The opening of the Wild Atlantic Words Festival in Castlebar takes place a week from today, Monday, 3 October.

Now in its sixth year, Wild Atlantic Words is a programme of book launches, presentations, poetry, seminars, discussion and literary events of multiple descriptions.

Dr Michael O’Connor’s opening lecture, ‘Criminal Conversations with My Wife’, with its actual case studies of the treatment of women by the legal system, will shed light on an aspect of judicial history which has long been overlooked.

This will be followed by a talk by Michael Smith, biographer of the legendary Polar explorer, Tom Crean.

On Tuesday Geraldine Lavelle, whose life was turned upside down when an horrific road accident left three-quarters of her body paralysed launches her new book, ‘Weathering the Storm’

Noel Campbell and John Healy will share the spotlight on Thursday night when their ‘The History of Castlebar’ will be officially launched.

On Friday, Paul Brady, one of Ireland’s greatest living songwriters, will launch his ‘Crazy Dreams’, and then on Saturday evening, Liam Horan will introduce his collection of short stories in ‘Second Chance’.

On Sunday evening, Tommie Gorman launches his autobiography, ‘Never Better’.

A major highlight will be the Civil War seminar on Saturday, hosted by Mayo County Council at the Courthouse, where the panel of expert guests includes Professor Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor Linda Connolly, historian and author Dominic Price, EamonÓ Cuív TD, and former Minister for Justice Nora Owen. The seminar will be opened by retired Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett, DSM, and the moderator will be Marie Louise O’Donnell. This seminar will also feature a display of rare Civil War items from the Jackie Clarke Collection.

Noreen O’Grady brings yoga to the Festival Dome on Saturday morning; and best-selling cookbook author Sarah Butler will share her recipes and writing at the same venue.

Literary fans will enjoy Robert Gogan’s one-man ‘Strolling through Ulysses’ on Wednesday, when he guides his audience through the novel’s curious events and quirky characters.

A major highlight, as always, will be the readings and prize-giving for the Wild Atlantic Words short story competition, sponsored by Bridge St and Mayo Books Press. Award-winning writer Elizabeth Reapy, who judged the competition, will introduce the winners of what has been an immensely successful competition.

‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ will see John Healy introduce his panel of Ursula Kilkelly, Mark Mellett, James Laffey and Sean Lyons, who will talk on topics wide and varied.

All events are free of charge but spaces are on a first come, first served basis. For the full festival programme, latest updates and details of event times and venues, visit


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