Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival

Edgeworthstown: The Town of Great Writers

In 1782, Richard Lovell Edgeworth decided to move his family from his home in England to the family estate in Edgeworthstown, County Longford. This was to begin a long tradition of literary creation in the town.

His daughter Maria Edgeworth went on to have an illustrious career in writing, and produced many works, some of which are to be found in print today. Her most famous novels were ‘Castle Rackrent’ and ‘The Absentee’.

Longford went on to produce many acclaimed writers including Padraic Colum, Vona Groarke, Belinda McKeon, Alan McMonagle and Noel Monahan, to name just a few, and the Edgeworth Literary Society endeavours to maintain the Edgeworth legacy through its annual Festival. The Society continues to promote the work of writers through its annual competitions, and the awarding of the Deirdre Purcell perpetual prize.

It also endeavours to keep alive the legacy of the Edgeworths through its programme of events.

2017 will be no exception with this year’s festival from May 5 to 7, 2017 featuring a varied line-up, sure to pique the interest of literary fans of all ages and tastes.

This will include children’s storytelling, with Heritage in Schools expert Eamon Brennan, while John Beddoes a direct decedent of the Edgeworth Family, will discuss the poetry of Anna Edgeworth.

Professor Iggy Mc Govern, Physicist and Poet, will give a poetry workshop on the Saturday morning and will discuss the link between science and poetry in an evening session. Dr Susan Manly of St Andrew’s University, an authority on 18th century literature and the author of a new biography on Maria Edgeworth, will look at the legacy of Maria Edgeworth.

There will be lots of local talent too, including participation from the local members of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Corrine McCormack-Bushell, the O’Reilly family and many more.

As part of the heritage trail walk, Octavia Tulloch will give a talk on ‘hedgerow’ medicine and plants at the Gardens in the Manor, and visitors will be able to visit places of interest on the guided walk, ‘St Mary’s to St John’s and Beyond’, with refreshments being served at the rectory.

Arguably the highlight of the weekend will take place when a new portrait of Maria Edgeworth, created by Ballymahon artist Orla Kelleher, is unveiled, meanwhile, the weekend concludes with a trip to Tullynally Castle, which will include a guided tour of the Castle and Gardens, and a talk by Thomas and Valarie Pakenham.

Details of the festival can be attained from the festival office on 043 6671801 or by visiting  www.edgeworthstown.net/festival