Dalkey Book Festival, described by Salman Rushdie as “the best little festival in the world”, takes place every year in June. It was set up by Sian Smyth and David McWilliams in 2010. Since then the festival has hosted internationally renowned writers, including Booker Prize winners, a Nobel Laureate, Impac winners, Oscar winners and Costa winners.. Dalkey, “the most beautiful little seaside town on earth”, has a rich literary heritage. The birthplace of George Bernard Shaw, schoolhouse of James Joyce and playground to Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien, Dalkey is also home to the likes of Joseph O’Connor, Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan. It’s the perfect spot for a literary festival of books and ideas. The charm of this festival is undoubtedly the intimate nature of the numerous events, which take place in pubs, cafes, shops, schools and the local town hall as well as the medieval graveyard , the secret garden marquee and the Masonic Lodge. Dalkey is the kind of place where you will casually bump into some of the world’s greatest writers, in the parks, pubs and cafes of this compact town.
To get a feel for the festival’s vibe, click here for a collection of Festival videos or look through the playlist below.
Dalkey Book Festival was set up to celebrate and hopefully foster the wealth of literary talent in and around the town. Since then the festival has hosted internationally renowned writers, including Booker Prize winners, a Nobel Laureate, Impac winners, Oscar winners and Tony award nominees. Festival directors, David McWilliams and Sian Smyth, work with the support of a small staff team and a superb group of volunteers to ensure the festival’s success. We rely on the goodwill of many in the Dalkey community and the local businesses who have offered support and provided venues for the festival events.
The idea for the festival arose when David McWilliams attended a meeting of The Dalkey Business Group in late April 2010. The community wanted to do something for itself to tackle the problems of dwindling trade in the recession. There was a desire to cooperate at a local level and to take things into our own hands. David wrote about the idea of local communities fighting back in his weekly column in the Irish Independent and following an overwhelmingly positive response, he suggested that one of the valuable resources unique to Dalkey might be all the writers who live here and have experienced the town in one shape or form over the years. And so the idea of a book festival was born.