Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Goldsmith Festival 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. 

After two successful years of all-virtual programming due to the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers have prepared an illustrious and fun in-person event to celebrate the life and works of the iconic Longford-born, Westmeath-raised, novelist, playwright and poet. 

In the context of this year’s theme – ‘Goldsmith, The Philosophical Vaga­bond’: Tourism – Uncovering the ‘Hidden Heartlands’ – the event will include a renewed and intimate focus on the literature of the popular 18th century writer, while also placing a firm spotlight on rural tourism, and live theatrical entertainment. 

Esteemed speakers lined up for the June 3-5 festival include: Daragh Feighery Village Director of Center Parcs, Longford Forest; travel writer, commentator and broadcaster Eoghan Corry; Dr David Fleming of the Department of History at the University of Limerick (UL); Moyra Haslett Professor in 18th Century Literature at Queen’s University Belfast; Dr David Clare, lecturer in drama and theatre studies at Mary Immaculate College UL; and pre-eminent Oliver Goldsmith Scholar (and committee member) Professor Michael Griffin of UL’s School of English. 

The event, taking place at a variety of venues in the Abbeyshrule, Ballymahon, Tang region, will also feature contributions by Damien McWeeney who is leading the tourism masterplan for the River Shannon and Fiona Dunne manager of Fáilte Ireland’s ‘Hidden Heartlands’ region. 

Well-known actor Michael James Ford, whose screen credits include Harry Wild, Dead Still, and RTÉ legal drama Striking Out, will also participate in a series of special outdoor, family-style, dramatic and musical performances at Skelly’s Courtyard in Ballymahon – an exciting new addition to the festival programme. 

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