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Let authentic experiences inspire your creative writing

Celebrating 10 Years of Literary Success

Ten years ago, it was but a dream. 

To start an international writing retreat in what is probably the most picturesque region in Ireland.


Now it’s a success beyond our wildest imagination, expanding beyond the ‘Forgotten Land’ of Donegal along the famous 'Wild Atlantic Way' across the Irish Sea to the French Mediterranean.  

And then being voted number one creative retreat in the world by the Independent Publishing Group, Ireland "12 creative escapes – from painting holidays in France to cooking in Galway."


Not to mention, five years ago, being voted " of the 10 best creative retreats in the UK and Europe," by such a leading international publication as The Guardian newspaper, London.


During the past ten memorable years, we have welcomed writers from every walk of life, from nurses to lawyers, IT specialists to social workers, judges to teachers. And from so many countries including Iceland and New Zealand, Australia, the US and the UK to Germany. All lovers of words. And all ages, from young adults to septuagenarians. 


We consider ourselves unique insofar as we combine creative writing with cultural excursions and culinary experiences. Holidays with a difference that offer bus tours to historic places, scenic walks, food and drinks tastings, fascinating author talks, exclusive music performances and daily workshops. 


Before spending your hard-earned money to join us for one of these exciting weeks, take a few minutes to read about our philosophy and listen to testimonials from previous participants.

Joining ‘Ireland Writing Retreat’ means you will leave enriched in the following ways:

Confidence - You will be part of a trusting environment, with others supporting you to strengthen your confidence, vital for better writing. 

Creative process - You will receive close guidance in various stages of your creative process, from generating ideas, drafting a plan, first drafts, revision and editing, with constant feedback throughout the week. 

Craft - You will learn about strategies that will help you widen your imagination and senses, develop your observational skills and apply these techniques  to perfect your writing skills. 

Cultural experience - Aside from daily writing workshops and author talks, in Ireland you will enjoy visits to an island, a hundred-year old thatched cottage, a castle, a national park, as well as exclusive traditional Irish music performances and special food and drinks tastings. 

In France, excursions and activities include bus tours to charming medieval towns, open-air markets, an exclusive Catalan dance performance in traditional costume, complimentary lunches, a sing-a-long evening and a guided walk through a spectacular moonscape rock formation.   

“I came to the retreat with few expectations, preferring a ‘wait and see’ approach. I could not have imagined anything more perfect. This experience has been warm, adventurous, engaging. I have gained a focus and a new writing community. I will use the tools learned and the immersion experiences as long as I am able.”

Linda Muller, Iowa City, USA.

Crime, mystery, women's fiction, magic realism, fantasy, travel, memoir, poetry and creative non-fiction, 'Ireland Writing Retreat' has attracted successful authors in these genres to teach those wishing to learn the challenging craft of good writing


These award-winning authors accomplish their task not through general lectures on theories of writing and editing that can be easily read in one of the many garden variety ‘Guide-to-Writing’ books, but through practical, hands-on teaching techniques including individual critiques of participant's own work completed before and during our week-long writing retreats. 


Not only, these authors also share specific details about their own professional experiences (including failures) in the tough world of publishing and book marketing. In so doing, they provide invaluable lessons on how participants can overcome many of the common difficulties they will probably face before succeeding in having their short stories, novels, poetry and memoirs see the light of day in print. 

“Thanks to Ireland Writing Retreat and to Sean Hillen for his invaluable editing skills and unwavering encouragement throughout the process. His support inspired me to push boundaries and explore new creative horizons. Retreat Co-ordinator Columbia provided unwavering support.

My recently self-published book, 'Wild Atlantic Way Anthology: Characters Along Ireland’s Majestic Coast Volume 1' has been receiving strong positive responses in local and regional newspapers.

I would like to express my appreciation and encouragement for others who want to embark on their writing journey with the support of Ireland Writing Retreat and Sean's expertise. I also enjoyed feedback from a diverse range of participants I met from all over the world; many remain good friends and supporters.

It is my hope that my book can inspire and resonate with readers.”


Mary Heeran White, participant to Ireland Writing Retreat in Donegal and author of 'Wild Atlantic Way Anthology: Characters Along Ireland’s Majestic Coast Volume 1.'

This week was rich with local stories, informative and inspiring workshops with authors, interesting visits to traditional local sites, gorgeous landscapes, sunsets, songs and music. The people of Donegal are wonderful hosts including Sean and Columbia who welcomed us and co-ordinated and tutored a fabulous programme of events.  We were challenged to write every day and to discuss our writing with the other attendees. By the end of the week, we were sad to farewell the friends with whom we’d spent time and from whom we’d learned so much. Thank you, Sean and Columbia. It was all amazing.

Bridget Davidson, teacher, Dunedin, New Zealand.

“I came to the 'Ireland Writing Retreat' for inspiration and to become immersed in Irish culture. The experience was more than I hoped for. I'm leaving with the start of three new stories set in Donegal and new friends from three continents. It has enriched my writing and my life.” 


Laurie Wagner, Director of Development, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Denver, Colorado

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