All posts by Sixpenny

Writers’ Saturdays in 2013

4 Saturdays: 9.40am~1pm led by Fiona Keane

  1. January 19th
  2. February 16th
  3. March 16th
  4. April 20th

Using crafted prompts and choice materials, writers Fiona Keane and Fin Keegan lead writing workshops and deliver Public Speaking courses, as well as evaluating manuscripts and writing copy.

In workshops, our aim is to stimulate writers in the production of satisfyingly intense and meaningful stories, whether short or long. The environment is supportive and progress-orientated.

At Old Rectory Retreat, the efforts of participants are rewarded by delicious home-cooked food and reviving refreshments from our much-appreciated host, Róisín.

* Weekend & 5-Day courses will be dotted throughout the year, so if you are interested in fun, stimulating activity and meeting interesting people, get in touch for dates & info. All welcome!

NEW ~ Book-Club Weekends at ORR, Westport

NEW ~ Book Club Weekends at Old Rectory Retreat. Meet old friends or make new ones while discovering the beauty of Westport and its environs: read, take walks  (Blue Flag Beaches, Croagh Patrick, Brackloon Woods); cycle the Greenway from Westport to Achill (bike hire available); stroll the bustling town and sample great food, music and atmosphere. We have 2 packages to choose from.

Option 1 ~ Bring Your Book Club for the Weekend
Choose your weekend dates & come along with your own Book Club to Old Rectory Retreat (ORR) in Westport. Fin & Fiona will choose the book (title given to you a month before) and facilitate some of the discussion. For added adventure they will throw in some mini-writing exercises (participation is optional!) All this while enjoying the comfort and conviviality of ORR.

Option 2 ~ Meet New Book-Lovers Weekend
Come on a Friday (having read a book we’ve assigned) and take part in a weekend of reading and workshopping. Meet like-minded book lovers and enjoy lively discussion, laughter, eating, walking, sightseeing and general relaxation at ORR. Fin and Fiona will facilitate some of the discussion and offer a writing workshop entitled “Read like a Writer & Write for Your Reader” (optional).
Contact FIONA to explore options.

Get in touch anytime. We want to hear from you and are always open to suggestions! Call Fiona at +353 87 763 4339 or email anytime.

Autumn 2012 Classes & Writing Retreats

Weekly ~ Sharkey Hill Writing Group  

When: Thursdays 27/9 – 6/12 (10 Weeks)
Time: 7.30-9.30pm.
Where: Sharkey Hill Community Centre, Westport
Cost: €120 (call re: concessions)
ALL WELCOME – Call Fiona 087 763 4339

5-Day Writing Retreats (October, January, March, July)
Monday, October 29 – Friday, November 2, 2012

~ Morning workshops:  crafted exercises, stimulating reading /and or listening & intensive writing in an atmosphere that is convivial and supportive, yet  rigorous and productive;
~ Afternoon writing space available to participants
~ Productive, intense, fun and highly rewarding
~ Roisin’s nourishing soups, stews and salads, as well as homemade bread and cakes spur us on…
~ End of week readings, lively discussion and (optional!) celebration

Occasional  Workshops:

~ Weekends (Friday-Sunday),  Dates TBA
~ 1-Day Writing Workshops, Dates TBA
~ Beginning to Write (4 Saturdays), Dates TBA
~ Memoir, Dates TBA

Get in touch anytime. We want to hear from you and are always open to suggestions! Call Fiona at +353 87 763 4339 or email anytime.


5 Days in Autumn

Save the Date: October 29th to November 2nd!

Our July 6-Day workshop proved so satisfying and fruitful that we decided to schedule something similar for October/November. If you want to join us at the conducive and convivial Old Rectory Retreat from Monday morning (29/10) through Friday evening (2/11) get in touch.

Some responses to our workshops:

“The skills, extensive knowledge and enthusiasm of the facilitators creates a very safe writing space where work gets done.”
- Ruth (Crossmolina)

“Thanks Fiona for leading us so skillfully over the week-end”
-Annie (Belfast)

“An amazing weekend. There was a lovely chemistry and atmosphere there. I expected to feel out of place and overwhelmed…but I felt safe and supported as well as guided.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and it gave me hope that I might actually be able to do this and confidence that if I did someone might actually read it.”
- Mary (Belmullet)

“A very enjoyable and stimulating week!”
- Mary (Westport)

Call Fiona with any questions: 087 763 4339 

6-Day Writing Retreat in Westport, July 1-6

When, What, Where: July 1-6, 2012: SixPens Writing Workshops at Old Rectory Retreat, Knappagh (near Westport), Mayo

Take some time to develop your story in a 6-Day Writing Retreat led by writers Fiona Keane and Fin Keegan of
By way of crafted prompts and choice materials, Fin and Fiona stimulate writers to produce satisfyingly intense and meaningful stories, short (flash fiction) to long (the novel). The environment is supportive and progress-orientated, with your efforts rewarded by home-cooked food and reviving refreshments from our host, Róisín. Whether you are a seasoned scribe or coming to the table for the first time, we look forward to welcoming you and your new work.
  • Sunday 1/7: 5-9pm ~ Meet and Greet / Writing
  • Monday 2/7 – Friday 6/7: 10am-1pm ~ Writing
  • Cost: €250 workshops / + €250 full board (optional)
    Contact: Róísín 087-776-4820
Afternoon slots are reserved for writers to work alone if desired.
Old Rectory Retreat is a creative venue and guesthouse. Róisín’s storied table has hosted some extraordinary characters, both real and imagined. Why not bring yourself and see if you can leave with more?

Summer Workshops (May 26th ~ 1/2 Day Dip 10-2)

Take time out for your writing on May 26th and join us for a half-day Writing Workshop at Old Rectory Retreat. By lunchtime Saturday you will have pages of work you didn’t come in with – not bad for a morning. Add to that a delicious lunch and goodies from Róisín’s convivial kitchen and you can’t go wrong. So do something good for yourself and give us a call (087 763 4339).

Price: €25

Consider coming to our 6-day workshop , July 1-6. Intensive, productive and fun, it will be a fantastic week of writing, reading, listening to stories and lots of laughs.

Price: €250  (+ Full Board = €500)

Spring Weekend Writing Retreat

Join us for our Spring Weekend Writing Retreat at Róisín’s convivial table at Old Rectory Retreat.

We really enjoy these workshops and never know what will be dreamt up! We do know that delicious goodies will come from the kitchen: tea, cake, and homemade lunch.

We start on Saturday at 10:30am and end on Sunday at 2pm. Contact Old Rectory Retreat to book your place.

Deadlines are Useful

Deadlines can be very useful to get you focused on completing your work. If you don’t win, you can always add the text to your inventory and submit elsewhere. Here are a selection of upcoming dates for your calendar:

  • Apr 7: Stratford-on-Avon Fringe Festival Contest: Avon Fringe Festival presents a “Realised Play- Script competition. Entries are invited from anyone of any age with a short play to offer” …MORE
  • Apr 14: Narrative Magazine are one of the best online destinations for new fiction of the highest quality. Their “free reading period” runs for the first two weeks of April …MORE
  • May 21: BBC Writersroom is the clearing-house for new writers looking to attract the BBC’s attention across all television and radio channels. They have three Calls for Scripts each year: the Spring Deadline comes in May …MORE
  • 31st May: Bridport Prize has three categories: poems, short stories, and flash fiction …MORE
  • 29th June: The McLaverty Short Story Award is open to writers born in Ireland …MORE
  • 31st July: The Sean Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition is a prestigious contest with appealing prizes …MORE

Five Day Workshop Starts January 2nd

The New Year is coming: want to make your book-writing dream a reality? Sign up for a Five Mornings Writing Workshop starting on January 2nd. Including delicious lunches at the charming Old Rectory Retreat, cost is €200. Hosts Fiona Keane and Fin Keegan of are experienced at stimulating diverse groups of people both to produce and develop their writing. Non-judgemental approach. Call Fiona at 087 763 4339 or

Upcoming Writing Workshops

Weekly Writer’s Group Meetings = 10 x Thursday Evenings
When: October 6-December 8, 2011 ~ 7.30-9.30pm
Where: Sharkey Hill Community Centre in the Fairways.
Cost: €120 (10 weeks)

Call Fiona 087 763 4339 or email:

In addition, the following workshops will take place this Autumn at Old Rectory Retreat:

  • The Evening Starter: Thursdays 7-10pm (July 28th, Aug 25th, Sept. 29th)
    Cost: €20 per eve (Tea and cake included)
  • The Half-Day Dip: Saturdays 10am-2pm. (Oct. 29th, Nov. 26th)
    Cost €35 (Book 3 weeks in advance – €30) Home cooked Soup/salad included.
  • The Weekend Experience: Fri. 6pm- Sunday 2pm (Aug.12th -14th, Sept.16th-18th, Oct.21st-23rd, Nov.18th-20th) .
    Cost €95 with delicious lunch.
  • Week-Long Writing Retreat: July, 2011, Jan. 2-6, 2012.
    Cost:  €250 with delicious lunches.

Fiona is experienced at stimulating diverse groups of people to put pen to paper in response to well thought-out writing prompts. The aim is to create richly connected characters who may form the genesis of story however short or long (from flash fiction right through to the novel). Your hours will be sweetened by tea and cake (or lunch and dinner for the longer sessions) and good company. Whether you are a seasoned scribe or coming to Róisín’s famously convivial (and productive) table for the first time, we welcome you.

Call Fiona at 087 763 4339 or email