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Finding a novel mosh pit in the elegant beauty of books

John Daly


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Writers are a peculiar breed – individuals who toil in seclusion to earn a crust. Photo: Stock image

Writers are a peculiar breed – individuals who toil in seclusion to earn a crust. Photo: Stock image

Writers are a peculiar breed – individuals who toil in seclusion to earn a crust. Photo: Stock image

Up to a few weeks ago I was a literary festival virgin. After a lifetime where the word ‘festival’ identified exclusively as mosh-pit madness and tequila hangovers, the notion of a weekend letting my inner Ozzy Osbourne loose around whimpering memoirs and political prognostications seemed like a chapter I’d prefer left unread. Then I pitched up to Borris House and a new world unfolded.

On a sunny Saturday wandering around the idyllic gardens of a grand estate in the heartlands of Carlow, the vibe was more genteel than Glastonbury – but still with enough of a dissolute air to keep me turning the pages. There was Jeremy Irons puffing a black cheroot against an ancient doorway, DBC Pierre gathering paperback groupies in the rose garden and Dolly Alderton talking 20-something sex with the good bits underlined in red.


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