The Oliver Goldsmith Literary Festival

Goldsmith Statue at Ballymahon

The Oliver Goldsmith Literary Festival, is a tribute to the life , poetry and literature of the great writer Oliver Goldsmith who hailed from the village of Pallas, in County Longford.  Held every year in Goldsmiths honor, the festival is always a well attended affair with both poets and writers of local, national and international recognition in attendance. Combining a series of talks, poetry recitals, a literary tour of Goldsmith country as well as musical entertainment, the weekend sees ever increasing numbers come to join in the celebration. This years programme of events is available to see by visiting the dedicated website,

Born into the world on Nov. 10, 1728,  the fifth of eight children, he was awkward and slight, and an early attack of smallpox which left him pitifully marked for life. All of his life, Goldsmith suffered from a desperate lack of self-confidence, especially among people of eminence or fashion, although he could be robustly, prankishly happy in the tippling, ballad-singing company of tavern jokers.

When Goldsmith was not quite 16 years old, he entered Trinity College, Dublin. However Goldsmiths sister having become engaged to a rich mans son, the father (a poor Anglican clergyman) made it a point of honour to provide her with a substantial dowry. In doing so he exhausted the family fortunes. The result was that Goldsmith had to attend Trinity as a sizar, that is, as one who got free lodging and the scraps of the commons kitchen; in return for this, he did menial chores. He also had to wear a distinctive garb to indicate his inferior status. Nevertheless, he managed to scrape a Bachelor of Arts degree by 1749.

Then Goldsmith studied theology, law, and medicine in turn for a year or two each; but he preferred fishing and flute playing to books. He traveled for a year in Europe, and then settled in London. He claimed to be a physician with a degree from a foreign university, and people called him “doctor.” Nobody came for treatment, however, so he turned to writing.

Goldsmiths essays “The Citizen of the World”, published in 1762, won the attention of Samuel Johnson, then England’s leading man of letters. Johnson included Goldsmith in his circle of friends. Writing brought Goldsmith a fair income, but he was perpetually in debt. He died on April 4, 1774, after trying to cure himself of a fever.

“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” ( The Citizen of the World (1732) Oliver Goldsmith)

Venue: Abbeyshrule and Ballymahon
Contact: Seamus Mc Cormack
Tel: 00353 (0)87 6189506

County Longford Tourism Office Market Square, Longford, Ireland    Phone: +353 (0)43 33 42577 +353 (0)85 8888876    Email: