Press Release 2018

Goldsmith International Literary Festival 2018  –    Press Release.


The 34th Goldsmith International Literary Festival was launched last Thursday evening at Ballymahon Community Library.  The festival, which is the third longest running festival of its type in Ireland, will take place as usual over the June Bank Holiday. Founded in 1984 to celebrate the literary genius of Oliver Goldsmith and to promote beautiful Goldsmith Country as a tourist attraction, it has explored many aspects of Goldsmith’s life and work. 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 “Where wealth and freedom reign contentment fails and honour sinks where commerce long prevails” lines taken from Goldsmith’s great poem, “The Traveller” (1764).


The festival opens on Friday 1stJune at 8.30 in The Rustic Inn Abbeyshrule. It will be preceded by a short recital by the much loved Innyside Singers. The festival will be officially opened by Donall Mac An Bheatha, Senior Planner Longford County Council. The Keynote address will be given by a valued friend of the festival, Dr. Fergus O Ferrall, who will deliver a talk entitled “A Prospect of Society –  Public Happiness or Private Avarice”.  A distinguished historian and author, Dr. O’ Ferrall has published a number of books including “Catholic Emancipation – Daniel O Connell and the birth of Irish Democracy” (1985) and “Citizenship and Public Service” (2000). He has also co-edited with Martin Morris, “Longford History and Society” (Dublin 2010).  A stimulating topic and a speaker of such expertise should make for a lively discussion in the Rustic Inn. The night will conclude with music from Tony Dunne, Jim Mulkerrins and friends.


Saturdays Programme on day two begins in the lovely Goldsmith Room of Ballymahon Library with Longford author John Connell. Author of the bestselling “The Cow Book”, his talk is entitled “Goldsmith and Me – A Long History”.  The second speaker is the secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Seamus Dooley with a very topical talk entitled “Journalism Not Just Business why a Free Press is Worth Defending”. This event is chaired by Agri-land News Editor and Westmeath native Claire Mc Cormack.


The afternoon’s events begin with a talk by Dr Michael Griffin, intriguingly titled “Failures of Contentment – Goldsmith, Brexit and Trump”.  Dr Griffin is senior Lecturer in English in the University of Limerick and author of “Enlightenment in Ruins -The Geographies of Oliver Goldsmith” (2013). This talk will be chaired by Eamon Tynan, former English teacher whose original home was a former residence of the Murphy family who were agents of the Featherstone family.

The Goldsmith Literary Tour takes place on Saturday evening at 5pm with readings at sites around Goldsmith Country. The tour concludes in the iconic pub The Three Jolly Pigeons with a traditional/folk music session with the Henshaws.


Sunday begins with the eighth annual Goldsmith Miscellany.  Chaired by Brian Toolan, lecturer in AIT and Chairman of the All-Ireland Drama Fringe Festival in Athlone, this features a number of short talks interspersed with music.  The Goldsmith Miscellany will take place in the lovely Goldsmith Room. Speakers and contributors include Kevin Flood, John Noonan, Christy Mannion, Adrian Duncan and John Greene. The festival committee are indebted to Co. Librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds and her staff for allowing them to use this lovely venue. Music for this event will be provided by Donie Keyes and Padraig Campbell.


The closing event, Poetry at Pallas takes place as usual at the beautiful park at Goldsmith’s birthplace, Pallas Abbeyshrule. The event will feature readings by the winners of the children’s and adults’ poetry competitions. These readings will be followed by a reading by acclaimed poet and Poetry Editor of the Irish Times Mr Gerard Smyth. A member of Aosdana he has published nine collections of poetry including The Yellow River, with artwork by Sean Mc Sweeney (2017) Gerard Smyth is a recipient of the O Shaughnessy Poetry Award. This event is chaired by local teacher and Committee member Anne Tully. The annual cheese and wine reception is hosted as always by Joe and Chris Farrell and family. There will lots of age appropriate refreshment for our younger poets.  Musical accompaniment will be provided by talented local flautist Gerry Bohan.

The Goldsmith International Literary Festival has a very full and exciting programme of events and the hard working committee are looking forward to welcoming old friends and new to Goldsmith Country.