Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene

What’s it like in Listowel? 8.5 days to go…

May 19, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, journalism, organisers, preparations, Street drama, tutors

Yesterday I drove over from Glanmire.

Out the Mallow road, turned left around the sugar factory onto the R576 through Kanturk, Newmarket, Rockchapel, Kilkinlea and Abbeyfeale. By the R555 with rain all the way into Listowel.

I found parking in the square, 1 euro per hour (bring coins), and scampered for the warmth of the Listowel Arms Hotel.

In terms of Writers’ Week, it would be hard to exaggerate the significance of this hotel. It’s the nerve centre. Yesterday, there were people in the bar at 1130. I had Americano & scone with butter & jam. Kerry prices.

Wrote a few words in my Moleskine notebook:

Two women sit on the long seat. Five women and two men sit in a circle. One woman sits alone, her back to the corner. A couple of men sit at their own table. The carpet is brown. Fruit scone comes with Dawn butter from Kerry Foods, Industrial Estate, Tallagh. Robertson’s Strawberry jam in a plastic pack. The walls are chattering, sound re-bounding.”

Jeremy Gould and his son Thomas arrived for our first meeting.

I was excited and a bit nervous, hoping I wouldn’t put him off chucking in his skills to this project.

Together we ‘rappored’. Thomas played on dad’s Iphone. Jeremy may have emigrated to Listowel recently but he has years of visiting behind him and his wife’s people are Kerry.

We went visiting the festival office.

Moire Logue and Eilish joined us for lunch. We got on great.

Out into the rain with us next. We did the main streets, photographing venues,

Venues for Writers Week

Venues for Writers' Week

and even saw Billy Keane doing an interviewwalk with a man holding an RTE mic.

Billy Keane RTE interviewwalking

Billy Keane RTE interviewwalking

Monday is 1/2 day in Listowel. Brenda Woulfe wasn’t in when we called to the bookshop.

Festival Venue

Festival Venue

Left a message to say we’d called.

Saw a big crowd of schoolboys being escorted to John B Keane’s pub by their teacher.

Into the pub with your teacher

Into the pub with your teacher

Imagine that! No teacher ever took me to a pub.

Networking tools were discussed…

Lots of discussion about how to use all the social networking tools to best effect on this blog. I’m no technophile, but not a technophobe either. The thing I took away was the idea of putting a hashtag [#listww09] into Twitter tweets and Facebook updates. Maybe I should put them into blogposts too?

I remember how the sun shone in 2007, those glorious days at Writers’ Week. If yesterday is anything to go by, bring your wellies & brollies…

It was the search for broadband that made me nervious.

I have visions of writing stuff that gets lost because of systemfail. So I interviewed the receptionist in the hotel.

She showed me the only public place from which I could connect. When I went testing, my system crashed and I lost my post which I hadn’t saved. That’ll learn me. The walls of the ballroom are 4 feet thick, so no wireless signal there. We’ll need a ‘dongle’.

There are two internet cafes in town.

Community I.T. Access, 58 Church Street is open 9-5, Mon-Fri only: 3 euro per hour and he’d be prepared to negotiate a special daily rate. Lovely & warm, clean & tidy, more like an office than a cafe.

I have a photo of the other place which I’ll give details of later.

Internet cafe terms

Internet cafe terms

The thrill of the day was getting Mary Kenny’s piece and putting it up from Listowel…

It came by email. She kept her promise. It’s a lovely piece of writing. Hopefully we’ll have many more pieces from workshop leaders.

I’ll put photos up later.

7 Comments to “What’s it like in Listowel? 8.5 days to go…”

  1. What are Kerry prices like, Paul?
    I actually listened to the interview with Billy Keane yesterday evening – I think it was on The Last Word with Matt Cooper, though I could be wrong about the radio station.
    3 Euro an hour is pretty steep for Internet Access. I don’t suppose it comes with a free coffee? But then, it’s years since I had to use an Internet Cafe in Ireland.

  2. Well done, Paul. Things are moving along apace. Patrick sent me detailed instructions on how to post and I promise I will try.
    Does the WW office or the Seanchaí not have broadband? Where is the press room for WW?
    I think that there are three internet cafés here, all in Church St., the one you visited, E-Bol and All Regions.
    Good luck with your search anyway.

  3. Coffee & scones was something like 2.80 euro. Not the greatest Americano, not the best scone but just what you need when you’re in from the rain.

    One internet place is 2.5, the other 3 euros per hour. The 3 euro place is much cleaner and warm, and is prepared to charge less if you want several hours worth.

    We should check both of them out, I think.

  4. Mary,
    Good morning. I forgot to check The Seanchai Literary & Cultural Centre internet access. The WW office is there, in the basement, in a tiny office: it’ll be moving to the Listowel Arms Hotel next week.

    Better find out what E-Bol charge.

    Also forgot to ask about the press facilities. Will ring today and ask Maire or Eilish.

    Looking forward to reading you.

  5. I’ve just had a set-back with the camcorder I’ve been given the loan of for the few days. It’s a JVC GR-FXM40EK that takes 45min VHSC mini-tapes. The problem is that it won’t connect to my PowerBook G4 as the camcorder has no firewire connector or port. A bit of a bummer that! Anybody know of a way round this?

  6. Patrick – you would need a converter to make that work or a complicated import workaround using cables and a VHS recorder:

    I have a DV camera and a Flip mino (currently missing but I am searching frantically) that we can use during the festival.

  7. I don’t know some moments of this post.


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