Our story starts on the northwest coast of Donegal, in Ireland...
Ireland Writing Retreat started five years ago as a dream. Now it’s a beautiful reality. And "...one of the 10 best creative retreats in the UK and Europe," according to The Guardian newspaper.
Week-long, creative writing holidays with a difference – scenic walks, historic excursions, food and drinks tasting, fascinating author talks and daily practical writing and editing workshops.
Plus lively, traditional Irish music concerts; island and castle tours in an awe-inspiring landscape soaked in Celtic legend; basic tuition in the Gaelic language, as well as traditional Irish ceildhe dancing.
All in a land that time forgot, Donegal, probably the most scenic part of Ireland, snug along the famous 'Wild Atlantic Way.'
After six years of hard-work, we have expanded our number, and reach, to five different week-long sessions, both in Donegal, Ireland, as well as on the picturesque Black Sea Coast of Romania and in Paris, the City of Light, in France.
Before spending your hard-earned money to join us for one of these exciting weeks, why not take a few minutes to read about our philosophy to see if it matches yours and some testimonials from previous participants who have attended in different years.
Joining ‘Ireland Writing Retreat’ means you will leave enriched in the following ways:
You will be part of a trusting environment, with others supporting you to strengthen your confidence, vital for better writing.
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.
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.
In Donegal (Ireland) you will enjoy -
a boat trip and leisurely walk on Gola Island, a place known to have helped inspire Robert Louis Stevenson to write his classic adventure tale, ’Treasure Island;’
a guided tour of picturesque Glenveagh National Park and Castle;
basic tuition in the native Irish language;
complimentary local food and drinks tasting in a charming 100-year-old thatched cottage over looking the gorgeous ‘Wild Atlantic Way’;
traditional Irish dance (ceildhe) classes;
lively, heart-warming, foot-tapping live music concerts;
delicious hot buffet as part of a ‘Magical Mystery’ Opening Evening;
pre-island seafood, meat and vegetarian lunch.
At the Black Sea Writing Retreat (Romania) you will take part in activities such as -
evening strolls along scenic coastal paths and beaches;
excursion to the oldest human settlement in Europe;
cross-border trip to the neighbouring country of Bulgaria;
visit to the prestigious Archeology Museum in the costal town of Mangalia (formerly an ancient Greek colony known as Callatis), about which some say off-shore is the fabled underwater city of Atlantis:
leisurely walk through a rustic Tatar village;
traditional homemade Romanian foods accompanied by local wines and even potent home-brewed palinka;
free-flowing conversational evenings under a canopy of vines.
“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
“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.
At the Paris Writing Retreat you will -
follow in the footsteps of such literary legends as James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Beach, Gertrude Stein, George Orwell and Oscar Wilde, learning the art of creative writing through practical workshops and author meetings;
enjoy hands-on tutoring and lively literary discussions in the very same cafes the illustrious writers of the 1920s ‘Lost Generation’ frequented for the very same reasons, some of whom ultimately emerged as Nobel Prize winners;
indulge in delicious French wine and taste some of the best in French food and patisserie;
experience literary salons hosted in historic apartments, with lively conversations over lunch.
“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.