‘Once upon a time in the West…’ Laureate na nÓg’s coachload of creatives hits the road

Setting out from Malin Head in Donegal this morning, Laureate na nÓg Patricia Forde’s ‘Whole Wild World’ Bus Tour will bring over 35 Irish authors and illustrators to visit children living in the most remote corners of the country.

The two-week tour will make over 40 stops across nine counties and gift a book for every kilometre on the 1,400km route to Mizen Head, Co. Cork.

Travelling on a multi-coloured, 30-seater coach, the Whole Wild World Tour will bring much-loved children’s authors and illustrators into schools, libraries, bookshops and cultural venues all along the Wild Atlantic Way in a first-of-its-kind roadshow for children.

Through workshops, readings, and artist events, children and families will have an opportunity to engage with their favourite authors and illustrators. Public events on the tour include:

·       Free interactive storytelling, book clinics and a Monster Doodle takeover of Middle Street, Galway City, on Saturday, 20th April;

·       Library events in Gweedore, Co. Donegal; Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim; Kilorgin, Co. Kerry; Sherkin, Oileán Chléire and Kinsale, Co. Cork;

·       Opportunities to meet the artists at Liber Books, Co. Sligo; Books at One and Tertulia Books, Co. Mayo; Kenny’s Books, Co. Galway; O’Mahoney’s Books, Co. Limerick; and Bantry Bookshop, Co. Cork.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Patricia Forde said: “This all began as a wild idea. There aren’t many opportunities for children in remote parts of the West to meet the writers or artists behind the books they read in school or at home. That can be a magical moment for a child to realise that they could be a storyteller too. I wanted to find a way to bring that magic to as many children in communities along the West coast as possible, no matter how remote.

“The Whole Wild Tour is coming to share old stories and inspire new ones and to have as much fun as possible in the process! The bus is packed, our artists are raring to go and we can’t wait to hit the road and meet everyone!”

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland said: “Patricia Forde is our first Laureate na nÓg from the West of Ireland, and her goal with the Whole Wild World Bus Tour is to make sure that young readers all along the west coast get to meet some of our most talented writers and illustrators, and nurture the spark of creativity within themselves.

“Patricia has been a huge advocate for children’s right to culture for years and we’re delighted to be part of this fantastic adventure she’s dreamed into life.”

Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council said: “We are thrilled to support Patricia Forde’s ground-breaking Whole Wild World Bus Tour, a pioneering initiative, which will hopefully nurture a love of literature and creativity among children for years to come. We commend Patricia Forde and all the participating authors and illustrators for their dedication to entertaining and inspiring young minds through the power of a story told well.”

The tour launches from Malin Head in County Donegal today (15.04.24) and conclude at Kinsale Library in Cork on Sunday, 28th April. The full list of participating schools, bookshops, libraries and cultural venues can be found at www.childrenslaureate.ie.

Full tour route

Details of planned activity at each stop will be available at www.childrenslaureate.ie.

·       Monday, April 15th – Malin Head – Creeslough – Gweedore

·       Tuesday, April 16th – Glenties – Manorhamilton – Sligo

·       Wednesday, April 17th – Sligo – Easkey – Ballina

·       Thursday, April 18th – Belmullet – Newport – Westport

·       Friday, April 19th – Leenane – Furbo – Galway

·       Saturday, April 20th – Galway City

·       Monday, April 22nd – Ennistymon – Limerick

·       Tuesday, April 23rd – Limerick – Listowel – Tralee

·       Wednesday, April 24th – Tralee – Cloghane – Kilorglin

·       Thursday, April 25th – Cahersiveen – Ballinskelligs – Kenmare

·       Friday, April 26th – Bantry – Schull – Mizen Head – Skibbereen

·       Saturday, April 7th – Sherkin Island

·       Sunday, April 28th – Kinsale