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.

Conor and Mareta Doyle
Denis and Sue Tinsley
Geraldine Connolly
Kathy Gilfillan and Paul McGuinness
Giancarlo and Michael Allen Buckley
Caroline Younger
Enrique and Louise Curran
Billy and Laura Williams
Catriona Wilson
Ciara Hunt and Richard Francis
Adrian and Jennifer O'Carroll
Bill and Denise Whelan
Marcelle Speller
Stephen Freke
John Patrick and Agustina Sisk
Sarah Evans
Bella Huddart and Christopher 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 2020 - the ninth edition - 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.

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.

In 2020 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