Borris House & Village, Carlow.

June 9th - 11th

outside crowd copy

Festival of Writing & Ideas will mark its sixth year in 2017, promising a weekend of stimulating dialogue and discourse, gathering together intriguing international minds from all over the world and inviting them to Borris Village for a few days. Many are writers, but artists, film-makers, political commentators, musicians, architects, and regular people who have experienced the extraordinary have also graced the stage at Borris.

As a festival goer, your curiosity could lead you anywhere from the Syrian front-lines to the lyrics of Pink Floyd. You might find yourself in the company of Booker Prize royalty, or trying to come to terms with atrocities in Ukraine, or experiencing life in the Sligo hinterland or a local uileann piper’s call … or simply spending time at a picnic table in the company of the speakers at this intimate event.

The Festival of Writing & Ideas has become known for its casual, friendly atmosphere, and for its extraordinary line-up of speakers. It takes place each year in the magical surroundings of Borris House, the seat of the High Kings of Leinster, situated at the foot of the Backstairs Mountains with the River Barrow meandering by. Spilling out into the pubs and halls of this idyllic village, the festival is a place that the curious find inspiring.

In a few years just past this small village in Carlow has welcomed Ian McEwan, David Gilmour, Chrissie Hynde, Dominic West, Kate Tempest, Don McCullin, Michael Chabon, Sebastian Barry, PJ Harvey, Ben Okri, Antony Beevor, Anne Enright, Martin Amis, Roy Foster, Michael Cunningham, Tommy Tiernan, Michael Harding, Louis De Bernieres, Philomena Lee, Joseph O’Connor, Michael Craig Martin, Colm Toibin, and many many others.

The festival began in 2012, founded by Hugo Jellett and Vivienne Guinness (who still curate the event). In 2017 will invite 80 speakers to participate in 50 events over 3 days in June. 


Founding Directors: Hugo Jellett & Vivenne Guinness
Board: Hugo Jellett, Vivienne Guinness, Kathy Gilfillan, Mareta Doyle
Programming Panel: Catherine Heaney, Sophie Gorman & Eleanor O’Keefe
Team: Annette O’Kelly (Production Manager), Adeline Minchin (Marketing & Development Manager), Dominique (Hospitality)
Design & Stage Decor: Emperor’s Robes (
Venue: Borris House, Carlow. (