Some of the world’s literary giants will be among the thousands who will descend on Kells this weekend for the Hay Festival, which is expected to generate up to a million euros worth of business for the town.
More than 7,000 visitors are expected to attend the festival which has been described by former US president, Bill Clinton as a “Woodstock for the Mind”
The festival will bring together the best of Irish, English-speaking and international authors and thinkers to celebrate the sharing of stories and ideas.
The festival will open this evening with a civic reception in the Town Hall.
All hotel and B&B accommodation in the area is booked up, according to Jess Olohan of the festival committee who explained that other private homes were also providing accommodation to visitors.
Some of the top names in the world of literature, the arts and acting with descend on the town for the four day event, which is a satellite festival for the Hay On Wye Festival which attracts 220,000 visitors to the Wales every year.
The full programme was launched at the Long Room at Trinity College Dublin last week, where the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said the coming of one of the world’s great literary festivals to Kells was a wonderful event, and came about as a result of the commitment and enterprise of both the town of Kells and the Hay festival.
“This is not a one-off; it is to be an annual event, and Trinity’s association is likewise to be a long and sustaining one. Trinity is indelibly and forever associated with Kells through the greatest treasure in this library of treasures, the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is one of world’s great masterpieces and, like the Mona Lisa or the Acropolis, it every day receives queues and queues of visitors,” he said.
Dr Prendergast said the Hay festival is always a varied and unusual one.
“It is never just about readings. It looks at all kinds of different ways people can experience books. This philosophy has come to Kells – so we can expect ECO walks, creative writing workshops, a rare and antiquarian book auction, and a type trail, looking at typography as an art form,” he said.