Jaunt to Bofin at New Year and Vouchers for the season of (yes, I’m saying it), ‘Ho ho ho’!

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Hi all!
What’s on my mind, here on the Writing Train,in pictures…(and in one attachment: a sample Writing Train VOUCHER you might leave lying around for loved ones re the unmentionable season that’s on the way….(Okay, as that is not the best marketing sentence I ever wrote: Christmas, I DO mean you…!)
START TO WRITE or KEEP WRITING, plus a Guided Writing Retreat for writers with projects well in hand, will run with me, Yvonne Cullen, on stunning Inishbofin, from 29 Dec.this year, to 5 Jan next year. 4 places left on this 8-person trip, fees set at LAST year’s Winter retreat level of €650, for bookings by November 18th. (€75 surcharge after this point).
Skies full of stars and rainbows, a writing course as outlined above plus all manner of laughs, walks, pints, creative explorations and link-ins with the wonderful locals in Bofin at a very special time in their year when everyone is home and together: this is what the New Year Bofin Jaunt will take in, this year.
I have 4 places left, at last year’s new Year fee of €650 for lovely, cosy single room accommodation in houses with knock-out views and woodstoves, covering accommodation and a week’s tuition and creative support (and the above “all kinds of fun”). You’re brought right in to Bofin on my trips, with the 16 years I’ve spent visiting and bringing writers there. Guided walks, meetings with local artists and photographers, boat builders, farmers and fishermen and musicians, and the island to yourself to explore at this still time of year, are just some of what the trip offers. Breakfast and  lunch foods are supplied and we pool resources and ideas re 3 dinners. The rest of our evening meals are at the BEACH bar where top quality food at the end of the world waits for you!
And as for the help with your writing, or ambition to write: “Life changing!” is what one participant called the New Year trip in 2014.
To book or enquire, ring the number below or email.
OTHER CLASSES and WORKSHOPS COMING UP, and which vouchers might go towards…
January START TO WRITE Cafe classes at the NLI will begin 14 January,
JUMP ON THE TRAIN places in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night Writing workshops in the city and Glasthule for Mid-January commencement date are also bookable now. Options from 6 to 11 week tickets, course-depending. Fantastic workshops with dedicated and generous participants, in nicely off-beat locations, if I do say so, like the WESTIN hotel bar, NLI CAFE, Central Hotel LIbrary bar, and my own book-filled house!
I’ll be adding One-day events to the Blog and facebook notifications soon. Rough SPRING into SUMMER start again point is St Patrick’s weekend. Summer and autumn JAUNTS this year will include EASTER on Inishturk and in ROSSBEIGH in Kerry, (just after Easter), MAY BH on Bofin, June BH for INISH ARTS Festival and a 10-day Jaunt around that – JULY (3 weeks to choose from) on Turk, late August to Mid-September on Bofin, and others to follow.
In other news
I’m starting to look seriously into creating a permanent venue for the Jaunts in Bofin. I may be doing a small Fundit next year for a small distinct aspect of that process. I will, once it gets off the ground, be looking for willing helpers to dig with me, plaster and paint with me and all manner of other fun, for a couple of years, in return for credit towards retreats and time in the retreat venue. Do let me know if you’d be interested in being involved in helping build Writing Train’s Inishbofin Jaunts a home at the end of the world: ) And if you need to check it all out with a trip to Bofin at new year, you know who to talk to; ).
Warmest wishes for now, everyone!
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Winter Classes at Writing Train

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And we’re off!

Winter 2016 – Spring 2017 Timetable at Writing Train.

Hi all!
Feeling a bit like the papal conclave, I am now posting a timetable for the winter session at Writing Train. Only sorry I couldn’t find a good picture of that Vatican stove!

I have been gone a while, on my own writing train! Delighted to be back and planning classes again! Here they are:



11.30 a.m., National LIbrary Cafe Joly
3 p.m, Buswells’ Hotel bar

11-week Saturday morning term, 10.30 – 1.15 p.m. each week.
FEE: €310 for 11 x 2.75 hour meetings over 15 weeks (4 weeks off at Christmas and New Year).

START TO WRITE classes: Friday nights in Glasthule Starting on Nov. 9 and running 5 sessions till Dec 9th, restarting Friday 13th January for another 5. (Fee here is €295).

DEVELOPING WRITER/ WRITING WORKSHOP combined session: Tuesday and Wednesday night City Centre options for this course in the Westin Hotel Bar, 15 week course over 20 weeks. Start dates from 1 November.

WRITING WORKSHOP Thursday night option in Glasthule 10 weeks , 2.75 hour -3 hour sessions, €300.

ONE -DAY events Winter 2016:
Sunday 13 NOVEMBER: START TO WRITE day in Glasthule
SUnday 20 November: 1 -day poetry workshop in Glasthule
Sunday 27 NOVEMBER VISION EDIT YOUR NOVEL day in Glasthule
Sunday 11 DECEMBER: Start to write day in Glasthule

All one-day sessions are €95, except for Vision Edit your novel, capped at 6, with a fee of €125. In the case of VISION EDIT, advance materials and requirements will be sent out to you and opening 10,000 words and synopsis read by everyone participating, before we meet.

New Year jaunt to Bofin

A week-long New Year writing retreat to Inishbofin will run from 29 December. For an idea of these trips in the past, see:


Fee for the Jaunt, covering individual room accommodation in cosy shared houses, breakfasts and lunches, tuition for the week and a mainline into island life and activities: €675 if booked and 30% deposit paid by November 10. 10% fee increase after this point. (Evening meals at our own expense are held in the Beach bar and restaurant, other homecooked island dining options can be arranged at small surcharge or organised between a group).

I’d be delighted if something here works for you! I’m also often available for editing work, with a couple of months’ advance booking.
Happy autumn, all, and I look forward to working with some of you through the season!
x Yvonne

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Jaunt with us to Rossbeigh in Kerry! August 13-20



Click on the link above for the new brochure for the wonderful Rossbeigh Jaunt mark 2! First trip was a resounding success!

To book or discuss this  August writing trip,  email me at yvonnesworkshops@gmail.com


(Rossbeigh, from above, on the way to our March Jaunt event!)


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CLINK the link for APRIL-to OCTOBER classes, free TRY-OUT meets, workshops, One -Day events and creative trips, trips, trips: all at a glance! https://yvonnecullen.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/writing-train-april-e28093-oct-2016-at-a-glance.pdf

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June 2-9 Bofin Jaunt and INISH arts and culture festival all at the same time!

Coinciding with INISH FESTIVAL: http://inishfestival.com

This June’s Bofin Jaunt has been designed to flow around the fantastic INISH Arts and Culture festival. To get the most out of our course, as we will be using Inish for inspiration, participants are required to book a season pass to Inish, (€60 early bird, till 30 April, €75 thereafter). See site above to book. Friday through Sunday we will have breakfast, lunch and dinner classes, with more conventional morning classes of 2.5 hours per class duration Monday through Wednesday. A celebratory reading together for an invited audience will end our week on Wednesday night. All in all, you can expect 16 contact hours with me on our trip, and an ideal warm up into your own creative expression via the host of inspirations at Inish and all around you on lovely Bofin.


Our official welcome night is THURSDAY June 2nd at 7.15, when I will greet you on the dock in BOFIN and bring you to your lodgings on the island. Later that night, you will be


Within reason, I will try to assist you if you need to do either of the above. It isn’t possible to alter standard course fee/ standard package fee in these situations but short stays in either the island hostel or DOLPHIN HOTEL may be possible. COntact me to discuss and for contact details for the above.


If arriving THURSDAY night, your ferry will leave CLEGGAN in Connemara  at 6.45 P.M, which means, for a calm start to your trip, get to Cleggan at 5 p.m., 5.15 at latest! More in this vein when you contact with expressions of interest: )

You can buy your ticket on the dock ( most people do, €20 return). Boat departs without exception AT its departure time. If you miss it, you’ll have to put yourself up in Cleggan and join us the next day! I’m on 0861701418 if that transpires!

If interested in the JUNE JAUNT TO BOFIN, please do make contact soon. I will need to close the booking on this trip on 30 April due to the intense demand for accommodation on the island at that time. Right now, I have ONE individual double room in our house, ONE double in the nearby hostel, a 6-bed dorm in same hostel, ONE bed in a twin room in our core house and ONE hotel room in the nearest hotel ( supplement of €125 applies here).  July Jaunt bookings will close mid May, and Rossbeigh Jaunt booking will close end June. It may still be possible to book any of these trips after those dates but at 10% surcharge to encourage you to book soon; ).

Look forward to hearing from some of you soon!

Yvonne x

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JUNE BH Bofin Writing Jaunt lines up with fantastic island festival!

https://yvonnecullen.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/summer-bofin-writing-jaunts.pdf Bofin Jaunt JUNE 2-9 coincides with fantastic INISH-ISLAND CONVERSATIONS festival. Take a couple of short sharp writing classes with me each day from Friday through Sunday 2-4 June. Around those, hear astounding music from Mairtin O’Connor, Contempo String Quartet, Doug Paisley, Elisa Rodruiges and Pedro Vidal, Stunning jazz piano from Martin Tingvall, the Whileaways, Jack L, Larry Beau, watch the best of cultural documentaries on Maire Mac an tSaoi and the fishermen of Ireland’s north Atlantic islands, hear Kevin Barry, Theo Dorgan, Claire Kilroy, Bernard O’Donoghue, Andrew McNeillie, Olwen Foure, Michael and Edna Longley … Meet like minds, walk and eat and have the odd pint, and scribble down odd thoughts… And from Monday thru Wednesday, after all that cultural fertilization is over, intensify your writing training with me, building up to a celebratory performance of our own in the Galley Cafe on the island on Wednesday night June 8th. Depart for home Thurs a.m. June 9th. For further info and to book, email yvonnesworkshops@gmail.com or phone 0861701418. See timetable here for further island trips this summer (INISHTURK THROUGH JULY, BOFIN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER).

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The Rossbeigh Jaunt START TO WRITE and Get Creative course plus Novelists’ Retreat, March 2016

THE ROSSBEIGH JAUNT, Kerry writing courses with Y Cullen, March 2016



Folks, if this post looks a little funny, please excuse its appearance. Click the link and you’ll get a gorgeous poster for my March 16-21 Retreat to Rossbeigh in Kerry.  Thanks for overlooking, if you can, my technophobe ways!

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The early bookers get the deals… and thoughts on fishing holes and creativity!

293b50592d2ed6045e4c77b880926d7031 January EARLY BOOKING INCENTIVE DEADLINE! ANY COURSE STARTING FROM 1st MARCH, at 2015 fees (I.E. less 5% of advertised fee), if booked and fully paid by 31/1. Next similar offer will be 31/3 for courses from July 2. Apart from offering a good deal, booking now is the main way to ensure you get a place in your course of choice. If thinking of booking on for the Advanced sessions: many Writing Train participants return from term to term. At entry level, the History to Story course is limited to 8. Finally, the START TO WRITE and NOVELISTS’ RETREATS on the Writing Jaunts are limited to 8 places at each level per trip. To be in with a chance of a place and accommodation on these trips, early booking is especially vital. It can also often make the difference between a trip being feasible to organize and not. So let “book early!” be your watchword: )

And now that’s said, to creativity again! Thinking about it as last year ended one thing has been striking me: I believe it’s all around us all the time; I believe to be in the world, moving through it is to move through a creative element constantly. With a door in the back of the head we have a choice about leaving open. Leave it open, even just ajar and the world will keep moving you. It is, after all, as I think Annie Dillard wrote, always trying to jump start your imagination. Just leave the door open. And if nothing else for now, then as Miroslav Holub wrote in a similar mode of thought: “at least there’ll be a draft.

If you have a different visual for this habit, I’d love to hear you comment on it below. Maybe one of you thinks of creative activity as a comparable act to sitting patiently with your fishing rod dropped into a fishing hole. That would be handy, as it was with a picture of an Inuit woman fishing that I planned to decorate this post: ). And here she be, turning up in case the world’s sending something by. Wishing you the patience for that, this season and the fruits.
x Y

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The gang will be there! copy

From History to Story – New Term, 12 Feb.

On 12 February, I will start a new set of 12 From History to Story classes/ workshops on writing from research and /or memory towards the creation of longer non-fiction, fiction, drama and poetry projects. These 12 meetings, classes and workshops will run over an extended timeframe and I will be making sure you sign up to approaching lots of small pieces of your projects during the breaks, bit by bit, like the best way to eat an elephant: ). As a result, I hope you’ll end up feeling you’ve got extra value for the fee. Your 12 sessions will be delivered over 19 weeks timeframe, and on the OUT weeks, you might even consider joining me on one of the island or Kerry writing retreats. The dates for this new term of History to Story will fall in two blocks of 5 followed by a set of 2:


FEB 12, 19, 26, MARCH 4, 11,

FOLLOWED BY OUT WEEKS with workplans in place and email group set up for circulating work among yourselves: 18, 25 MARCH, 1 and 8 April,

RESUME for April 15,22,29, May 6 and 13th. A further GAP of 2 weeks, followed by two final sessions on June 3 and 10. In our final session, lets do a short lunchtime reading in the cafe. We can liaise with cafe re best time for this (12.00-1 perhaps… or if we’re feeling brave 1-2 PM!

The fee for this course will be €340, or €320 if booked and paid by 31/1/2016.

Delivering a course over a longer timeframe like this gives you access to my guidance and the support of your peers for far longer than the course fee would imply. An email group and clearly-set goals before each break will help you to keep motivated while we’re apart.

Suggestions for keeping you even more on track for the gap weeks:

Inch Co Kerry 5 night writing retreat and Start to Write course will run from 16-21 March and is currently available at 2015 fee of €550 all -inclusive, including almost all your meals, single room basis, across the road from Inch Strand no less! And a short Inishturk Jaunt for Developing Writers, and those looking for a short writing retreat will run from 3-8 April for those who can take a break at that time of the year ( 5 nights, 4 full days), €550 single room basis and including all meals save one dinner. This fee is available if course is booked and minimum 40% deposit paid by 31/1, thereafter if places remain, full 2016 fee of €595 applies.

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