Bealtaine National Writer in Residence

Brian Leyden is the Bealtaine Writer-in-Residence for 2016. For thirty years, Brian Leyden has given highly popular writing workshops throughout Ireland. A master at evoking time and place and people, in his own work Brian is an engaging, insightful and encouraging guide whose knowledge and enthusiasm inspires people through an unconcealed love of language and writing.

As part of an extended series of activities, Brian will run a series of workshops, readings and events across Ireland throughout the year. In association with VOLTage and the Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon, Brian will also present a number of collaborative performances with Sligo-based musician Seamie O’Dowd.

Events and readings:


‘Old Flames’ features Brian with music by the multi-instrumentalist Seamie O’Dowd in a warm-hearted look at romance and courtship, from house dances and teenage crushes to the heyday of the ballroom and love in older age. Commissioned by Sligo County Council Arts Service and the Hawk’s Well Theatre for Bealtaine Sligo 2015/2016.

  • Ennis: glór on Friday, 6th May, 8.30pm, €15 / €10.
  • Dublin: Workman’s Club on Saturday, 21st May, 3pm, €6
    • Followed by a public discussion with Brian Leyden
    • In association with International Literature Festival Dublin, email or go to
  • Carrick-on-Shannon: The Dock on Friday, 27th, 8.30pm & Saturday, 28th, 8.30pm €12 / €10



Brian Leyden is an Irish novelist, short story writer, memoirist, playwright, screenwriter, librettist, and editor. His books include The Home Place, the novel, Death and Plenty, and the short story collection, Departures. The Home Place is Brian Leyden’s best-selling memoir. A master at evoking time and place and people with a voice that is consistently wise, observant and wonderfully entertaining this is a profoundly moving story of Irish life where the intimate and familiar are made unforgettable.  “An absolutely beautiful piece of work” Joseph O’Connor on The Home Place.

Seamie O’Dowd’s music is rooted in the traditional music of Sligo and he has played in many genres of acoustic and electric music. He toured the world for a number of years with Sligo trad legends Dervish and recently has played both home and abroad with Liam O’Flynn, Matt Molloy and Mary McPartlan.