The Story House – ‘Writing for Young People’ Mon. 20th to Sat. 25th February at Lisnavagh House, Co. Carlow
This is a unique five day taught residential course, led by two award winning writers, Sheena Wilkinson and Elizabeth Rose Murray, with midweek guest writer Patricia Ford (of Childrens Books Ireland). Limited to 12 participants – with workshops, one to one tutorials with each writer, and time and space to write. A deposit of €200 secures a place on the course – the fee of €700 is fully inclusive of all accommodation, food, workshops etc. For bookings and enquiries please email: email@example.com
For some background to the setting up of TSH you can read an interview writer Lia Mills did with myself and Nollaig Brennan on her blog Libran Writer, and there’s also a recent filmed interview with us on Attic Sessions TV with poet Nessa O’Mahony.
Poetry Plus – monthly open mic at Brewery Lane Theatre tearooms, Carrick-on-Suir 8.15pm
This monthly event just gets better and better. Mark these dates: Fri. Jan. 27th; Friday, Feb. 17th; Friday, Mar. 24th; Friday, Apr. 21st (the latter date will be part of the BL Writers’ W/E, see below). Anyone who comes is welcome to read whatever they wish – poetry or prose. It’s a very welcoming and convivial night with tea and chat and we ask just €3 to cover expenses. No need to book, just come along.
Writing Changes Lives – 3 x 1 day Saturday workshops Jan. 28th, Feb. 4th & Feb. 11th in Brewery Lane Theatre
These are my own writing workshops, based on the work of Pat Schneider and ‘built on a trust in the inherent talent in people and trust in the power of writing as a process’. Anyone who has written with me I think understands how that is proven over and over as we write together in the workshops. For more background I highly recommend Pat Schneider’s book Writing Alone and With Others – it is in local libraries and in the Book Centre, Waterford. The fee for the workshops is €150 – please contact me directly to book a place. Suitable for anyone beginning, or beginning again, to write.
2017 Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend – Fri. April 21st to Sun. April 23rd
This year in Brewery Lane we will be joined by two very talented writers and experienced teachers of writing, Lia Mills and Catherine Dunne, and already there is significant interest, just through word of mouth. The emphasis this year will be on the tools of fiction and memoir, with workshops and one to one meetings to discuss your work. There is an early bird offer of €160 if paid before Fri. 19th February, after that date the full fee of €175 will apply. Limited to 12 participants. Please email me directly to book your place and for payment details or with any questions.
I want to thank everyone who helped me out in various ways during 2016, with both moral and practical support, and to wish you all a lovely Christmas with time for family, friends and also some time for yourself to read, write and be refreshed as we cross into 2017.
I’ve just returned from my first experience of the Camino de Santiago de Compestela, the Way of St. James. We started walking from St. Jean Pied de Port in France then crossed into Spain and followed in the footsteps of centuries of peregrinos towards the tomb of St. James the Apostle in Santiago – the route known as the Camino Francés. We walked for 9 days and made it to the town of Nájera in the La Rioja region of Spain. In spite of sore feet and blisters and many other challenges I can’t wait to go back and finish the Camino. Hour after hour, day after day, putting one foot in front of the other seems like the simplest thing to do. But I discovered very quickly that it can be surprisingly difficult. Yet experiencing the kindness of strangers (many times), walking through small medieval Spanish villages, sleeping in the albergues (pilgrim hostels), meeting people from all over the world, each with their own story, was a very special experience which I know I will be some time processing. In the meantime here are some photos to give a little flavour of the Camino.
On the hills above Pamplona on day 4
Sun, blue sky and poppies
Evening skyline in Los Arcos
But it certainly wasn’t all sunshine. These were our very wet and very muddy boots after walking from Roncesvalles to Zubiri on May 31st, our day 2. Anyone who walked that route on that day won’t easily forget it. Floods, mud, driving rain all day. We walked 20km over 7 hours and arrived sodden and weary into the albergue.
A lovely albergue in Los Arcos where we learned how to treat blisters – it involved a syringe and bethedine. Scary but it worked!!
How to relax in the evening in Navarrete – home to Rioja wine
At times the paths seemed full of fellow peregrinos
But many times we had lots of space to ourselves
My pilgrim passport or credencial. This has to be stamped along the route as proof that you are a pilgrim and is also needed to be allowed stay in the albergues or pilgrim hostels.
And it’s filling up with lovely stamps, evidence of the journey
Pilgrims traditionally carry a scallop shell, a symbol of St. James. I got mine from the local fish merchant, Pat Hartley, in the farmers’ market in Carrick-on-Suir. Carrying everything that I might need for two weeks in a rucksack was an interesting personal challenge. There was lots of dithering and packing and unpacking in the lead up to departure day. Everything had to be thought of in terms of weight and usefulness – and I still ended up with some things I never used! So much to learn … the journey is certainly far from over.
I wish Buen Camino to all the peregrinos who are now on the path to Santiago de Compostela. Go n-éirí an bothar libh.