Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013, The Year of "The Gathering"

2013 is going to be an amazing time to be in Ireland -- to connect or reconnect with your Irish roots and to take part in "The Gathering." If you don't have roots of your own, it's a great time to create some. (To learn more about the special offerings throughout the country, go to

And while you are in Ireland, why not plan to spend some of that time reconnecting with yourself and your creative side by retreating to Anam Cara on the Beara Peninsula, "the place that God created for himself, and at the last minute gave to us."*

(*a Dublin taxi driver)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

St. Mary's College Students Visit Anam Cara

Rosemary Graham, a writer-in-residence at Anam Cara and a member of the creative writing faculty at Saint Mary's College of California, recently brought 20 students to spend a day at Anam Cara near the end of their intensive, one-month tour of Ireland. She and Fr. McElligott, also a member of St. Mary's faculty and who has conducted these tours for the past nine years, provided an incredible experience for their students as they covered the length and breadth of the country, challenging them to rethink any pre-conceived notions they may have had about Ireland -- its people, its history and politics, its place in history, its literature, its music, its culture.

During their day here, Paddy O'Conor, a Beara poet and retired English teacher and counselor, led a discussion on Beara and Cork poets and the roles that writing and creativity play in Ireland. The group got stuck in immediately to Paddy's poetry writing prompts as they explored their own reactions to what they had seen and heard in the last month, and from the few students that there was time to hear from, they produced some outstanding work.

Representatives of the group have written a daily blog detailing their journey; the following is their entry after their day with Paddy at Anam Cara:

Rosemary organized another Anam Cara connection for the group. In their final night in Dublin, they were joined by Fiona O'Rourke, who was thrilled that the students read her story, "Wrong Whiskey," which won third prize in the 2012 Fish Publishing Short Story competition and was written for the most part at Anam Cara when Fiona and Rosemary were both writers-in-residence.


Happy St. Brigid's Day (1 February) -- the first day of Celtic Spring! As St. Brigid is the patron of poetry, among many other creative activities, today would be a good day to begin to consider taking time to enhance your own creative gifts at Anam Cara. You could either retreat on your own anytime during the year or take part in one of the following workshop retreats now scheduled for 2013. For more information about an individual retreat. go to or to learn more about the group retreats, go to


Plein Air Watercolour Workshop Retreat
Led by: Evelyn Dunply (
One-week residential workshop retreat
Arrival: 25 May 2013
Departure: 1 June 2013
"Plein Air View of Beara" by Evelyn Dunphy


The Legends of the Hag of Beara: A Guide to Our Challenging Times
Led by: JoAnn Hughes (
A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 15 June 2013
Departure: Saturday, 22 June 2013


Lining Our Thoughts: A Poetry Writing Workshop
Led by: Leanne O'Sullivan
A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 20 July 2013
Departure: Saturday, 27 July 2013

Writing with Fire: Creating Works That Rivet Your Readers
Led by David Hazard (
A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 10 August 2013
Departure: Saturday, 17 August 2013

Loosening the Bonds - A Silent, Guided, Elements Retreat
Retreat Leader: Kim Richardson
A Week-long Residential Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 17 August 2013
Departure: Saturday 24 August 2013