Category Archives: Writing Retreats

Occasional Weekends throughout the year at Old Rectory Retreat

Let us know if you are interested in coming for a weekend (or longer) to get stuck into your writing with a group of like-minded people. You’ll be amazed how much writing gets done. Nurture, encouragement and nourishment come from Fiona & Fin (who lead workshops) & Roisin (who feeds and pampers).

Our dates are flexible, so If you (or a few of you) are interested in coming to plug into a project or kick-start something new, let us know.

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

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! Multi-Arts Summer Camp

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 (Fiona Keane writer/drama teacher & 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 2-4.30pm

Cost: €69.00 (Concessions available.)

Contact Fiona at or 087 763 4339.


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

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