The Rathmines Writers’ Workshop was founded in 1990. The group was formed with the aim of encouraging creative writing amongst the community in the greater Rathmines area. The first meeting took place in Rathmines Library in the centre of Rathmines. Workshops in earlier years took place at local libraries, the Rathmines Inn and the Terenure Inn.
The workshop’s earliest members included James Conway, Warren O’Connell, Eithne Cavanagh, Mary Guckian and Sinead McDevitt.
The first anthology of poetry by the group was edited by Rosemary Rowley and entitled Extended Wings 1. It was launched in 1993 in Portobello. In 1994 a second book, Extended Wings 2, was launched in Ranelagh. It included a number of more established writers including Mary O’Donnell, Fintan Murphy and others.
Other books followed – Extended Wings 3 and 4, Quartet, Quintet and A Fist Full of Stories. Other books by individual writers associated with the group have been published by Swan Press. These include volumes by Mary Guckian, Eithne Cavanagh, Warren O’Connell, Christine Broe, James Conway, Kate Davis, Maura O’Grady, Patrick Boyle and others. See the Publications page for more details.
All these books were published by the Swan Press, a Press located in Ringsend which is linked to the workshop. The press is directed by Mary Guckian.
Public readings performed at venues around the city have also been a regular feature of the workshop’s activities. Venues have included the Irish Writers’ Centre, the James Joyce Centre and public libraries. In June 2000, the workshop celebrated its 10th anniversary with a memorable public reading performed at the Mansion House in Dublin. Guest speakers at the event included Michael O’Flanagan of Riposte, Liam O’Meara of The Francis Ledwidge Society, Peter Finnegan of Community Affairs at Dublin City Council and others.
The group has facilitated a number of well-attended, public writing workshops and with positive feedback, sponsored by Dublin City Council, focusing on:
- the short story
- approaching the novel
- art and poetry
- writing in the community
- writing for the edlerly
In March 2006, the Rathmines Writers’ Workshop produced ten mini plays in a programme entitled ‘The Ten Commandments’ at SS Michael and John Theatre, Temple Bar.
In February 2011, a special 21 year poetry reading in Dublin 2 celebrated new writing in the group. A similar prose reading was held in the Irish Writers’ Cente, Parnell Square.
A special anthology entitled ‘Prose on a bed of ryhme’, featuring 58 writers, was launched on December 15th 2012 at the Leinster Cricket Club, Rathmines, to celebrate the group’s 21 years as a community-based workshop. An article about the book was published in NewsFour newspaper.