The inaugural edition of the Dingle Literary Festival kicked off on November 22nd 2019 when our festival director Sheila O'Reilly, TD Brendan Griffin and Micheál de Mórdha formally opened the festival in the Dingle Skellig Hotel, followed by Fintan O'Toole's thought-provoking lecture on Ireland's political and cultural future in 2020. 

Saturday boasted a full day of events in Dingle. Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght shared the trials and tribulations of Aisling amid a crowd full of bubbly readers, Caroline Foran spoke about managing anxiety, Daniel Davey had his audience salivating over his delicious and nutritious meals, Ian Maleney spoke about the essay form and memory, while Brian O'Connell shed light on the odd and entertaining ads he read while writing his book. Mike Hanrahan shared melodious stories of cooking adventures, Dr. Leeann Lane and Nuala O’Connor discussed the Irish writer Dorothy Macardle and Máiréad Uí Dhomhnaill discussed the life and work of four wonderful údar Ghaeilge in the 40-year-old An Café Liteartha. The headline event of the festival took place in Halla na Feothanaí on Saturday night where a heartfelt and beautifully choreographed celebration of Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé took place.  

On Sunday, Barbara Byar, Breda Joy and Luke Eastwood all discussed their latest work and discussed the influence of the Dingle Penninsula on their work, while Úna-Minh Kavanagh spoke about her relationship with Irish to a packed Dingle Bookshop and Hugo Hamiltion discussed similar themes of identity in the inspiring setting of An Diseart, watched over by Harry Clarke stained glass windows. 

As part of The Dingle Literary Festival we are always eager to engage with our younger readers and our local book clubs. Sinéad Ní Uallacháin hosted a children's storytelling event and a transatlantic book club discussion took place between a book club in Dingle and Massachusetts via the world wide web in Dingle Library. In keeping with the book festival spirit, Dairena Ní Chinnéide launched her poetry collection, 'Deleted' and Trevis L. Gleeson celebrated the launch of his recipe collection, 'Burren Dinners' and, for the aspiring writers who came to the festival, Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin ran a successful 'How To Get Published' workshop.

We're always keen to support writers at the Dingle Literary Festival - no matter their chosen writing format or level of expertise - and we ran four different writing workshops over the weekend and a one-to-one poetry consultation. Kevin Breathnach taught the art of creative non-fiction, Annemarie Ní Churreáin and Nicholas McLachlan ran a poetry workshop, Nuala O’Connor looked at the exciting form of flash fiction in her workshop and Dairena Ní Chinnéide ran a ceardlann scríbhneoireachta as Gaeilge. Suffice to say, the air in Dingle was thick with words and ideas following the inspiring workshops.

To close the festival, musicians Glen Hansard, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Matt Griffin set the poetry of their friend, Dhomhnaill Mac Síthigh, to music and filled An Diseart with melodies so beautiful they stayed with the audience for weeks after. 

The festival was a huge success and we are so grateful to everyone to attended our events, who volunteered, who spread the word and who supported the festival in any way they could. A book festival is nothing without its readers and they came from near and far to make our inaugural festival possible. Céad míle fáilte roimh, a chairde. Deireadh seachtaine den chéad scoth a bhí ann agus táimid fíor-bhuíoch le gach éinne a thacaigh linn.  

Fancy looking at our 2019 brochure to get a taste for the festival? Take a look at the 2019 festival brochure here.