Friday, 10 November 2017

Ardagh Tree Fairies Calendar launch

Dear Friends,

You are invited to the launch of our first ever Ardagh Tree Fairies Calendar on Wednesday 15th November at 8pm. We hope you can attend.

This 2018 calendar is packed full of a selection of the wonderful entries to our recent Fairy Photograph Competition which will be on display on the day. We will also be announcing the winning photograph and presenting the prize.

We are also in the process of revamping our Craft Shop and have lots of new stock arriving for the launch so why not do your Christmas Shopping too with us over a leisurely cuppa.

Hope to see you there,

Ann Gerety Smyth and Annette Corkery

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Frightful Flash Fiction Winners 2017

Annette Corkery, Adult winner Craig French, author Caroline Busher who presented the prize and Ann Gerety Smyth.
Adult Section - Winner

To sleep amongst the dead by Craig French
I still don’t know his name but he hangs there on the wire in front of me – a scarecrow of tatters and shreds with the wind whistling through the holes where his eyes used to be and a rictus grin splitting his face, his teeth clenched as if he were biting against the agonies that had tormented him. For three days and nights he had slowly died, torn and pierced through by cruel metal and begging to be released. His cries and whimpers were pitiful to hear but they didn’t stop me shooting down any who tried. Their remains litter the ground around him and all is rot and putrefaction.
Now I cannot sleep and he keeps me company through these long hollow nights when I strain my eyes to exhaustion, trying to peel back the surface of the dark to reveal the horrors I know lurk there. I can hear his dried insect rustlings out in the tangle of wire and battlefield wreckage and then the slow slithering as he drags himself through the mud to sit on the edge of the trench. There he squats, a blacker shape against the night, oozing secrets with a voice of congealed blood. Around him stand the other faceless dead, silent and accusing and each marked with a bullet from my gun.
And what does he tell me? He tells me of how I’ll die - of the wound that suppurates, of the thirst that rages through every fibre, of the cold steel in the guts, of the meeting of hot metal and pale flesh and the slow leakage of scarlet into the mud. The others give their mute approval. My death is assured. Here is the rifle and here is the trigger – why delay it? I nod; I understand. Blessed sleep.

Adult Section - Highly Commended

Desmond Howett
Sweet Revenge by Desmond Howett
“It’s nice to see you again, Mr. Patrick. Would you like a pre-dinner drink?”
A leather choker with a snake head clasp circles her neck. I shiver as her blood red lips attempt an anaemic smile.
“A hot Jameson please.” I reply. “The restaurant is very quiet tonight?”
She bows and recedes into the dimly lit room without replying, her jade green dress caging her in.
I check my watch. Just three more hours and twenty minutes, and it will be over for another year. I dread Friday 13th.
“Your drink sir, and a little amuse-bouche with our compliments.”
No cloves I note, but the house treat is a nice touch. They’ve upped their game since last year.
Perhaps they read my review?
There is a curious tang to the drink but it goes down well. It’s been a hectic day, so I’m looking forward to this treat.
I lift the cloche. A long mottled brown sausage nestles in a consommé juice, it’s delicately patterned skin wrapped in concentric circles. The juice begins to shimmer, enticing me to take a closer look. A pair of eyes pop up. The snout of a snake emerges to the surface, its nostrils flaring. It glares at me. I sit paralysed, fork aloft my body defying the shouts in my brain. My pulse quickens as the snake slithers off the plate, its scaly skin trailing silently over the red table cloth. It nudges between my thumb and forefinger, up under the sleeve of my shirt. As it shimmies up my arm, over my shoulder and entwines itself around my neck, I retch uncontrollably.
Her voice whispers from behind.
“Are you enjoying your little treat Sir? ‘Chef’s Revenge’, we call it. You’re finding it hard to
breathe? I’m so sorry.”

Adult Section - Highly Commended

Journey’s end by Andy Jones
Andy Jones
The lorry came to a sudden stop in the pre-dawn twilight with a loud hiss of air brakes. An old-timer, trying to keep his balance on the slippery floor, raised his weary head and inhaled deeply. A particularly unpleasant aroma lingered in the air.
Life amongst their persecutors had been hard. To be taken from familiar surroundings without warning, then loaded onto the transport with kicks and shouts had shocked the group into terrified silence. They hoped that this place would be an improvement on the squalor they had left behind.
Time passed before the doors swung open. Morning sun reflected off concrete, painful to eyes that had been in darkness for too long. Men stood at the rear of the lorry, urging the new arrivals towards a low whitewashed building. The exhausted passengers yearned for sanctuary. A place of rest, and water, perhaps even a little food.
The Gadarene rush for asylum was checked by the noises that began to reach their ears from the killing area. Those that tried to turn back were shown no mercy. The smell detected earlier now revealed its origins. It was the unmistakeable odour of death.
If they could have read, the sign above the gate would have explained everything.
“ This little piggy Ltd”. it said, with a graphic of a smiling piglet. “Best quality Irish Bacon
Products. All animals humanely slaughtered”

Teen Section - Winner

Uncle Kevin by Laura Carroll
‘We can’t go in there!’ Evan tells his older cousin as they come to a halt before the immense oak double doors with intricate carvings. ‘Uncle Kevin said it’s forbidden!’
‘But Uncle Kevin is in town’ Rick says, smiling mischievously, his hand on the brass knob.
‘He’ll never know. Come on, don’t you want to know what’s in there?’ Evan’s silence answers his question.
‘After you then’ Rick says, turning the knob and pushing the door open, creaks filling the empty hall. Evan braces himself, peering around the door into the blackness. Before he can do anything else, two hands shove his back, sending him crashing to the cold, tile floor.
‘Hey let me out!’ he screams, pounding on the door to no avail. Swallowing the lump in his throat, Evan searches the wall for a light switch. His pudgy hands travel along the smooth wall before meeting a string. He tugs it, the lights flicker on.
It takes his eyes a second to adjust to the light as a gurgling noise sends chills down Evan’s spine as the walls part around him. Large glass tubes with objects suspended in an orange liquid appear.
Intrigued, Evan edges closer, then falls to the ground in horror. The ‘objects’ are body parts- arms, legs, torsos. A floating head, eyes still intact, is mere centimetres from Evan’s own. An impressive array of gleaming silver tools decorate the walls Evan hears footsteps, and conceals himself behind the worktop, which he realises holds a semi-dissected body. ‘Rick? Is that you?’ When he gets no answer, Evan looks out from his spot.
‘Hello, Evan’ Uncle Kevin murmurs, a wicked grin on his face as he reveals the saw with two
sets of razor sharp teeth from behind his back. ‘Fancy seeing you here.’

Teen Section - Highly Commended

The Spectre by Philippa Brennan
Only my flickering candle penetrated the darkness. I shuddered. The night air chilled my bones. I lay in bed, moments away from sleep. The house was silent.
Dreams had almost grasped me when I heard the creaking of a floorboard, someone approaching. My heart beat faster. I crept to the door, pressing my ear against it. It was again silent.
Then, my candle was blown out.
The light did not slowly fade and die. The room was plunged abruptly into blackness. Paralyzed by fear, I dared not move. Blood was pounding in my ears.
‘Who’s there?’ I whispered.
In reply, I heard a demonic cackle which froze my blood. I blinked, my eyes adjusting to the darkness, turning slowly.
Out of the shadows loomed a spectre, an image of ghost-white skin and hollow obsidian eyes. I could hear the horrible wheezing of its breath as it approached me.
Terror choked me like a noose about my neck. I could hear a blood-curdling scream which I then realized was my own. I rushed to the opposite side of the room and instantly regretted it; the spirit was now blocking the door; I had no escape.
Surely this was some terrible nightmare! Surely this grotesque spirit was a figment of my imagination! It could not be real, yet still it advanced towards me.
The ghost was inches from me now, I felt my back hit the cool window. My pulse stopped. Overcome with sheer fright, I thrust it open and began climbing down the ivy-covered facade. When I reached the ground, I ran into the night, where no such horror could find me again!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

One week to go!

We are getting very excited as Ardagh Fright Fest 2017 is only one week away. Brochures are out, bookings are flowing in, the building is decorated and we are almost ready for off!
Shelley Corcoran has been busy with her photography students for weeks and their exhibition is up in anticipation of the visits of almost 200 TYs whose work is featured. We will be welcoming them from Monday to Friday of this week, but their photos will be on view to the public during all events between the 28th October and 4th November.
Loads of great entries for the Scary Fairy Art exhibition and Frightful Flash Fiction competition have reached us already, but there is still time to send yours in. The deadline is 5pm on Monday 23rd October (we will accept postal entries that are dated before that). Contact us to arrange delivery in person.
There are still limited spaces available for most events, but please book soon to avoid disappointment. Click here to pay online.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Excitement building! Call out for Scary Fairy Art

We are really excited about all that is to come for what is turning out to be the best Ardagh Fright Fest yet. Click on the different tabs above to get a taste of what is in store. The line up includes four amazing authors who will share their knowledge with children, teens and adults over three days at the beginning of the week long festival. Ardagh School of Witchcraft returns for Year 7 and favourites such as the Samhain Lantern Walk, Spooky Art Day and School's Photography exhibition return too.

As Midir is in charge of the veil between us and the Otherworld  and we are celebrating The Year of the Fairies throughout 2017 we have decided to put a call out for Scary Fairy art of all kinds for an unusual art exhibition which we hope will attract a diverse array of art work. Anyone from toddler to adult is welcome to submit a piece in any media to be displayed inside of outside the building for the duration of the festival. Last year we had over 600 visitors during Fright Fest and we are be hoping for even more this year.

Submissions by post to Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, Ardagh, Co. Longford or in person (call 086 3027602 0r 086 1717925 to arrange delivery) to reach us not later than
5pm on Monday 23rd October 2017.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Preparations for 2017 underway

Ardagh Fight Fest 2017 will take place from 28th October to 4th November this year. We are very excited about all we have in store but some details are still to be finalised. Watch this space for announcements coming soon.
For now take a look at our second annual Frightful Flash Fiction competition here.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Frightful Flash Fiction Competition Winners

Here are the four winning stories in our Flash Fiction competition:

Younger Children's Section Winner

by Sinéad Bourke, Age 8, Co. Meath
It was Halloween Ciara, Conor and Niamh were trick or treating they went up to one of the houses and there was a sign on the window saying DO NOT COME IN OR ELSE!
So they ran home. Ciara opened the door but their parents weren’t home and there was a ghost behind Conor. Ciara screamed for help. Their neighbour came and said “What happened?”
“There’s a ghost behind Conor”
“Let me call for help”
But no one answered so she drove everywhere looking for help until she found a house that had lights on so she knocked on the door and someone answered.
It wasn’t a person, it was a witch, so the next door neighbour ran into her car, but the witch got her broom. The neighbour drove home but the witch was on her broom so she saw where she was going, so she followed the car home. She went down to the grass and ran into the house and got her phone and called Frankinstein to the house. They had a fight.
If the ghost, witch and Frankinstein won they got to stay. If Ciara, Conor, Niamh and the neighbour won the ghost, witch and Frankinstein would have to leave.
So they played rock paper scissors.
Ciara against the Ghost, Conor against the Witch and Niamh against Frankinstein and the neighbour keeping score.
So they played rock paper scissors. Ciara won, Conor won and Niamh lost. So they have to go!
“We won!” shouted Niamh.
The End.

Older Children's Section Winner

My Spooky Story
by Sophia Ní Fhloinn Ní Raghallaigh Rang a Sé, Gaelscoil Longfort
On the day of Halloween, a little boy decided to go and look for houses to trick or treat at. He came across a big black, old, shabby house falling to pieces. He asked a few of his friends would they go with him to the house. As they walked closer to the house they heard ‘BANG, BOOM, CLAP’. Even though he heard the noises he wasn’t afraid.
His friends Jack, Beth and Rose told him that a little girl once lived there with her parents, she was an only child, and she felt very lonely and sad. She was left in her house all by herself, day and night.
She was constantly frightened and one night as she walked down her stairs she fell through the staircase. Suddenly she heard three knocks at her door and it flung open. She wasn’t hurt just a little worried about the door opening.
She quietly walked outside the door to see if she could see anyone but no one was there, she walked back in quickly to go and get her flashlight. She returned back outside but still could not see anyone.
Her parents returned to find their daughter spooked, up sitting in the dark with the flashlight still on.

Teen Section Winner

The Dance of Doom
by Robyn Coughlan, Co. Longford
From the light of the street lamp, I could just about make out the shape of it dancing forward. The street was completely deserted and the only sound I could hear was the pitter-patter of it's straw-filled feet tapping lightly on the concrete.
6ft tall it was... and its eyes. Oh god its eyes. Red, burning slits, redder than the depths of hell.
I should have listened to my grandmother when she told me not to go into the cornfield. The field that held more evil than it did corn.
I was frozen in fear as it got closer. I didn't know how those straw-filled legs even kept it up.
It danced forward - the same dance it had been doing when I found it in the field. It was like it was waltzing, but without a partner. As it spun, and leaped in the most inhumane of ways, I found a tear escape from my eye and roll lightly down my face.
It was now only a couple of feet away from me and I could make out the evil grin that formed on it's cloth face.
I crouched on the ground, and closed my eyes - awaiting my fate. I could hear it as it got closer.
And then, it stopped.
Slowly, I opened my eyes and looked up. It was gone.
With a sigh, I blamed it on my over-active-imagination and stood up, beginning to walk away from the horror I had just endured.
There it was again. My heart dropped into my stomach when I turned back and saw what was there.
The scarecrow.
Only this time it was right beside me - bent down so that it's face was level with my own.
“Hello,” it hissed. “Would you care to dance?”

Adult Section Winner

I love your nails!
by Andy Jones, Co. Cavan
Imelda, who looked after the cosmetics, was a bit “tarty”, to be honest. The chemist’s son was always telling her that he “loved her nails, her hair, her frock”, when he was “helping” her in the stores. I was the messenger boy, so I could hear the stocktaking that went on sometimes.
One day she didn’t turn up for work. The boss’s son also failed to materialise, so when he appeared the next day but she did not, rumours went into overdrive. In those days, when a woman disappeared like that, there was usually a good reason. “She’ll be back slimmer” was the consensus.
No further thought was given to Imelda. Occasionally, someone would make a smart remark to the son, and he would go red, but that was it.
About a month after the bit of excitement, I was in the yard straining the noxious cough medicine the shop made, through layered muslin. The stuff had been simmering for weeks in a big cauldron on an old gas stove. It was a messy job.
I was almost finished squeezing the last few dollops out, when something caught my eye. I knew immediately that Imelda was NEVER coming back. A cluster of her favourite purply-red finger nails rested in my hand.