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Past Workshops 2022

Supported by Waterford City and County Arts Office, our not for profit educational and process-based workshops and retreats are facilitated by highly accomplished, serious writers, poets, editors and authors focused on the nature of the creative process and the writing craft, supporting beginning and emerging writers to bring their writing to the high level needed for publication and professional readings. As well we supporting  professional writers with their creative process at every stage.  With our former writer in residence, Lani O' Hanlon, past facilitators include, Louis de Paor, Thomas McCarthy, Grace Wells, Nuala O' Connor, Mark Roper, Gerard Smyth, Paula Meehan, Don Share, Carlo Gébler, John MacKenna, Molly Twomey and our inspired Writer in Residence for 2020 and 2021, Alison Driscoll. 


Deepening in the Landscape with Lani O' Hanlon

DEEPENING IN THE LANDSCAPE. For this ecological writing workshop, we will rest into the sensuality of the body in relationship with the land. Lani will lead embodied reflections through voice, sound, poetry and writing to quieten the mind and soothe the nervous system so we can listen deeply and write authentically and give voice to our inner and outer landscape through the senses.

This workshop is suitable for emerging and established writers. Dates;19th - 21st of August, three mornings, 10.00 – 1.30 Fee €250.00.

Please fill out and return the booking form on the contact page.  

Lani O' Hanlon is a writer, dance artist and somatic movement therapist. She has an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University and was selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions by Vona Groarke. Her writing is published in various journals and anthologies including Poetry (Chicago) Portland Review, Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, The Irish Times, Southward, The Stinging Fly, Orbis, Abridged, Mslexia, Vanguard’s 14, and A New Ulster; the anthologies, From the Plough to the Stars and Children of the Nation – Culture Matters, Staying Human – Bloodaxe, Pandemia – The Munster Literature Centre, Small Wonders – Dedalus, The Lea Green Down - Fiery Arrow, Reflection – The Irish Hospice Foundation, Washing Windows Too – Arlen House and she reads her work on RTE’s Sunday Miscellany.

She is the author of Dancing the Rainbow, (Mercier Press) The Little Theatre (Artlinks) and she facilitates creative writing and movement workshops in the South East. Awards and commendations include; Hennessy New Irish Writing, The Bridport Prize, Dromineer and Poetry on the Lake.

Roaring Into The Twenties with Thomas McCarthy

ROARING INTO THE TWENTIES – a forward-looking poetry workshop with Thomas McCarthy Text will be everything in this two-part workshop, but a view of the future will illuminate our poems. We are not quite out of the Pandemic woods, not yet; but we will try to perfect a poetry that prepares us for a freer world, a world of idea exchange and wide travel and many literary encounters. The world will soon be re-opening despite all the dark alarms; time to dust down the suitcase of our poem, time to send our poems out into the world. The atmosphere of this workshop will be one of gratitude and preparedness. We have survived through a dark time, so let us prepare our poems for their encounters with fame. Perfecting poems to be shared with others, and in crowded rooms: this is the critical objective of this workshop in 2022. Be prepared to share, bring at least four poems, be prepared to tell us what future you see in them, what hopes you have. Limited to 8 Dates; Saturday 14th of May. And Saturday 3rd September. Time; 9.30 – 6.00 Fee; €286

Please fill out and return the booking form on the contact page.

Thomas McCarthy was born in Cappoquin, County Waterford, in 1954. Educated at the local Convent of Mercy and at University College, Cork, he was a Fellow of the International Writing Program in Iowa in 1978/79. He worked at Cork City Libraries until 2014 when he withdrew to write full-time. He has published ten collections of poetry including The Sorrow Garden (1981), The Last Geraldine Officer (2009), Pandemonium (2016) and Prophecy (2019) as well as two novels and two books of non-fiction. Awards include The Patrick Kavanagh Award, The Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize, The Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry and the Annual Literary Award of the Ireland Funds. A member of Aosdána, he lives in Cork City. ​

Poetry, Memory and the Party Journals 1974-2014 Forty years of intimate details of Thomas McCarthy’s life lived between a modest background and the ‘Big House’ of West Waterford and his immersion in the literary life of Cork against the troubles of a changing Ireland by one of Munster’s leading poets. Though a student of John Montague and Seán Lucy at UCC, Thomas McCarthy’s weekends still belonged to West Waterford and the Victorian garden that he was replanting for its owner, Brigadier Denis FitzGerald, a grandson of the Duke of Leinster. Aware of the poverty of his own family background and conscious of the contrasting local Anglo-Irish world of the Brigadier, Molly Keane and W E D Allen, he began to keep a diary in order to make these worlds cohere. Here are the elements of survival in an everyday Fianna Fáil society. Here is a poet’s life with its travels, encounters, youthful excitements, hyperbole and frustrations. Here are detailed encounters with Terence de Vere White, Robert Graves and Seamus Heaney, with the legendary Paul Engle at Iowa, with IRA prisoners and with Harold Macmillan’s Private Secretary. Here also is the life of Ireland as it unfolds over forty years of turmoil, politics, publishing and art. Available to pre-order Publication date: 4 January 2022

Past Workshops 2020 

Creative Space with our new writer in residence Alison Driscoll

Creative Space

Workshop with Alison Driscoll, Writer in Residence.

October 31st on Zoom 10-4.30.

When you show up to write today where are you both mentally and physically? This year has been tough for everyone between lockdowns and cocooning and missing out on life’s events big and small. But there has been a welcome change of pace, a time for reflection and whether we like it or not more time at home.

With this in mind this workshop will look at our space – how much space have you in life to write, how much space do you want/need, what is your writing space and what does it lack? Participants will be asked to explore their physical creative space (where they are joining us from today – an office, a desk in a bedroom, a coffee shop) and their mental creative space that can become clogged with distractions, doubt and writer’s block.

I invite participants to send some work in advance on any theme for a workshop session in the afternoon. I believe the best lessons come out of these workshop sessions and hope you will all benefit from sharing your work with a group of readers and editors. Up to 1000 words of fiction or 2 poems are required in advance by October 18th. If you don’t have work, don’t worry, I hope something will spark in you during our morning discussions and lead to the production of some work.


This session will be facilitated on Zoom due to the Covid19 situation and is limited to 10 participants. The session will be open from 9.45am for a 10.00am start. It will end at 4.30pm. There will be a morning break and lunch. There will time for workshopping and plenty of discussion throughout the day. Booking is essential through The fee is €60.00.


Alison is an emerging writer from Cork. Her work has appeared online and in print. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from UCC. 

Through Zoom: An Evening Reading with Carlo Gébler and an Evening Workshop August 22nd and 23rd

On Sat 22 Aug. 2020 Reading by Carlo Gebler from Aesop’s Fables, The Cruelty of the Gods, Tales We Tell Ourselves, A Selection from the Decameron (publication date, October 2020) and The Late King of Thebes (the life of Oedipus as told by his first biographer, his daughter, Antigone) (publication autumn 2021). This talk is at 8pm and will be delivered through Zoom only.

On Sunday 23 Aug. 2020 Writing Workshop with Carlo Geber How to make use of the literature of the ancients. Aesop’s Fables, Tales We Tell Ourselves and The Late King of Thebes all have their roots in already existing texts - Aesop’s Fables in Aesop’s Fables, Tales We Tell Ourselves in Boccccio’s Decameron and The Late King of Thebes in Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex. In this talk Carlo Gébler will talk about making literature out of literature. This event will take place at 7.30pm and will be delivered through Zoom only. 

Carlo GéblerCarlo Gébler was born in Dublin in 1954 and lives outside Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. His most recent publications (all from New Island) include The Wing Orderly’s Tales, a collection of stories told by a prison orderly, The Projectionist, the Story of Ernest Gébler, a biography of his father, The Innocent of Falkland Road, a novel set in London in the 1960s, and Aesop’s Fables, the Cruelty of the Gods (a collaboration with the artist Gavin Weston) and (published by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council) Folk Tales of Fermanagh (a collaboration with the Irish language writer Seamas McCanny), a collection of folk tales based on material from County Fermanagh lodged in the National Folklore Commission. He is currently working on a biography of Oedipus as written by the Theban king’s daughter, Antigone. Carlo Gébler has been a prison teacher since 1991: currently he work in Hydebank College (formerly Hydebank Young Offenders’ Centre) where he helps to run ’The Saturday Club’ which is for young offenders and female prisoners, and in HMP Maghaberry where he works with prisoners serving long sentences. He also teaches at Trinity and the American College, Dublin. He is a member of Aosdana.

Booking and Enquiries

Evening Reading €15

Workshop €50


Due to the ever changing Covid-19 situation and in response to new restrictions Carlo will be facilliating these sessions through Zoom.

Author photograph by Euan Gébler

Author photograph by Euan Gébler

Photograph by Eileen O Flynn Hyland

With Lani O' Hanlon STORIES IN THE SAND August 21st - 23rd

I look up… and discover the sea exactly the same blue I used to paint it  with my watercolours as a child.  Jack Gilbert



I look up… and discover the sea

exactly the same blue I used to paint it

with my watercolours as a child.

Jack Gilbert

Lani will be taking this popular August writing retreat outside, deepening our connection with the land and our bodies through a combination of somatic meditation and centring in nature, followed by embodied creative writing through the senses to create new writing in a gentle and effortless way, with some practical guidance on structure and craft.

This nurturing retreat will take place over three mornings beginning in the garden of The Molly Keane House and then moving outwards into the landscape in and around the seaside village of Ardmore and is suitable for emerging and more experienced writers.

There is also an opportunity for a fifty minute one-to-one consultation on your work with Lani on Zoom in the afternoons, Skype or on the phone.

All participants need to take responsibility for their own health and safety in respect of their ability to go walking and writing in the landscape and adhere to social distancing and national health guidelines. Please come prepared with rain gear, suitable footwear, a waterproof bag for notebook and pen, water and snacks.

We will begin as usual with coffee, tea and scones in the garden of The Molly Keane House at 9.30am and finish at 1.00 pm. Fee: €200.00 Places limited. Booking contact Alison

There will be a limited number of bursaries from the Arts Office available for Waterford based participants details on our websites shortly.


Author of Dancing the Rainbow Holistic Well-Being through Movement (Mercier Press) and The Little Theatre poetry chapbook (Artlinks) Lani O' Hanlon is an experienced facilitator, writer and movement artist working in Arts and Health, and with poet Grace Wells and Waterford City and County Arts Office has developed a series of inspirations writing workshops in the landscape and ecological writing with The Sacred Wild. She has an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University and her work has been published widely in various literary magazines and anthologies; including Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, Mslexia, Orbis, Southword, Skylight, Abridged and broadcast on RTE's Sunday Miscellany. Her writing has won or been highly commended for a number of awards including; The Hennessey New Irish Writing, The Bridport Prize, Poetry on the Lake, The Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair and with Film Director Fiona Aryan's Virginia gave me Roses which won the 2019 International Indie Cork / Ó Bhéal prize for best Poetry-Film.

Photograph by Eileen O Flynn Hyland

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