Doolin Writers’ Weekend: a preview

I’ve only been to County Clare once. It was part of a political visit, whether it was on the election trail or as part of a ministerial visit I can’t remember. We drove round the Burren and at one point got out and looked at large slab of limestone. And possibly some flowers nestled among black bog land.

I haven’t made it to the Cliffs of Moher. And I’ve never been to Lisdoonvarna. BUT – next weekend, I will make the journey to Clare, to a small place called Doolin, where a writers’ weekend takes place. I am in the happy glow of not knowing what’s ahead of me. And in delicious anticipation of what might be.

I’ve seen some pictures of low stone walls, cottages and the sea looming all foreboding in the background. And I don’t know why but I can’t get the image of purple tie dye and orange out of my head. Maybe it’s related to this pic:


The weekend kicks off on Friday with a drinks reception at Hotel Doolin and a reading by Joseph O’Connor. I’m a massive fan of O’Connor and really hoping to get speaking to him. Hope I don’t come over all shy.

On Saturday, there are three workshops on offer. I’m taking part in Dermot Bolger’s fiction workshop, and at the same time Danielle McLaughlin presents on short fiction and Stephen Murray on poetry.

A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party takes place in the afternoon. I’m not quite sure what this is involves but hopefully there’ll be gin in teapots. Dinner that evening features a surprise guest (exciting) and literary themed dining. Books for placemats? Courses from famous novels? Gruel from Oliver Twist?

There’s an open mic after dinner and live music in Fitz’s bar. The thoughts of drinking pints and yabbering about books, honestly, has me melting in my mind. I can’t bloody wait.

On Sunday I’ve signed up to the publishing seminar with Banshee Lit. Over the past year, I’ve read and tried to learn as much about publishing as possible, and I love face to face workshops where you can ask questions about the business and get as many tips as you’re nosy for. I am very nosy.

Hopefully the head won’t be hanging off me and I’ll be fit to drive back home safely that day, as it’s Mother’s Day too.

Child to Daddy: “Where’s Mammy?”
Daddy to Child: “She’s away to drink the head of herself in Co. Clare. Because she’s a writer.”


One of the things that attracted me to the festival, apart from the amazingness of getting away for a weekend, just to do something I love and be around people I generally like, is the price tag.

The €99 weekend pass includes:

  • *Invitation to the opening night drinks reception and talk with Joseph O’Connor
  • *Entrance to the Festival Gig with Sonny Condell
  • *1 workshop on each day Saturday and Sunday
  • *Carvery Lunch on Saturday and Sunday
  • *Entrance to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
  • *Dinner on Saturday night

With workshops included, evening dinner, two lunches and two drinks reception, this is one of the most affordable and accessible weekends I’ve seen. Anywhere!

I’ll report back after and I’ll be tweeting and new fangled snapchatting when I’m there. That depends on the wifi in in that part of the world of course. And sure if I’m cut off with just drink, food and a load of writers having the craic, well then that won’t be a bad thing either.

hotel doolin
Writers, writers everywhere

You can view the full programme for the weekend and visit for all information. The event is run by Hotel Doolin.

December Girl is now available on Audio. Visit Amazon or Audible or click on the cover below to download.

December Girl audiobook

6 Comments on Doolin Writers’ Weekend: a preview

  1. Oh my goodness, I’m so envious! This sounds so amazing. And that can’t be the price!!!!

    I’ve been in Doolin last September, it was a miserably rainy day and I saw nothing of the town… though the Cliffs were absolutely stunning!
    I’d lov eto go back and this woudl have been a fantastic occastion. But even had I known in advance, there was no way I could go: starting of uni term, one of the busiest time of the year at the bookshop, I wosn’t going to ahve days off (and I would have need at least a couple, I’m from Italy 😉 )

    Do tell us everything that happens! This sounds so exciting!

    • I will definitely report back! ah, at least you got to see that part of the world. I’m expecting it to be wet and rainy, but hopefully the pubs will be nice and warm!

  2. I’ve been to Lisdoonvarna and the Cliffs of Moher about 2 years ago, the Burren is beautiful, would have loved to stay longer.
    Enjoy Doolin, it sounds great, I’m hoping to make it to a couple of writing festivals during the summer.

    • I can’t wait to go, very very excited. Too excited perhaps, I’ll have to calm down! Interested to see how you get on yourself x

  3. This is very much on my wish list for next year. I was really tempted this year but I’d an engagement at a pool in Waterford with twenty 8-11 year olds so had to pass.
    Really looking forward to your report.
    What workshops did you decide on?

    • Ah Tric, we would have had the craic if you were there! I only heard of it this year, but I really liked the look of it. Think it will be a good first taster for an event like this. I’m going with the Dermot Bolger fiction workshop on the Sat and the Banshee Lit publishing workshop on the Sunday. I’m also really hoping to finish the draft of my novel there – I’ve only a bit to go and would be lovely place to type THE END. 🙂

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