An Unforgettable Weekend in Inchydoney: Dublin Students Embark on the Writer’s Retreat

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Our students on the Dublin – Writer’s Program traveled on the first-ever three-day, two-night Writer’s Retreat to focus exclusively on their writing.

“Our ambition for the Writing Retreat was that it would serve as a period of reflection for the students, facilitating them in focusing on their work, especially the writing of new material,” said Professor Stephen McMahon, who leads the Retreat and is a previous IES Abroad Instructor of the Year Award winner. “Time away from the manifold of distractions in Dublin. Time to read, to think, and to write.”

The excursion builds off of their writing courses, and complements the plays and literary performances attended throughout the semester. Other examples of assignments and course-related excursions throughout the semester include reading and writing flash fiction, short stories, travel pieces, memoir, poems, spending time walking the streets and talking and making photographs, attending Story SLAMS, and visiting galleries and exhibitions.

This semester, the location of the retreat was kept secret from the students until the last possible moment (with the students’ permission, of course). They simply asked to not go camping! After a train and bus ride to the south of Ireland, the students arrived at Inchydoney Island, a coastal destination known for its beaches and surfing.

The retreat activities began with a photography assignment on shadows, and was followed by a writing workshop. Over the next three days, students participated in discussions of works by Irish authors, W.B. Yeats and Dermot Healy. They also produced writings of their own, crafting short stories, poems, and essays while taking in the beauty of the surrounding nature.

At the end of the three days, the students bid farewell to Inchydoney Island. As they made their way back to Dublin, they reflected on their renewing adventure, and prepared for their final weeks in Dublin. Professor McMahon said: “And so, just sixty hours later, we find ourselves retracing our steps in reverse along the Liffey. The tide out, the sun long set. Some of us have collected shells and stones from the beach. Everyone carries seeds of stories, of poems. We gather for a moment, thank each other for such good company, bid our goodnights, and take our separate roads.”

Want to develop your writing skills while abroad? Check out our Dublin – Writer’s Program and all of our intern and study abroad in Ireland programs.

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