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Linen Hall Celebrates 230th Birthday in 2018 Writers on Writers Festival 9 - 12 May

03 May 2018


It is 230 years since ‘a group of worthy plebians who would do honour to any town’ gathered for the first meeting of what would become the Linen Hall Library. This year’s Writers on Writers Festival not only celebrates this milestone birthday, but spotlights some of the colourful characters of the Library’s birth city – Belfast.  

The schedule of events in date order is as follows:

Henry Joy McCracken: A Flawed hero?
With Jonathan Bardon
Wednesday 9 May at 12 noon/ lecture/ free

Renowned historian Jonathan Bardon looks at the influence of the radical United Irishmen amid turbulent political times. The lecture will be followed by the unveiling of a bust of Henry Joy McCracken (pictured) by sculptor Yoram Drori. The bust, donated by the Kilmainham and Inchicore Heritage Group, will remain on display in the Library.

Stewart Parker’s Northern Star
This event takes place at Rosemary Street Church
Wednesday 9 May at 6.00pm/ performance/ £12

Set in a crumbling cottage on the slopes of Cave Hill in the aftermath of the 1798 Rising, Northern Star by Stewart Parker, returns to the ‘Golden Age’ of late 18th century Belfast, when the city had been a harbinger of radical thought: Northern Star is a masterpiece of modern Irish drama and dialogue. Presented in association with Belfast’s Kabosh Theatre Company.

The Belfast Jacobin
With Kenneth Dawson
Thursday 10 May at 6.00pm/ book launch/ free

Launching the first-ever biography of Samuel Neilson, a founding member of the Society of United Irishmen, whose profound influence on this radical movement was to alter the course of Irish history.

Plots and Plotters Tour of Clifton House and Clifton Street Cemetery
Meet at Clifton House
Friday 11 May at 3.00pm/ tour/ £8

Walk in the footsteps and visit the graves of the reformers and rebels who made Belfast a ‘hotbed of radical activity’ in the 1790s. Hear about the Joys, the McCrackens, and McCabe and Cunningham, as well as the story of the 1798 rebellion.

Meet the Explorers!
Saturday 12 May at 12 midday/ family event/ free

Did you know the Linen Hall Library once housed scientific instruments and specimens sent from around the world? Many of them were discovered by adventurous explorers who risked their lives – at times hanging off cliffs, being chased by wild animals and almost freezing to death at the top of mountains!


Pictures and interviews are available on request. Contact Linen Hall Library Digital and Marketing Comms Specialist Rachel Wetherall at r.wetherall@linenhall.com or tel: 028 9032 1707.