Maria Edgeworth Festival of Literature & Arts 2023

18th Century Tea Party in the Green, Literary Festival 2022

Maria Edgeworth Festival, May 2023

A feature of the Arts and Culture Scene in Longford

The Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival has been a feature of the Arts and Culture scene in Longford for the past twenty-eight years. Over the years the Maria Edgeworth Festival Committee has explored different cultural avenues and worked to expand the Festival’s impact and audience. The 2023 event was no different and the hosting of an International Conference with guest speakers from UK, USA, Ireland and Italy showcased their efforts.

Art and a journey into the past

Day One of the Maria Edgeworth Festival

The first day of the Maria Edgeworth Festival began at the ancestral home of the Edgeworth’s – The Manor Nursing Home. Talented local singers , the Ross Sisters, entertained the staff and patients.

Art Class at the Maria Edgeworth Festival

In the afternoon Art was the focus. Committee member Angela Tuite hosted a workshop for aspiring painters here in Edgeworthstown. Some promising students joined in – so maybe in the future their art will be on display!

An exhibition of Art waslocal art exhibition at the Festival hosted by Co:Worx, the town’s digital hub. We thank Clare McEnroe for organising this exhibition with selected art works from the County Longford arts collection.

For the evening we moved to the Green across the road from the Maria Edgeworth Centre, where an attentive audience enjoyed the ‘Requiem for the Big House’. A wonderful documentary looking at the last years of the Big Houses in Ireland. The people who lived there and the effects they had on their communities, as well as the people who lived and worked in and around these buildings.

Mark Davies talks on BallooningOur final event of the day launched us into the history of Ballooning in Ireland and thanks to Maria Edgeworth we have an eye witness account on one such flight. Mark Davies, an Oxford tour guide, historian and author, regaled us with the tales of the intrepid men and women who first took to the air and tried to cross the Irish Sea. This was a fascinating look at these often-overlooked pioneers.

The Education of A Nation & The Role of The Edgeworths

Day Two of the Maria Edgeworth Festival

This was our showpiece event – the International Conference to mark the 225th Anniversary of the

audience at the International Education Conferencepublication of ‘Practical Education’, – The Edgeworth’s treatise on Education and a book ahead of its time. A unique event for the Maria Edgeworth Festival and Longford. Follow this link to read an article on the Conference.

Arts & Crafts

Day Three of the Maria Edgeworth Festival

A focus on children for the early part of day three of the Maria Edgeworth Festival. Courtesy of Aoife Munn who held a couple of fascinating classes on soap making and Natural Crafts in the Library of Edgeworthstown.

Artisan Market with local arts and crafts at the Maria Edgeworth FestivalOutside the Library, local Artisans set up stalls to display their wares and give you an insight into the creation of their art. One stall had a unique display – a hive of bees with the curator quite keen on answering questions about the amazing insects.

A different type of class took place in the Green with the Poetry Workshop, hosted by this years Poetry Adjudicator Noel Monahan. Noel was in action again later in the day at the Culture Night. He presented the prizes for the Poetry Competition, made his adjudicator remarks (“A very high standard!”) and read from some of his poems.

The growing stature of the Festival Competitions was emphasized by the fact that the first and second place were awarded to an American entrant. He sadly could not make the event but we do hope he will attend in the future.

One of the things the festival prides itself on, is welcoming former winners and entrants as guest speakers or adjudicators. This year was no exception as our Short Story judge, David Butler presented prizes, made his comments on the high quality of the entries and also read from some of his own work. The winning entrant read her story to the audience. Musical interludes were provided by the excellent ‘Simply Strings’ a quartet who performed to a very high standard.

Noel Monaghan our poetry competition adjudicator

The final event of the evening featured an interview with author Emilie Pine, conducted by RTÉ Correspondent Sinead Hussey with questions invited from the audience. It was a fascinating conversation and we are very grateful to Emilie for her time and candour – watch it HERE.

“18th Century Mostrim Tea Party”

Day Four of the Maria Edgeworth Festival

18th Century Mostrim Tea Party set up at the Maria Edgeworth FestivalA day devoted to conversation, good food, music, poetry and drama. The 18th Century Tea Party is one of the recent innovations by the Maria Edgeworth Festival Committee and one of its great successes. A wonderful crew of volunteers setup the scene with tables, chairs,

Visitors at the Maria Edgeworth Festivalballoons and bunting. The talented Paula Hussey and her volunteers served out delicious food, Mostrim Players, Longford Writers and the Innyside Singers served up drama, poetry and song to entertain the many guests. All in all a fitting end to the four days of Arts, Literature and Culture and we look forward to 2024 and another Maria Edgeworth Festival.

Drama, Poetry and Music in the Green at the Maria Edgeworth FestivalWe can’t forget the behind the scenes work of the Committee, the volunteers who helped out at events, the schools for their participation in the Conference, local people who came out in numbers to support the events, our guests who travelled distances to attend/speak at our events and of course to our sponsors at local, county and national level who showed their faith in us by supporting us financially.our Maria Edgeworth Festival volunteers

Full list of sponsors: