of the history and folklore of Irish birds. In Irish mythology, birds were sometimes seen as omens, and there were countless beliefs, proverbs and curses associated with them. The book tells us that birds inspired poets such as Hopkins, Yeats and Heaney and influenced place names in Ireland like the Curlew Mountain in Roscommon and Hawk’s Nest, County Antrim.

Physical descriptions and facts and figures on each species of birds found in Ireland is given together with the associated beliefs and traditions, proverbs and similes, curses and poetry, weather lore and culinary traditions.

So if you are trying to ensure your husband’s fidelity, sew a swan’s feather into his pillow; if you need a cure for baldness, burn a raven and boil its ashes with mutton fat which then should be rubbed into the head; if you have jaundice, fix your gaze on a Yellowhammer - the bird will die but you will be ok.

These and other useful snippets of information are contained in this book that can be dipped into again and again to provide entertainment for anyone with even a passing interest in Irish birds or Irish folklore.


Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson
Published by The Bodley Head, 2008

When Bobby's mother moves the family from Dublin to a rented house in the country, she hopes they will escape the moneylenders who make her life hell and that a fresh start in the country will steer Bobby away from the undesirable habits and people he is involved with in the city.

But Bobby yearns for city life and getting back to what he does best; stealing from the crowded shopping streets and racing stolen cars at night.

Parallel stories running simultaneously in Thompson’s books are a regular feature of her writing and here again, the personal journey of Bobby is paralleled by the story of a previous tenant who once lived in their newly rented house and who mysteriously disappeared.

The longer Bobby spends in the old cottage, the more convinced he becomes that something very strange is going on there. Was there really a murder? And if so, was it the one he has been told about?

Thompson’s characters are, as always, well rounded and truly authentic. Combined with an excellent story line with a touch of fantasy, this book is an excellent read for older children and young teens.


Be a judge for the Costa Book Awards

Do you love books? Have a passion for reading? And like to express your opinions on both? Then the Costa Book Awards want to hear from you!

For the first time, Costa is offering one avid reader a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the final judging panel of this year's Costa Book Awards and have a say in which book is named Costa Book of the Year 2008.

To enter write a 300 word piece telling what you believe to be the perfect book to read with a cup of coffee and why. Then in less than 500 words write about your relationship with books and reading and why you think you should join the final judging panel.

Closing date for submissions is 31st October 2008.

A shortlist of 12 entrants will be chosen and asked to come to London on Tuesday 25th November for a book review debate on 'Day' by A.L. Kennedy. The Costa Book Awards team and author Joanna Trollope will oversee the debate, as a result of which one winner will be selected. Standard-class travel expenses for the 12 shortlisted entrants will be reimbursed by the Costa Book Awards.

If you win, you will be required to read all five Costa Award-winning books. You'll then attend and participate in the final judging meeting to select the overall 2008 Costa Book of the Year. You'll also attend the Costa Book of the Year awards gala dinner and ceremony with a guest on the evening of Tuesday 27th January 2009. You and your guest will stay overnight in a central London hotel following the awards dinner and ceremony. And to top it all off, your winning book review will be published on the Costa Book Awards website. See for further details. Good luck!


Team Player for Team Read

Clare Inter County hurler Tony Griffin met with young library members from all over Clare on Friday evening the 3rd of October at Clare County Council Headquarters, New Road, Ennis. Hundreds of children were present with their families to receive certificates of merit and spot prizes as a reward for taking part in the library’s annual summer reading scheme, Team Read. 2,500 books were borrowed from library branches and read during July and August by young book enthusiasts as a result of the scheme.

Clare County Library would like to extend its sincere thanks to Tony Griffin, the invited guest of honour for the evening, who not only presented certificates but signed autographs and posed for photographs with the many young hurling fans who attended.

Best-selling children’s and teenage author, Karen McCombie comes to Clare


Karen McCombie has sold over one million books in the UK alone and has been translated into 15 languages. She is the author of the Ally’s World, Stella Etc. and the Sadie Rocks series as well as a number of stand-alone novels. The Seventeen Secrets of the Karma Club, Karen’s latest novel was published in June 2008.

Before becoming an author Karen worked on several teen magazines, including Just Seventeen and Sugar. Originally from Aberdeen, and now living in London, Karen kicks off her West of Ireland Children’s Book Festival Tour in Limerick libraries on Monday. On Tuesday she will be in Tulla, Scariff and Killaloe Libraries and Ennis and Shannon Libraries on Wednesday before touring Galway and Mayo Libraries at the end of the week.

She is one of Clare County Library’s most popular authors for girls with her books always on the top ten most borrowed books list. Library staff in all branches are expecting a large turnout for the event.

Online Resources    

A comprehensive reference library is now available at the touch of a button from the comfort of your own home. The Clare County Library website features a section called Online Resources which offers instant links to over 70 national and international websites offering free reference resources covering a multitude of popular topics. Visit and click on Online Resources for a wealth of information on the following:

Encyclopaedias including Encyclopaedia Britannica
Dictionaries including – a terminology database for the Irish language
Converters for conversion of measurements, currency, time zones
Catalogues of books
Route Planners from the AA and Google maps
Newspapers including The Irish Times and The Guardian
Phonebooks for Ireland, the UK and worldwide
History and Genealogy including the Ellis Island Database of immigrants to the USA from 1892-1924
Literature including The Universal Digital Library
Government and Politics providing links to all government departments
Science and Technology including Met Eireann
Art, Film and Music including the Internet Movie Database
Health and Medicine providing access to medical journals

Supplied by Clare County Library

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