The 7th Annual Dromineer Literary Festival a huge success

The seventh annual Dromineer Literary Festival held this past weekend, 7th to 10th October, at Lough Derg Yacht Club in Dromineer, was a resounding success and a truly international affair with visitors from the USA, France, Australia and the UK.  The theme for this year’s festival was ‘Memories’ and from conversations with our audiences and artists, many will have fond recollections of their weekend spent at the festival.

Poet Dave Lordan read as part of the All Ireland Poetry Day on Thursday 7 October.  His powerful and uncompromising poetry struck a deep note with his audience.  Dave also judged the poetry competition with first and second prize winners from the United States and France, both of whom travelled to Dromineer for the festival.  Everyone who attended his poetry workshop came away feeling inspired and encouraged.

Launching the festival at the official opening on the evening of Friday 8 October John Tierney, a prominent local resident and former Commodore of the Yacht Club, wondered whether, as happened in Renaissance Italy, artists and writers should be the ones to lead our country out of these troubled times and into its own renaissance.  He applauded continuing local support for the literary festival, but expressed concern that the Arts, the sustenance of a society, are currently under greatest threat at a time when they are most needed.

Children’s Author and Illustrator Mary Arrigan judged the Children’s poetry competition again this year.  All of the prize winners and their families attended the launch to hear their entries read by Mary.  The winners were presented with book tokens sponsored by The Book Shop in Nenagh and with certificates signed by the judge and the festival chairman, Pat Kelly.  Councillor John Kennedy, Mayor, North Tipperary County Council, presented all of the prizes.

Author and Director of the Killaloe Hedge School, David Rice told why he chose the winning stories in the adult short story competition and Dave Lordan explained how he knew which poems had the ‘it’ to be placed first, second and third.  He also included twelve other poems in a Highly Commended category.

Throughout Friday and before the launch, author and illustrator Oisín McGann held two workshops, morning and afternoon, for one hundred transition year pupils.  Each year this is a very successful event that generates a great deal of enthusiasm from the pupils.  The workshop was co-ordinated by festival committee member Bryan McDermott and North Tipperary Arts Office.

On Saturday morning, three workshops ran concurrently; Dave Lordan hosted the poetry workshop, Maeve O’Sullivan directed the haiku workshop which included a short voyage to Garrykennedy and a walk in the woodlands, and David Rice led the fiction writing workshop.  These workshops are a feature of the festival and as usual demand for places outstripped supply.

On Saturday afternoon Marjorie Quarton launched her book Mary Cannon’s Commonplace Book: an Irish Kitchen in the 1700s (Lilliput Press).  Marjorie’s good friend and fellow author David Rice launched the book with hilarious quips and anecdotes.  The festival committee were delighted to host the launch of this wonderful book by an accomplished local writer.  This is Marjorie’s second launch this year, the first, Part-Time Writer: Notes & Reflections, Lilliput Press, was launched in April.

Authors Carlo Gébler and Hugo Hamilton read to and conversed with a capacity audience, upstairs at the yacht club later on Saturday evening.  The Meet the Authors event focused on their memoirs Father and I and The Speckled People.  In a fascinating discussion both authors agreed that although memory is a fallible thing, the events they describe in their books is the truth as they remember their lives.  A absorbing discussion on truth and ethics in the writing of a memoir concluded that history writing is a separate genre that serves a different master to that of memoir.

On Sunday afternoon, afloat on the passenger vessel The Spirit of Killaloe, Reggie Goodbody and Sandra Lefroy recalled extraordinary times and occasional traumas in their compelling accounts of living on board the gentleman stream vessel the Phoenix, Reggie when as a child and Sandra as a newly married woman and then later with a young family.  Reggie and Sandra’s warm and often very humorous recollections told of historical events and characters and descriptions of the business of daily living.  Their stories, until now unheard, greatly enriched the audience’s appreciation of local knowledge and tradition.

On Sunday evening The Nenagh Players performed The Push Cart Peddlers, and were a triumph.  The play, a farce, by Murray Schisgal, was directed by Stephen Toohey and starred Niamh Hogan, Mike McMahon and Kevin Whelan. The finale for the festival brought the house down with howls of laughter and spontaneous applause from the audience.

Gerardine Wisdom was festival artist and festival photographer this year and her breathtaking photographs were on display and for sale throughout the weekend.



Memories are made of…(Senior Category)

1. Kate McGee, Kildangan National School
2. Przmek Sztanderd, Carrig National School
3. Hazel Holland, St. Theresa’s National School, Borrisoleigh

Highly Commended ~ Mila Radulovich Staines, Carrig National School

Highly Commended ~ Darragh Burke, Ballinaclough National School

I remember. I remember…(Junior Category)

1. Joanne Clifford Duggan, Birdhill National School
2. Kate Boyle, Ballinree National School
3 Kathleen O’Halloran, Carrig National School

Highly Commended ~ Caoimhe Cantwell, Ballinree National School


1. Litany by Connie Roberts, New York.
2. Blue Day by Richard W Halperin, Paris.
3. Typewritten by Geraldine Mitchell, Louisburgh, Mayo.

Highly Commended Poets:
David McLoughlin, Castleconnell, Limerick. (2 Poems)
Richard W Halperin, Paris (2 Poems)
Michael Farry, Trim, Meath. (2 Poems)
Marie Coveney, Monkstown, Cork.
John Walsh, Inverin, Galway.
Patrick Maddock, New Ross, Wexford.
Nichola Griffin, Caher, Clare.
Evan Costigan, Moyvalley, Kildare.
Mae Newman, Rathfarnham, Dublin.


1. The Birthday Invitation by Sharon Black, Sandymount, Dublin.
2. Whatever Happens by Frances Browner, Greystones, Wicklow.
3. The Train by Mike Roycroft, Nenagh, Tipperary.

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