Tuesday, 26 August 2014

MOLLY KEANE WRITERS' RETREAT - AFTERS


I had a magical time at the Molly Keane House in Ardmore, Co. Waterford at the weekend. I had never been to Ardmore before (how!?) and was unaware what a sweet and charming place it is. But like any place, it's not just the setting, it's the people. I got an enormous and warm welcome from Lani O'Hanlon, the writer who facilitates the annual Molly Keane Writers' Retreat, and from Virginia Brownlow, Molly's daughter, who works tirelessly for everybody's comfort.

View from Molly's terrace
The Molly Keane house is on a rise overlooking Ardmore Bay and it is a gorgeous house of large rooms and nooks and crannies. We had our workshop (and my reading) in the schoolroom, a huge room where Virginia and her sister Sally were educated. Molly, apparently,often wrote in bed.

Window view, Molly's house
The house is furnished with antiques and with Molly's books and artworks, so there is a huge sense of history and it feels such a privilege to be there to write, to read and to talk about writing. Virginia had fresh flowers from the large garden on every side table and corner; there were fresh scones, gallons of tea, and drinking water with fragrant herbs floating in it. The fire blazed all day and all night. It was one of the warmest, safest writing experiences imaginable.

Upper landing, Molly's house - flowers!
Round tower, Ardmore
And the most exciting thing is that you, your family, your writing group - anyone! - can rent out the Molly Keane House for holidays or for workshops or private writing retreats. That is surely a unique experience in Ireland. Go here for more information.

And look out for upcoming events at the MK House, including a Film Day in September from Virginia's Oscar-winning husband Kevin Brownlow, and a masterclass with the wonder that is Cork-based writer Thomas McCarthy.

For me, the Molly Keane House is like a sweet, lovely secret but one that is ready for sharing.

Fresh flowers in the house

6 comments:

Rachel Fenton said...

Sounds like the balm - thanks for posting, Nu - glad you had a wonderful time.

Nuala Ní Chonchúir said...

It was, Rae - absolutely lovely.

Emily said...

Sounds like a gorgeous experience! You had me hooked at the scones, tea and flowers from the garden :)

Nuala Ní Chonchúir said...

It was great, Ems. Truly restorative and such a pleasure to be in a beautiful place.

creativepalabras said...

Hi Nuala,
Such a lovely place! and so inspiring..It makes me miss Ireland ...
ciao
ale

Nuala Ní Chonchúir said...

If you can ever go there, Alessia, do. You can rent it!!