Tourism Minister Arlene Foster meets HAPPY DAYS Festival Founder Artistic Director Sean Doran, at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen

The Northern Ireland Minister for Tourism, Arlene Foster, met HAPPY DAYS Festival Founder Artistic Director Sean Doran at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, one of the key venues for the new destination arts festival celebrating the work and influences of the Nobel Prize-winning writer, Samuel Beckett.


Samuel Beckett, like Oscar Wilde before him, spent his formative years at Portora Royal School. The inaugural HAPPY DAYS ENNISKILLEN International Beckett Festival will take place 23-27 August 2012.
It will be the world’s first annual Festival dedicated to Nobel Prize-winning writer, Samuel Beckett. The Festival will celebrate Beckett’s work and influences and present some of the many international artists, writers, musicians and performers he has inspired.


Some of Northern Ireland’s most extraordinary landmarks will host HAPPY DAYS, including Enniskillen Castle, Castle Coole, Portora Royal School, Mount Lourdes School, Blakes of the Hollow, St Michael’s Church and St Macartin’s Cathedral.  The festival intends to attract Beckett fans and novices from around the world to enjoy the full Fermanagh Lakelands experience.


Tourism Minister Arlene Foster, said: “HAPPY DAYS is the world’s first arts festival dedicated to and inspired by the life and works of Samuel Beckett.  Fermanagh is proud of its association with Samuel Beckett, who attended the Portora Royal School as a boy, and was probably one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century. Connections such as this give us a real opportunity to create and deliver unique tourism experiences for visitors who are interested in the arts.
“The Festival will be a celebration of Beckett’s life and work, featuring a diverse mix of theatre, music, art, film, comedy and conversation, bringing together both local and international audiences and artists. It will take place in various venues across Enniskillen and this is Fermanagh’s opportunity to be part of what is a momentous year for Northern Ireland. Excitement is building and I am particularly looking forward to the world premiere of The Beckett Songbook by musician and composer Gavin Bryars.
“With so many outstanding celebrations and commemorations, this is a pivotal year for tourism in Northern Ireland and the Happy Days Festival will contribute to an amazing portfolio of events on offer. NI2012 is our time to shine both close to home and on the international stage.”


Sean Doran, Founder Artistic Director, HAPPY DAYS ENNISKILLEN said:

“The remarkable island town of Enniskillen is the perfect centre for a new festival celebrating Samuel Beckett. It has stolen the march on Dublin, London and Paris and will attract Beckett fans and newcomers to his work from around the world”.


Neill Morton, Headmaster Portora Royal School said:

“It is a cause of pride and delight that the HAPPY DAYS Festival dedicated to Samuel Beckett is grounded in his old school. We believe that Beckett’s incisive intellect was ignited at Portora and his brilliance – globally acknowledged – stands as a measure of the quality of education offered in Fermanagh, in the past, during the present and guaranteed for the future”. 



Sarah Mchugh, of Enniskillen Castle Museums said:

“As the heritage gateway to Fermanagh, Enniskillen Castle Museums is delighted to be hosting events as part of the International Beckett Festival. Representing over 600 years of history, including the oldest buildings in Enniskillen, the Castle will provide a stunning historic setting overlooking the River Erne. Celebrating part of the County’s rich cultural inheritance, the world-class programme includes a wealth of activities to spark the imagination of all ages.”


Jackie Owens, Ardhowen Theatre said:

“We at Ardhowen Theatre are proud to be one of the main hosts for the first annual Happy Days International Beckett Festival dedicated to one of the world’s greatest writers Samuel Beckett. We welcome this major cultural event bringing local and international audiences to the theatre”.


HAPPY DAYS is funded by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Arts Council Northern Ireland, the London 2012 Festival and Fermanagh District Council.


The programme will present a diverse mix of international theatre, music, art, comedy and conversation from world class Irish, UK and international artists and writers. Selected highlights have been announced and include World, UK and Ireland Premieres for which tickets are now on sale. The full HAPPY DAYS programme will be announced in June 2012. More information and tickets available from