Poet's Corner Bar, Old Ground Hotel, Ennis 

About author and university educator Dr. Gerard Collins

Gerard, who has a PhD in American Gothic literature and has been nominated for numerous literary prizes - including the 2014 Dublin IMPAC award - offers group workshops as well as a private, in-depth feedback session on your writing. Participants are invited to share their work during an evening of readings, with a respectful acknowledgement that we are walking the ground where Joyce ran as a boy, where Dubliners and Finnegan's Wake originated. This is where Stoker, Yeats, Wilde, Donaghue, McCourt, Doyle and other great writers, as well as famous artists and musicians, cut their creative teeth and became who they became.

It's no stretch to say that this one-of-a-kind creative retreat forever enriched the lives and writing of each participant. All were inspired by Ireland's rich and ancient history, and by Gerard’s insightful instruction and personalized commentary on their writing.

Gerard, along with 17 Canadian and American travellers on a literary retreat through Ireland. Participants included novice, emerging, and experienced writers, and some participants who accompanied writers just for the adventure.

The "perfect writers' retreat" in Ireland: a castle, lots of writing and plenty of time for sightseeing. That was the story of our 2017 Go and Write retreat to Ireland

Participants enjoyed quiet time for writing, introspection, feedback and guidance from award-winning author Dr. Gerard Collins in the ancient Clontarf Castle, the same castle where Handel laid his head after the Dublin premiere of the Messiah. The village of Clontarf was also home to Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, and Bram Stoker, who lived just down the road from the castle. 

Gerard hosted a writing workshop at the castle and conducted the hour-long one-on-one sessions with participants in the castle's former dungeon - the coolest venue for these individual meetings in the history of Go and Write, hands down.

Writers had plenty of time to venture down the rocky road to Dublin to visit the pubs and hear a live session, tour Trinity College and see the Book of Kells, and get a glimpse of the bog people and priceless treasures at the National Museum of Dublin.

In the West, we stayed at the beautiful Old Ground Hotel in Ennis, took an unforgettable boat ride on the Isle of Innisfree while the captain quoted passages from Yeats, we visited Galway on World Poetry Day where musicians busked in the cobble-stone streets and baristas gave us chocolate truffles to read pre-printed poems from local authors, and we spent an incredible afternoon at the Cliffs of Moher.

We shared evening readings and writing and feeling inspired by the sights, sounds and history of one of the truly great, ancient places on earth.

Clontarf Castle

Clontarf Castle, Dublin

One-on-one meetings in the Clontarf Dungeon