The Memoir Team

Your Hosts

Ireland captured our hearts many years ago. After experiencing the power of this magical country, we became determined to share it with others. Together, we founded Memoir Tours to provide a deeper travel experience in Ireland and, in the process, discovered that Killala is an ideal setting for a writing retreat.

We've designed the Memoir Tour with you, the writer, in mind. Blending a love for all things Irish with our wealth of experience in guiding individual clients and groups, we help you bring your unique story and memories to the page. We’re dedicated to providing a tour experience that inspires your creativity, so you can devote yourself to ten days of writing, reflecting and relaxing in Ireland, a land steeped in literary tradition.

Barb Robitaille

Co-Founder & Host

During my first trip to Ireland in 1999, I felt the deep connection of being called home. I’ve gone back regularly ever since, coordinating tours and retreats and exploring new places.

In my practice as a personal coach, I support people in taking back creative control of their life ~ seeing change as a gift and opportunity to create a life of meaning and purpose. I draw from a deep reservoir of understanding, intuition, and experience.

As a writer and book lover, Ireland’s soft air, peat fires, and holy wells inspire me like no other place I’ve known. To Memoir Tours, I bring my love of the Irish landscape, people, and language, along with my experience in leading individuals on their inner journey, while being held in Ireland’s embrace.

Craig Stewart

Co-Founder & Host

I write songs and stories and work behind the page as a copy editor and ghostwriter. I treasure writing and receiving handwritten letters.

Music has been an integral part of my life; I was an elementary school teacher for more than twenty years, during which time singing with students received equal billing alongside fractions and long division.

I take immense pleasure in sharing the magnificent landscape and culture of Ireland with our guests. On Memoir Tours, I ensure you are comfortable, relaxed, and have the creature comforts you need to support your writing. From beginning each day with a song, to guiding guests to traditional music sessions in Killala, I help you experience the Irish music that moves heart and soul.

Writing Mentors

Helen Falconer

Author & Writing Teacher

Helen has been teaching creative writing for twelve years, and is the author of five novels. She edits and supports a small stable of both self-published and traditionally published writers, and enjoys helping new writers to find their voice.

"Helen is truly one of the greatest editors I’ve worked with. She’s thorough, she’s brilliant, and I highly recommend her services to any writer who wants to bring their book to its fullest potential." 

~ Jax Miller / Author of Freedom’s Child & Candyland

Marion Roach Smith

Author & Memoir Coach

Marion is the author of four mass-market books, the most recent of which is The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life.

A former staffer at The New York Times, she has been a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered and a talk show host on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Marion is a sought-after speaker on the power of telling one’s tale and the value of memoir. She is a long-time teacher of memoir and has taught thousands of people to write what they know. She currently runs a writing lab, teaching memoir worldwide.

Kate Kerrigan

Author & Teacher

Kate is an author living and working in Ireland. Her novel Recipes for a Perfect Marriage was shortlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year and New York Times bestseller.

Kate began her career as an editor and journalist, editing many of Britain’s most successful young women’s magazines including more! and Just Seventeen, before returning to her native Ireland in the 1990’s.

She writes a weekly column in the Irish Mail about her life in Killala, County Mayo, teaches creative writing and mentors at National University College Galway– and contributes regularly to the RTE radio program Sunday Miscellany.

Denis Quinn

Naturalist & Guide

Denis is a Failte Ireland-approved local marine and countryside guide and the founder of Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours. He holds an Honours degree in Heritage Studies, and received the Award for Academic Excellence.

Denis has a huge love for the unspoilt north Mayo environment with its stunning land and seascapes and wide open skies. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of natural and built heritage, folklore, flora & fauna, and archaeology in a relaxed, easygoing manner.

Paula Austin

Travel Chef

Paula has been cooking for as long as she can remember. She trained in Classical French Cuisine under the tutelage of the late Robert Reynolds and later co-founded The Irreverent Spoon, a pop-up dinner club in Portland, Oregon. Paula now owns and operates Vanilla Stag, an artisan bakery in Joseph, Oregon.

Paula is the Memoir Tours chef, where she prepares wholesome meals using Ireland’s bounty. Paula’s cooking style gathers community around the table, brings quality ingredients forward and heightens them to create stimulating experiences for all the senses.

Liz Keane

Owner, Old Deanery Cottages

Liz is the owner of The Old Deanery Holiday Cottages, where our guests make their nest during the tour. Her warm smile and generous spirit make you feel as though you’ve known her forever. With Liz, laughter flows, hearts open and ideas flourish.

Along with her passion for operating the cottages, Liz founded The Joe Keane Creative Centre, named in memory of her father. The Center is set in a restored Victorian stable situated on the hillside above the cottages. The Center offers many interesting classes, courses and workshops bringing people in the community together to learn and have fun.

Una Morris

Visual Artist

Una Morris is a visual artist based in Killala, Ireland. Una’s art pieces are a catalyst for reflection on human experiences, revelations and remembrances. By harnessing the happiness and trauma of her own life, she is able to communicate the deeper currents within human relationships through her work.