Castlebar celebrates Wild Atlantic Words

A six-day feast of literature is promised for this year's Wild Atlantic Words Festival in Castlebar which runs from Tuesday (October 5 ) to Sunday (October 10 ).

Book launches, celebrity presentations, poetry, prose, history and biography, all find a place in this year's line-up, which will have as its central venue a new Festival Dome at Bridge Lane in the town centre.

Among the distinguished invitees for this year's event is psychologist and inspirational guide, Dr Maureen Gaffney, whose new book, Your One Wild and Precious Life has just been issued to deserved acclaim.

Dr Gaffney, one of the country's best loved and popular observers of how we deal with the challenges and opportunities of everyday living, is certain to attract a large audience to her presentation on October 8.

Former RTÉ journalist, Tommie Gorman, will bring his wealth of reporting experience at the cutting edge of news-making in a much awaited interview with Tommie Marren of MidWest Radio on Wednesday.

Local authors launching new books at the festival include Swinford solicitor, Pat O'Connor, who will talk about The Life and Times of a Country Solicitor, with Marie Louise O'Donnell, on Thursday. A member of a family steeped in Mayo legal heritage, Mr O'Connor's book is a first-hand account of the diverse experiences which come the way of a lawyer in a Mayo town.

Tuesday will see historian and academic, Dr Michael O'Connor, launch his Caribbean Slave Owners and other Lesser-Known Histories of County Mayo, during the festival. Noted for his meticulous research and stylish command of language, the book will be a worthy successor to his Anatomy of a County Gaol published last year.

Also on Tuesday, American-born Tony Lynott, now domiciled in Mayo, is assured of a warm welcome when he launches his first book, The Chronicles of Máistir James Ronane, the proceeds of which he has generously donated to the festival.

Former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, will perform the official launch of Cormac O'Malley's new book, Ernie O'Malley, A Life co-authored with Harry Martin, and which is of special significance to Mayo, on Saturday.

On Saturday also, Sean Cadden will speak on the recent book, The Men of the West, which recounts the gallant exploits of the men of the West Mayo Brigade IRA.

Other festival events include the announcement of the winner of the short story competition, adjudicated by JP McHugh; the ever popular ‘Poem and a Pint’, on Thursday, hosted by Ken Armstrong; and concluding with the relaxed, informal session, ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’, when John Healy will be joined by a panel of John Chambers, Liam Egan, Joan Geraghty and Sean Rice.

Another new addition to this year’s festival is the Wild Atlantic Fringe, presented by Bridge St, in conjunction with Wild Atlantic Words. Fringe events will include yoga and live music, including a live performance by Padraig Jack at the Festival Dome on Friday night. More details on all events can be found on the festival website,


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