The idea of an Intergenerational Creative Writing Project came to me as I was walking in the woods, at the foot of Annagh Hill.
I had worked with children many times in Coolfancy and Tinahely, as well as when I was researching my plays The Thaw and Hunting the Strawberry Tree. Over the years, I had worked with groups of adults umpteen times: Traveller groups in Wicklow and Wexford, older people at Carnew Community Care, residents of Wexford Women’s Refuge and Shelton Abbey Open Prison. But I had never yet had the opportunity to mingle both age groups together and see what happened!
These workshops were a quiet pleasure: silence descended over Ballythomas School with only the thud of tennis balls to disturb this group of serious writers. It was the same over the road at Hollyfort Schoolhouse, with the sound of the fire crackling away in the background, while pen was put to paper in this wonderfully atmospheric building. All of the writers gave their best attention to the work and to one another. Jaws dropped as the technique of skinning a rabbit was described, or the ghostly apparition in a dark kitchen was relived…
Children surprised one another with their capacity to dig deeper, reaching for new words and lost memories. For all these reasons, this has been one of the most delightful workshop series that I have ever had the privilege to facilitate.
Sincere thanks to Garrett Keogh who took on the challenge
of trying out something new, under the umbrella of the Gap
Arts Festival. And to Mary Fleming, who gave so much time
and energy to the planning stages of this project, as well as
the booklet you now hold in your hands.
I will finish by remembering the words of Albert Camus, reminding us why words matter so much:
‘Were it not for the storyteller, civilisation would destroy itself.’
Enjoy these precious tales by young and old!