Great news over the last few days.
Donegal was named Number 1 in National Geographic Traveller’s worldwide ‘Cool List 2017’ must-see locations, beating, as the prestigious magazine stated, all other “culture capitals, hipster hotspots and wild escapes.”
Of course, we at ‘Ireland Writing Retreat’ are tempted to say, “Told you so, we said it first” but being decent, kind people, we’ll refrain and instead rejoice in the fact that this awe-inspiring corner of the world is at last getting the kind of global attention it fully deserves.
With ‘National Geographic’ editor, Pat Riddell, describing Donegal, also known as the ‘Forgotten County,’ as one boasting a “weather-nibbled coast spotted with sea stacks, Blue Flag beaches and offshore islands,” it is little wonder we chose this rustic, legend-ridden Irish region to establish our international writing retreat.
For artists of all kinds to thrive, whether they be painters, sculptors, musicians or writers, the environment must be – to use a popular computer term – ‘user friendly.’ And with such praise coming from one of the most respected travel magazines in the world, what more evidence does one require that the inspiring land and seascapes of west Donegal - its hills, its islands, its lakes, and, by degrees, its roaring and somnambulant, Atlantic Ocean - is the perfect place to create art of the highest caliber.
The message therefore is a simple one: if you want to be a writer, write, and if at all possible, do it in the heart of Donegal at the annual, week-long, end-June ‘Ireland Writing Retreat.’
Not only, but one of our guest writing trainers and co-founders, Sean Hillen, has just returned from an author’s talk in Berlin following the release of his novel ‘Pretty Ugly,’ which itself focuses much of its dramatic action in Donegal, on the very location where ‘Ireland Writing Retreat’ takes place, on the famous ‘Wild Atlantic Way.’
This high-end contemporary novel links Ireland, through Donegal and Belfast, with the US, and the cities of Washington, New York, Kansas City and Boston, on a controversial health issue, with a cocktail of suspense, political and corporate skullduggery, romance and a most surprising touch of Celtic magic realism.
So, as we approach the end of another year, why not treat yourself – or ask a loved one to treat you – to a wonderful Christmas/New Year gift: a golden opportunity to pursue your love of books and creative writing. And feast your eyes on one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland into the bargain.
Decide now. Take action. Remember, time waits for no-one. And keep in mind, if you register for next year’s retreat before December 31, you receive an ornate pen, skillfully hand-crafted from ancient Irish wood.