Roll the dice for Ireland’s first board game festival

Settlers of Catan; Stone Age; or King of Tokyo — just some of the more unusual games set to feature in what’s being billed as Ireland’s first-ever Festival of Board Games.

Organisers are feverishly planning three days of tournaments, workshops and have-a-go sessions which will feature just about every board game you’ve ever heard of — and then some.

The board game extravaganza will take place in more than 18 venues in the West Cork town of Clonakilty and will feature everything from backgammon, to chess, chess as gaeilge, Monopoly, Scrabble and Where’s Wally.

The organisers, who are this week putting the final touches to a special website on the event, also promise an Inventor’s Corner — Neil Crowley, inventor of Crooks; and Clonakilty resident Murray Heasman, the inventor of the award-winning game Tara will attend the festival which is scheduled to run from February 7 to 9, while Una O’Boyle, the Irish chess champion will be available to meet fans, and is scheduled to give some chess tutorials as gaeilge.

“It’s a nice indoor, family fun event and February is a very quiet time of year, so we thought it would be good to have something cheerful happening around then,” said Miriam Cotton, one of the organisers.

The festival is the brainchild of board game fans and local business people, Phil Newton and Karen Moroney of Clonakilty Business Solutions. Phil recently started the Clonakilty Backgammon Club which, after just four months, is already the biggest in Ireland.

“We want to flag the fact that the festival is happening,” explained Ms Cotton.

“Our intention is to make it an annual event but at this stage, we have no way of knowing how popular it will be, though there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm about it already.”

She said: “Lots of board games will be represented — all the major ones and there will also be a centre with games that would not be as well-known, like Carcassonne.

“Some board-game players, for example in chess, bridge or backgammon, take it very seriously, while others just like playing the games for fun, and although we do our best it’s not about prizes or championships, more about family fun.

“We want to begin generating interest in the festival now in the hope that people will note the event in their diaries and make a commitment either to come along or to get involved. The festival is a free event, organised by volunteers so we need all of the support we can get!”



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