Welcome to Hinterland Festival

The Hinterland festival began life as the Hay/Kells Festival in 2013, in collaboration with the Hay (Wales) Literary Festival. In 2017 we evolved into Hinterland and have now run numerous events under this name. Since 2013 our guests have included all the leading Irish fiction writers (Colm Tóibín, Sebastian Barry, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Joseph O’Connor, John Boyne, Liz Nugent) and a number of major UK writers and artists (Germaine Greer, Jung Chang, Jeremy Paxman, Brian Eno, Ben Okri, Hanif Kureishi, Jeannette Winterson, Louis de Bernières).

Since 2013 we have secured funding for the festival from, among others, The Leader Fund, Creative Ireland, Meath County Council, the Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (2015), the Community Employment Scheme, as well as local sponsorship sources.

In addition to our annual Hinterland Festival, which takes place over the last weekend in June each year, we were responsible for the national Gallipoli100 commemorative event in 2015 (funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and box office revenue). In December 2018 we launched a two-day sports writing festival, Tailteann, with the assistance of Creative Ireland. We are also responsible for a number of lecture series on subjects as diverse as a history of the American West, the music of the Beatles, and a survey of investigative journalism and ‘fake news’.

Locally, Hinterland regularly collaborates with the Kells-based Guth Gafa documentary film festival (by scheduling a number of documentary films of a literary nature on our programme) and with the annual Kells Type Trail. We have also worked with the award-winning animation company Cartoon Saloon over three of the six years of the festival so far. Since the inception of the festival we have had an ongoing relationship with RTÉ under the ‘RTÉ Supporting the Arts’ scheme.

Internationally we already work with the Litquake Festival in San Francisco. We are affiliated to their Lit Crawl franchise (www.litquake.org) and have staged Ireland’s two Lit Crawl events, so far, in 2017 and 2018.

In November we will also 'go global' with our first sister festival, Hinterland: West to be staged in the Mechanics' Institute in San Francisco on 9/10 November 2020.

Getting to Kells

BY BUS – from Dublin: Bus Aras, Route No. 109. Generally every 30 minutes until 7.30pm and every 60 minutes thereafter until 11pm. From Dublin Airport: Route No. 109A. Generally every 60 minutes at 20 past the hour; last bus at 11.20pm. Allow 90 minutes’ travel time. See www.buseireann.ie for detailed timetables.

BY ROAD – take the M3. Exit at Junction 10 for Kells. Allow 60 minutes’ travel time from Dublin.

MORE INFO – visit www.discoverboynevalley.ie or www.irelandsancienteast.com for more info on taxis, accommodation, eating & drinking.

‘I loved every single second … I truly did. It was all so beautifully organised, one lovely person after another.’ Ally Bunbury
‘Thank you for hosting me with such charm and generosity.’ Peter Frankopan
‘In a short time you’ve put on a very prestigious festival.’ Danny Morrison
‘It was a superbly organised event with a wonderful atmosphere - a total pleasure for us to be there. We were so warmly welcomed from the moment we arrived and felt very looked after.’ Mary-Elaine Tynan
‘It was a real pleasure to be in Kells for the festival and there really was an amazing buzz about the place.’ Dermot Bulger
‘The @HinterlandKells festival was great. Loved my own event. Wanted to hang around longer. Met great authors. How a festival should be.’ Shane Hegarty on Twitter
What kind and friendly folk the people of Kells are. I was invited to do an event at the Hinterland Festival and the lovely Helen and I were treated like royalty from the moment we arrived at 'The Green Room' at the BookMarket, Kells. Such a gorgeous café and book shop. A big thanks to Jess, Trish, Penny and Annie. There was a great turnout for me in Kells Theatre where I was interviewed by the delightful Georgina Godwin. Then a terrific signing organised by the indefatigable Antonia from Antonia’s Bookstore in Trim. I met an old friend, Fiona Halton who introduced me to her lovely mother, Kitty and her brother, Cathal, who wouldn't let me leave their amazing shop and off-licence, McEntee’s Off Licence, without the gift of a scrumptious home-made coffee cake and rhubarb tart. (I shared with Helen). Patricia Scanlan on Facebook