Monday, September 5, 2011

Adventurers and Adventurous Readers Meet at the Town of Books Festival!

Adventurers and Adventurous Readers Meet at the Town of Books Festival!
Gary Quinn & faithful companion
‘’The Sea Road’’ will be coming inland to Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny on Sunday, 18 September!  As one of the events of the Town of Books festival, Irish Times journalist Gary Quinn will be telling travel adventure enthusiasts and armchair travellers alike about his experiences kayaking the multi-faceted Irish ‘Sea Road.’  From the Copper Coast to Slieve Leauge, Gary encountered, and wrote about, everything from beautiful sea caves to challenging wave patterns, Irish speaking seals, fascinating people, and very tasty lobster. Graiguenamanagh’s brand new Scout Hall will host this talk with video clips from his excursions this summer. The talk will start at 2pm and is only €2- a bargain travel adventure!
Here's what he wrote about starting to kayak:

FOUR YEARS AGO I stood on the south strand in Skerries in north Co Dublin. I had undergone surgery for a serious back injury and three months of post-operative rest had left me overweight and lacking motivation. I felt old and weak.
In front of me were the inner islands at Skerries and beyond them stood Rockabill, the lighthouse that stands so intriguingly distant on the horizon.
As I watched, a lone kayaker weaved around and between the inner islands, catching swell and returning back on his route over and over. I was transfixed. His freedom, dexterity and athleticism were so alien to how I felt, rooted to the sand, that it was like being taunted. I realised then that I had to either follow this stranger to the sea or grow old and fat in an armchair.
At first I tried to get out alone. I bought a river kayak and launched from the north strand. I got wet and feared venturing too far from the shore.
Then I got some proper training and the sea simply opened up. And what a sea. The Atlantic is wild but the Irish sea, with its roughly carved coastline, rugged islands and wildlife, can be incredible.
I don't know about you, but can relate to that! I'm coming out of (I hope!) an injury & still am an armchair adventurer, but hearing of his paddles gives me great enjoyment-they will you, too! 

Graiguenamanagh- photographer unknown..
Our wonderful town of Graiguenamanagh is located on the river Barrow, and has a rich tradition of boating, rowing, paddling and fishing. Also on Sunday the Graiguenamanagh Rowing club will be hosting rowing races from 10am to 12pm, and there will be boats of many different types moored along the quays the whole weekend. (& a river-themed craft workshop on Saturday for kids- see the full programme for more!) The book festival is of course as full of books as it is boats, and features over 20 different book sellers; several of them offering titles in outdoor activities, sports, boating, and all types of travel- adventurous or armchair! The book trail will wind through the medieval village from 2pm to 6pm on Friday 16 September, and 10am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday the 17th and 18th of September.  This year the trail also incorporates a family- friendly treasure hunt, with prize winners drawn on Sunday at 4pm, after an exciting circus street performance in the town square.
Brian Roberts can't get enough of reading or the river! Photo by
Brian Roberts, who started the festival in 2003 and is also the head of the Rowing Club, is delighted with the way many of this year’s events highlight the Barrow River and outdoor enjoyment.  He said ‘’The river Barrow is the jewel in Graiguenamanagh’s crown, and no event- even a book festival- can take place without events linked to the river. It is the heart of our community.’’
Come see, do, hear, eat,  browse, & have fun, all beside the gorgeous river Barrow, at this year's Town of Books Festival! 
Follow us on Facebook at Ireland’s Town of Books Festival, and Twitter @TownOfBooksFest.
   The festival is kindly supported by the Kilkenny Leader Partnership, and is part of the Kilkenny Community Festival Network.