John McGahern’s sister Margaret takes a moment to herself in the old barracks in Cootehall where she and the writer spent much of their childhood. Photograph: Brian Farrell

John McGahern’s sister Margaret sat on a low wall in front of the barracks in Cootehall, Co Roscommon, and pointed to the spot where her father used t(...)

John McGahern,  near his home in Leitrim, in 1990. After his mother’s death when he was 10, McGahern and his siblings moved into the Cootehill barracks to live with their father, Frank, wh was a sergeant there for many yeares. Photogaph: Frank Miller

It was the inspiration for John McGahern’s first novel and now the writer’s close association with the barracks in Cootehall, Co Roscommon, is to be c(...)

Jim Brennan and Shane Toolan in Hargadons Bar in Sligo town during the Yeats Vintage  Day event on Saturday, part of the Tread Softly festival. Photograph: James Connolly/PicSell8

After 53 years you might think they’d run out of things to say at the annual Yeats International Summer School in Sligo. Far from it. This year, a new(...)