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Fingal Blog Archive

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This is the Archive of previous Libraries Blogs - You can read our latest Fingal Libraries blog posts here.

Book review: Dune by Frank Herbert

Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

I decided to read Dune after finally finishing the Harry Potter series at age 30. I had never seen the David Lynch film adaptation but as a fan of director Denis Vilenevue, I was excited for his new film and tackling a text that has been described as “difficult” and “unfilmable” seemed like an intriguingly unorthodox choice for the director.

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Fantastic Books to Check Out this Autumn

As the autumn leaves fall and the days get shorter, we find ourselves gravitating towards the tea and blankets a little bit earlier in the evenings! What better way to make the most of the changing season than by wrapping up with a nice, atmospheric book? We can’t think of a better way to spend a chilly autumn night. 

school bus

5 Fantastic Novels about School

It’s September and that means we’re back to school. Of course, we all know that school is the place where some of the best stories and most exciting adventures happen! Just ask Harry Potter, right? Here are some more junior back-to-school picks that we think you’ll enjoy as the new term gets underway:

The Library Book Susan Orlean

Book Review- The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The recent Covid lockdown meant libraries and other public buildings had to shut down for a time, but there have also been other crises in recent history which have affected libraries. Fergus from Donabate Library reviews Susan Orlean’s non-fiction release, The Library Book, which explores the mystery behind a fire which destroyed L.A’s Central Library in 1986.


Connecting with our Natural Heritage

Ahead of National Heritage Week 2020, which is taking place from August 15-23, Sharon from Garristown Library writes about some features of Ireland’s and Fingal’s wonderful natural heritage.

Hungry paul

Book Review: Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession

We were so pleased to see Baldoyle Library get a special mention in the acknowledgements of Leonard and Hungry Paul, the latest novel by Dublin author Rónán Hession. Read on for the review.

clive barker

A Marriage Made in Hell – Clive Barker and Faust

This week’s blog is not for the faint-hearted! Alan delves into one of his favourite horror novels, The Damnation Game by Clive Barker.

Chris Makris

Let’s Talk Poetry: A Q&A with Christodoulos Makris

Experimental poet and former member of the Fingal Libraries team, Christodoulos Makris, talks to us about his latest poetry book- the documentary poem this is no longer entertainment. He describes the writing process, what he has been reading lately, and also reflects on approaches to publishing and on the current literary landscape.

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Colour Temperature and White Balance Photography Blog 8

In this tutorial, we are going to take a look at the white balance setting on your camera. In short, adjusting the white balance allows you remove unrealistic colour casts from your photos.

Tripods White Mountains

Remembering The Tripods

For many science-fiction fans of a certain age, autumn Saturday afternoons of the mid-80s will always be associated with the adventures of Will Parker, Henry Parker and Beanpole. Alan from Malahide Library brings us some TV nostalgia as he remembers The Tripods.

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Vincent Price Vs Michael Reeves: the making of Witchfinder General

In the autumn of 1967, the actor Vincent Price arrived in England to begin work on a low-budget horror film titled Witchfinder General, to be directed by the twenty-four-year-old Michael Reeves. Vincent Price was a world-famous American actor, while the English Michael Reeves had previously directed only two feature films and had been 2nd assistant director on another. Theirs was to be one of the most volatile relationships ever witnessed on a film set, but Witchfinder General would become a highly celebrated horror film, featuring one of Vincent Price's greatest performances.

Frida Shrine

Celebrating Artists – the iconic Frida Kahlo

July 6th marked 113 years since the birth of the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo (born in 1907). But who exactly is this cultural icon, and why is she still being celebrated so widely today?


Lisa McInerney

Author Q&A - with Lisa McInerney

Nadene spoke to Lisa McInerney, award-winning author of The Glorious Heresies and The Blood Miracles and contributing editor for The Stinging Fly literary magazine, about her work, changes in the book industry, and what exactly that lovable rogue, Ryan Cusack* would’ve gotten up to during lockdown.

Blog podcast

How to Start a Podcast

 A Q&A with Dave Hanratty from NO ENCORE

As podcasts continue to soar in popularity, Nadene from Fingal Libraries chats with Dave Hanratty, music journalist and host of the NO ENCORE music podcast, about what makes a podcast successful, his favourite interviewees, and how to go about starting up your own.


Sci-Fi Throwback: Star Cops

Alan from Fingal Libraries remembers the 80s Sci-Fi series Star Cops, and reflects on why the TV series, which posthumously received such lavish praise, failed with both critics and audiences at the time of its broadcast.

Balbriggan 1965 blessing the boats

Guest Blog – Balbriggan Summertime Memories

Dublin Author Gemma Jackson recounts a summer holiday she had in Balbriggan as a child.


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What is ISO Photography tutorial no 5

In this one, we are going to look at the third element of the exposure triangle: ISO. We will learn how the ISO setting works and how it affects your photograph.

singing blog

Finding your singing voice

Have you ever wanted to learn to sing? Choir member Sharon from Garristown Library writes about her passion for singing and reviews the vocal lessons provided through the ArtistWorks online library service.

Photography blog

How do Aperture and Shutter Speed Relate?

In this tutorial we’re going to have a look at the relationship between aperture and shutter speed and how changing one affects the other.

Summer Stars 2020

Summer Stars 2020 kicks off at Fingal Libraries

The Summer Stars reading challenge begins this week and it’s a little bit different this year!

Since you’re spending more time at home we have extra items in our online Borrowbox service, a call and collect service, a short story competition, online storytime, quizzes and competitions!


What is Shutter speed - Photography tutorial no 3

The shutter speed refers to the amount of the time the aperture actually remains open to let the light in. Shutter speed can also be referred to as “exposure time”.


The Many Faces of George Smiley

In our latest Blog our one-man encyclopaedia Alan Dunne (Malahide Library) takes a deep-dive into the spy world of John le Carre’s fictionalised character, George Smiley.

Dublin Docklands Blog

What is "aperture" - Photography Tutorial No 2

This tutorial explains what is meant by "aperture" . The aperture is the opening in the lens that allows light to enter the camera and  on to the sensor or film.

Photography blog

What is Exposure - Photography Tutorial 1

This tutorial explains what is meant by "photographic exposure" and how to measure it with a histogram. We also explore common exposure problems.  This is the first of a series of photography tutorials from Barry O'Carroll

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Pride 2020: LGBT-themed book recommendations

As Pride month begins, the Fingal Library staff highlight a few LGBT-themed books which they enjoyed reading in the last few months.


Ireland 1913 – 1921: The Bureau of Military History Collection

Historical research has been transformed in recent years by the sheer amount of material now easily accessible online. One such valuable resource is The Bureau of Military History (BMH) Collection. Orla from Malahide Library takes us through some highlights of the collection.


Which Waste Land

Máighréad Medbh takes us on a journey through T.S. Eliot’s epic poem ‘The Waste Land’ and points to the significance and benefits of reading it during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amy Bond

Author Interview with Amy Bond

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Recommended Read – The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane

Our movements may be restricted but books about journeys are still allowing our minds to wander to places we have never been. Robert MacFarlane’s travels in search of “The Wild Places” begin in a beechwood near his Cambridge home. Climbing one of the beech trees for a bird-eye view of the landscape below, he reflects that “anyone who lives in a city will know the feeling of having been there too long”.

Envirokids blog

Yellowstone National Park Envirokids Blog10

Yellowstone National Park park is in Wyoming in the USA and the park spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Yellowstone became a national park in 1872. Read all about it in Envirokids Blog 10 from Aidan Stanley


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David Bowie - Loving the Alien

The Starman holds a special place in the hearts of many. Always one to challenge convention and reinvent himself, Bowie’s career was fascinating and varied. Here, Alan from Malahide Library shines a light on David Bowie in his portrayal of “the alien” and the varying forms it takes in his acting roles.

Envirokids blog 9

Our Canal Systems Envirokids Blog 9

Ireland once had a canal network of 25 canals and combining the rivers that connected these canals, nearly every part of Ireland could be reached. Read all about Our Canal System in Envirokids Blog no 9 from Aidan Stanley


It’s never too late to follow your artistic dream

Derek from Malahide Library offers tips, advice and shares his experiences of learning to play the guitar.

Envirokids blog

The River Nile Envirokids Blog 8

The River Nile is the longest river in the world and is located in Africa.  You can read all about it in the latest Envirokids Blog from Aidan Stanley.

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The Sounds of My Lockdown

Read our newest Library Blog about the symphony of sounds heard during lockdown.

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The Carbon Footprint - Aidan Stanley

Read the latest guest Envirokids blog by Aidan Stanley, "The Carbon Footprint".


TheMemory Man - Guest Blog by Rod Smith

In times of crisis, nostalgia becomes a lifeline to us. Our memories become more vivid and transport us to happier times. They help us to take stock of what’s important, they give us hope. This week’s guest blog comes from children’s author Rod Smith, who takes us on a journey through his memories:

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef - Aidan Stanley

One of Australia’s most remarkable natural gifts to the planet is the Great Barrier Reef, blessed with the breath-taking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef.  Read about it in Envirokids Blog 6


The Arctic and Antartica - Aidan Stanley

Check out the latest Envirokids blog from Aidan Stanley, blog 5,  which is about the Arctic and Antartica. Don't forget to check out the great activities at the end of the Blog that you can try at home.

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Crafting with Children - Planes and Trains

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Clash of the Titans - Marvel versus DC

Diary blog

2020 A good year to start a diary - Orla

I 2020 an ideal time to start a diary? We are, after all, living in extraordinary times and our written accounts will, one day, be of interest to our future selves, our families and maybe even our wider communities and historians.

say no to plastic

Recycling and Single Use Plastic - Aidan Stanley

Welcome to the latest Environment and Biodiversity Blog by Aidan Stanley. Todays blog, number 4, deals with recycling and reducing the use of single use plastic

Sue Rainsford

Guest Blog – Sue Recommends

Today our guest contributor is Sue Rainsford, author of the darkly stunning novel Follow Me to Ground.

spring daisies

Spring Buzz – how we can help our bees

The Garbage Islands Blog with Aidan Stanley Pic

The Garbage Islands Blog with Aidan Stanley

Welcome to the latest guest EnviroKids blog by Aidan Stanley.

This time, we find out about the Garbage Islands, swirling collections of rubbish that form in the world's oceans.

child painting

Crafting with Children


Patti Smith on a visit to the library – an extract from ‘Year of the Monkey’

Amazon workshop pic

Amazon Rainforest Blog with Aidan Stanley

Welcome to the second guest blog by Aidan Stanley this one is on the Amazon Rainforest. The Amazon Rainforest  is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. Covering over 5.5 million square kilometres and spreads across nine countries in south America Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana, and French Guiana

You can also see the answers to the questions in the Biodiversity Blog

Envirokids blog

Envirokids Blog with Aidan Stanley

We are delighted to announce that Aidan Stanley will be contributing a twice weekly Envirokids Blog on the Environment and Biodiversity. Check out the first blog on Biodiversity with activities you can do at home, check back for the answers in the next blog on the Amazon rainforest

Loneliness and solitude

Solitude and Loneliness – art and the polarities of being alone

There is a vast difference between solitude and loneliness. It could be argued that they are two ends of a spectrum.

Our latest blog explores those two different concepts.

cherry blossoms wordsworth

William Wordsworth on Nature

April 7th marks the 250th birthday of one of the most celebrated poets in history, William Wordsworth. Our newest Library Blog takes the man and his poetry as its themes.

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Five fascinating biographies available on Borrowbox

Our doors may be temporarily closed but our eServices are always open and available to you as normal so you won’t miss out on your much-needed book fix!

Spending time at home can be the perfect opportunity to expand your mind by getting into that book you’ve always wanted to read, or by learning more about a topic that interests you, and we’re here to help keep your mind fed with suggestions from our vast eservice collections.

Here are five fascinating biographies available to borrow on your Borrowbox app:

seachtain na gaeilge

Seachtain na Gaeilge at Fingal Libraries

blanch library

Take A Closer Look: What’s Happening at Blanchardstown Library?

Love your Library this Valentine

Love your Library this Valentine

Autism Friendly In Blanchardstown Library

A Sensory Friendly Christmas at Blanchardstown Library

Public libraries are a special part of our community. They are one of few places available where you can gain so much, yet are asked for nothing in return. What’s more, the entire community stands to benefit from the public library and all its facilities and services.

It’s with these thoughts in mind, and thanks to funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund, that Fingal Libraries this year embarked on one of their most ambitious and exciting projects to date, endeavouring to become an Autism-Friendly service.

Conor with Marie Heaney

Graphic Novels in Fingal Libraries

staff picks

Library Staff Favourite Picks 2019

The books our staff loved in 2019

YEC group shot from Winter 2018 club

Young Entrepreneurs Club at Blanchardstown Library

This is one of my favourite times of the year at Blanchardstown Library. There’s glitter and tinsel everywhere as our talented Young Entrepreneurs are busy putting the final touches to their products in preparation for the Christmas Market Day. This year, we will have a wide range of Christmas decorations for sale on market day with everything from wreaths, table centrepieces, tree decorations and ‘naughty or nice’ chalk boards among the many products on offer.

Michelle Obama

Book Recommendation: Becoming by Michelle Obama

This is one of my favourite excerpts from Michelle Obama's book Becoming. It is so vividly written that my imagination was having a ball picturing the First Family running, the Usain Bolt type of running, across the South Lawn. If you've read it, you'll probably agree with me and with over a million people worldwide who have read it as well that it is a brilliant read.

Fingal Festival of History

Fingal Festival of History Launched in Swords Castle

The third annual Fingal Festival of History was launched by the Mayor of Fingal Cllr. Eoghan O’Brien in Swords Castle on Tuesday 17th September. The festival, a week of history talks and events organised by Fingal Libraries, takes place from 30th September until 7th October. This year’s programme features History at the Castle, a day of talks, story-telling and music celebrating Irish heritage on Saturday 5th October in Swords Castle – a national monument and cultural attraction in the care of Fingal County Council.


Write Time

The Write Time For inspiration

Fingal Libraries fourth annual Write Time Festival takes place this September to celebrate the art and craft of creative writing. Throughout the month, Libraries will host free workshops and author talks to spark the imagination and inspire creativity.

Fingal 25 years logo

25th Anniversary Series Blog 9

Over the summer months of July and August, Fingal Libraries have celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Fingal County Council through this commemorative blog series, where we traced the inception and continuing development of public libraries in Ireland over the past 300 years.

Fingal 25 years logo

25th Anniversary Series Blog 8

Public libraries have always been at the heart of the communities they serve. They are the portal to a shared bank of accurate and reliable knowledge, and act as gateways in accessing information. Often the scrutiny of debate in recent years, their existence and relevance has been called into question as we find ourselves in a world ever evolving in how knowledge and information are accessed and disseminated. Despite strong challenges, public libraries have prevailed and are enjoying a resurgence in interest and membership, and are providing for their local community in ever increasing ways.

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25th Anniversary Series Blog 7

The year 2000 marked the second turn of a century for public libraries in Ireland. With the availability of all the power and wonder of today’s technological world, one could assume that the goals of modern public library system would be a far cry from those of the 1900s version of the movement. And yet the modern system’s primary focus remains inextricably linked to that established at the very beginning of the public library movement – to educate and serve the needs of the people.

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25th Anniversary Series Blog 6

In the early decades of the 1900s, the public libraries movement in Ireland experienced periods of great prosperity, owing directly to the benevolence of Mr. Carnegie and the Carnegie UK Trust, as well as the national impulse towards education and knowledge. Applications for financial assistance were as plentiful as the gifts on offer, and Ireland reaped the rewards in the form of an extensive library service. Approaching the late 1930s, amenities offered could be considered a touch arbitrary – making do with whatever resources were available – yet the movement endeavoured to deliver a service and extended its provision purposefully across the country. By 1947, all but two counties, Westmeath and Longford, had adopted the county library scheme.

Fingal 25 years logo

25th Anniversary Series Blog 5: Public Libraries Wax and Wane

A nation can become cultivated only insofar as the average man, not the exceptional person, is cultivated and has knowledge of the thought, imagination and intellectual history of his nation’ – George Russell

Mr Andrew Carnegie

25th Anniversary Series Blog 4

The passage of a century provides a meaningful measure from which to take stock of bygone days and creates a pause in which to look expectantly to the future. At the turn of the 20th century in Ireland, the increasingly literate masses and the emergence of a newly reading public heralded a new era for knowledge dissemination. The Irish literary scene was thriving with prolific offerings, and many urban centres experienced a rejuvenated and bustling printing and publishing trade, whose wares reached far and wide, filtering through to the village library and reading room. Demand for literature was high, and there seemed a frenzied need to deliver.


Welcoming 2019 & Celebrating New Year’s Resolutions at Your Local Fingal County Library

Happy New Year, from all of us at Fingal County Libraries.

It’s that time again, as we return to work from an indulgent festive break, we pause to reflect on a year gone by and, for many, pledge to carve out an overall better version of ourselves and our lifestyles for the year ahead. And while some, if not all, of our annual vows are but a re-emergence of those good intentions consigned to the bin early last year, we optimistically resolve this is going to be our year. We here at Fingal County Libraries have a myriad of FREE resources to help you on your way!

Thomas Davis

25th Anniversary Series Blog 3

Early 1800s Ireland was a nation of people dejected and fervent for change, but ignorant of the means for that change. Repression and the demise of old, traditional ways led to a yearning which was to be appeased through the power of discourse and knowledge. The ancient proverb ‘The battles of tomorrow are won in the practice of today’ was an ideology which was to anchor the importance of education; empower the masses; and, as such, epitomise the inception of the public library movement in Ireland 

Marsh's Library

25th Anniversary Series Blog 2: 1700s – Ireland’s First Public Library

In the heart of old medieval Dublin, proudly stands the immense 800-year-old Gothic structure that is St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Its lofty spire pierces the sky, its looming shadows cast so wide as to extend unapologetically beyond the perimeter of its grounds, its presence is so stark and obvious, one would almost be led to believe there was little else of interest in the area. Yet, hidden amongst the shadows of this mighty structure is an almost secret, diminutive gem, its value to Dublin’s heritage equally as impressive as that of its neighbour – Marsh’s Library, Ireland’s first public library.

Summer Reading

Summer Reads 2019: Find Out What Fingal Library Staff Are Reading

Summer has finally arrived!  We've asked our well read library staff which books they have enjoyed reading over the Summer.  They have chosen a great mix of fiction, non-fiction and a book that won the International Dublin Literary Award 2019.

Fingal Coat of Arms

25th Anniversary Series Blog 1: Fingal & Public Libraries

2019 marks a very special occasion for the region of Fingal – the 25th Anniversary of Fingal County Council. The inaugural meeting of Fingal County Council took place on January 7th, 1994, in Newbridge House, Donabate. On that day, the newly created council assumed the administrative duties of the previous local authority, Dublin County Council, of the area composing the old county of Fingal. With this transfer, the libraries of the region now fell under the governance of the newly formed Fingal County Council.

Brea with Garristown Library Staff, Yvonne Boylan & Sharon Quinn

It’s a Dream Come True for 9 Year Old Garristown Author Brea Mullarkey

Brea Mullarkey, from Garristown, is just 9 years old and she has written a book called, “Lost and Found: A bedtime story for my brothers.” She is always drawing and writing notes to her friends but her wish was to write a book and with the help of Make-A-Wish Ireland her dream has come true.

Cruinniu na Og

Cruinniú in the Castle: Fingal Libraries Day of Youthful Creativity

Ireland was the first and only country in the world to have a national day of FREE creativity for children and young people, under 18 years.

love heart

Autism Friendly Fridays in Blanchardstown Library

Blanchardstown Library is one of the biggest and busiest libraries in the country serving a diverse community.  Staff had been talking about introducing autism friendly hours for a while and the seeds were firmly planted after I attended a seminar hosted by Children’s Book’s Ireland on programming ‘relaxed events’.  From this I paid a visit to the National Library where there is a regular sensory craft session for children on the autism spectrum.  I also looked at what other libraries around the country were doing and got in touch with them for some advice.  This concept is relatively new in Irish public libraries so it’s a case of everyone learning from each other.

sewing machine

Learning to Upcycle Your Clothes at Skerries Repair Café

I had heard of Repair Cafés mainly through my interest in Zero Waste lifestyle blogs and social media groups. They are a really great innovation, appearing in ever-increasing numbers around the country in a effort to bring back the ‘Make Do and Mend’ mentality of generations past and as a place for people to share skills that enable us to repair things that have worn out, rather than immediately binning them.

Aoife Book

Introducing “Rory’s Rainbow”: A Beautiful Children’s Picturebook by Fingal Resident Aoife Kirwan

Rory’s Rainbow is a new children’s picture book, written and self-published by Garristown resident and local school teacher, Aoife Kirwan.

The book tells the story of Rory the robin who goes on a love hunt and seeks answers to lots of questions he has on his mind. He brings his dad along with him and, as their hunt progresses, Rory discovers that love can be found everywhere, every day.


Freegal Music: Fingal Libraries New Streaming & Downloading Service

The world of music at your fingertips!

We had a staff tea-break argument about Leonard Cohen this morning. For the life of us, we couldn’t agree what music genre he falls under. One person suggested ‘Canadian Country/Folk’ while another insisted there should be a new ‘Morose-Middle-Ager’ genre added…

Whether you love Cohen, Mozart, Springsteen or Parton, you’ll find something of interest on Freegal – Fingal Libraries’ new music streaming and download service. Did we mention it’s free and that you can access it using your library card and PIN?  Streaming is unlimited while your weekly download limit is set at 5 MP3 downloads. The App can be downloaded on Android and Apple devices and is incredibly easy to navigate.