Castlebar celebrates success of Wild Atlantic Words

Capacity audiences and first class events marked this year's Wild Atlantic Words festival in Castlebar.

The festival programme of literature, poetry, interviews, book launches and local history attracted the largest crowds yet in the six years of the festival, with several events booked out in advance.

Festival Director, Kathryn Brennan, speaking at the close of the festival, paid tribute to all involved, but in particular to the Swift brothers, proprietors of Bridge St, whose Festival Dome made it possible to cater for the big numbers which attended.

Among the week's highlights was the attendance of acclaimed novelist Sally Rooney for the presentation of the short story awards, won by Michelle Coyle, with Jordan Lillis as runner-up. The adjudicator was John Patrick McHugh, and the event was sponsored by Bridge St.

Guests at the Festival included Dr Maureen Gaffney, who was interviewed by Dr Eamon Smith on her life and times, and former RTÉ man, Tommie Gorman. In a fascinating and informative interview with Tommy Marren of Mid West Radio, Tommie Gorman spoke of his career as a journalist with RTÉ, including his coverage of the biggest stories of his time.

Book launches included Dr Michael O'Connor's new book, ‘Caribbean Slave Owners and Other Lesser-Known Histories of County Mayo', Patrick O'Connor's 'Life and Times of a Country Solicitor', interviewed by Marie Louise O'Donnell, and Cormac O'Malley's new biography of his father, Ernie O'Malley, which was formally launched by former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and introduced by co-author, Harry Martin.

New author, Anthony Lynott, launched his 'The Chronicles of Maistir James Ronane', and historian Sean Cadden, co-author of 'The Men of the West', explained much of its background to Marie Louise O'Donnell.

Elsewhere, Ken Armstrong was a most capable facilitator for 'A Poem and a Pint’, an event which is rapidly gaining its own niche in festival week, and John Healy's Sunday Morning wrapped up a great week with his guest panel of John Chambers, Liam Egan, Joan Geraghty and Sean Rice.


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