Maria Edgeworth Festival

4th-7th May 2023

Festival Events

Thursday 4th May 2023

11.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.

The Manor Revisited Active Retirement Event

Edgeworth Enthusiasts will visit the former home of Maria Edgeworth and regale residents with stories and song.

  • Venue: The Manor, Edgeworthstown, N39 VR04
  • Admission: Free

10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Art Exhibition 

  • Venue: Co:worx, Edgeworthstown, N39AH64
  • Admission: Free

2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. 

Art Workshop with Artist Angela Tuite

  • Venue: The Green, Edgeworthstown, N39 VW40
  • Admission: Fully Booked

7.00 p.m. – 8.00 p.m. 

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 is commissioned by Longford Library, Heritage and Archives Services.

  • Venue: The Green, Edgeworthstown, N39 VW40
  • Admission: Free

8.00 p.m. 

‘The Edgeworths and Ireland’s first male and female balloonists’ talk with Mark Davies

In 1812 the Edgeworth family travelled to Dublin to see the Oxford pastry cook James Sadler attempt to become the first person to cross the Irish sea in a hot-air balloon. The flight will be the main focus of the talk.

  • Venue: The Green, Edgeworthstown, N39 VW40
  • Admission: Free, Refreshments served, no pre-booking or registration required

Angela Tuite is a native of Westmeath, now living in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford. She is a renowned Irish artist who has exhibited widely in Ireland and her work is held in many private collections throughout the world.
Her artistic talents have grown steadfastly over the years, being influenced by the impressionists, working mostly on both silk, canvas, wood and antique slate. Angela facilitates workshops for both adults and children encouraging their self-expression and artistic experimentation. She has recently retired as an Art and Design Tutor with Longford Westmeath Education Training Board delivering workshops throughout the Midlands.
While the majority of her work deals with nature- based themes such as landscapes/treescapes, still life and abstract she loves to explore the magical and mythological essence of nature through her vibrant paintings. Her ideas, emotions and visual experiences are expressed through her love of colour, texture and fabric. The lustre of silk adds vibrancy to her paintings with the running and blending of colours
creating unique magical effects.

James Sadler's balloon (in London, in 1811)

Maria Edgeworth’s eye-witness description of an ill-fated 1812 balloon ascent from Dublin by James Sadler, ‘King of all Balloons’, is precious because of its unusually atmospheric evocation of the event. Sadler (1753–1828), an Oxford pastry cook who became in 1784 the unlikely first Englishman to fly, had a connection with Maria’s half-sister, Anna, through her marriage to Sadler’s patron, the Oxford and Bristol chemist Thomas Beddoes. Sadler’s son Windham (1796-1824) not only enhanced family pride by becoming the first man to cross the Irish Sea by air from Dublin in 1817, but was also instrumental in enabling the first flight by any woman in Ireland. Earlier, the Edgeworth girls’ father Richard had invented a kind of altimeter, and was an original subscriber to the Royal Aeronautical Society and an early associate of the Lunar Society. Maria was born not far from Oxford, where Richard had been a student.(Extract from Valerie Pakenhams ‘Maria Edgeworth- Letters from Ireland’)

Mark Davies is an Oxford local historian, guide, and author, with a preference for the history and literature of the non-University aspects of the city. Oxford’s waterways are a common theme in his books and talks, an interest derived from having lived on a residential narrowboat on the Oxford Canal for 30 years. Of note is Alice in Waterland, his much-praised, unique take on the ‘river-rounded’ Oxford of Lewis Carroll.  Mark is also the biographer of James Sadler, ‘King of all Balloons’, an Oxford pastry cook who was the unlikely first Englishman to fly, and whose visits to Ireland, along with his aeronaut son, Windham, attracted enormous attention – not least from the Edgeworth family! Mark is a trustee of the Lewis Carroll Society, on the committee of the Alliance of Literary Societies, and Chair of the Jericho [a distinctivel Oxford suburb] Living Heritage Trust.

International Conference:

“The Education of A Nation” -The Role of the Edgeworths

Friday 5th May 2023

Venue: St Mary’s Community Centre, Granard Rd, Aughafin, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford N39 W425

Published in 1798 Practical Education had a vision for a universal education system for Ireland

We ask?

Has Edgeworth’s vision a message for us now, when school patronage and religious instruction is such a contested issue in Ireland today?

To celebrate the 225th anniversary of the publication of Edgeworth’s Practical Education, the Maria Edgeworth Centre are hosting a Conference on the plans the Edgeworths had for the establishment of non-denominational schools in Ireland in 1799/1800. It will examine whether their vision has a message for us now when school patronage and religious instruction is such a contested issue today.

This conference is a must for those charged with the education of our Nation, students of education and those interested in the history of our education system. The conference is open to all to register.

9.30 p.m. Mostrim Laughs Out Loud with Jimmy Jests

Open Mic with Poetry/Storytelling

  • Venue: The Sportsman’s Inn, N39 P8D8
  • Admission: Free

Practical Education is an educational treatise written by Maria Edgeworth and her father Richard Lovell Edgeworth. Published in 1798, it is a comprehensive theory of education that combines the ideas of philosophers John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau as well as of educational writers such as Thomas Day, William Godwin, Joseph Priestley, and Catharine Macaulay. The Edgeworths’ theory of education was based on the premise that a child’s early experiences are formative and that the associations they form early in life are long-lasting. They also encourage hands-on learning and include suggestions of “experiments” that children can perform and learn.

Jimmy Jests is a popular Longford comedian who has written, produced and starred in hundreds of online video sketches. He has in excess of 90k social media followers and continues to entertain daily with topical and hilarious content. He can also be seen performing live at various stand up comedy shows.

Saturday 6th May 2023

From 10 a.m.

Artisan Market will include locally produced Arts, Crafts and Food

  • Venue: The Library Plaza, Edgeworthstown, N39 F7Y8
  • Admission: Free

10.00 a.m. – 11.00 a.m. 

Children’s ‘Natural Craft Workshop’ with Aoife Munn

  • Venue: Walled Garden, The Manor, Edgeworthstown, N39 VR04
  • Fee: €5, Places limited, online booking required

11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

Poetry Workshop with Noel Monahan

  • Venue: The Green, Edgeworthstown. N39 VW40
  • Fee: €20, Places limited, online booking required

11.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.

Childrens ‘Soap Making Workshop’ with Aoife Munn

  • Venue: The Library, Edgeworthstown, N39 F7Y8
  • Fee: €10, Places limited, online booking required

2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Biodiversity Workshop with Aoife Munn.  The workshop will discuss sustainable living


Due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been cancelled

8.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m. 

Culture Night

Prize Winners Presentation and Adjudicators comments

Poetry Reading Noel Monahan

Short Story Reading David Butler

In conversation”

Writer Emilie Pine discusses life with Sinead Hussey, RTÉ Correspondent.

Musical entertainment with Simply Strings Quartet; Refreshments served afterwards

  • Venue: The Green, Edgeworthstown N39 VW40
  • Admission: €10, Places limited, online booking required

Emilie Pine is Professor of Professor of Modern Drama (she/her). Director of Research, School of English, Drama and Film University College Dublin. She has published widely as an academic and critic. She is the author of the award winning essay collection, Notes to Self, which has been translated into fifteen languages, and most recently the novel Ruth & Pen.

David Butler’s third novel, City of Dis (New Island), was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, 2015. Arlen House brought out his second short story collection, Fugitive, and Doire Press his third poetry collection, Liffey Sequence, both in 2021. Awards for the short story include the Colm Toibin, Benedict Kiely, ITT/Redline, Fish International and Maria Edgeworth (twice).

Noel Monahan is a poet and dramatist, born in Granard, Co. Longford and living in Cavan. He has published eight collections of poetry. His most recent collection: Chalk Dust, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2018 and adapted for stage the following year. Noel’s literary awards include: The SeaCat National Award organised by Poetry Ireland, The Hiberno-English Poetry Award, The Irish Writer’s Union Poetry Award , The William Allingham, Poetry Award, The Kilkenny Prize for Poetry. He won The P J O’Connor RTE Radio Drama Award for his play Broken Cups and was awarded The A.S.T.I. Achievements Award for his contribution to literature at home and abroad. His work has been translated into: Italian, French, German, Russian and Romanian. His poetry was prescribed text for the Leaving Certificate English Course 2011 and 2012. Noel Monahan has read his work and given Workshops throughout Ireland and in England, Italy, France and the United States …  His ninth collection of poetry will be published by Salmon Poetry in 2023. Noel Monahan holds an M.A. in Creative Writing.

Aoife Munn is an Environmentalist and Horticulturist with a focus on sustainability through practical Learning.
As the judge for DLR Tidy Districts for many years, Aoife identified a need to guide community groups towards more sustainable goals and specialises in courses and talks on increasing biodiversity, sustainable planting, plant
propagation and waste reduction. Her passion for protecting the environment is contagious and her courses are lively, interactive and hands on, believing we learn best through practical application.

Sunday 7th May 2023

1.00 p.m.Plaque unveiling’ In acknowledgment of Bernard Canavan and the donation of his library to the Maria Edgeworth Centre, refreshments served

  • Venue: Maria Edgeworth Centre, N39 E3C8
  • Admission: Free

2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.

18th Century Mostrim Tea Party
Guests are encouraged to attend in period costume. Prizes awarded for best dressed. 

  • Venue: The Green, Edgeworthstown, N39 VW40
  • Admission: Free, no pre-booking or registration required

The Dead Poets/Authors Society

A Mostrim Players Presentation written and directed by Pauline Flood. Performed by Mostrim Players.  

  • Venue: The Green, Edgeworthstown, N39 VW40
  • Admission: Free

Songs and Recitation

The Innyside Singers and Longford Writer’s Group will entertain with songs and poetry

  • Venue: The Green, Edgeworthstown, N39 VW40
  • Admission: Free
18th Century Tea Party at the Literary Festival 2022