Review: The John Hewitt International Summer School

In June 2016, I applied for a bursary to attend the John Hewitt International Summer School (JHISS). I did so because a friend, and past attendee, had encouraged me to. The application process was very straightforward. It was a simple one page form completed online. Bursaries are available to anyone living on the island of Ireland. A full bursary includes tickets to all the events and accommodation for 5 nights. I found out at the beginning of July that I had been successful and it felt like Christmas, or my birthday, I was so excited! Another successful applicant described it as winning the ‘literary lottery’. I began packing immediately.

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Review: Féile Veteran, EP inductee: The evolution of the Irish festival?

I left Ireland, spring 2004, the first year that Electric Picnic (EP) took place as a one day event in Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois. Back then, while living in Washington DC, the event was already being talked about among the diaspora in my circle by the summer of 2005, and subsequently, year after year, I usually heard something from one of my friends at home, or from a fellow traveler who had attended while visiting Eire during the festival. I was quickly intrigued by a vision of this “Electric Picnic”, although I had never been. Its legend grew around me but I, alas, remained aloof as visits home never coincided with the festival’s dates.

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Review: A Game of Throw-ins by Ross O’Carroll-Kelly

[NO SPOILERS]

Paul Howard’s reflective look at the layers of Dublin society through the eyes of his main character Ross O’Carroll-Kelly has been with us now since 1998 via newspaper column and 2000 in book form. Not only have the 16 novels, innumerate columns, stage plays and now even through podcast followed the fortunes of Ross, his friends and family but also those of Ireland itself. Born out of hearing Celtic Tiger Cubs in full flight, Ross’s life has gone from privileged want for nothing, carefree teens, through recession hit work and supporting expanding family and back to hope and renewed cash flow.

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