Welcome to The Power of Words Festival!

An exciting celebration of Words – written, spoken, acted and sung, which will take place in the beautiful heritage town of Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, on the weekend of the 14th to 16th August 2020.

For more information or to register your interest, please contact us here


We have so many people to thank for the help and support given to us in our
inaugural year. We would not be heading into Year Two without the enormous
levels of kindness and help we received in 2019.
In compiling this list of thanks, we have attempted to include everybody but
we know it is most likely that we will have inadvertently omitted somebody!
If that somebody is YOU, please accept our apologies for the oversight but
please know that we are immensely grateful for your help!

Firstly, we wish to thank everyone who came along to ‘The Power of Words
Festival’ weekend!

We would like to gratefully thank Claire Blennerhassett, Niamh Boyce,
Caroline Busher, Fr. Paddy Byrne, Andrea Carter, Ellen Dempsey, Helena
Duggan, Sheila Forsey, Dr. Mark Hilliard, Angela Keogh, Colleen & Erin Lalor,
John MacKenna, Mary Pat Moloney, Aoife Murray, Michael
O’Muircheartaigh, Mountrath Youth Theatre, Jason O’Neill, Aaron Phelan,
Colm Querney and Spink Comhaltas, for coming and sharing your wonderful
talents with us. Your presence greatly enhanced our festival.

A very special thank you to Vivienne who facilitates the Facebook page ‘Pat
Ingoldsby, my poems come out to play’ for all your help and to the wonderful
Pat Ingoldsby himself, whose work we had great pleasure in honouring in ‘The
Living Poets Society’.

We thank Laois Partnership for the festival training they provided us and to
the kind and wise Vincent O’Shea whose insight and help throughout all stages
was invaluable. We also thank Helen Carroll (Broadcaster & Journalist) Fintan
Blake Kelly of The Upping Company and Failte Ireland for the training
provided as part of this process.

Sincere thanks to Manager, Francine Ashe, and all the staff and Board of
Heritage House, Abbeyleix, for the huge levels of support provided to our

Thank you David Delaney of The Creative P.R. Dude – for the website design
and maintenance, and for your wide-ranging Public Relations activities; in
addition to the tremendous ongoing help and support you provide.

Thank you, Mairead Connell of Mairead Connell Graphic Design, for creating
our beautiful logo and for designing our programme, posters and flyers, in
addition to facilitating ‘The Sitting Room Sessions’ in Morrissey’s!

Thank you, Laurence Vesey, for co-ordinating the musical element to our
festival with the talented members of Spink Comhaltas.

We extend our gratitude to Emma and all the staff of Abbeyleix Library, for
your enthusiasm and the generous support of our festival.

Aine Mortimer and everyone in Eason (Bookmark) Portlaoise, thank you for
your wonderful ‘Pop-Up’ shop.

We wish to acknowledge and thank the following people, businesses and
organisations for their kind sponsorship, support and assistance to the festival:

Creative Ireland (Laois) Ann Lawlor
Laois County Council’s Arts Office - Muireann Ni Chonaill and team
Breslin’s Supervalu, Abbeyleix - April O’Halloran and all the staff
Anita’s Hair Salon - Anita Bonham and staff
Abbeyleix GAA Club – Niall Ryan and volunteers
Laois Nationalist
The Irish Girl Guides (Portlaoise Branch) - Carmel McSweeney and Maureen
Mueller & O’Connell Bakery - Richard and Jackie O’Connell & all the staff
Gallic Kitchen @ Bramley’s - John Kenny & all the staff
McEvoy’s Steak & Wine Bar - Simon Stokes and Niamh McClearn
Abbeyleix Manor Hotel - April Kent and staff
Morrissey’s Pub, Abbeyleix - Management and Staff
Karen & Liam Hyland – for the use of your premises for Eason’s ‘Pop Up’ shop
Dunne’s Hardware - Liam, Fiona and Martin – for the beautiful armchairs
provided for our Set Design.
Abbeyleix Laundrette - Helen Campion – thank you for your window space
Sue Ryder Foundation - Claudette and the Staff for the wonderful window

‘Vincents’ - Geraldine Palmer and the staff for another wonderful window
Carmel and Willie Quinlan and Athy Photographic Society – for your help and
loan of equipment
Mary White – Thank you so much for your invaluable help and for all the great
solutions and ready assistance throughout.
Robbie & Veronica Quinn – thank you for your help and in kindly promoting
the festival through the ABBEYLEIX Facebook Page
Brian Maher- thank you for your help and for liaising for us

We wish to thank, most sincerely, the following businesses who so kindly
donated incredible prizes for our weekend raffles:-

Papa Noni’s Restaurant, Fyffes, Ladybelle, The Red Door Gift Shop, Enda
Rowland, O' Donnell's Pharmacy, Fruit’N Nut Place Health Store, Portlaoise,
Golden Egg Studios, Dunmore Country School, Dunamaise Theatre,
Roll n’ Bowl, Odeon Cinema, Portlaoise Leisure Centre, Castlecomer
Discovery Park, Ark in Dublin, Imaginosity Dublin, Dublin Zoo, The Big Blue
Barn, Carlow.

A huge thank you to the host of special people who lent their talents and
expertise to help make a great weekend.

Siobhan Hoy for her smooth and skilled facilitation of ‘The Healing Power of
Words’ conversation
Doctors Andy Cole and Fiona McGowan for sharing their wisdom and
knowledge on the various Heritage Walks & Talks
Mary Hanrahan for kindly facilitating the ‘Scones and Stories’ and ‘Pizza and
Poetry’ events.
Ruth Miller and Alan Kelly for being everywhere at once, all weekend!
Michael Somers, John Hickey, Anne Gleeson, Siobhan Roche and all who
travelled from Carlow Storytellers to provide us with such laughter and
entertainment at ‘The Sitting Room Sessions’
Orla Kelly – thank you for running the festival Instagram & Twitter Pages
Chelsea Barrett – thank you for your help in promoting the festival

Special thanks to Stan Henderson, John Whelan, Steven Miller, Claire O’Brien,
Aine Toner, Andrea Smith, Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, Jillian Godsil, Laois
Nationalist, Leinster Express, Laois Today and all local and national print,
online and broadcast media, who provided us with such great exposure.

Speaking of exposure, thank you to Photographer, Kevin Byrne, who took such
wonderful shots over the weekend.
Annette Doyle & Cian Redmond for supplying and manning all the Sound &
Lighting equipment.
David Clegg Signs & Embroidery – for the great job on the ‘pull ups’ and
festival signage.
Mochua Print & Design – for the top-quality printing of our programmes and

Thank you so much to all the following people who provided us with vital help
and support throughout the weekend:-

Noel Byrne and Abbeyleix Community Employment Scheme, Abbeyleix
Community Garden Volunteers, Cormac Bowell, John Moore in St. Michael
and All Angels Church and Gary O’Keeffe and volunteers.

Magalie Lalor, Mary Miller, Breda Anne Fitzpatrick and Jordan McEvoy,
Saoirse Prendergast, Paula Spillane, Betty Howe and all the Two Roaders,
thank you all so much.
Sheila Forsey – Huge thanks for all of your invaluable advice and support.
Suzanne Power – thank you for your belief. It worked!

We would like to especially thank our families for their understanding and
support while we were busy organising.
Look forward to seeing you all in August 2020!

Best wishes,
Amanda Kelly, Evelyn Quinlan, Francine Ashe, Marna Hatton &
Noelle O’Connell

The Power of Words Festival Team 2019

“There's no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you"
― Maya Angelou