A few really interesting and worthwhile events coming up on Achill Island in 2014:
The Heinrich Böll Memorial Weekend is an arts weekend that consistently offers stimulating and informative events in the sort of homely and relaxed atmosphere that the west of Ireland tends to create. Created in memory of the Nobel prize winning German writer Heinrich Böll, a regular visitor to Achill in the 1960s and 70s, the event tends to focus on literature, Europe and Achill Island. The 2014 event takes place on the weekend of 2nd to 4th May and will be opened by Derek Scally, an Irish journalist working in Europe. Writer and journalist Dea Birkett will present an intriguing talk on ‘Women Travellers Through The Ages – Difficult Journeys by Extraordinary Women’. The weekend includes two guided walks with archaeologist Eoin Halpin, a writing seminar, and readings from authors Hugo Hamilton, Mary Russell and Birgit Vanderbeke. Rene Böll, son of Heinrich, will present a talk titled “Heinrich Böll and his family’s fight for humanity”. Dr Gisele Holfter of the University of Limerick will present a talk entitled: “Not only Böll – 20th century travel literature on Ireland from a German perspective”. The Rev. Patrick Comerford, an author and lecturer, will present a talk on “The Achill missionary buildings at Mweelin – history, origins and people”. The event also includes two exhibitions at the Western Light Art Gallery in Keel – one showing archival photograph material Heinrich Böll and Family during their early years on Achill (from the Böll family collection) and also an exhibition of landscape painting by Alex McKenna, ‘Paintings of Achill Island’. For further information and/or booking, please see: www.achilltourism.com.
The Achill Archaeological Field School was established in Dooagh in 1991 and had conducted extensive surveys and excavations at the Deserted Village in Slievemore. The Field School offers residential courses for archaeology and anthropology students from the UK, USA, Canada and worldwide. The longer and more detailed ‘modular’ courses qualify for academic credit with NUI Galway and these high-quality Irish archaeology summer camp courses are suitable for college students at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. The Field School also offers a series of Introduction to Archaeology Courses for anyone with an interest in the subject who wants hands-on experience with expert tuition. These residential or non-residential courses are ideal both for archaeology enthusiasts and anyone with a real interest in Achill Island history. For 2014, the Field School dig at Slievemore plans to excavate an unclassified megalithic tomb. For full details and booking, please see Achill Archaeological Field School 2014.
Other significant events on Achill this year include:
Féile Siúlóidí Acla / Achill Walks Festival – Two days of guided walks, to Craughan and Curraun Hill.
Achill Half-Marathon and 10K – taking place on Saturday 5th July, starting in Keel.
Scoil Acla – Ireland’s oldest traditional culture summer schools, offering courses and workshops in traditional Irish music, Sean Nós Singing, writing, dance and basket weaving. Scoil Acla 2014 runs from 26th July to 2nd August.
Achill ROAR Adventure Race – Another event for the sports people, the Achill ROAR involves three disciplines (swimming or kayaking; running; cycling) and offers three levels of difficulty, culminating in the Expert level (1000m swim or 2500m kayak; 15km run; 45km cycle). All done on Achill’s stunning, but challenging, landscape. See ya at the after race party!