Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day 2012

Today, Tuesday, 7th February, is Safer Internet Day.  Safer Internet Day is organised by Insafe each year in February to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world. This year Safer Internet Day is centred around the theme 'Connecting generations and educating each other, with the slogan: "Discover the digital world together... safely!"'

Watch this video from Insafe:

Charles Dickens's 200th Birthday!

ScroogeFirst we had the 130th anniversary of the birth of James Joyce, now today, 7th February, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the world’s other greatest novelists, Charles Dickens!

And to mark the occasion, Laurence Foster has re-created Charles Dickens’ first public performance in Ireland, and the performances (Dickens in Dublin) are taking place in a number of our branch libraries (details below - but do check with location, may well be booked out at this stage).

Student of Open Learning Centre (OLC) wins Léargas Language Learner of the Year Award

Paddy receiving his Award - photo courtesy of LéargasOLC user Paddy O’Connor was awarded a Léargas Language Learner of the Year Award at a ceremony at All Hallows College on September 26th, which was the tenth anniversary of the European Day of Languages. Four European Language Label Awards were presented to projects promoting language learning as well as four Language Learner of the Year Awards. The purpose of this award was to recognise outstanding achievement by individual language learners. Paddy was nominated by the Open Learning Centre.

Norway Revisited

Bergen, NorwayBack in March 2011 I wrote a post on Jo Nesbo, probably the best known and most widely read of the Norwegian crop of crime writers. Jo had been to Dublin, and I had the pleasure of meeting him in Eason's bookshop where he was in conversation with leading Irish crime novelist John Connolly. Since then I have been meaning to revisit Norway (metaphorically speaking on this occasion, have been to Bergen, wonderful in the sun if you can get it!) and talk of some of the other, maybe less well known, Norwegian crime novelists. Then, on the 22 July, the horrendous attacks in Oslo and Utøya that left so many dead and injured, and which are said to have changed Norway forever. And it felt somehow wrong for a time after that to write at all about crime fiction and applaud the many wonderful writers and novels coming out of Europe in general, and Norway in particular. And the very incident itself I know, has impacted not alone on Norwegian society, but also on Norwegian crime writers, and it might be fair to say that their future writings will have the shadow of the Oslo/Utøya tragedy over them. In this regard you may want to read the article "How do you write crime fiction in the wake of a massacre?" that appeared in the Guardian in November 2011.

James Joyce Anniversary!

James Joyce(Reproduced with the permission of Dublin: One City One Book.)

Today, Thursday, 2nd February, is the 130th anniversary of the birth of James Joyce!

Arguably Ireland’s greatest literary genius and a leading proponent of modernism in fiction, James Joyce was born at 41 Brighton Square to John Stanislaus Joyce and Mary Jane Murray, and spent his earliest years there and in Castlewood Avenue. He was educated at Clongowes Wood College and at Belvedere College before going on to University College Dublin (on St Stephen’s Green), where he studied modern languages.

Right: James Joyce. Image of Joyce reproduced from the original glass negative held in UCD Library Special Collections by kind permission of Helen Solterer. (click image to enlarge)

Joyce left Ireland with Nora Barnacle in 1904, and was to spend the rest of his life in Italy and France, paying his last visit to Ireland in 1912. Joyce died in Zurich on the 13th January, 1941, and is buried in Zurich's Fluntern Cemetery.

Joyce's collection of short stories, Dubliners, and the choice for Dublin: One City, One Book 2012, was first published in 1914 by Grant Richards Ltd., London.

The Civil War In Dublin: Images from Irish Life (July 1922)

Royal Bank of IrelandView The Civil War In Dublin Gallery

On 28 June 1922 the forces of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State, led by Michael Collins, attacked the Anti-Treaty garrison at the Four Courts. This action is generally believed to mark the beginning of the Irish Civil War. Fighting spread to the centre of the city with Anti-Treaty troops occupying part of O’Connell Street (including the Gresham, Crown, Granville and Hammam Hotels) as  well as outposts on Gardiner Street, Parnell Street, and Aungier Street. The Anti-Treaty forces were defeated after a week of heavy bombardment and street fighting. Over three hundred combatants were killed or wounded with Republican leader Cathal Brugha among the fatalities. Over two hundred civilians were killed during ‘the Battle of Dublin’ that lasted from 28 June to the 5 July 1922.

Commit to be fit in 2012

Walk away the Winter blues!

Walking in IrelandHave you overindulged over the festive season. Do you feel lethargic and tired? Are you afraid to step up on the scales. Has Operation Transformation (TV Programme) frightened you into keeping fit? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, fear not! Dublin Public Libraries can help!

Dublin City Public Libraries have a very comprehensive collection of maps and guides with interesting walks, hikes, and trails contained within: encouraged yet to venture out in the fresh air, and explore and enjoy the countryside?

Suss out any of our 21 library service points spread across the city and checkout these walks. Included are: 

  • Best Walks in Ireland by David Marshall (2006)
  • Glasnevin Cemetery: A historic Walk (1997)
  • Leisure Walks Near Dublin by Joss Lynam (2004)
  • Literary Walking Tours of Gothic Dublin by Brian J Showers (2006)
  • Lonely Planet Hill Walking in Ireland (2010)
  • Secret Dublin. 25 original walks exploring the hidden city by Pat Liddy (2001)
  • Walks Around Medieval Dublin by Dublin City Council (2004)
  • A Walk Across Ireland from Coast to Coast including the Royal Canal Way by John Mulligan (2006)

Andrew Miller's 'Pure' wins Costa Overall Prize!

Pure by Andrew MillerAndrew Miller, who won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1999 with his first novel, Ingenious Pain, was yesterday announced as the overall winner of the Costa Award for his sixth novel, 'Pure'. 'Pure' is set in late 18th-century Paris and follows the story of a young engineer, Jean-Baptiste Baratte, charged with demolishing Paris's oldest cemetery and removing the corpses.

Right: Winning title, Pure, by Andrew Miller (click to view larger image)

Apparently it was a "bitterly fought two-way tussle" between 'Pure' and 'Now All Roads Lead to France', by Matthew Hollis, and generated a fierce debate between the judges!

Spotlight: Muriel Spark

Muriel SparkMuriel Spark (1918-2006) wrote psychological novels, usually set in respectable, middle-class environments but dealing with the darker side of human nature. Her writing is wonderfully economical, so that, though her novels are mostly short, they manage to convey a lot.  Chronology isn’t an important feature: they leap backwards and forwards in time, and you often know the ending at the start, or at least you think you do. Here’s a taster of some of her better-known works.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is probably Spark’s best known work, and one of her best creations. The magnificent and monstrous Miss Brodie teaches her classroom of girls about the art of life and love, while battling against the narrowness of her world, her loneliness, and of course her own prime.

'Newspaper Headlines Written By Poets': Graphic Novels

Once derided as a literary medium for 'children and the simple-minded', comic books or graphic novels have become a respected and respectable literary genre in their own right. Any condescension seems to be a peculiarly Anglo/Hiberno prejudice as comics are fully incorporated into the literary heritage of many countries, most notably the USA, Japan, and France. Things seem to be changing here in Ireland with noted writers such as Peter Murphy and Kevin Barry championing the format as well as a small but vibrant domestic scene (which shall be the subject of a future blog).

Graphic novels are prohibitively expensive to buy but Dublin City Public Libraries has an excellent collection for both children and adults. The following selection is largely aimed at the adult reader taking their first exploratory steps into a format they may have ignored since their days of reading The Beano and The Dandy. Explore and enjoy.