2011 edition of Graig’ Town of Books

‘Current’ could be the ideal word to describe this weekend’s Graignamanagh Town of Books Festival, which celebrates both the thousands of books that will be on offer and the river that’s at the heart of the town.

‘Current’ could be the ideal word to describe this weekend’s Graignamanagh Town of Books Festival, which celebrates both the thousands of books that will be on offer and the river that’s at the heart of the town.

“One of the things with Graignamanagh that I always say is that the River Barrow is the jewel in the crown of Graignamanagh no matter what you are doing,” said Brian Roberts of Graignamanagh in advance of the festival that takes place from this Friday to Sunday. “Even with a book festival we are having events linked to the river.”

And so ‘The Sea Road’ will be “coming inland to Graignamanagh” on Sunday as Irish Times journalist Gary Quinn tells of his experiences kayaking the 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.”

The weekend will also feature river crafts for children with Funky Craft on Saturday and rowing races on Sunday.

Also this year, for the first time, the festival will welcome the Irish Record Fair, with vinyl, tapes, CDs and even record players. It seemed a natural pairing with the Town of Books, Mr Roberts said, because the annual Graignamanagh event is really “a collectors fair more than a high-brow literary fair”.

Presidential candidate Michael D. Higgins is among the literary visitors over the weekend, and on Saturday he will officially open a new boardwalk along the River Barrow at Silaire Wood.

And, of course, there will be books galore!

Friday

• Booksellers and book treasure trail, 2-6pm, free

• Schoolchildren’s event: ‘Something Fishy’ at the Graignamanagh Library, free

• Secondary schools debate: ‘The Paper Book Is Dead, Kindle is King’, The Scout Hall, free

• Exhibitions in Graignamanagh Library, 1-5pm, free. These include ‘Lifelines’, famous people on their favourite poems (on loan from The National Library); ‘Scriobh Leabhar’, local children’s writings; and ‘Mapping Urban Ireland’, with historic maps of towns and cities.

• Book club in the library, 7pm: come join the Graignamanagh book club for a bookish chat! Free

• ‘One For The Road’, original play by Graignamanagh writer Adrian Kavanagh on “What college life is really like!” Good laughs plus food for thought, but there is a parental warning of some adult language and themes. 8pm, Duiske Inn, e10

• Traditional music concert: ‘Full Set’ at medieval Duiske Abbey, 8.30pm, e15/e10 student, OAP, unwaged – this event is in association with www.FeileFreaney.net traditional music festival, which is also taking place in the town this weekend, so there’ll be trad music events on throughout

Saturday

• Booksellers and book treasure trail, 10am to 6pm, free

• Art at the Abbey: local artists and their works along Duiske Abbey, 10am to 6pm, free

• Exhibitions in Graignamanagh Library: (see Friday) ‘Lifelines’, ‘Scriobh Leabhar’ and ‘Mapping Urban Ireland’, 10am to 1.30pm, free

• Funky Kids river crafts workshop at 11am, followed by kiddie disco from 11am to 1pm, Scout Hall, e3

• Shirley Lanigan, author of ‘100 Best Gardens in Ireland,’ and Kilkenny Mayor David Fitzgerald, Tidy Towns expert: If you’re a garden lover or just love to see the beauty in our towns, come along and hear from the experts. The Abbey Centre, 1pm; finish by walking through town and visiting one of Graig’s best gardens e5

• Michael D. Higgins, presidential candidate and author of ‘New and Selected Poems’: reading, talk and book signing, 3pm, The Library, e5

• Tweet-up! Twitter and non-Twitter folks: meet up, hear a tale of the local area, chat and enjoy a traditional pub. Free, 4.30pm, Murray’s pub

• Cookery demonstration by local TV3 chef and author Edward Hayden, 8.30pm in the Abbey Centre, free. There will also be a raffle at this event.

Sunday

• Booksellers and book treasure trail, 10am to 6pm, free

• Rowing races on the river Barrow, 10am to noon, free

• Local food and craft fair: featuring the best of artisan items from Carlow and Kilkenny, including Helen Finnegan’s award-winning Knockadrinna Cheese, local GIYer’s fresh produce, Edward Hayden’s products and more, 11am to 5pm, off Main Street, e2

• Graignamanagh Brass Band: Ireland’s longest-running brass band marching from Duiske Abbey at noon, to the craft and food market, free

• Gary Quinn, Irish Times journalist and author of ‘The Sea Road’ kayaking series: talk on his adventures, with video clips, 2pm, The Scout Hall, e2

• Jazz by the Boathouse with Four Square Jazz, 3pm, free

• Circus street performance, The Square, 3pm. Treasure trail prizes draw after. Free

• Children’s circus skills workshop, ages 8-12 years, 4pm, The Scout Hall, e5