IMAGINE THE WORLD – SAMHLAIGH AN DOMHAN
Last year, Kells played host to the Hay Festival for the first time. This year it returns and the air is fairly crackling with excitement.
I can’t imagine there is another town in the world that gives itself so wholeheartedly to a literary festival. It’s like Mardi Gras without the beads. Shops, including the butchers, the bakers, and the candelabra-makers devote their windows to books, documents and posters related to the event.
Over the years, I’ve attended a fair number of festivals, literary and otherwise. Some are so earnest they should come with black armbands. Others possess a silliness factor that obscures the purpose in a metaphorical sea of red noses. And in Kells? Well, I may be biased, but in my opinion, we get the balance just right. We take literature seriously, but ourselves… not so much.
And it’s not only about the books, either. There’s music, cookery demonstrations, comedy. There are events for children and teens; there are events as Gaelige as well as in English. In other words, there’s something for everyone.
If last year is anything to go by, the town will be buzzing as our visitors swoop upon us, preparing to be entertained. They won’t be disappointed. There is plenty to see, do and listen to. Here in Kells we take our responsibilities as hosts very seriously. The streets will be well populated with volunteers and locals, eager to help our guests. It’s a small town, so you can expect to rub shoulders with, well, everyone.
For me, Jeremy Paxman discussing the First World War has special appeal, both because I like Paxman and because I’ve long been fascinated by WWI. The latter is a reason why I also want to attend The Great War Roadshow.
I’m looking forward to seeing John Kelly talking about his book, From Out of the City, which I adore; and I’m fascinated to see him as interviewee rather than interviewer, a role he performs magnificently on RTE’s The Works. Oh, and there’s… No, there’s too much. Check out the website if you want to know more:
We’re expecting the weather to be fine so why don’t you come join us? The Hay Festival in Kells runs from July 2nd through the 6th, 2014.