Burren Tolkien Festival

Burren Tolkien Society Festival 2017

Welcome to the website for the Tolkien Burren Society Festival which takes place in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, on the 24th June 2017.

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, debates, music, demonstrations of craft and culinary delights like food and Hobbit Ale, 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.


Burren Tolkien Society Festival

Saturday 24th June 2017

A day full of Talks, Beer Launch, Craft Demonstrations, Live Music and Middle Earth-themed Food


Welcome and Launch of Hobbit Ale by Peter Curtin

“Arms and Uniforms during the Irish War of Independence” by David Swift of Claíomh

“The Burren as a source of inspiration” by archaeologist Shane Delaney

Presentation by award-winning make-up, prosthetics, prop and model making expert Mark Maher

Viking Age material culture by David Swift of Claíomh

Keynote talk on Tolkien expert Liam Campbell and Herbalist Lisa Guinan


Spontaneous storytelling with music by Katja Machleidt
The audience sets the scene, music will be played, questions will be asked and the answers woven into the tapestry of the unfolding story… the magic adventure.

The evening will conclude with indie music DJs from the legendary Termites Club.

David Swift of Claíomh will be demonstrating traditional leather craft working throughout the day.

During the festival, the unique Hobbit Ale will be exclusively available, and the event will feature a Middle Earth inspired menu.

Everybody is encouraged to don a costume. There will be a prize for the best costume on the night.