Mícheál de Barra was born and reared at the edge of the Burren – his spiritual home – in Co. Clare. After qualifying as a primary school teacher at Coláiste Mhuire, Dublin, he completed a BA Degree and a Higher Diploma in Education at UCD and a Masters Degree in Education at Trinity College. Having spent almost 40 years in education, he is now retired, dividing his time between Spain and Ireland. He has dedicated part of his retirement to writing.
His first book – An Bóthar go Santiago – is the diary of his 900 km walk along the ancient pilgrimage route from Southern France across Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela and Finisterre. The Camino is one of the three great pilgrimages of the Middle Ages and there are records of intrepid Irishmen and women making this perilous journey going back to the 13th century. James Rice, Mayor of Waterford, made the pilgrimage twice, in 1473 and again in 1483.
‘An Bóthar go Santiago’ – the topic of his presentation – is described by Veritas as ‘an Irish pilgrim’s perspective on an ancient journey. A personal contemporary account of the physical and human landscape which he encounters along the way.’ This book won the Glen Dimplex Irish Language Award.
His second book – Gaeil I dTír na nGauchos – narrates the story of Irish emigrants to Argentina. It was born out of conversations with elderly Irishmen at the Hurling Club in Buenos Aires many years ago. These men spoke with strong Westmeath and Wexford accents
Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.