Riverdance creator to feature at Wexford’s ‘Write by the sea’ literary festival

The 2023 Kilmore Quay ‘Write By The Sea’ Literary Festival, set to open on Friday, September 22, will end on a music high on Sunday, September 24…

It will end with a live interview with Riverdance creator and Grammy Award-winner Bill Whelan, followed by a live traditional Irish music set from fiddle player Zoe Conway, a renowned performer with Riverdance, and her partner guitarist John McIntyre. 

The event will take place at 6pm at St Peters Church in Kilmore Quay, and tickets for the full day of the festival Sunday, September 24, can be booked now through the website www.writebythesea.ie where the entire weekend programme can be accessed.

That programme also includes Claire Keegan, John Banville, Stephen James Smith, Helen Macdonald and Marina Carr and other top literary figures. Bill Whelan will be interviewed by noted Wexford resident Jackie Hayden, author of the chart-topping My Boy about the late Phil Lynott as well as books about Don Baker, Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan.  

He will quiz the Limerick-born Whelan about his autobiography The Road To Riverdance as it takes the reader from his upbringing in a mainly working-class family through his various musical adventures around Ireland and way beyond.

Apart from creating the international music and dance phenomenon that is Riverdance which has attracted attendances totalling nearly 30 million, Bill has worked as a producer-arranger-musician with some of the top names in the music world, including Kate Bush, Richard Harris, Jimmy Webb, The Dubliners, U2, Danny Doyle, Johnny Logan, Planxty, the late Shay Healy and countless others. So he has lots of revealing stories to tell, so much so that fellow author Liz Nugent picked Whelan’s book as one of her three books of the year in a recent Irish Times survey.

As Hayden points out:

“The Road To Riverdance takes you inside the Irish music industry like no other book I’ve read, as Bill weaves often hilarious anecdotes around the serious milestones of his career. His boundless musical curiosity has seen him cross genre boundaries to work in pop music, Irish trad, rock, folk, country, jazz and classical. And he’s not finished yet!”

Speaking to Wexford Weekly, it is clear that Whelan himself is looking forward to his visit too:

“That Write By The Sea has become such a success in a picturesque village as Kilmore Quay is truly heartening and I was delighted to be invited to be part of this year’s event. That such fine musicians as Zoe Conway and John McIntyre will be playing on the night makes it a double treat for me. I’m also looking forward to talking to Jackie Hayden as our paths crossed numerous times during our careers in the music world,” he said.

Details of the programme and booking facilities are on the Write By The Sea website www.writebythesea.ie

Jason Redmond
Jason Redmond

From Gorey, Jason is the owner of Wexford Weekly. He is also a post-primary English and History teacher.

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