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Elders of Clonmel Writing Project

A writing project highlighting the lifestories of some of the key older citizens of Clonmel
May to August

Book on EventbriteElders of Clonmel Writing Project

Clonmel Applefest launches for 2023 the ‘Elders of Clonmel’ project, highlighting the lifestories of some of the key older citizens of Clonmel.

This project follows on from last year’s highly successful writing project in collaboration with Cashel Arts Festival in which 16 writers met and wrote about local artisans, complemented by beautiful photographs by John D. Kelly.

‘Elders of Clonmel’ will retell landmark events from the youth of our older citizens, focusing on their outlooks on our surroundings and local ways and lifestyles, reflecting on the fast changes and recent transformation in Irish society. A quality designed book of completed stories will be published in time for the Festival launch on Thursday 21st September, leaving a significant oral history record and legacy about the people and places of Clonmel for future generations.

The selected local writers will learn and/or finetune their interviewing, structuring and editing skills during a masterclass with expert ghostwriter and journalist Sue Leonard, while also practising reflection and listening skills in pairs.

Applefest will assign an older person to the writer; the older person will be accompanied by his/her nominator to ensure best safeguarding practice and that the process is an enriching experience for all involved; this nominator can on request be asked to assist with the interview/offer prompts and/or help with practical matters.

We welcome suggestions for suitable candidates to interview. However, all candidates will go through the same nominations process to ensure transparency and safeguarding.


Writers involved in this project should:

- have some experience in writing essays and/or articles

- be available for the FULL Zoom masterclass on Saturday, 6th May (10am to 4pm)

- be available to interview an older person during May/June

- be willing to submit a first draft by 30th June

- be available to attend a Zoom mentoring session with Sue Leonard during early July

- complete a second draft by 28th July

If you are interested in taking part in this project, please complete the registration/expression of interest form here by 20th April:

Expression of Interest Form

Elders of Clonmel Writing ProjectElders of Clonmel Writing Project


As part of this year’s project, we are proposing to recruit up to 12 older people to be interviewed for our publication to share stories about their lives growing up in Clonmel and how they see the changes that have happened to Irish society.  Candidates should be nominated by a third party who will commit to be the liaison person between the older person and the project coordinator, so as to ensure transparency and safeguarding. 

Applefest will match a writer to an older person who should be accompanied by his/her nominator to ensure best safeguarding practice and assist with the interview process, and where appropriate offer prompts and/or help with practical matters. 

Please note that all candidates will go through the same nominations process. Nominating an older person does not guarantee that they will be included in the final shortlist. 


The ideal candidate should be:

  • Born before 1950
  • Lived in Clonmel for most of their lives, particularly in their youth and later life
  • Be comfortable sharing stories about key events from their youth that significantly impacted on their lives and other landmark events that highlight the changing landscape of Irish society and of Clonmel in particular
  • Share stories of local ways, mores & lifestyles as well as reflect on today’s world
  • Be willing to be photographed by John D. Kelly
  • Be willing to have the final essay and photograph published.


Nominators involved in this project should:

- know the nominee well, eg be a relative, carer or long-time friend or neighbour

- be respectful at all time that the interview is about the Elderly person

- be willing to be the key liaison person with the nominee relaying relevant information, such as interview date and book launch.

- attend the interview session (likely to be between mid-May & mid-June) 

- assist as needed for the duration of the interview.

- be available to liaise with writer if questions arise post interview

- willing to attend social gathering in July & book launch on 21st September.

Deadline for nomination form: 6th May. Final shortlist will be announced on the 11th May.

Link to nomination form for Older person

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