Beautiful weather in Donegal brings out the best of reading
Antonia Leitner from Austria enjoys some reading.
Inspired by the raw beauty of coastal northwest Donegal, scribes from several different continents are bound next week for the tiny hamlet of Bun na Leaca in the Gaeltacht for Ireland’s newest international creative writing retreat.
And as part of it, established authors from both Ireland and abroad in many genres – including crime, literary fiction, memoir and sci-fi fantasy – will be among those speaking at the week-long event, which lasts from June 28 until July 5th.
Participants include men and women travelling from as far away as Perth and Victoria, Australia; Minneapolis and New Hampshire in the US; and from Somerset in England.
The ‘Ireland Writing Retreat,’ as it is known, is organized under the catchphrase ‘Forgotten County, Remembered Words.’
Those, from Donegal or farther afield, wishing to attend – there are still four places available – can do so by contacting www.irelandwritingretreat.com
Participants on the course will learn a range of key skills for writing good fiction, with many of them linked to the six basic underlying tenets of journalism – who, what, where, why, when, and how? Sentence structure, character development, plot evolution, suspense and descriptive narrative are among those skills that will be learned.
Antonia Leitner from Austria honors well-known Donegal author, Mickey McGowan, at his former family home near Mageroarty beach.
In addition to practical training in writing and editing for different formats, including short story, novel and memoir, participants will receive introductory Gaeilge language tuition and be taken on historical guided walking tours of the area to learn about the life of the local people and about the various Celtic legends that have been handed down through the generations.
Evenings will be packed with lively music with participants learning traditional Irish ceildhe dancing as well as attending music concerts and seisúns in popular Teac Jack’s in Glassagh.
“With the raw, natural landscape and dramatic history that west Donegal offers, writers – indeed artists of all kinds – cannot but be inspired, its pristine mix of lake, island, mountain and sea providing a clarity of vision second to none,” said Sean Hillen, journalist, publisher and author with more than 30 years of international writing experience, who will be one of the teachers on the course. “Pearls of beauty such as Errigal and Muckish Mountains, the Poisoned Glen, Bloody Foreland, Glenveigh National Park and Tory and Gola Islands provide prefect mood-setters for meaningful conversation, contemplation and fine writing. And for program participants to also learn some of the native language, traditions and legends is a wonderful bonus. If you want to learn to be a better writer, I guess there’s no better place to do it than on the most beautiful coastline in all Ireland.”
In addition to his own writing, Sean has conducted a series of comprehensive interviews at book fairs and writing conferences worldwide with a wide range of best-selling authors in many genres including David Nicholls, Lee Child, Ian McEwan, Douglas Kennedy, Kate Moss, Daniel Wallace, R.J. Ellory and John Connolly and their insights will be passed on to participants on the writing courses.
Many journalists, including some in the list above, have gone on to become successful, best-selling novelists. They include Ernest Hemingway (Sean once held the very same reporting position as Hemingway while working at The Kansas City Star Times in the mid-1980s); Lee Child, David Nicholls, George Eliot, Guy de Maupassant, Mark Twain, and Graham Green, to name but a few.
Antonia Leitner, from Carinthia Austria, is volunteering her assistance on the retreat.
“I moved to Dublin to study for my Masters degree in inter-cultural studies and came to the peace and tranquility of west Donegal a few weeks ago to complete my thesis,” she said. “It is a perfect place for artists of all kinds – painters, writers or sculptors.”
More from Donegal Daily
- KEEPING YOUR HAIR COLOUR FOR LONGER – WITH PATRICK GILDEA’S CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
The good news is that with proper care and a little creativity, you can keep your colour-treated hair looking shiny and vibrant.
Patrick asked Elaine one of our Master Colour Technicians to share her experience with us on keeping coloured hair fresh and vibrant. This is what she […]
- IT’S FLIPPIN’ PANCAKE TIME – WITH CHEF MARTIN ANDERSON!
I know I'm ahead of myself but next Tuesday is a very special day as you all know ......it's pancake Tuesday .
Love them or hate them it's a national tradition to serve pancakes before lent starts.
Folk would sacrifice eggs and sugar over the Lenten period and this was their […]
- MOTORING: ON THE ROAD AGAIN with BRIAN McDAID
Rallying is in Brian McDaid's blood. And in his column this week, he catches up with a certified Donegal Rally legend, James Cullen and finds he's still earning a living behind the wheel!
Cullen for Donegal?
It's 25 years ago this year since Donegal’s greatest rally […]
- MOTORING: ON THE ROAD AGAIN WITH BRIAN McDAID This week the Donegal Daily motoring correspondent Brian McDaid test-drives the Fiat Diablo and gets stuck into those who illegally park in disabled bays. If you're an offender.....you may want to look away now.
I was all excited when I got the phone call from the office […]
- GARDENING WITH GARETH – GROWING GARLIC IS AS EASY AS!
What a smashing week of weather!
Indeed the last few weeks of weather has been smashing, with many spring flowering plants even coming back into flower. A Bramley apple in my back garden is throwing out the odd flower and I’m sure with this good weather Seamus will be busy with […]
- HARRY STYLES WHO? – A POEM FOR CONOR Hundreds of people have left messages of sympathy and support for Conor Boyle and his family.
One such message was this poem left by a friend of Conor's.
We asked the young person permission to use her words which she has agreed to.
She stressed that she was not best friends […]
- IRELAND’S TIDIEST TOWN HOSTS TIDY TOWNS SEMINAR 2016 Donegal’s 2016 Tidy Towns Seminar took place in Ireland’s tidiest town, Letterkenny.
The seminar, which was hosted by Donegal County Council, took place in The Radisson Hotel with over 50 people attending.
In his opening address the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. […]
- EMMET RUSHE: RETURNING TO EXERCISE AFTER GIVING BIRTH BY EMMET RUSHE: Continuing on with last week’s theme of pregnancy and having a new baby, this week we will look at returning to exercise after giving birth.
Many “new mammies” want to know when it is safe to begin training again.
Every woman is different, but here are some […]
- NEW COLUMN: IAIN MILLER’S GREAT DONEGAL OUTDOORS – THE HIDDEN GEMS
Donegal’s Great Outdoors By Iain Miller
The Hidden Gems
My name is Iain Miller and I am a Mountain Instructor living, working and playing in County Donegal. Over the last ten years I have explored every corner of the county from the great storm beach of Glenlough Bay to the blow […]
- HOPES HIGH FOR THREATENED CORNCRAKE AS BIRDS SPOTTED ACROSS DONEGAL The signs for one of Ireland's rarest birds is looking positive after a number were spotted in Falcarragh, Tory Island, Malin and Ballyliffin.
Fifty years ago, the call of the Corncrake was an everyday part of life throughout Donegal.
However, in the 1960s, the population […]
- PICTURE THIS – DONEGAL SEWERAGE SCHEME OFFICE IS NOW AN ART GALLERY!
An office once used as an area headquarters for a sewerage scheme is reopening this weekend as a beautifully converted art gallery.
The little building directly opposite the Franciscan Friary in Rossnowlagh will be called The Assisi Gallery and will be opened on Friday evening at […]
- SLIEVE LEAGUE CLIFFS VOTED MOST IMPRESSIVE VISITOR ATTRACTION
Donegal's Slieve League Cliffs was the most impressive visit for customers of CIE Tours International last year.
The company held its annual Awards of Excellence in Dublin earlier tonight.
Glenveagh National Park was also the recipient of a prestigious award.
Kee’s Hotel in […]
- FAMOUS DONEGAL AGRICULTURAL SHOW MAY BE CANCELLED AFTER PERMISSION STALLS
The 2015 Ardara Show, scheduled for August 8th, one of the key agricultural events in the county is in doubt, as permission to use the existing Sandfield Show area site has not been received.
The area in question is controlled by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and […]
- CLLR KENNEDY ‘APPALLED’ AT LATEST TURBINE ACCIDENT
Cllr Niamh Kennedy says she is appalled at the latest wind turbine accident near Drumkeen where a blade disintegrated on a turbine.
The malfunction is believed to have occurred last Thursday night or in the early hours of Friday morning at the Meenanilta wind farm near […]
- DELIGHT AS CLEARY CENTRE GETS A NEW BUILDING IN DONEGAL TOWN HSE Donegal Community Services have announced that HSE National Estates office have given approval to lease the 'Victor building' Donegal Town as alternative accommodation for the service users of the Cleary Centre.
The fire certification application by the landlord has been approved […]
- THE CHEQUE MAY BE IN THE ‘POST’ – FROM DONEGAL’S FORGETFUL CANDIDATES
Some election candidates may be feeling a little hard-done-by after the weekend's count.
But the bad news is that candidates could find themselves with a financial headache if they don't remove their posters.
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council confirmed candidates have […]
- DONEGAL WOMAN DEARBHLA HOPING TO ‘BUILD’ ON HER SUCCESS AT WORLD BEAUTY CONTEST!
A young Donegal woman is hoping to capture one of the world's biggest beauty pageant titles - for Northern Ireland!
Dearbhla Walsh was chosen to represent Northern Ireland at the 2015 International Miss Earth Pageant in Austria in November.
The 22 year old Honours Quantity […]
- DONEGAL GARDA HAS DRINK-DRIVING CRASH CASE ADJOURNED A Garda who is originally from Co Donegal has had a case of drink-driving and dangerous driving against him adjourned.
Kevin McLaughlin, 29, was remanded on continuing bail to appear again at Carrickmacross District Court on June 8th next.
McLaughlin, from Gartan, Churchill, is […]
- MAN UNITED STARS SET FOR DONEGAL CHARITY CYCLE A host of former Reds, including Clayton Blackmore and Denis Irwin (pictured), will be in Co Donegal in June - to raise money for charity.
Blackmore, Irwin, David May and ex-Celt Brian McClair will all jump in the saddle at various points over the eight-day challenge to ride the 592 […]
- SUPERFAN CHARLES’ RACE AGAINST TIME FOR ALL-IRELAND FINAL TICKET
COUNTDOWN TO CROKER: Donegal 'Superfan' Charles Boyle is in a race against time to secure a coveted ticket to the All-Ireland final against Kerry.
Charles travelled a staggering 16,738km from Australia for the semi-final clash with Dublin.
And when Jim McGuinness’ men toppled […]