Hinterland returns ... and it’s all bells and whistles!


Although the Hinterland Festival of Literature and the Arts 2022 was only launched last week, some events are already sold out, such is the enthusiasm for this unmissable weekend, running this year from 23rd to 26th June.

With names like Marty Morrissey, Michael Harding, Declan O’Rourke, Fintan O’Toole, Eileen Dunne. Diarmaid Ferriter, Liz Nugent and Val McDermid on the programme, it’s easy to see why there’s already such a run on tickets. Last year’s festival was somewhat pared down thanks to Covid, but this year it’s officially all bells and whistles.

As usual, history plays play a big part in the festival and Myles Dungan will be talking about his own family’s bloodstained involvement in the Irish Civil War on Thursday afternoon, while Marty Morrissey takes us down a hopefully bloodless memory lane, in recounting his many years of sports broadcasting on Thursday evening.

On Friday, Ultan Courtney will be revisiting the mystery of who killed Navan postmaster Thomas Hodgett during the War of Independence. Andrew Sneddon will be all about witches and witch hunting here and abroad, while Diarmaid Ferriter looks back at criminal hunting in the first centenary of the Gardaí.

Fintan O’Toole, who won Book of the Year in the Irish Book Awards last year, will be discussing his huge tome 'We Don’t Know Ourselves', on Saturday. Saturday will also see visits from Michael Harding, Tom Dunne and international queen of crime, Val McDermid, who’ll be talking to our own crime queen, Liz Nugent. Neil Belton, head bottle-washer in the publishing giant Head of Zeus will be talking all things books on Sunday, and also on Sunday newscaster Eileen Dunne will be discussing her book 'All-Star Gazing: 50 Years of the GAA Allstars'.

Later Declan O’Rourke, much loved singer and composer of the sublime Galileo will be discussing his own book, 'The Pawnbroker’s Reward', a novel set in the Famine. Belfast author and winner of multiple awards, Jan Carson will be discussing her latest book 'The Raptures', while sportsman-turned-therapist Richie Sadlier talks about the difficulties for adolescents in our digital age.

But enough about the obvious crowd-pullers, there’s much more to see and experience. Music lovers will be thrilled with renowned film score composer and songwriter Michael Brunnock returning to Kells for an intimate gig, and one of the most successful bands around, Kila, will be treating us to their own particular blend of music, while Percy French lovers can’t miss 'A Morning with Percy French' with baritone Owen Gilhooly-Miles.

There are other gigs aplenty every evening. The ‘Fringe Festival’ of Hinterland, known as the Lit Crawl, has a full programme with all events free of charge, including the telling of some ghoulish stories of violent deaths in the cosy surroundings of a funeral parlour!

The now-famous Kells Typetrail will be, like God, everywhere. And besides, there are numerous walking tours, art exhibitions, a rather posh auction of rare books, a Midsummer Long Table Feast and an entire weekend of special children’s events for the smallies. Be there or be…sure you know yourself.

- Read Anne Cunningham's brilliant First Chapter Books Column in the Meath Chronicle every Tuesday