All posts by Sixpenny

June 2015 Retreat

It’s not too late to join us at this weekend’s (June 19-21) series of writing workshops at the beautifully conducive Old Rectory Retreat, Knappagh, Westport.

Besides writing, we will read a classic story as well as some of our newly produced work (hot off the presses), share tips and tools, meet nice people and eat delicious food together.

Don’t put it off, get in touch. Quoting the code 6P0615 gets you a steal/deal! (P.S. accommodation is optional, not required.)

Call Fiona 087 763 4339 or email

SPARK! Multi-Arts Summer Camps

Join us June 29-July 3 at Gaelscoil na Cruaiche 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!)
  • creating images
  • spoken word
  • confidence-building games and more…

As 2 experienced arts facilitators (writer/drama teacher & musician) 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! 2 camps as follows:

  1. Age 7-9s:  Monday ~ Friday 10.30-1pm
  2. Age 10-13s: Monday ~ Friday 2-4.30pm

Cost: €79.00, (but with discount code 6P0615 get €10.00 off = €69.00)

Contact Fiona at or 087 763 4339.


SixPens Writing Group ~ January 2015

Join us every Friday from 6/2/15 for productive fun: writing prompts, stories, lively discussion. We will look at:

  • Beginnings
  • Tapping into your own life (optional)
  • Shaping Stories
  • Making Characters Live
  • Point of View
  • Dialogue and Rewriting.

Just bring pen & paper (or laptop) and be willing to write. New writers (with or without experience) are all welcome!

When: Fridays 1-2.30pm (time subject to change, so get in touch)

Where: Sharkey Hill Community Centre in the Fairways (off Golf Course Rd.) 

8 weeks from Februray 6th, 2015. 

Questions? Call Fiona 087 763 4339


Public Speaking Courses

Peter Brennan SPK Picture 7

Public Speaking Courses

for Schools & Adult Education


School Courses

earz-plz! (Lend Me Your Ears) is a series of courses for students from 5th class to 5th year designed to improve young people’s ability to speak confidently and listen effectively in formal situations and before groups. The course uses engaging and productive exercises and games with maximum fun.

Pilot schemes are being run in Westport (Rice College/Sacred Heart Schools) and Clifden (Clifden Community School). Our goal is to get into schools in every county–and then into every school–as a new and necessary tool for our emerging generation.

Adult Courses

“Speak Up, Speak Out!” is an 8-week public speaking course for adults. The emphasis is on confidence-building and fun while developing and improving communication and presentation skills.

Why? Increasingly, the world expects young people to be able to speak up and speak out. However, many teenagers spend much of their free time on social networks or playing computer games. Whether you plan to be a farmer or a coder, a filmmaker or an architect, you won’t get far without being able to state clearly and persuasively what your goals are.

Both earz-plz! and “Speak Up, Speak Out!” give people the foundation for successful communication.


Students will learn to…

  • deliver prepared speeches
  • adjust to speaking without preparation
  • structure their ideas coherently
  • find the point in what people are saying
  • critique usefully and constructively
  • learn to allocate roles and organise proceedings

The courses are directed by Joe Ring (former President, Westport Toastmasters Club) 086 603 7744 & Fiona Keane MFA PGDE ( workshops) 087 763 4339 or

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)