Festival of Writing & Ideas


These generous and inspiring people are patrons of the festival, contributing to its future, and encouraging its development at each and every turn.

John and Bernie Gallagher
Kathy Gilfillan and Paul McGuinness
Mareta and Conor Doyle
Adrian and Jennifer O’Carroll
Max McGuinness
Sir Steven Wilkinson
Caroline Younger
Ciara Hunt Francis and Richard Francis
Joey Casey
Stephen Evans Freke
Gianni and Michael Alen Buckley
Catriona Wilson
Marcelle Speller
Bill and Denise Whelan
Christopher and Bella Bielenberg

If you would like to become part of our story, and invest a little in something you would like to see return even year, please contact Hugo on [email protected]

The Borris House Festival of Writing & Ideas  - when we meet again - promises 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. Prize-winning novelists, poet laureates, genre-changing musicians, mind-expanding academics, journalists from far reaches of the globe, but also artists, film-makers, political commentators, musicians, architects - and regular people who have experienced the extraordinary - grace the stages across the weekend.

While we wait, we urge you to visit our digital sisterhood: a portal for online conversations, running throughout the year with alarming regularity: simply click on the WINTER SERIES button at the top of this page.

Curiosity might lead a festival-goer from the Middle Eastern front-lines, to first-hand accounts behind the lyrics and music of Florence and the Machine or Pink Floyd, to the latest research in neuroscience, to a forgotten novel penned 50 years ago, or to a local uileann piper’s call.

The Festival of Writing & Ideas has become known for its casual, friendly atmosphere, and for its extraordinary line-up of speakers, carefully curated by a small team led by Vivienne Guinness and Hugo Jellett. It takes place each year in the magnificent surroundings of Borris House, the seat of the High Kings of Leinster, situated at the foot of the Blackstairs 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 the past years this small village in Carlow has welcomed Donna Tartt, Fiona Shaw, Michael Morpurgo, Simon Schama, Chrissie Hynde, Dominic West, Kate Tempest, Don McCullin, John Paul Jones, Michael Chabon, Sebastian Barry, PJ Harvey, Antony Beevor, Anne Enright, Martin Amis, Roy Foster, Michael Cunningham, Tommy Tiernan, Michael Harding, Louis De Bernieres, Philomena Lee, Joseph O’Connor, Bob Geldof, Michael Craig Martin, Colm Toibin, Florence Welch, David Simon, Mary Robinson and many many others.

The last time we met, in June 2019, over 75 speakers will participate in 60 events over the first weekend in June.

Borris Festival of Writing & Ideas is a Registered Charity: CHY 22121