Maria Edgeworth Festival 2023

Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival of Literature & Arts 2023 - Recap

The 2023 Maria Edgeworth Festival of Literature & Arts took place between the 4th and 7th May. For the Literary Festival 2023 we were celebrating the 225th Anniversary of the publication of ‘Practical Education’. Richard Lovell Edgeworth and his daughter Maria co-authored this book and explored a revolutionary approach to educating children. Many argue that their philosophy still holds up today and the Conference certainly supported that argument.

In addition to the conference, a variety of events and activities happened over the four days and this page aims to give you a flavour of what went on and what you might expect should you choose to attend one of our future Literary Festivals. 

One aspect of the Festival- the Poetry and Short Story competitions began earlier on in the year when people were invited to submit their entries, these were then adjudicated by our guest Judges and a celebratory night was held to announce the winners. 

Check out the Festival Video section for videos from the weekend.

Read about the history of the Festival here.

The Manor Revisited, Edgeworth Enthusiasts visited the former home of Maria Edgeworth, now a nursing home, and entertained residents with stories and song.

Art Workshop with Artist Angela Tuite – local artist Angela Tuite showed some eager students the finer points of creating a new piece of art.

There was an Art Exhibition in the Co:Worx hub – featuring the work of Longford based artists

During the evening there was a Screening of ‘Requiem for the Big House’. A documentary exploring the ‘Big Houses’ of Longford. It is the work of Dr. Charles Lambert and Ronan Daly. It was commissioned by Longford Library, Heritage and Archives Services. As home to one of the surviving ‘Big Houses’ of Longford this film was a reminder of the role these locations played in the life of local communities.

Our final event of the day was a look at the earliest aeronauts – balloonists. In 1812 the Edgeworth family travelled to Dublin to see the first attempt to cross the Irish sea in a hot air balloon by
James Sadler. The flight was the subject of an interesting talk by Mark Davies. Video can be viewed here

In celebration of the 225th anniversary of Edgeworth’s book ‘Practical Education” we hosted an international conference with speakers from the UK, the US, Ireland and Italy. Entitled ‘”The Education of a Nation” – The Role of the Edgeworths’ it was held in our local community center and was both well attended and received great praise and positive feedback from attendees and speakers. 

“Reflections on the 1st Maria Edgeworth International Education Conference” – read Kitty Hughes account of events  HERE

Saturday began with a new attraction to our Festival an Artisan Market outside the Library, featuring stalls with arts and crafts, food and a demonstration of a honeybee hive.

Meanwhile in the Library Aoife Munn introduced a group of children and their parents to Natural Crafts and Soap Making which proved very popular.

While the Library was busy the Green was busy too with a Poetry Workshop hosted by our Poetry Festival judge, Noel Monahan.

The final event of the day was the Culture Night, where the Competition entrants and winners could hear the remarks of the Judges, David Butler (Stories) and Noel Monahan (Poems). There was also musical entertainment provided by the Simply Strings Quartet. Another new addition to this year’s Festival was an item called ‘In Conversation’ and featured RTE presenter Sinead Hussey interviewing the author Emilie Pine. You can watch a video of this event here 

You can also follow the links in the Festival Video Section for more videos of the events of the weekend.

Day 4 – a day to worry about the weather and while it wasn’t great, it was good enough to allow us to host our 18th Century Mostrim Tea Party, a time for social gathering, lots of conversation and plenty of tea and treats. 

Mostrim Players, Longford Writers and the Innyside Singers were all on hand to provide entertainment through the afternoon. A fitting end to another fantastic Festival. We are so grateful to our Sponsors, our speakers and performers, our volunteers and of course to our audiences. 

We are planning for next year already!

Follow the links below to our YouTube channel which features videos from the Festival. 

Conference Video 

Festival Playlist (11 Videos)

Poetry & Short Story Competition

Click on the link below to read the winning entries from our Competitions – Please note that these are published with the permission of the authors and they may choose to revoke or not grant that permission. 

Literary Festival Competitions Page