Maria Edgeworth Festival 2024

Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival of Literature & Arts 2024 - Recap

The 2024 Maria Edgeworth Festival of Literature & Arts took place between the 10th and 12th May. For the Literary Festival 2024 we ventured into some new territory with a symposium on “Resilience & Well-Being through Education”, had some interesting art on display, had two open mike events and added an Artisan Market and an International Music Act to the Sunday events.

In addition to the Symposium, a variety of events and activities happened over the three 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 day began with a symposium entitled “Resilience & Well-Being through Education” with speakers Richard Hogan and Maisie Lee.
Richard Hogan (Psychotherapist, Author, Columnist), highlighted issues resulting from and affecting young people with the use or misuse of social media. He drew on lots of experience from his own parenting practice and from visiting schools around the country delivering a talk that rang with stories and examples of the struggles of both parents and young people when dealing with social media.
Maisie Lee (Gold IMRO award winner, Freeland Director of Theatre and Radio), highlighted the significance of creativity and communication in promoting resilience and well-being with a presentation that confirmed the role of creativity in the development of skills for life’s challenges.
Angela Tuite, a member of the festival committee, facilitated an Art Workshop, hot on the heels of the Symposium. She took participants into the creative world of Picasso and later in the day, an Art Exhibition was opened in Co:Worx, Edgeworthstown’s Digital Hub. Entitled “Midland Artists”, the exhibition was a unique expression of individual viewpoints and artistic skills. Thank you to Clare McEnroe at Co:Worx for facilitating this exhibition.
The very popular Edgeworthstown Heritage and Literary Trail, led by local historian, Matt Farrell, made spines tingle with sensational stories of events in the lives of Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, William Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott and of course, Maria Edgeworth and members of her family.
In the evening, athe first of two Open Mic events, was heldonce again in Co:Worx, provided ‘Longford Writers’ with a platform for reading their poetry aloud. For the second event the focus was on humour. Jimmy Jests hosted the event mixing comedy, music and song.

Saturday was a day for creativity in the arts of storytelling, prose and poetry, starting with children enjoying a story-telling event in Edgeworthstown Library. Orla McGovern, (Storyteller, Writer, Performer and Facilitator) led a Storytelling Workshop which was booked out. The Poetry Workshop held in The Green was facilitated by poet Victoria Kennefick who also adjudicated the Poetry Competition. A Short Story Workshop facilitated by Sheila Forsey, also in the Green.
Culture Night was the end to the creative day with music, readings and song. This celebratory night featured Victoria Kennefick and Sheila Forsey announcing the winners of the Maria Edgeworth Poetry and Short Story Competitions. In addition, the audience were treated to readings from Victoria’s Poetry Collections and an excerpt from one of Sheila’s books.
Music interludes were provided by Lucy Sky Dunne on the harp and singer, Corinne McCormack Bushell accompanied by Derek Mahady on the keyboard. The music was beautiful.
Our ‘in conversation’ feature brought together the writer, and previous Maria Edgeworth Short Story winner, Fergus Cronin and Sheila Reilly Journalist. The conversation turned the spotlight on the way in which Fergus writes and which aspects of writing interested and intrigued him. An enjoyable conversation that brought the evening to an end.

The highlight of Sunday was the Artisan Market. Organised with excellent planning and execution, the Gazebos went up and created a tantalizing atmosphere of expectation and interest. A record number of artisan creators displayed hand made goods ranging from jewellery, pottery, basketwork, leather goods, oils, essences, soaps, art, honey, gin, printing and decoupage which was an amazing sight to behold. A bright sunny day made it possible to fully enjoy this event. It will definitely be back next year.
And if you were hungry or thirsty or hungry and thirsty, teas, cakes and sandwiches were served at beautifully dressed tables with vintage crockery to catch your eye and make you smile. Staff worked very hard to serve the large number of people on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Music was provided by ‘Scór’ – a traditional music group and ‘Los Lorcas’ – a threesome from America who came over especially to play at the festival. Their concert “From Raglan Road to Thunder Road” their lyrics are based on poems ranging from Dylan to W.B Yeats. For the children there was face-painting to be tried as well.
So this brought the Festival to a close for the 29th year.

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

Festival Playlist (7 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