A WRITING INTENSIVE
in the West of Ireland
with Libby Wagner & Owen Ó Súilleabháin
Saturday, April 27 to Saturday, May 4, 2019
On the first night of our Bealtaine Writing Intensive 2018, we walked across a wooden bridge on Kenmare Bay together. To the west, the sun set in brilliant orange, purple, and fuchsia lighting the night sky; to the east, the full moon rose clear and beautiful above the ancient grounds of Parknasilla Resort, County Kerry, Ireland - a magic threshold held all of us there together before we began our week’s journey.
2019 contains even more magic as we venture into the world and hope of the imagination, genius and ideation of our creative processes, using writing as our primary medium. You will join a small group of people drawn to the ancient question of the blank page, whether you are an executive, a leader with a creative vision, or a curious pilgrim of the written word. This is no ordinary writing event or retreat . . . because this is Writing in Ireland. We will follow the path of yellow moonlight into the ancient Celtic feast of Bealtaine (pronounced Be-YOWL-thin-ah), celebrated on the eve of the first of May. Using story, song, practices, poetry, and expert instruction, you will connect with that which is most generative and creative in you—what you desire to write is waiting for you to put pen to page.
For Bealtaine, bonfires are lit as we burn the restrictive and grudging energies of the past, we make way for the Maiden of May who carries the promise of Spring and the generation of what we have longed to come forth. We drive away the darkness that has surrounded us throughout the winter of our imaginations and allow our voices to emerge, breaking through the just warmed crust of the Earth.
Join poet and writer Libby Wagner, musician and composer Owen Ó Súilleabháin, as well as special Irish guests, as they create an immersive experience, including original compositions, stunning vistas, ancient myths and legends, solitary time for writing and reflecting, and walks upon the land. There’s nothing quite like this.
LIBBY WAGNER Writing Instructor and Artistry Guide
OWEN Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN Curator of Extraordinary Celtic Experiences
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Writing in Ireland exceed my expectations in every possible way—and you can quote me! Fabulous food, faeries, facilitation of breakthroughs personal and professional. I was bathed in your wisdom, cleansed in the fires of Bealtaine, and changed forever in Parknasilla’s magic presence. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart, whose depths have opened deeper than ever before in this life.
C. Lafferty Eckl (Bealtaine 2018)
This positive writing experience has been like no other for me. It has inspired me to have more confidence in my writing ability, along with new techniques to arouse my inner muse. The love and warmth of the other attendees is still with me. Thanks to you all, I feel lucky and privileged to have crossed paths with you.
J. Larkin (Bealtaine 2018)
For many years, I have desired to see Ireland…and to hone my skills and become more disciplined as a writer. This seemed the perfect opportunity to indulge in both; it absolutely did not fail to deliver.
Libby Wagner is an accomplished and published writer and hostess extraordinaire! Her credentials might be intimidating were she not such a beguiling and encouraging Coach.
The program was designed to inspire on the deepest levels, feeding and calling upon all of our senses in a myriad of ways and within the safety of an environment that allowed us to flourish. We were immersed in an abundance of poetry, story, music, divine food and of course, writing. There were provocative exercises and inspiring excursions. We were treated to guest performances and lively conversations beside a smoldering, peat fire.
This carefully curated, exquisite container made for an unforgettably rich experience. Already I long to return!
F. Buchanan (Bealtaine 2018)
The writer’s retreat in Ireland can be summed up in three words: Departure, Deepening, and Connection. Sure it was a departure to a foreign country, but it was also a departure to and from so much more. It was a departure from my everyday life, routines, work and worries. It was a departure to a magical and ancient land that held surprises around every corner. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I decided to say “Yes” to Libby’s invitation – so I’d like to think I went with an open mind, an open spirit and an open heart – all of which were filled to overflowing during my time there and even still at the memories of it.
I also experienced a deepening on this trip. Taking this time away really helped me focus and deepen my writing. It gave me time and space to think, to go deeper – and in most cases, to write about it. It reminded me that I really enjoy “deeper living,” and it rekindled my desire to notice and be amazed by the small miracles that happen around us all the time. This deepening started with taking notice of the profound quietness and solitude of Parknasilla, and continued as each gathering unfolded, and during times of personal reflection that were built into the retreat.
Through the whole experience, a deep connection to Ireland developed. This connection encompassed the beautiful landscapes, people, stories, rituals, language, flavors, places, and songs that Libby, Owen and Dónall navigated for us. Connections were a pleasant surprise! When I arrived, I only knew Libby. Through her facilitation and the experiences we shared, I have a wonderful group of new friends who are incredibly interesting and talented.
If you can, I encourage you to say “Yes” to this invitation. Take time for your own departure from everyday life and find out what personal treasures Ireland holds for you.
E. Todd (Bealtaine 2018)
Parknasilla House has been host to some of the great artists and leaders in Irish culture and society for over 150 years. 500 acres of old, estate grounds are spread peacefully by the Atlantic Ocean on Kenmare Bay.
Woodland walks and forests of rhododendrons provide the perfect companion to the creative imagination. Around every turn, panoramic views of the Atlantic catch the heart off guard, and a glance south reveals the majesty of the Kerry Mountains through the mists.
Ireland has always been a place of great threshold. A gateway to unseen horizons on the edge of the known world. A place of pilgrimage and spiritual transformation, a hotbed of arts, creativity, mythology and imagination, reveling in profane surrealism and profound immensities.
The genius of this place is one of subversion, impermanence, inspiration and emergence. The sense is that just being here allows the world to do the work that you could only ever dream of.
Our creative community will reside in a group of cottages secluded in the woods on the grounds of the Parknasilla House Hotel.
These houses are very comfortable, warm and spacious. There are two en suite bedrooms in each cottage.
The kitchen will be well stocked with the best of local, organic food, where you will prepare your own hearty breakfast each morning.
We will gather for healthy lunches and abundant suppers together. This part of the country prides itself as a center of excellence for the best of organic, farm to table food culture in the world. We will wholeheartedly invite the culture and the agriculture of the land to nourish our soul and body.
PREPARATION & DAILY ROUNDS
You will be asked to submit your application for registration, including a questionnaire,
a small writing sample, and some initial intentions for your participation.Writing experiance varies. New and published
You will also have a preliminary live call with Libby so that she can understand your desires for the experience and answer any questions (either phone, Skype or Zoom technology.)
She will likely offer an assignment or practice for you to investigate before your arrival in Ireland.
Early Mornings: Prepare your own breakfast in your well-stocked, self-catered homes. Quiet time.
Morning Workshop: Diving in together. Writing exercises, discussion, ideas, resources, sharing.
Lunch followed by an Afternoon Excursion: We will explore the local landscape and . . . .
Late Afternoon: Open time for writing, reflection, wandering.
Evening: Dinner followed by readings or performance.
The total cost for the experience is $5,495* and includes:
Libby and Owen's facilitation as workshop leaders and creativity guides and the cost of all guest artists, writers and musicians that we will meet throughout the week.
Your own private bedroom and bathroom in a two-bedroom woodland Cottage.
Your meals, made of the the very best of local, organic Irish food.
Ground transport during your stay, and all tips.
This cost does not include:
Your flights to and from Shannon airport.
Two meals throughout the week where you will look after yourself.
*Payment can be made in three installments.
*The discount price of $4,995 will apply if paid in full on registration.
More details on payment, arrival information and dietary requirements will be provided on registration.
Then you will receive the registration form and arrange a time for your initial call with Libby Wagner.
Please contact Libby Wagner if you have any questions about the writing retreat.
Please contact Owen Ó Súilleabháin if you have any questions about Ireland.
Tel (USA): 206-906-9203