Words and Welcomes: An Irish Literary Break

Liss-Ard-Country-Hotel

Two academics wanting a different kind of life, we set up our own business providing luxury breaks and various courses, all based in beautiful West Cork in Ireland with the grand title West Cork College.

The ethos behind it is to create breaks that combine wonderful lodgings and fabulous food with expert literary talks and readings; literature and holidays, the ultimate combination, and perhaps a drink or two as well.

The Saturday evening of the weekend break takes place at Drishane House, former home of Edith Somerville and Violet Martin (who wrote as Martin Ross), co-authors of The Irish R.M. stories.

Literature and holidays, the ultimate combination, and perhaps a drink or two as well.Somerville and Ross were second-cousins who wrote these very funny and moving stories at the turn of the 19th century. They were hugely successful, and after Martin’s death Edith continued to write, believing that Martin wrote through her. They are buried next to each other in picturesque Castletownshend Church.

There will be a tour of the house, library (which includes some fantastic historical first editions) and gardens – much unchanged since Edith’s time including the wallpaper – followed by drinks, an introductory talk by Tom Somerville, dinner in the Georgian dining room and then readings of their works around the huge fireplace.

While Somerville and Ross are our main focus over the holiday, we’ll also be giving accessible talks on Yeats, Shaw and other Irish writers. There will be visits to Bantry House, a stately home overlooking Bantry Bay well-known for its exquisite gardens.

We’ll even visit a 12th century castle Dún na Séad in the beautiful fishing village of Baltimore, where the author Bernie McCarthy will tell us about the pirates that came in to the bay in 1631.

All our trips and talks are punctuated by wonderful meals, as well as accommodation at the Liss Ard Country Estate, a beautiful 200-acre Victorian estate with free kayaking and bicycling, wonderful bedrooms overlooking the walled garden, and huge baths (because you need a big bath to read in, after all!).

Fancy it? The next break takes place from 27th-30th September. Have a look at the full schedule or ring us on 003532820620. Places are very limited and there is a discount before 20th July. And I’ve already promised For Books Sake that the first round of drinks is on us!

Guest post from Emma Bidwell of West Cork College