Wonderful weekend in the magic Kylemore Abbey, Connemara! On Friday, 20 September, 2019, Irish Culture Night, a reading event was organised there by the fabulous Mary O’Malley-Madec, teacher and poet. The invited readers were Robyn Rowland, Irish-Australian dual-citizien, Ita O’Donovan, from Clifden/County Galway, and myself, the Swiss-Irish chimera. After the break, there was an open mic with the participants of the creative writing workshop which Mary and her husband Conall O’Cuinn directed on the following Saturday and Sunday.
We had the privilege of accommodation in the Abbey’s comfortable guest wing, looked after by John and Dave who turned out to be not only considerate hosts but also wonderful cooks. Thank you, John and Dave!
In-between the workshops there was enough time to visit the spectacular Victorian Walled Gardens of the Abbey who boast a nearly Mediterranean climate. Just see the flowers and a nearly ripe fig!
For the workshop sessions, we were allowed to use the new glass hall on top of the guest wing with a wonderful panorama view on lake and mountains.
The ever changing weather presented us – a dozen writers, including Mary and Conall – with an incredible variety of scenic atmosphere, from sun and blue sky to storm and Connemara drizzle with fog and picturesque clouds. Just stunning!
The atmosphere of the workshop itself was ever changing too, challenging, stimulating, sometimes very emotional. The overall theme, “memoir”, asked for deep insight into your own depth. Without it, there would be no authentic output. No wonder a few tears were shed... We wrote, listened to each other, stimulated each other, giving encouragement and feedback, and eventually bonded, forged new friendships.
We will be back in Kylemore Abbey some time to repeat the experience, with different themes. Can’t wait!