The 32nd Goldsmith International Literary Festival was launched last Thursday evening at Ballymahon Community Library. The festival, which is the third longest-running festival of its type, will take place as usual over the June bank holiday. Founded 32 years ago to celebrate the literary genius of Oliver Goldsmith and to promote Goldsmith Country as a tourist attraction, it has over the years explored many aspects of Goldsmith’s life and work. A huge variety of renowned critics, politicians, poets, commentators, and academics have by turns stimulated, informed, and amused audiences over the past three decades
The 32nd annual festival is in a commemorative mood this year. This year’s theme is '1916: Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?' The opening event will take place on Saturday, June 4 at 11.15am in the convivial setting of the Goldsmith Reading Room in Ballymahon Community Library. The festival will be officially opened by Miriam Mulrennan, Westmeath County Council's arts officer. This will be followed at 11.30am by a talk by the well-known historian Dr Brian Hanley on 'Shared History? Reflections on War and Revolution'. Dr Hanley’s talk will be chaired by Mary Gallagher, grandniece of Eamon Ceannt. Noted academic Dr Martin Mansergh will deliver a talk entitled '1916 – A Cultural Rising'. The chair for this event is Larry Mc Cluskey, noted educator and raconteur.
The festival is also delighted to host songwriter John Spillane. Fresh from a fantastic performance on The Late Late Show, this promises to be a night to remember in The Rustic Inn. This concert will follow a recital by Ballymahon’s much loved Inny Singers.
The festival culminates on Sunday with the fifth annual Goldsmith Miscellany. Chaired by Oliver Hegarty and featuring a number of short talks interspersed with music, this will also take place in the congenial surroundings of the Goldsmith Room. Speakers and contributors include Matt Nolan, Donal Mac an Bheatha, Jude Flynn, Anne Fitzgerald, Tom Reid, and Matt Fox. Music for this event will be provided by Donie Keyes and Padraig Campbell.
The final event takes place at Goldsmith’s birthplace, Pallas, with the results of the children’s and adults’ poetry competitions, adjudicated by poet Noel Monahan. The competitions received extremely high quality entries from all over Ireland, with the children’s poetry competition featuring the work of children from primary schools in Goldsmith Country. Flautist Gerry Bohan will provide musical accompaniment.
The Goldsmith International Literary Festival has a very full and exciting programme of events. For more information see goldsmithfestival.ie