The sheer scale of creativity in young people is infinite, let’s reflect this.

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From the Creative Coordinator

Welcome to Siarsceal Festival 2024. The aim of our festival is to showcase the amazing creativity of young people and bring their work and voices into public spaces.. If you are a creative being age 13 to 18, looking for an exciting opportunity to explore writing in any genre, there are numerous workshops happening in libraries in Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo starting in June. In a supportive encouraging environment, with a professional writer, unleash your creativity, share your work with other likeminded people, and have your writing

included in a brand new online publication.

Siarsceal Festival 2024 is building on last year’s celebration of young people’s writing. We will gather in Roscommon Library on September 14 th where our young participants will read or perform their work, alongside professional musicians Cliodhna Quinlan and Mark Murphy, (members of Greenbirdflying). We also hope to build on our association with ROS FM Arts Program, presenter Ursula Ledwith, to broadcast these performances to the wider public.

Mary Branley, Creative Coordinator

about siarsceal 2024

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Celebrating the Creativity of Young People

SiarScéal is an arts and literary festival for young people aged 13-18 celebrating creativity. This year the festival will be held on Saturday September 14th at Roscommon Library. Participants, friends, and family will be joined by writer and Creative Coordinator Mary Branley, facilitators Sarah O’Keeffe and Fergal Brennan, and musicians Cliodhna Quinlan and Mark Murphy.


In lead up to the festival, a series of workshops will be held in Sligo Library, Ballinamore Library, and Roscommon Library. The workshops will be an opportunity for participants to create a wide range of literary and illustrative work resulting in a collaborative digitally published e-zine.


The event is an initiative funded by Creative Ireland, in partnership with Sligo County Council, Leitrim County Council, and Roscommon County Council.


Giving young people the opportunity to share their creative voices

Sometimes I find myself wondering, where do my memories go? We go through all these significant moments in our lives, from the day we are brough into this world, until the day we leave it. Yet most of can’t remember what we ate for breakfast last Tuesday, or what we might have done or said to make that one person not talk to us again. We all have these memories, and some seem like they occurred a million years ago and others like it was yesterday...


Excerpt from “Intangible Memories”

C.M. 14 years old, Roscommon



2023 Roscommon Festival participants from left to right (also featured on RosFM):


Dana, Robyn, Caoimhe, Mary, Abigale, and Erica



Schedule of events

Roscommon Library

Writing Workshop

Facilitated by Mary Branley

Thursday June 20th, 11:00 - 1:00

Thursday June 27th, 11:00 - 1:00

Thursday July 4th, 11:00 - 1:00

Thursday July 11th, 11:00 - 1:00

Thursday July 18th, 11:00 - 1:00

  • Participants must attend all dates

Roscommon Library

Flip Book Animation

Facilitated by Fergal Brennan

Saturday June 22nd, 2:00 - 3:30

Saturday June 29th, 2:00 - 3:30

Roscommon Library

Siarsceal Festival

Saturday September 14th

Spaces limited, contact your library to register

Sligo Library

Writing Workshop

Facilitated by Sarah O’Keeffe

Saturday June 22nd, 2:30 - 4:30

Saturday June 29th, 2:30 - 4:30

  • Participants must attend both dates

Drumshambo Library

Writing Workshop

Facilitated by Mary Branley

Tuesday August 13th, 11:00 - 1:00

Wednesday August 13th, 11:00 - 1:00

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The 2024 team

Mary Branley, Creative Coordinator

Mary Branley is a poet, writer and musician based in north Sligo. She is the author of three collections of poetry, most recent A Pinch of Snow in a Black Velvet Glove Lepus Print 2021 Her poetry has been included in many anthologies as Windharp: Poems of Ireland Since 1916, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing. She was awarded the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in 2008. Closely associated with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, a children’s publishing house, Mary has facilitated children’s writing for over twenty-three years and forty-five titles.

She was commissioned to write a libretto on the life of Countess Markievicz, by Ukrainian composer Olesya Zdorovetska, and this work was performed at The Model as part of Cairde Festival ’23, Freedom Letters

She has collaborated with GreenBirdFlying since 2021 on poetry/music fusion and performed with them many times. A new CD is forthcoming.


The 2024 team

Sarah O’Keeffe, Facilitator & Project Support

Sarah is a writer, originally from Canada. She enjoys writing comics, children’s stories, book design, screenwriting, and working with young people. Sarah’s writing encompasses fiction, non-fiction, and writing for advocacy. Sarah is an Associate Writer with children’s publishing house Kids’ Own Publishing Partners. She has been published in Kids’ Own Publishing Partners, The Irish Times, Spectrum Magazine, and Scrimshaw Journal, and is working on a children’s story. She is also currently facilitating the Sligo 2024 Crinniu na nOg Digital Comics workshops. Sarah lives in Sligo with her husband, son, and their big Golden Retriever Simba.

Fergal Brennan, Facilitator

Fergal Brennan an artist, animator, and teacher who lives in Leitrim. He loves making films that show how art is made, sometimes with stories, sometimes without. He uses all sorts of materials to make films - like drawings, recycling, clay, audio interviews, photos, videos, and sound!

He used to work in London making animated adverts for TV, but then he decided to come back to Ireland in 2008 to make his own work. Even though his films have been shown in lots of fancy film festivals, Fergal likes drawing and hanging out with his cat the most.

The 2024 team

Cliodhna Quinlan, Band Leader & Composer

Cliodhna Quinlan is an accomplished fiddler, has worked and toured with many artists, such as theatre director Mike Scott for several productions and singer Hazel O'Connor. She arranged and performed strings on the first album by songwriter and percussionist Rónán Ó'Snodaigh, "Tiptoe".

Mark Murphy, Co-Composer & Arranger

Mark Murphy is a piano player, multi-instrumentalist and music teacher. He is a long standing music professional having worked with a host of north west based musicians over the years. He is also the pianist with jazz group The Kobe Trio. Their most recent debut album was declared "One of the finds of 2020" on BBC radio Ulster.

Contact us

Reach out via email:

marybranley.writer@gmail.com