Swift and Vanessa Festival

June 2nd - 5th 2023

Celebrating a love story

Celebration of a love story

June 3rd 2023 marks the 300 anniversary since the death of Esther van Homrigh of Celbridge Abbey. Esther was the lover of the renowned Irish writer and satirist Jonathan Swift, for whom he coined the name ‘Vanessa’. Some of Swift’s writings include reference to Vanessa for example ‘Cadenus and Vanessa’, an autobiographical poem about Swift’s relationship with Esther where the name Vanessa first appeared. However, the love story was turbulent and difficult.

This festival celebrates this love story and brings Vanessa and Swift’s deep, passionate and tense romance on the banks of the Liffey in Celbridge Abbey to life. Join us for a programme of events in a romantic, dramatic and fun-filled festival this June bank holiday weekend. See the full programme of events and come along!

At the heart of celbridge

Courting grounds

Celbridge Abbey, the home of 'Vanessa' and from where she constantly wrote letters inviting Swift to visit her. On those special days they walked in the beautiful gardens of the Abbey and sat together in 'Vanessa's bower' - a romantic stone structure. The Rockbridge over the liffey is another icon location in the grounds - of their romance. The Abbey is in private ownership by the John of Gods.

Some Festival Events

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