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29 Jun 2022

Longford and Westmeath plays host to Goldsmith International Literary Festival this weekend

Longford and Westmeath plays host to Goldsmith International Literary Festival this weekend

Katie Farrell, Donall Mac an Bheatha, Seamus McCormack, Ursula McGoey, Arthur Conlon, Willie Dowler, Wille Flanagan, Claire McCormack, Joe Farrell, Michael Conlon, Sean Ryan and Tom Seery

The 38th Annual Oliver Goldsmith International Literary Festival takes place this weekend in various locations around South Longford and Westmeath.  

The third-longest running festival of its type in the country, it was founded in 1984 to celebrate the literary genius of Oliver Goldsmith and to promote beautiful Goldsmith Country as a tourist attraction. 

Thirty-eighth annual Oliver Goldsmith Festival in Longford goes back to its roots with a lively twist

The Oliver Goldsmith Festival 2022 is going back to its roots, and its pre-pandemic self, with an innovative twist this June bank holiday weekend.

Longford Quality Beef Group enters new contract with Kepak

The Longford Quality Beef Group has been in existence for over twenty years and it is made up predominantly of farmers from county Longford and some from neighbouring county Westmeath.

Over the years it has explored many aspects of Goldsmith’s life and work and a huge variety of renowned critics, politicians, poets, journalists and academics have stimulated informed and amused audiences in that time. This year’s theme is “‘Goldsmith, the Philosophical Vagabond -  Uncovering the Hidden Heartlands”. 

The festival will be officially opened on Friday night in the Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule, by Center Parcs Longford Forest, Village Director, Daragh Feighery and the keynote address will be given by Eoghan Corry, Travel commentator and broadcaster. 

Caption: Oliver Goldsmith Festival committee members and local actors Michael Conlon, Arthur Conlon, Donall Mac an Bheatha and Katie Farrell discover the 'Hidden Heartlands' of Longford and Westmeath. Picture: Claire McCormack

Saturday's Programme on day two begins at 11am in the lovely Goldsmith Room of Ballymahon Library with three lectures on Goldsmith’s Literature by Dr David Clare, Prof Moyra Haslet and Dr David Fleming. 

Saturday’s second session features Fiona Dunne of Fáilte Ireland and Damien McWeeney of Waterways Ireland discussing aspects of the Festival theme. 

A new innovation for 2022 is Goldsmith Live & Local, featuring an outdoor specially commissioned musical dramatization of Goldsmith’s Life and Travels. This takes place in Skelly’s Courtyard, Ballymahon and will also feature the Simply Strings string trio, local craft breweries, Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop and a Barbecue. The day concludes in the iconic pub, The Three Jolly Pigeons with a traditional/folk music session. 

Sunday begins with the twelfth annual Goldsmith Miscellany.  Chaired by Seamus McCormack featuring a number of short talks interspersed with music, this will also take place in the Goldsmith Room of Ballymahon Library. Speakers and contributors will include Matt Farrell, Adrian Elliott, Fiona Egan, Seamus O’Brien and Irena Cvetkovic. 

Caption: At the launch of the 38th annual Oliver Goldsmith Festival on Thursday, May 19 in Skelly's Bar, Ballymahon were Joe Farrell, Arthur Conlon, Chris Farrell, Ursula McGoey, Willie Flanagan, John Nally, Mary Melvin Geoghegan, Seamus McCormack, Jimmy Lennon, Yvonne Dowler and Tom Seery Picture: Shelley Corcoran

The closing section of the festival, “Poetry at Pallas”, takes place as usual at the freshly renovated Goldsmith's birthplace, Pallas Abbeyshrule. This area has recently been developed and upgraded, in conjunction with Longford County Council and provides a beautiful setting for “Poetry at Pallas”, featuring readings by the winners of the children’s and adults’ poetry competitions, judged by Mary Melvin Geoghegan and Vona Groarke respectively.

Chaired by Anne Tully, these readings will be followed by a reading by acclaimed poet Vona Groarke. The annual cheese and wine reception is hosted as always by Joe and Chris Farrell and family. Musical accompaniment will also be provided. 

This year’s festival has created a lot of excitement with many interesting speakers and a real effort to bring Goldsmith’s writings to life. The 38th Annual Goldsmith Festival will take place from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5. The full programme of events is available on the festival's website at: www.olivergoldsmithfestival.com 

Caption: The launch of the 38th annual Oliver Goldsmith Festival took place on Thursday, May 19 in Skelly's Bar, Ballymahon. The theme for the 2022 festival which runs from June 3 - 5 is ‘Goldsmith, The Philosophical Vagabond’: Tourism - Uncovering the ‘Hidden Heartlands’. Pictured are Ballymahon Municipal Cathaoirleach Cllr Mick Cahill, Donall Mac an Bheatha, Ursula McGoey, Joe Farrell, Michael Conlon, Cllr Pat O'Toole, Tom Seery, Claire McCormack, Willie Flanagan, Willie Dowler, Sean Ryan, Seamus McCormack and John Hickey Picture: Shelley Corcoran

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