20 Apr 2021
Whether you're an old hand with words or just starting into your first novel, the literature-rich island of Ireland can provide the ultimate writing retreat.
In a country that boasts one of the world’s greatest literary heritages, it’s no surprise there are any number of blissful writers’ retreats and creative writing holidays where you can follow in the footsteps of the greats.
There is an excellent selection of well-established retreats with a worldwide reputation available in Ireland. Offering headspace, stunning scenery and some degree of support, including tuition or workshops, they might just be the thing to give your writing a boost.
A great many more off-the-beaten-track escapes mean it is possible for individual writers to go completely solo in a remote cottage, for writers’ groups to hire a whole house for a retreat, or even to take a one-on-one approach with an editorial expert in your field of interest.
One of the longest-established Irish retreats can be found on the wild Beara Peninsula in County Cork. An all-inclusive residential haven, Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat offers private and common working rooms and a surrounding landscape of walks, gardens, meadows and rivers.
Meals are taken together in this Wild Atlantic Way delight, but creative time in between is sacrosanct. Whether you go to work on your own project or as part of a workshop group, you will find support, creature comforts, and peace – all you need to do your best work.
Rathlin Island, County Antrim
Internationally recognised artists’ residential workspace, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, close to the border with Northern Ireland in County Monaghan, is another top location for local, Irish, UK and international artists of all disciplines.
Rather than retreats, residencies of up to one month are offered here and though there are some entry requirements, they are very flexible. As a writer you will be left to your own devices by day, but there is an obligatory dinner in the evening where everyone comes together to eat and talk.
For a lively week-long, creative writing holiday with a difference, consider Ireland Writing Retreats in County Donegal. The experiences here include scenic walks, historic excursions, food and drinks tastings, traditional Irish music concerts, as well as fascinating author talks and daily practical writing and editing workshops.
Or what could be more inspirational than working on an island with a backdrop of beautiful scenery and lots of fresh sea air? Kinramer Cottage on Rathlin Island is a remote location in Northern Ireland frequented by writers and artists who want a quiet space to work. With no TV or Wi-Fi, this distraction-free cottage can be shared by groups or enjoyed individually throughout the year.
Listowel Writer’s Week, hoping to welcome literary fans from 2 – 6 June this year, is also one of Ireland’s outstanding holiday destinations for writers, artists and poets.
If you write, like to talk about writing or hear writers speak, head to the beautiful County Kerry heritage town of Listowel to encounter some of the most distinguished names in contemporary literature and to hook up with readers from all parts of the globe.
St John's Theatre and Arts Centre, Listowel, County Kerry
Irish Cottage Retreat
Need more resources? View our images and videos from across Ireland