Following the success of our recent week-long get-together in Paris, we’d like to offer all our ‘Friends of Ireland Writing Retreat’ an exclusive discount for our next retreat in the heart of rural French wine country. Become a Friend to be eligible.
This special retreat will take place in the Spring (March 27 to April 2), in Languedoc, a region of beautiful landscapes an hour from the Mediterranean Sea and the Spanish border.
Our special discount offer is valid for all registrations completed until Sunday, December 4, 2022. Remember, we can only accept a maximum number of ten participants and your application must be approved in advance - see details here.
We have arranged for all participants and tutors to stay together in an enchanting 19th century Spanish Colonial-style chateau, Villa Lafabregue, which features stunning views of Canigou mountain, an outdoor swimming pool, fragrant botanical garden filled with herbs and aromatic flowers and outdoor seating.
The chateau is located in the charming town of Prades with its cafe-filled central square and lively open-air market where local producers proudly display their fresh fruits, organic vegetables, honey and cheeses. On market days, you can relax at outdoor cafe tables, wine or pastis in hand and maybe a slice of Basque cake or Pyrénées Croustade with myrtle berries, a sweet pie of puff pastry, with traditional music as a soft backdrop.
Offering exceptional panoramic views over the stunning Pyrenees, Prades also boasts a rich and colorful heritage in both Baroque and Romanesque architecture and centuries-old traditions, with half-timbered houses dating back to the 15th century.
Your days and evenings will be filled with lively exchanges on literature and writing styles and techniques, as well as philosophical musings on life itself. Daily writing workshops take place in the shadow of Canigou, the sacred mountain of the local Catalan people. Amid pure air and unspoiled Nature you are sure to find inspiration in such a calm and serene atmosphere steeped in history.
You will also be treated to wine tastings and fine French foods at different restaurants and taken on special cultural and historic excursions including a guided walk through a walled Medieval village of cobblestone streets; a visit to ‘The Orgues,’ a spectacular geological rock ‘moonscape’ of fairy chimneys and organ-like sculptures millions of years old; a tour of a century-old traditional French liqueur maker; and a bustling open-air French market.
Earlier this year, people from countries such as Iceland, the US, England and Canada including a trade union leader, a teacher, an actress, a pastor and a nutritionist participated in our Languedoc retreat (listen to their comments here) and we expect a similarly diverse group in March, making informal discussions all the more fascinating and stimulating.
Live song and dance performances were also part of the itinerary for the week, especially an exclusive Catalan dance performance complete with traditional costumes, accompanied by a special buffet of assorted French cheeses and charcuterie and an array of drinks, including wines, pastis and Byrrh, a local aperitif.
Lead writing tutor for the daily workshops will be Sean Hillen, former foreign correspondent for such newspapers and magazines as The Times, London; The Irish Times, Dublin and Time magazine, New York. Sean, who has written in many different genres including memoir, ‘Digging for Dracula,’ novel, ‘Pretty Ugly’ and novella, ‘Driver’s Diary - Death of the Mouth of Flowers,’ also worked at the United Nations Media Center and was chairperson of a national US Fulbright Commission. Sean has been a featured speaker at numerous literary conferences and festivals, including such places as Dublin, Berlin, Belfast, Tucson and Washington.
Sean will be joined by other guest authors including Norman Longworth who has written a number of books on lifelong learning, as well as poetry collections and memoir.
To cap off what we believe will be a memorable week, all participants to this writing retreat will receive specially-designed course certificates, as well as surprise gifts unique to the region.
So, take advantage of our special offer now and join us for a wonderful week in March and a well-earned holiday with a difference.