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Hay Festival Kells, 28-30 June

Hay Festival Kells, 28-30 June

Sights to see in Kells during Hay Festival
Imagine the world (Samhlaigh an domhan)

Hay Festival gathers people together to think about the world as it is and to imagine how it might be. It's a big conversation about discovery and intellectual adventure. We share stories and ideas with great international writers and thinkers, film-makers, historians and novelists, philosophers, environmentalists, poets and scientists. And at night we like to party with the greatest comedians and musicians. Hay is, in Bill Clinton's phrase, 'the Woodstock of the mind'. The festival is in its 26th year in Hay, a magical book town in the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Hay Festival now runs festivals in eleven cities across five continents, celebrating great writing around the world from Wales to Ireland, Bangladesh to Lebanon, Kenya to Mexico. For more information please visit

Some of the events taking place include  ...

Ireland’s Biggest Book Club

Jeanette Winterson is confirmed to host Ireland’s Biggest Book Club, with her memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Book clubs across the country are being invited to read the book, then come as a group to Hay Festival Kells to attend an event with Jeanette on Friday 28 June at 8.30pm.

Irish Language Events

A fantastic programme of Irish language speakers will participate in the Festival, with a focus on Irish writing onSaturday 29 June. Writers include Gabriel Rosenstock, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, Manchán Magan, Alan Titley, Sharon Ní Bheoláin and Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé. Tiarnán De Hál from the Kells branch of the Gaelic League, with support from Foras na Gaeilge, has been working hard to put together such a line-up of Irish talent.

Cartoon Saloon & The Secret of Kells

The Oscar-nominated animation The Secret of Kells, which explores the origins of Ireland’s most famous book, plays a significant role in Hay Festival Kells. An exhibition of signed limited prints from the movie, an animation workshop and a screening of the film will all be held by the passionate and dedicated team from Cartoon Saloon.

Lisa Dwan in Beckett’s Not I

Lisa’s extraodinary performance of Beckett’s Not I comes direct to Hay Festival Kells from a sold-out week at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Directly influenced by her time with the legendary Billie Whitelaw, Athlone native Lisa will perform the Irish première of her production in Kells.

Children’s Programme

Hay is a magical place for children, with experiences such as designing their own Book of Kells inspired name-script and symbols, an Irish language show of song and verse, creating blankets and scarves with Tatyana Feeney, and listening to Sarah Webb talk about growing up in Dublin using clothes, toys and photos from her childhood.

Kells Type Trail

The Type Trail will see the word 'inspire' appearing in 20 locations around the town, in homage to the inspiration the Book of Kells has provided all over the world. The word will be translated into a number of languages in recognition of the multi-cultural community now living in Kells. It will also be depicted in numerous forms, including a human spelling (with students making up the letters in a playground); the phonetic spelling in the Travellers' language, Cant, and spelt out with giant Meccano pieces and Tetris blocks. This is the fourth year of the Kells Type Trail, an initiative of local artist Mark Smith in conjunction with a number of community groups.


One of Fáilte Ireland's Top 10 Destinations in Ireland, Kells is an ancient market town in County Meath, 40 miles north of Dublin and renowned worldwide as the spiritual home of the Book of Kells®, completed in the 9th century. Today, the town remains a vibrant community with a lively events programme, located in the beautiful Boyne Valley among the turns of the Blackwater River, Kells is neighboured by a UNESCO World Heritage site, Headfort House, and the unique Spire of Lloyd, a mysterious inland lighthouse built in the late 18th century by the 1st Earl of Bective. As well as the town's rich monastic legacy, Kells offers an exciting arts and crafts scene, with many artists working and exhibiting in the local area.

Please visit for more information.

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