The Cuirt Festival opened Tuesday evening at the Galway City Museum beside the River Corrib with remarks by Padraic Breathnach, Director of the festival, the Deputy Mayor, members of the Arts Council and the main speaker, novelist Roddy Doyle. It’s always a great evening of wine and talk and the weather was beautiful. In fact, in the two weeks I’ve been in Ireland there hasn’t been a drop of rain on me.
From there we proceeded to the Town Hall for the opening readings with Booker Prize winners Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright. Mary Gaitskilll was supposed to be on the bill with Doyle, but she was among the missing on the wrong side of Eyjafjallajokull’s ash cloud. A number of Irish writers have come to stand in for the stranded foreigners, so the international flavor of the festival is muted this year. The New Yorker has partnered with Cuirt and is sponsoring three fiction readings, each with two writers, one Irish and one from elsewhere. This was one of those readings, with Doyle and Enright each reading one of their recent New Yorker stories. After the reading the two generously stayed on stage for about 45 minutes taking questions from the crowd. After that we went off to the Hotel Meyrick, whose Oyster Bar is this year’s festival club location.