Programme & Tickets

We're pleased to announce our programme. Buy tickets here, or from the The Book MARKet Café in Kells (tel 085 889 6352) or Antonia's Bookstore in Trim (tel 046 943 7532). You can view a copy of the printed programme here.

Speaking Ill of the Dead – Morning Ticket

A day of events featuring notorious figures from history

Event  1 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
Where history meets the ‘phillipic’ and historians get a chance to visit reasoned and merited opprobrium on influential historical figures who, they believe, had far too much influence on history. Yes, it amounts to dancing on someone’s grave, but they have it coming!

Entry to the following events:

11am – Eamon Darcy

Tackling James Fitzthomas Butler, the 1st Duke of Ormonde, was something that proved beyond seventeenth century Irish rebels. Even Oliver Cromwell himself only managed to remove Butler temporarily from Ireland. But Maynooth University Scholar Eamon Darcy does not fear to tread upon the Duke’s reputation. He may well be able to account for the rogue ‘e’ that found its way into the family title between the time Butler passed as 12th Earl of Ormond and 1st Duke of Ormonde.

11.35am – Glen Gendzel

Making a welcome return to Kells, Glen Gendzel is an historian based at San Jose State University who specialises in American history and the history of the State of California. From both perspectives he is, therefore, ideally placed to cast a cold eye on the political career of Ronald Reagan, former Governor of California, and fortieth President of the United States of America. Reagan’s unrivalled communication skills and amiable demeanour cannot mask his contribution to the current malaise in American political life.

12.10pm – Jennifer Wellington

UCD-based historian Jennifer Wellington, a native of Australia, lectures in modern global history, with a particular emphasis on the cultural history of warfare in the first half of the twentieth century. Her book Exhibiting War: The Great War, museums and memory in Britain, Canada and Australia is due for publication this year. Her target in Speaking Ill of the Dead is the late French President, General Charles de Gaulle. Soldier and statesman, leader of the French resistance movement in WW2, first President of the Fifth Republic, and arch conservative progenitor of the student/ worker Paris riots of 1968 – but was he right to say ‘Non’ to the UK entering the EEC?

12.45pm – Myles Dungan

Myles Dungan examines the legacy of Richard Pigott – the journalist, pornographer and conman who sold his newspapers to the Land League in 1881 and became the most notorious forger of the nineteenth century when he implicated Parnell in the Phoenix Park murders.

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Speaking Ill of the Dead – Morning Ticket

Speaking Ill of the Dead – Afternoon Ticket

A day of events featuring notorious figures from history

Event  2 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
Where history meets the ‘phillipic’ and historians get a chance to visit reasoned and merited opprobrium on influential historical figures who, they believe, had far too much influence on history. Yes, it amounts to dancing on someone’s grave, but they have it coming!

Entry to the following events:

2.30pm – Paul Rouse

UCD historian Paul Rouse has made a particular study of the political and social impact of sport on Irish history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is also a director of the Century Ireland project and editor of www.historyhub. ie. Before he became an academic historian, Paul worked as a researcher on the RTÉ Prime Time Investigates series. He is co-author with Mike Cronin and Mark Duncan of The GAA: A People’s History. As his contribution to Speaking Ill of the Dead Paul will be examining the life of one of the Gaelic Athletic Association’s Founding Fathers, Michael Cusack, who was himself an excellent athlete, but perhaps not such a good role model…

3.05pm – Catriona Crowe

Catriona bade farewell to the National Archives of Ireland after an illustrious career there that included the realisation of a dream, the digitising of the 1901 and 1911 census, which allowed anyone with a computer and an internet connection to become an amateur genealogist. Although best known as manager of the Irish Census Online project Catriona is also a member of the editorial team of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, a member of the Royal Irish Academy and editor of Dublin 1911 and was recently the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Limerick. She takes on Edward Carson – barrister, cabinet minister, unionist leader who began his public life as prosecutorial tormenter of Parnellites in the 1880s and became Oscar Wilde’s nemesis before leading the unionist opposition to Home Rule from 1912.

3.40pm – Diarmaid Ferriter

Occupant of the prestigious post of Professor of Modern Irish History at University College, Dublin, Diarmaid Ferriter is also a prolific author and ‘go-to’ historian for many radio and TV programmes. His first significant success was The Transformation of Ireland 1900–2000 and his biographical study of Eamon de Valera, Judging Dev quickly followed. His most recent work, which deals with the revolutionary generation, is A Nation and not a Rabble: The Irish Revolution 1913–1923. Such is his energy and productivity that a history blogger located not a million miles from Hinterland suggested recently that there were, in fact, two Diarmaid Ferriters. In Speaking Ill of the Dead Diarmaid will be damning Archbishop John Charles McQuaid with very faint praise indeed. Whether as President of Blackrock College or Archbishop of Dublin, McQuaid wielded pen and crozier in the service of the Roman Catholic Church and 19th century values…

4.15pm – Peter Frankopan

Peter Frankopan, author of best-seller The Silk Roads, is Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford University and Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. He speaks ill of Bohemond I of Antioch – leader of the First Crusade, who was, literally, a bastard. His involvement in the First Crusade probably had less to do with regaining the Holy Land for Christianity than with gaining some less holy land for Bohemond.

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Speaking Ill of the Dead – Afternoon Ticket

Tony Bucher

Event  3 
Venue: Presbyterian Church
Powerful and largely unflattering images of a reactionary Irish American community were fixed in the news and popular culture during the turbulent passage from the late 1960s through to the late 1970s. Those images of right-wing pundits and reactionary mayors carry through to the present day. In fact, Irish Americans were very well represented on both liberal and reactionary sides of politics and culture. Berkeley-based historian Tony Bucher will try to make sense of both sides of the political and cultural drama of this age and the unique role of Irish Americans of both reactionary and progressive bent in an era of profound change.

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE
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Tony Bucher

Peter Frankopan on The Silk Roads

Event  4 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
Author of one of the best-selling historical works of recent years, The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, and described by the New Statesman as ‘the history rock star du jour’, Peter Frankopan is an historian at Oxford University where he holds the position of Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, and is Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. The Silk Roads topped the Sunday Times non-fiction best-seller list in 2015 and spent nine months in the Top 10, as well as being the Daily Telegraph History Book of the year in 2015. Peter will be talking about the region he calls ‘the world’s central nervous system’, that part of the world ‘where civilisation itself began, where the world’s great religions were born and took root.’
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Peter Frankopan on The Silk Roads

Matthew Spangler

Event  5 
Venue: Presbyterian Church – Bord Na Móna Stage
Matt returns to Kells in the wake of a successful London West End run for his adaptation of best-selling novel The Kite Runner. The play is due to continue with a summer season at the Playhouse Theatre from June to August. Matt, who teaches drama at San Jose State University in California, also had New York and Arizona openings for his adaptation of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
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Matthew Spangler

Myles Dungan and Nerys Williams

Event  6 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
Kells-based historian and broadcaster Myles Dungan (Irish Voices from the Great War), presenter of the RTÉ radio History Show, and poet and academic Nerys Williams (Sound Archive) will discuss the connections between Francis Ledwidge and the Welsh lyric poet Ellis Humphrey Evans (Hedd Wyn), who were both killed on the same day (31 July 1917 – the first day of Third Ypres) and are both buried, a few yards apart, in Artillery Wood Cemetery in Belgium.
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Myles Dungan and Nerys Williams

Ally Bunbury

Event  7 
Venue: Presbyterian Church – Bord Na Móna Stage
The Inheritance is Ally Bunbury’s debut novel. Set in ‘a world of opulence and privilege, where sex and money go to battle with tradition and romance’ The Inheritance tells the story of Anna Rose, who arrives in London to start a career in PR and falls in love with George Wyndham, one of the city’s most eligible bachelors, an art dealer and heir to a fortune (the inheritance of the title). The inevitable Cruella de Ville of the tale comes in the form of Sofia Tamper, a Hollywood actress, with a heart – if any – of pure ice.
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Ally Bunbury

National Print Museum Workshops

Event  8 
Venue: Kells Town Hall
An afternoon of letterpress printing with the National Print Museum to celebrate the Kells Type Trail and Hinterland Festival. A compositor and printer from the National Print Museum will travel to Kells for an afternoon of printing, bringing with them a case of type, a composing stick and a small table-top printing press. An ambassador from the National Print Museum will share the museum’s story, and visitors will be able to print their own quote from a Ledwidge poem.
Free but ticketed
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National Print Museum Workshops

National Print Museum Workshops

Event  9 
Venue: Kells Town Hall
An afternoon of letterpress printing with the National Print Museum to celebrate the Kells Type Trail and Hinterland Festival. A compositor and printer from the National Print Museum will travel to Kells for an afternoon of printing, bringing with them a case of type, a composing stick and a small table-top printing press. An ambassador from the National Print Museum will share the museum’s story, and visitors will be able to print their own quote from a Ledwidge poem.
Free but ticketed
This event has taken place
National Print Museum Workshops

National Print Museum Workshops

Event  10 
Venue: Kells Town Hall
An afternoon of letterpress printing with the National Print Museum to celebrate the Kells Type Trail and Hinterland Festival. A compositor and printer from the National Print Museum will travel to Kells for an afternoon of printing, bringing with them a case of type, a composing stick and a small table-top printing press. An ambassador from the National Print Museum will share the museum’s story, and visitors will be able to print their own quote from a Ledwidge poem.
Free but ticketed
This event has taken place
National Print Museum Workshops

Turtle Bunbury

Event  12 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
The author of The Glorious Madness: Tales of the Irish and the Great War and Easter Dawn: The 1916 Rising has scored again with his latest book 1847: A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity and Savagery in which he focuses on the historical events of a single year, 1847 – a revolutionary year that, in Turtle’s own words, ‘turned the world upside down’. In this globetrotting history he addresses everything from the trauma and horror of the Great Famine, to the showmanship of Lola Montez and Tom Thumb.
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Turtle Bunbury

Arja Kajermo

Event  13 
Venue: Presbyterian Church – Bord Na Móna Stage
Best known as a cartoonist whose quirky work has graced publications like In Dublin, the Irish Times and Magill, Finnish-born Arja Kajermo, who settled in Ireland in the 1970s, has now written her first novel. Arja’s debut, The Iron Age, began life as a short story which was shortlisted for the 2014 Davy Byrne’s Award. Out of that, after much encouragement from her publishers at Tramp Press (publishers of Sara Baume and Mike McCormack), has emerged a critically lauded short novel.

Photo: Stefan Evans
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Arja Kajermo

Kate Flood

Taming the Wilderness - A History of Girley Bog, 1606–2016

Event  14 
Venue: Heritage Centre – Meath County Council Stage
Like many Irish bogs, the history of Girley Bog is intimately linked with human history and its fortunes were influenced by wider political, social, and economic concerns. Using maps, oral history, and archival records, Kate Flood shows the impact of historical events on the transformation of this landscape and demonstrates the importance of Ireland’s peatlands, not just for wildlife and recreation, but also for the communities who used their resources out of economic necessity in times past. Kate is a regular leader of walks and workshops at Girley Bog and is a member of the Girley Bog Meitheal, a community based group involved with the bog’s conservation and management.
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National Print Museum Workshops

Event  11 
Venue: Kells Town Hall
An afternoon of letterpress printing with the National Print Museum to celebrate the Kells Type Trail and Hinterland Festival. A compositor and printer from the National Print Museum will travel to Kells for an afternoon of printing, bringing with them a case of type, a composing stick and a small table-top printing press. An ambassador from the National Print Museum will share the museum’s story, and visitors will be able to print their own quote from a Ledwidge poem.
Free but ticketed
This event has taken place
National Print Museum Workshops

John Bowman

Event  15 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
He has been the voice and face of Irish political journalism on RTÉ for four decades, but John Bowman is also one of the country’s most accomplished historians. His first publication Eamon de Valera and the Ulster Question (1983), derived from his PhD research, has not been surpassed in terms of academic scholarship, while his Window and Mirror: RTÉ Television 1961–2011 was described by Professor Diarmaid Ferriter in the Irish Times as ‘a wonderful monument to public service broadcasters’. In his latest work Ireland: The Autobiography he has gathered together a collection of compelling, often amusing, and telling eyewitness accounts of Irish life since 1916. Critically acclaimed and short-listed in the Irish Book Awards in the ‘Non-Fiction Book of the Year’ category, the book includes 170 documents that capture the Ireland of 1916–2016.
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John Bowman

Sinead Crowley

Event  16 
Venue: Presbyterian Church – Bord Na Móna Stage
As well as being RTÉ Arts and Media Correspondent since 2006, Sinead Crowley is an accomplished crime novelist. Her first DS Claire Boyle novel, Can Anybody Help Me?, was published in 2014. Described as ‘family noir’ it was four years in the writing. Her latest book One Bad Turn will be out in time for Hinterland. Sinead will read from both books.
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Sinead Crowley

Irish Writers Centre event

Event  17 
Venue: Heritage Centre – Meath County Council Stage
Join us for an information session on the services and resources that the Irish Writers Centre can offer emerging and professional writers in Ireland. Kate Cunningham of the Irish Writers Centre will explain the courses, workshops, residencies and bursaries offered to emerging and established writers, including the benefits of becoming a professional member.
Free but ticketed
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Irish Writers Centre event

Ian Cobain

Event  18 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
The senior Guardian investigative journalist (winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize and the Paul Foot Award for investigative journalism) has reported on six wars, from the 1991 Gulf War to Iraq and Afghanistan, but has also devoted much of his career to examining the relationship between the British government and torture. The results of this work were collated in his 2012 book Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture. His most recent book, which he will discuss at Hinterland, is The History Thieves, an examination of the culture of secrecy and the destruction of official documents during the British colonial era. He talks to Myles Dungan.
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Ian Cobain

Sinead Crowley and Matthew Spangler

Event  19 
Venue: Presbyterian Church – Bord Na Móna Stage
Sinead Crowley is familiar to most as RTÉ Arts Correspondent, but is also a successful crime novelist. Sinead teams up here with dramatist Matthew Spangler in an event pioneered at last year’s festival, in which Matt stages a masterclass in adaptation, with the writer of the work looking on! Sinead will keep a watching brief as playwright Matthew Spangler attempts to suggest how her latest novel One Bad Turn might be adapted for stage.
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Slow Food Ireland Debate

Event  20 
Venue: Heritage Centre – Meath County Council Stage
Don’t Treat Soil Like Dirt! A simple statement, but a very important one and the message behind the People4Soil campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the dangers posed to Irish soils through pesticide uses, afforestation, erosion, urbanisation and overgrazing. It is also the central focus of this panel discussion, hosted by Slow Food Dublin and led by Anthony O’Toole, committee member and Fáilte Ireland Food Champion. He will be joined by experts Fiona Brennan, soil microbiologist from An Teagasc, Aaron Jewell from People4Soil Campaign and Rod Calder-Pott from Highbank Organic Farm to discuss the health of Ireland’s soil, how it affects our food and environment and if action isn’t taken the detrimental effects it will have in the future.
Free but ticketed
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Chris Mullin

Event  21 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
All serious politicians should possess a hinterland, but not all do. Chris Mullin was one who did. By the time he entered parliament he had reported from the wars in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. He was the author of three novels (including A Very British Coup, the TV version of which starred Ray McAnally as a left-wing Labour PM deposed by the Tory establishment) and had led the successful campaign to free the innocent people convicted of the Birmingham and Guildford bombings. In parliament he quickly established himself as fearless inquisitor, going on to become a minister in three departments. He is the author of three widely acclaimed volumes of diaries. Hinterland is his autobiography.
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Chris Mullin

Saramai in concert

Event  22 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
Performing under the name ‘Saramai’ are Kells-based husband and wife duo, Saramai Leech and Cormac O’Keeffe. Having both been in other bands, including each other’s bands, and doing solo work till now, they are excited about their new material as a duo. ‘We had to learn how to write together. It sounds strange but helping someone write a song or giving your opinion is not really the same as actually writing together.’ Heralded by Nialler9, The Irish Times and Hotpress, they have extensive performance experience across Ireland and more recently in the UK. Live TV and radio performances include Other Voices RTE, Arena Arts, Today FM and more. They have released two EPs (Saramai) and an album of original work (Red Queen Contest) and are currently working on a full length album which will be their first full collaboration. Joining them on the night is Kells-based multi-instrumentalist Alan Carmody.
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Saramai in concert

The Brexit Debate

Event  23 
Venue: Church of Ireland - Merriebelle Farm Stage
The stunning British EU referendum vote came right in the middle of last year’s festival. A year on, with Article 50 having been triggered, we will be assessing the possible future for this country, Britain and the European Union, with former Labour MP and government minister Chris Mullin, RTÉ Business Editor David Murphy and First Vice-President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness. Chaired by Myles Dungan.
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The Brexit Debate

Matt Dickinson

Event  24 
Venue: Presbyterian Church – Bord Na Móna Stage
Matt Dickinson, who has successfully climbed Mount Everest, filming as he went, and lived to tell the tale of the catastrophic climbing season of 1996, is author of the teenage/young adult series The Everest Files, a thrilling journey to the dark side of Everest. He is also author of the Mortal Chaos series and his latest book, teen thriller Lie Kill Walk Away. Matt will read from his books and if we’re lucky tell us about his real life adventures. Perfect for young adult fans of adventure/thriller books and aspiring writers and adventurers.

Young Adult event

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Matt Dickinson

Meet Fairy Lauren: The Irish Fairy Door

Event  25 
Venue: Kells Theatre - Eirgrid Stage
Go on an imaginative and fun adventure with Fairy Lauren. Travel to Fairy Valley in a magical fairy parachute, do a fairy dance to meet our friend Fauna the Unicorn, pop bubbles that lazy fairies travel in and make fairy wishes!
4+ years
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For full information on Lit Crawl events (Sunday 25 June 4.00-8.30) go to the Lit Crawl Kells page on the Litquake (San Francisco) website and view Sched