Colin Barrett & Kevin Barry

Time and date

Thursday 18 July 2024

2:30 pm

Wild Houses is the much-anticipated debut novel from multiple award-winning and critically-acclaimed short story writer, Colin Barrett and it is a beautifully crafted, thrillingly-told story of two outsiders striving to find themselves as their worlds collapse in chaos and violence.

Kevin Barry is back this summer with a new novel and The Heart in Winter is a savagely funny, achingly beautiful tale set in the Wild West.

Join us for an engaging and entertaining afternoon in the unique setting of the National Learning Network’s outdoor amphitheatre.

As it’s an outdoor event please dress for the weather. We have a rainy day alternative at this venue.

Admission: €18

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Wild Houses by Colin Barrett takes place in Ballina as the town prepares for its biggest weekend of the year and the simmering feud between small-time dealer, Cillian English, and County Mayo’s fraternal enforcers, Gabe and Sketch Ferdia, spills over into violence and an ugly ultimatum.


When the reclusive Dev answers his door on Friday night he finds Doll – Cillian’s bruised, sullen, teenage brother – in the clutches of Gabe and Sketch. Jostled by his nefarious cousins, goaded by his dead mother’s dog and struck by spinning lights, Dev is unwillingly drawn headlong into the Ferdias’ revenge fantasy.


Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Nicky can’t shake the feeling something bad has happened to her boyfriend Doll. Hungover, reeling from a fractious Friday night and plagued by ghosts of her own, Nicky sets out on a feverish mission to save Doll, even as she questions her future in Ballina.


Kevin Barry brings us to Butte, Montana in October 1891 as a hard winter approaches across the Rocky Mountains. The city is rich on copper mines and rampant with vice and debauchery among a hard-living crowd of immigrant Irish workers. Here we find Tom Rourke, a young poet and balladmaker of the town, but also a doper, a drinker, and a fearsome degenerate. Just as he feels his life is heading nowhere fast, Polly Gillespie arrives in town as the new bride of the extremely devout mine captain Long Anthony Harrington. A thunderbolt love affair takes spark between Tom and Polly and they strike out west on a stolen horse, moving through the bad-lands of Montana and Idaho, and briefly an idyll of wild romance perfects itself. But a posse of deranged Cornish gunsmen are soon in hot pursuit of the lovers, and closing in fast…



Colin Barrett

Colin Barrett grew up in County Mayo. His stories have been published in The Stinging Fly, Granta, Harper's and the New Yorker. His first book, the short story collection Young...

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Kevin Barry

Kevin Barry is the author of three novels and three short story collections. His awards include the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Goldsmiths Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story...

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