Tolkien Festival

Burren Tolkien Society Festival 2015

Welcome to the website for the Tolkien Burren Society Festival which takes place in the Burren region from the 26th – 28th June 2015.

This unique gathering is a celebration of the eerie beauty of the Burren area, which is believed to have been a considerable influence in the English writer J.R.R.Tolkien in the writing of his epic novel Lord of the Rings. This is in reference to the cave found in the area called Poll na gColm (the hole of Gollum) , the descriptions of the world of Mordor which bears a striking resemblance to the landscape of the Burren, along with similarities to the story to be found in Irish folklore.

While this connection is somewhat controversial, relatively unproven and remains a source of discussion, the festival itself seeks to celebrate both the incredible fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, the literature, poetry and history of the place, whilst in the setting of the otherworldliness of the Burren. From lectures, writing workshops, debates, music, film screenings, guided walks and tours of the Burren area, it promises to be a festival of sight, sound and feeling that will be unique, original and joyful in its delivery.

The festival director Peter Curtin believes that the story of J.R.R. Tolkien’s discovery, exploration and connection to the Burren landscape offers an opportunity for the festival goer to perhaps discover what may have been and what may still be discovered in a magical and mystical place such as the Burren.

 

Festival Programme 2015, 26th- 28th June 2015

Friday 26th June

Festival Opening

Mark Maher Model Maker from the Hobbit with Peter CurtinA feast of Tolkien-inspired culinary delights, libations and music to launch the Festival. Talks and insights from Burren Tolkien society founder Peter Curtin and Tolkien Scholar Dr. Liam Campbell.

Location: The Burren College of Art                                Time: 7pm                             Cost: Free

 

Graphic Novel Workshop

Join Coimicí Gael’s founder and illustrator Aidan Courtney to create your own elves, orcs, hobbits and other fantastical creatures from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings in a 90-minute illustration workshop.

Location: Ennistymon, Library                                Time: 3pm                             Cost: Free

Saturday, 27th June

11am – A series of Lectures on Tolkien in the 20th Century

Dr Liam Campbell                                 Mirror of the Age: Tolkien and the 20th Century

audience at the Festival TalksAbstract: Many critics have dismissed Tolkien’s tales as elegiac, escapist fantasies that have nothing to say to or about the modern world. This talk seeks to assert that far from being an ‘escapist’ writer of fantasy, Tolkien was a writer primarily concerned with the defining issues of the twentieth century: an age that bore witness to humanity’s most horrific wars, the rise of the machine and a systematic assault on the green places of the world. The paper argues that all of this is observable in the arc of Tolkien’s fiction and as such he was a writer whose work is a valid and vital mirroring of the challenges of the contemporary world.

 

Dr Patrick Curry                                   The Two Faces of Faerie in Tolkien’s Work

Abstract: This talk will consider the vital importance and meaning of Faerie or enchantment in Tolkien’s work. It is a value and a concept which faces two ways: ‘in’ to his literary fiction, as symbolised especially by the Elves,  and ‘out’, where ‘the disecnhantment of the world’ (in Max Weber’s famous phrase) steadily gathered pace throughout the twentieth century. The paper  will try to identify some specific characteristics and dynamics of enchantment in both cases, and show how it has resulted in Tolkien’s books paradoxical modern status: extraordinary popularity and determined marginalization.

 

Professor John Gillespie                       Tolkien, Lewis and the Inklings: Christian Creativity in Action?

Abstract: C S Lewis and the Inklings played a key role in the development of Tolkien as a writer. This paper will examine the dynamics of their relationships and how their shared Christian faith affected his literary creations.

 

Dr Allan G Turner                                 Landscape Comes Alive

Abstract: A particularly memorable image in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is that of the shadowy army of trees marching down the slopes to attack Isengard. However, many others of his landscapes also convey a sense of life and movement. This is because, in addition to purely naturalistic descriptions, Tolkien describes many of the features in such a way that they seem to have a life of their own, although in many cases it is done so subtly that the reader may not be consciously aware of it. I want to explore the stylistic devices by which Tolkien makes his characters appear to move through an animate landscape which is one of the great attractions of Middle-earth.

Location: The Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan                  Time: 11am                           Cost: 15pp* cost includes refreshments

Book Here

2.30pm Creative writing workshop

Writer, painter, and filmmaker Frank Golden will lead afternoon workshops that will challenge participants with a series of writing prompts focusing on the main elements of the short story – setting, protagonist, conflict/problem/dilemma, climax and resolution.

two classic fantasy short stories will be explored in an effort to illustrate variant approaches to the genre. By the end of the session, participants should have an outline of frank_golden_2015at least one story they want to write, plus the story opening, and one or two scenes.

Frank Golden is a Clare-based poet, novelist, and painter. He has published four books of poems, the most recent of which is In Daily Accord (Salmon Publications). His first novel, The Two Women of Aganatz (Wolfhound Press),was well received, described by Carol Coulter in The Irish Times  as  “uncomfortable, but compellingly and poetically described by a powerful imagination”. 2015 has seen his return to the novel form with the publication of The Night Game (Salmon Publications).

He has received bursaries and awards from the Arts Council of Ireland and the Irish Film Board, including a bursary in literature in 2014. In 2012 his film, A Room in Air, filmed in the auxiliary workhouse in Ballyvaughan, was premiered at the Burren College of Art, where Frank

Location: The Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan                  Time: 2.30pm                       Cost: 15pp

Book Here

 

3pm Afternoon Tea at Gregan’s Castle with readings by Barry McGovern

Barry-McGovern_WebTake tea, as Tolkien did, in the library of the McCorkendale residence – now the drawing room of Gregans Castle Hotel – while Barry McGovern reads to you.

Barry McGovern is one of Ireland’s best known actors. His most recent stage appearances were in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Abbey and The Price at the Gate. His two one-man shows I’ll Go On and Watt have toured worldwide. On TV he has played in Game of Thrones , Vikings, The Tudors, Dear Sarah and The Treaty. Films include Joe Versus the Volcano, Billy Bathgate, The General, Braveheart, Waiting for Godot and My Name is Emily. Later this year he will be teaching at Notre Dame University for a semester and next year he will be playing in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles.

*Also on Sunday at 3pm 

Location: Gregan’s Castle, Ballyvaughan                                   Time: 3pm                             Cost: 25pp

Book HereSpaces Limited

 

Claiomh---who-will-be-doing7pm Evening Feast @ The Burren Food Emporium with a special display and demonstration by Claiomh 

Demonstrations at 4pm and 9pm

A feast of Tolkien-inspired culinary delights, libations, music and entertainment.

Location: The Burren Food Emporium, Lisdoonvarna              Time: 7pm                             Cost: 35pp

Booking: Not required

 

Sunday, 28th June

Woodlands Adventure at Aillwee

In the picturesque woodlands surrounding Aillwee cave, you will find the woodland craft village of Aillwee, here you can uncover the secrets and skills of the woodland elves with the master craftsmen. Learn the crafts of the woodlands from wood carving to Bow making. A perfect hands on event for families where you get to experience the outdoors and learn new skills

Location: Aillwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre          Time: 10am or 2pm025

Cost: 50 per Family of 2 adults and 2 children includes access to Archery Demo

Book Here

 

Archery Demonstration

Archery features heavily in Tolkien’s lord of the rings where the Elven archers from Lórien use large bows  of Mallorn wood strung with elf hair, The Gondorian army contains units of archers who use a longbow made of heartwood, about 68 inches tall. The Rangers of Ithilien were primarily archers and the Haradrim (Southrons) were also skilled archers, along with their allies the Easterlings. The skilled craftmen of Aillwee woodland village are experts in the craft and skills of archery come along to this showcase display and see the masters at work.

Location: Aillwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre          Time: 1pm                             Cost: 5pp

Booking: Not required

 

Afternoon Tea at Gregans Castle with readings by Barry McGovern

Barry-McGovern_WebTake tea, as Tolkien did, in the library of the McCorkendale residence – now the drawing room of Gregans Castle Hotel – while Barry McGovern reads to you.

Barry McGovern is one of Ireland’s best known actors. His most recent stage appearances were in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Abbey and The Price at the Gate. His two one-man shows I’ll Go On and Watt have toured worldwide. On TV he has played in Game of Thrones , Vikings, The Tudors, Dear Sarah and The Treaty. Films include Joe Versus the Volcano, Billy Bathgate, The General, Braveheart, Waiting for Godot and My Name is Emily. Later this year he will be teaching at Notre Dame University for a semester and next year he will be playing in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles.

Location: Gregans Castle, Ballyvaughan                        Time: 3pm                             Cost: 25pp

Book Here – Spaces Limited

 

Festival Close at the Roadside Tavern

A wrap up of the weekends events with live music

Location: Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna                       Time: 7pm

Booking: Not required

 

Festival Contact details: +353 (0)97 3160772