Another adventure to Ireland with my friend Maggie. Maggie has strong associations with Ireland so these trips include plenty of detours, visiting an artist friend, walking in woodland, popping into a castle or two!
This time it was for a chance to work with the well known author Niall Williams at Kiltumter in County Clair. Oh what a wonderful experience from just about every point of view.
Niall and his wife Christine are amazing people. Read their book ‘Oh Come Ye Back to Ireland’ to get a real sense of their personal magic, a pilgrimage, a history.
Move on to read some of a long list of Niall’s award winning novels. ‘History of the Rain’ one of the best known.
Christine Breen his wife is an accomplished artist, novelist and author, books include ‘Her name is Rosie’. She is also an award winning garden designer.
But this week she was conjuring up a magical atmosphere in their wonderful home and producing colourful salads and inspired soups for our lunches.
Officially it was called a novel writing course weekend. But it felt like more like walking through secret doorways into a new adventure.
The workshops were held in the local primary school, walls full of the pupils’ art and creative writing.
The sprinkling of fellow writers were from the States, Ireland, Australia and England. Some had been before and included a young woman who had recently been given a two book contract. Others were well into plotting and planning their work. Maggie had her initial chapters already completed and me, well I just had a few ideas!
For two full days we were all thrown into the deep end with exercises, chances to listen to each other’s work and detailed discussions. I was certainly in awe at the extent of Niall’s literary knowledge, but he is also a skilled teacher with genuine enthusiasm for all we were trying to achieve.
‘Don’t tell the devil too much of your mind’ said my old granny when anyone seemed about to be tell too much of their plans. So further details of all this creativity will be revealed only when our books are sitting neatly on the shelves of your local bookshop! ‘If you believe that you will believe anything!’ but who knows, we have certainly been set on the right path to potential success.
We stayed in a lovely house in the village for the duration of the course, but Maggie insisted we treated ourselves to The Old Ground Hotel in Ennis for our last night.
A beautiful place full of history, a Poets Bar, Irish music, lovely staff and a wonderful meal with Maureen, another writer friend of Maggie who was also on the course.
It was on only on our return that I learned from Maggie that Christine designed and maintains the hotel garden, another lovely connection!