All posts by Sixpenny

Creative Writing Weekends on the Wild Atlantic Way

Writers at Work at Old Rectory**Creative Writing Weekends**

Date: Feb 23-24 , 2019:  (FULLY BOOKED!)
Date: March 30-31, 2019: Kickstart or reboot a writing project in a beautiful, inspiring location
Date: June 29-30, 2019: MidSummer Spark Your Creativity Weekend

Venue: Old Rectory Retreat, Knappagh, Westport Co. Mayo (on the Wild Atlantic Way)

Want to kickstart a new project or just get energised in your current one? At this idyllic location, in a 19th century rectory with a gentle stream running by its door, we write, read, listen, share, discuss, laugh and eat. 4 workshops + 2 tasty lunches over a weekend spent with interesting people engaged in meaningful work. The food is always delicious, company good and the time is spent productively.

Cost: Weekend of 4 workshops + 2 delicious lunches (courtesy of Roisin) is €195. Accommodation separate (€120/pp) = €315
**EARLY BIRD PRICE = €295 all incl. / €180 Workshops only if booked before March 1st 

Contact Fiona Keane: 087 763 4339 or for more info.

About the Weekends

The formats vary but we write, read/listen to good stories and draw lessons. We discuss the challenges preoccupying us in a stimulating, supportive and rigorous atmosphere over the course of four workshops with breaks for tasty lunches (courtesy of Roisin).  All are invited to share their work and receive feedback along the way.   The weekends are always productive, engaging and highly enjoyable. Since 2010 we have been providing workshops at this in a beautiful, tranquil environment on the Wild Atlantic Way and have met so many incredible people and had a lot of laughs. Beginners and seasoned writers all welcome. 


Saturday 10am-1pm Workshop6P_THE-BEGINNING_VEER_8236319
Lunch 1-2.30pm
Saturday 2.30-5pm Workshop

Sunday 10am-1pm Workshop
Lunch 1-2.30pm
Sunday 2.30-4pm Workshop

SpeakEasy: a monthly performance event

Speaky Slam was such fun that we started SpeakEasy, a monthly event at the Gallery Wine & Tapas Bar….Next one ~ March 7th, 8pm.

SpeakEasy Feb 2019
Bring a performance of any kind (story, song, poem, rap, rant, magic trick, comedy bit, whatever you can think of, we want to see/hear it!) Or come to offer support in the audience. FREE (donations gratefully received)

February’s event was great, with performers aged 13-88. Note the date: March 7th 8pm


As part of Westival 2018, SixPens presents…

Speaky Slam: an exciting spoken-word slam performance event (with prizes!). Bring yourself (and entourage), your true (or not) stories, slam poetry, flash fiction, songs, rants – all genres welcome –and deliver in strictly under five minutes.

Points allocated for presentation, performance and time-keeping. Special treatment of anyone not using notes!

In between rounds, there will be an open mic for non-competitive types. No previous experience required, all ages welcome. Take your courage in hand (the lights will be low) and enjoy a loquacious late-night! Text Fiona 087 763 4339 for more details.

Speaky Slam Westival Programme 2018

WORKSHOP: Weekend of writing at Old Rectory near Westport

Old Rectory Retreat hosts SixPens Writing Workshops for a weekend of writing, Sat June 30th & Sun July 1st in Knappagh, Westport, Co. Mayo. Since 2010, experienced facilitators Fiona Keane (playwright & songwriter) & Fin Keegan (writer & editor) have been providing workshops at this beautiful, tranquil environment on the Wild Atlantic Way. Using complex, well- considered prompts, we write, read and offer feedback in a stimulating, supportive and rigorous atmosphere over the course of four workshops with breaks for tasty lunches. The summer weekend is always productive, engaging and highly enjoyable. €175 for workshops. Accommodation optional at €100 (two nights). Call Fiona to book: 087 763 4339 or

  • Date: 30 June 2018
  • Venue: Old Rectory Retreat on the Wild Atlantic Way
  • Location: Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Course provider: SixPens Writing Workshops with Fiona Keane
  • Capacity: 12
  • Fee: €175 (optional accommodation: €100)
  • Contact details: Fiona Keane 087 763 4339

2 Adult Writing Classes & 1 Youth Writing Class

Wednesday Evenings 7-9pm (starting soon) I’ll be holding a Creative Writing Class at Westport College of Further Education. Contact WFCE directly for details of dates, price and to book 098 25241. Other Qs, contact me: 087 763 4339. Thanks

Fridays 12-2pm at Sharkey Hill Community Centre, Westport: A writing workshop for people with medium-long projects-in-progress. We will look at the challenges of creating memorable characters, deepening the work and sustaining interest.

Youth Writing Room:
Saturdays, 12.15-1.45pm, from 9/9/17 at McConville Park, off Quay Road, Westport. (11-14s) €100.

Please contact Fiona Keane 087 763 4339 or

EVENING COURSE: Irish writers and fantasy

Wild Atlantic Ways: Irish writers and Fantasy

tumblr_mmia4tOpsp1rdvi94o1_1280-COLLAGEINSTRUCTOR: Fin Keegan / 087 763-4339

TIME/PLACE: 7:30-9:30pm/Six Wednesdays in Westport (Sharkey Hill Community Centre: map below), from 5 October

DESCRIPTION: Ireland never had an Industrial Revolution and has always been seen, even to this day, as a wild place in which strange things can happen: fantasy, from our fairy tales to our best known literature, is a staple of Irish writing. But, in the work of writers from Jonathan Swift to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, the whimsy has a deeper purpose and, although the rich imaginings of Oscar Wilde and Flann O’Brien have produced great comedy, they are notable too for the deeper currents set in motion.

Course Plan

1. Things Done Differently [5OCT]

Before class: Please begin reading the first part of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726)

In class:

    • Excerpts from Homer; Ovid; Plato; Orwell; Stiff Little Fingers (Readings and discussion of handout: see here for PDF to print out)
    • Jonathan Swift (1667-1741): Gulliver’s Travels (Part 1: Lilliput)

2. Mirror and Enchantment [12OCT]

Before class: Please continue reading the first part of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. If time allows, read Merriman’s Midnight Court.

In class:

    • Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels (Part 1: Lilliput)
    • Brian Merriman (c1749-1805): The Midnight Court (1780)

3.  Myth and Horror [19OCT]

Before class: please begin reading Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray.

In class:

    • Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
    • Bram Stoker: Dracula (not mandatory!)

4.  Romance and Fairytale [26OCT]

Before class: please finish reading Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray and read Joyce’s short story, “Clay”, in his collection Dubliners.

In class:

    • Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
    • James Joyce: “Clay”
    • Poems by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill; WB Yeats (Handout)
    • The Pogues: “Fairytale of New York”

5. Magic and Mess [2NOV16]

Before class, please read CS Lewis’s short novel for children, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

In class:

    • Beckett: Imagination Dead Imagine [Handout]
    • CS Lewis: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    • JRR Tolkien on fairy tales
    • Bram Stoker: Dracula
    • Poems by Paul Durcan

6. Darkness and Laughter [9NOV16]

Before class, please read (as much as possible of!) O’Brien’s The Third Policeman

In class:

    • Flann O’Brien: The Third Policeman
    • Martin McDonagh: The Beauty Queen of Leenane (not mandatory)


Click on the links for digital versions, available for free online.

  • Handout I: Homer; Ovid; Plato; Orwell:  PDF print-out
  • Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels
  • Brian Merriman: The Midnight Court  [Optional]
  • Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Bram Stoker: Dracula [Optional]
  • James Joyce: “Clay”
  • Flann O’Brien: The Third Policeman
  • CS Lewis: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Martin McDonagh: The Beauty Queen of Leenane  [Optional]

September/October Writing Groups (Adults & Youth)

SixPens Activities from September-December, 2015:

~ 3 Writing Groups resume in Westport:

  1. Shape Your Story (Adult Writing Group) - Fridays 10.30am-12.30pm
  2. SixPens Writing Room ~ Junior (9-13s) Saturdays 1pm-2.30pm
  3. SixPens Writing Room ~ Teens (13-17s) Saturdays 2.30pm-4pm
  4. + SPARK Creativity Classes (9-13s) Wednesdays 4pm-5.15pm

Adult Writing Course: Shape Your Story (Sept. 25th-Dec. 4th)
Using crafted exercises and accessing your experience, knowledge and memories, create compelling stories for your readers. We will explore shaping your stories into either memoir or fiction, depending on your preference. Through listening to audio stories, we draw lessons and inspiration from good writing. Lively discussion is encouraged, though not required! Take time for your writing and you may surprise yourself. New and experienced writers all welcome.
Contact Fiona 087 763 4339.

Children & Teen Writing Classes resume September in Sharkey Hill Community Centre, Golf Course Road, Westport (September 19th-December 5th).
Get to work on your stories, poems, plays, songs or scripts with a weekly writing class which is productive, fun and entertaining!

Children’s Group – Saturdays 1pm-2.30pm
Teen Group - Saturdays 2.30-4pm

SPARK Creativity Classes begin early October (dates/times TBC).

Explore your creativity through drama, theatre games, rhythm-making, songwriting, music & art-making. (Taking names for this class now).

Drama Classes resume at Gaelscoil na Cruaiche (end September)
~ Mondays (4th, 5th & 6th class) 2.40pm
~ Tuesdays (1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th class) at 2.40pm.
Creative drama with lots of improv, theatre games, devising short scenes and playlets.

CONTACT: | 087 763 4339

SPARK! August Multi-Arts Summer Camp

Join us August 10-14 in Westport for a week of creative expression! SPARK! Multi-Arts Camps offer a wide range of creative activities including:

  • drama
  • music & rhythm-making (no experience necessary)
  • creative writing & story-making (though not like school!)
  • songwriting
  • art
  • spoken word
  • confidence-building games and more…

As two experienced arts facilitators (writer/drama teacher Fiona Keane & musician Dearbhla Ryan) our goal is to encourage as much creative expression as possible in a dynamic and supportive atmosphere. No activity will be forced on anyone! If you don’t enjoy something, we’ll point you towards something else that you like and get you working at it and having fun in no time…

Find your SPARK! & ignite it!

  • Age 9-13s:  Monday ~ Friday mornings: time TBA
  • Cost: €89 (Concessions available)

Contact Fiona at or 087 763 4339.