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About Us

The Shaking Bog

Introduction

On the 22nd & 23rd June 2019, something magical happened in the Glencree Valley of County Wicklow. It was the inaugural edition of The Shaking Bog Festival.

Poets, writers, musicians, actors, nature experts and enthusiasts all gathered together with a substantial audience - from near and afar - to celebrate the diverse and beautiful natural landscape of County Wicklow. It was a communion of art and nature that brought into balance not only their mutual need of each other but also their individual richness.

Since that time the world has changed. A global pandemic drove us out of our ‘normal’ lives - shuttered the doors of offices, business hubs and cultural buildings and imposed a new reality of ‘social distancing’, all of which created a sense of uncertainty, isolation and fear. And yet, in the midst of all this, what did we reach for in order to resource ourselves and build resilience? We turned towards nature - it’s constancy, its capacity to soothe and its inherent wisdom - and we also turned towards the sustaining power of art.

nature trail

The Shaking Bog Festival is a two-day, immersive event that aims to reawaken and enhance our perspectives of the natural world. A plethora of diverse experiences will be on offer: readings & discussions from world renowned authors and poets; dramatic presentations at dusk and dawn; a bumper day of art and nature events for children, workshops, conversations, concerts and many more which promises to be a truly magical affair, to end what we hope is a stimulating and life-enhancing weekend.

If the Shaking Bog was urgent and relevant as an idea for 2019, it is ever more so now. This festival – and now podcast - chimes with the times we live in and provides a vital hub for inspiration and exchange. It sits on the seam between art and nature where the conversation is currently urgent, educational and life enhancing. It is a new frontier for the arts but one that holds vast potential for imagination and engagement.

Our Vision

Over time, as long as writing has existed, there’s been an ongoing relationship between literature and nature, profoundly connecting our inner imaginative world with the outer physical environment.

But in the last fifteen years or so, perhaps as a response to increased urbanisation and global insecurity - fuelled by environmental concerns - there has been a remarkable upsurge in new literary writing about nature. Indeed, nature writing has now become a publishing phenomenon and there would seem to be an insatiable appetite for it amongst readers and the wider public.

The Shaking Bog exists to highlight this burgeoning art form as a way of describing and nurturing the deep connectedness between nature and writing. But whilst literature, both poetry and prose, is its core concern, it also explores the narratives of other art forms - thereby presenting a rich and varied tapestry of engagement. This wider canvas varies from festival to festival and podcast to podcast, but can include; dramatic prose, the written scores of music, the visual language of art and the embodied narratives of dance, as they each respond to nature in their own individual yet universal ways. The aim is to offer different portals for people to enter into a deeper relationship with the world around them.

When I am among trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, daily.
Mary Oliver

A Sense of Place

The Shaking Bog, is ideally situated in County Wicklow and more specifically the Glencree Valley. It is an area known for both its natural beauty and as a source of creative inspiration and yet it is an area that has never before played host to any cultural events

It is local in spirit but international in aspiration. It celebrates the finest literary writing about nature from across the world, ambitiously reaching outwards to those beyond county and national borders. But whilst its Festival brings artists, naturalists and audiences alike to the Wicklow hills, it is also firmly rooted in the local and embedded in the community and its surrounding landscape.

The Shaking Bog Festival takes place at indoor and outdoor locations throughout the valley including; in fields and forests; on riverbanks and hillsides; in tents, churches and schools. Likewise, the podcast remains firmly rooted in the local landscape whilst reaching out to a wider vision of Irish landscape through a broad canvas of contributing artists.

Forests in Glencree Valley

Partnerships

The Shaking Bog could not exist without the generous support of its funders; Wicklow County Council, Wicklow County Council Arts Office, The Arts Council of Ireland, Wicklow Partnership’s LEADER, National Parks & Wildlife Services, Wicklow Heritage Department, Wicklow Uplands Council, Mermaid Arts Centre and Poetry Ireland.

We are also grateful for the support of our Creative Partners; Mermaid Arts Centre and Fighting Words.

A very special word of thanks to The Shaking Bog’s sponsors including; Coillte Nature, DRes Durkan Residential and King Tree Services.

Finally, we appreciate the support of our presenting partners including; Mermaid Arts Centre, St Patrick’s Church, Enniskerry, the Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation and the Glencree Society.

The Team

Catherine Nunes
Festival Director

Born and brought up in Trinidad & Tobago and now living in the Glencree Valley, County Wicklow. Catherine has extensive experience working at the highest level as a Curator and Creative Producer within the arts sector in Ireland, Britain and internationally. Her main areas of expertise include curating and creative producing, lateral and creative thinking, access and audience development, strategic and art form development, community and education, international networking and regional development. Catherine is currently an independent Curator and Creative Producer and is the Founder & Director of The Shaking Bog Festival and Podcast – where Art & Nature meet. Her previous work most notably includes; Associate Director of London’s international Dance Umbrella Festival, Founder & Artistic Director of Dublin Dance Festival and Creative Producer with Liz Roche Dance Company.

Catherine Nunes Festival director portrait
Michelle  Hemming Festival manager portrait

Michelle Heming
Festival Manager

An accomplished administrative executive with a proven successful track record overseeing all areas of Office Management and Operations in small, medium and large organisations. An enthusiastic, responsible, and highly committed individual supporting clients as a freelance Arts Producer and Consultant. Michelle has a proven track record in Executive and Cultural Production for many events & festivals within the arts sector. Her areas of expertise are event creation and management, production, safety coordination and management, marketing, social media & public relations, financial budgeting & management, ticketing management, artist liaison, audience developments, post event reports among others. Michelle has been the festival manager for The Shaking Bog and Podcast – where Art & Nature meet since inception.

A writers desk
“For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

Wendell Berry

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Nature writing icon copyright Ronan McDonnell

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Coillte nature logo
St Patricks church, enniskerry
The glencree society