Böll weekend gets under way in Achill

An exhibition by René Böll opening as part of the Böll weekend festival in Achill.

An exhibition by René Böll opening as part of the Böll weekend festival in Achill.

A weekend of literary and artistic talks, workshops, exhibitions and tours gets under way today (Friday May 1 ) on Achill as the island celebrates its links to the renowned German writer Heinrich Böll.

This is the 12th annual Heinrich Böll Memorial Weekend.

Heinrich Böll was one of Germany’s foremost post World War II writers and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.

He wrote about his travels and experiences in Achill in the 1950s in a work called Irish Journal, which has been read by millions of Germans.

A host of leading literary figures and artists will travel to Achill for this year’s festival.

The programme includes an exhibition of paintings by Böll’s artist son René on the cilliní of Achill and Currane.

Cilliní is the Irish name for the small plots in which unbaptised children were buried, alongside outcasts from society at that time who were not permitted to be buried in consecrated church ground.

Some of the cilliní were still in use in Achill up until the 1960s and Böll has set out to remember these places and those buried there through his art.

The weekend also includes a live recording of the popular RTÉ Radio One arts programme, Sunday Miscellany, which will feature a line-up of guest writers and musicians from Achill Island.

A number of workshops and exhibitions at this year’s festival will also examine an interesting chapter in the island’s history when the evangelical Protestant, Reverend Edward Nangle, established his mission on Achill in the l830s and started a religious battle with the Catholic Church’s hierarchy in the region.

Registration for the festival opens this evening at the Cyril Gray Memorial Hall, Dugort, at 7pm, followed by the official festival opening at 7.30pm.

For the full programme of events, venues, and times, see the ‘festivals and events’ section at www.achilltourism.com

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