Farmleigh and Dublin Book Festival Family Fun Day with Niamh Donnellan, Shane Hegarty, Emma-Jane Leeson, Leona Forde, Muireann Ní Chíobháin, Alan Nolan, Children's Books Ireland and Music Generation Dublin City

In Partnership with OPW - Office of Public Works

  • Monday 05th August @ 11:00 am
  • Farmleigh Phoenix Park
  • Free. Booking required

    Dublin Book Festival, in collaboration with the OPW, is delighted to present a fun-filled summer day of book and creative events for all the family to enjoy, all taking place in the beautiful grounds of Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park.

    Join us for an exciting and action-packed day of events and workshops featuring some of Ireland’s best-loved children’s authors and illustrators including Niamh Donnellan, Leona Forde, Shane Hegarty, Emma-Jane Leeson, Muireann Ní Chíobháin and Alan Nolan. Get your next book recommendation from the Children’s Books Ireland Book Clinic, then try your hand at several musical instruments at the Music Generation Dublin City workshop, before kicking back and enjoying a performance for all the family.

    We’ll also have plenty of drop-in activities to enjoy, including a self-led family scavenger hunt to enjoy in your own time, book shop browsing, our children’s book swap stand, and our creative arts and craft station. So come on down to Farmleigh on Monday August 5th for our festival events and a stroll around the beautiful grounds.

    1 ticket must be booked per person attending. This is a free event. Alternatively, by choosing a donation ticket to any amount, you would be making a welcome contribution to future DBF events!

    This is an outdoor event on the lawns behind the house so please dress for the weather and feel free to bring picnic blankets.

    Please note we will be capturing candid imagery at this event for use on our social media.

    Please visit the Farmleigh website to help plan your visit.

    Book Tickets HERE

    Full Event Details Below

    Little Irish Folklore Friends with Niamh Donnellan

    11am – 11.40am

    Age guideline: 4 + year olds

    Liam the Leprechaun, Betty the Banshee, Pádraig the Púca, Willow the Wisp, Fiadh the Fairy and Seán the Selkie all have two things in common. One, they are all from families of mischievous, cunning and spooky Irish creatures. Two, they would all very much like to make a friend! But how can they do that when their powers seek to fright instead of delight? Join author Niamh Donnellan as she reads from her new book, Little Irish Folklore Friends (Gill Books), and takes you on an adventure discovering her brilliant characters and all the mischief they are getting up to!

    Dexter Lost His Boo-Woo with Shane Hegarty

    12pm – 12.45pm

    Age guideline: 4 + year olds

    HELP!!! Dexter’s lost his Boo-Woo and he needs some help in finding it again! It’s a scary sounding beast! It has fiery eyes and floppy ears, and twenty pointy teeth! Are YOU brave enough to join the search? Join author Shane Hegarty for this exciting and fun-filled event based on his latest book Dexter’s Lost His Boo-Woo (Hodder Children’s), an action-packed adventure with an unexpected twist about losing – and finding! – your favourite toy, and then join in a drawalong to create your own monster!

    Johnny Magory Wildlife and Heritage Workshop with Emma-Jane Leeson

    12.30pm – 1.15pm

    Age guideline: 4 – 8 year olds

    In the Johnny Magory series of books, Johnny, his family, and their trusty dog Ruairi get up to all sorts of adventures touring Ireland, and discovering its beautiful landscapes, amazing wildlife, history and heritage as they go! From a magical Fleadh Cheoil with the woodland animals to the old man fishing for the Salmon of Knowledge, and the game of rounders with all the animals amongst the flora and fauna of the raised bogs of Ireland. Join author Emma-Jane Leeson for this super fun interactive event with a selection of readings, engaging conversations, yoga movements and dancing to music!

    Milly McCarthy and the Sports Day Shambles with Leona Forde

    1pm – 2pm

    Age guideline: 7 + year olds

    When Milly’s class gets a substitute teacher, he’s super strict and obsessed with PE! So much so, he convinces their principal to allow their class to organise a Lá Spóirt for the whole school. Soon Milly’s taking part in the egg and spoon race, the three-legged race and even a bit of archery …Sure, what could possibly go wrong? Join author Leona Forde for a reading from her latest book, Milly McCarthy and the Sports Day Shambles (Gill Books), a special Milly McCarthy quiz, and a ‘make your own medal’ craft activity. It’ll be totally brilliant!

    Gealach agus Grian with Muireann Ní Chíobháin

    1.30pm – 2.15pm

    Age guideline: 0 – 7 year olds

    Ar chuir tú ceist ort féin riamh cén fáth a bhfuil an Ghealach agus an Ghrian ina gcónaí ansin thuas go hard sa spéir? Bhuel, gheobhaidh tú freagra na ceiste sin sa scéal gleoite, greannmhar seo le Muireann Ní Chíobháin, agus seans nach bhfuil an freagra céanna chomh heolaíoch is a cheapfá… Ní raibh ann ach beirt dlúthchairde a bhí an-mhór lena chéile ach ar theastaigh beagán spáis dá gcuid féin uathu chomh maith!

    Did you ever wonder just how the Sun and Moon came to live in the sky? This cute and funny story explains exactly how it came to be, and it’s not as scientific as you might think. A simple case of two polar opposite best friends who needed their own space. 

    Join author Muireann Ní Chíobháin for this special bilingual event with readings and crafts based on her latest book Gealach agus Grian (Futa Fata).

    Molly & Bram’s Dickensian Dublin with Alan Nolan

    2.30pm – 3.30pm

    Age guideline: 7 + year olds

    How well do you think you know Dublin in Victorian times? Join author & illustrator Alan Nolan as he brings you on a whirlwind trip around Dublin’s lost landmarks and creepiest crypts – as featured in his new hysterically historical series of children’s books, starring the young Molly Malone and her best pal Bram Stoker (The O’Brien Press)! Meet the ‘real-life’ Molly and Bram, test your knowledge in the Dickensian Dublin Quiz, and learn how to draw a Deadly Dublin legend …

    CBI Book Clinic

    11.30am – 3.30pm

    In partnership with Children’s Books Ireland

    Age guideline: 0 – 18 year olds

    Are you a young reader? Looking for a new series to delve into? Feeling uninspired by your bookshelves at home? Then pop along to Book Doctor Derek at the Children’s Books Ireland Book Clinic! Chat to the Book Doctor, consult on your favourite reads and leave with a prescription for your next book which you can take to your local bookshop or library!

    Children’s Books Ireland Book Doctors give guidance about books to children and their families. Based on an informal chat, the white coat-clad Children’s Books Ireland Book Doctors recommend excellent books for any age of young reader, supported by Children’s Books Ireland’s many reading resources.

    All families are welcome to the Book Clinic, regardless of ability, need or barriers to reading. Every child leaves the Book Clinic with their own individual Book Prescription and a copy of Children’s Books Ireland’s Reading Guide. The Book Clinic operates on a drop-in basis. Each Book Doctor consultation will be 15 minutes in duration. The Book Doctor will have time to meet a maximum of 16 children over the course of the clinic so places are strictly limited and will be offered on a first-come, first served basis.

    Music Generation Dublin City Workshop 

    2.30pm – 4pm

    Age guideline: All the family

    Let the music begin! Join us to try a range of instruments alongside tutors from Music Generation. This workshop will allow children to move around and explore different instruments with the guidance of professionals. Followed by a musical performance for all the family to enjoy. 

    Farmleigh Family Scavenger Hunt

    11.30am – 3.30pm

    Age guideline: All the Family

    An exciting self-led scavenger hunt for all the family to work as a team! Pick up your clues at registration, get exploring the grounds at Farmleigh and return for your prize!

    Creative Station 

    11.30am – 4pm

    Age guideline: All the Family

    Bring your imagination for inspiration and get drawing at our doodle hang-out where you can use leaves and other nature items to add to your artwork! 

    Children’s Book Swap

    11.30am – 4pm

    Age guideline: All the family

    Bring an old book to swap for one from our book swap stand!


    Niamh Donnellan is a writer and poet from Co. Meath, where she lives with her two young sons. She won the Anthology Short Story Competition in 2020 and was longlisted for the Fish Short Fiction Prize 2019. This is her debut picture book.



    Credit: John Beasley

    Leona Forde is an English and History teacher from Bandon, County Cork, and this is her debut series. She wrote Milly McCarthy for her daughter, who wanted to read a Wimpy Kid style story but not one set in the US or UK. Leona is married with four children.




    Shane Hegarty is a children’s writer and journalist. Formerly Arts Editor of The Irish Times, his first children’s series Darkmouth was nominated for the Waterstones Prize and an Irish Book Award. His most recent series ‘Boot’ was nominated for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards, An Post Irish Book Awards and was selected as the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature CityWide Read for 2020. His writing has been translated into over 15 languages worldwide. He is also a columnist for The Sunday Times.


    Emma-Jane Leeson is one of Ireland’s leading children’s book authors. She is the creator and founder of the Johnny Magory books, Ireland’s favourite outdoor adventurer. EJ is obsessed with Irish wildlife and exploring the outdoors. She has held residencies with the Irish Libraries and works with children across Ireland and beyond promoting imagination, storytelling and literature. She is also a yoga instructor and runs classes, events and forest school for adults and children from her Woodland Retreat in county Kildare.

    Muireann Ní Chíobháin is passionate about creating and writing stories for young audiences. Creator and Lead Writer of RTÉjr series such as Dig In Diner and Mr. Mender and The Chummyjiggers, to name but a few, , Muireann is also the current DCU Irish Language Writer in Residence. Muireann’s publishing credentials include Murphy’s Law (The O’Brien Press), the series Eoinín (Futa Fata), and picturebook Scúnc agus Smúirín (Futa Fata) which was shortlisted for the CBI KPMG Book of the Year Awards 2020 and Gealach agus Grian also published with Futa Fata.

    Alan Nolan is a comic creator and is the author and illustrator of children’s books such as Fintan’s Fifteen, Conor’s Caveman and the Sam Hannigan series. He is the illustrator of the popular Gordon’s Game books written by Gordon D’Arcy and Paul Howard, as well as Animal Crackers by Sarah Webb. His new book, Molly Malone & Bram Stoker in the Riddle of the Disappearing Dickens, the latest in his Molly & Bram series which includes the #1 best-seller The Curious Case of the Irish Yeti, is out in August!

    Children’s Books Ireland is the national books organisation of Ireland. Through their many activities and events they aim to engage young people with books, foster a greater understanding of the importance of books for young people and act as a core resource for those with an interest in books for children in Ireland. One of their missions is to champion every child’s right to excellent books and live literature events and support the artists who make that goal possible across the island of Ireland.


    Music Generation Dublin City provides a variety of music programmes for children and young people around the Dublin City area. Professional musicians facilitate learning on a wide range of instruments, voice and music technology across all styles of music. Through partnerships across the city we aim to offer rich and diverse musical opportunities to young people. Music Generation Dublin City is managed by the Dublin City Music Education Partnership, led by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board in partnership with Dublin City Council.