Cole’s Monument will get a makeover for the first A Wilde Weekend festival, a celebration of the Portora educated literary giant Oscar Wilde.

Brain-child of Derry born festival director Sean Doran, who created The Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, the inaugural A Wilde Weekend festival will take place on the May Day bank holiday weekend (May 1-4, 2015) in venues across Fermanagh.

Local sculptor Alan Milligan will take part in a performance art project that will see Cole’s Monument gilded with a gold leaf design, with a dead bronze statue of a swallow at the bottom of the monument, an ode to Wilde’s children’s story The Happy Prince.

“Oscar Wilde attended Portora Royal School for seven years (1864-71). His most popular short story and fable The Happy Prince is arguably inspired by Enniskillen’s setting, Cole’s Monument, the Cathedral, the island town streets and surrounding reeded lakes,” Mr. Doran says. “The inaugural festival will be co-produced by the Wilde Group of lead volunteers. It is a pilot festival that will substantially grow in the future.” During A Wilde Weekend, locals and visitors will be encouraged to show off their individuality through fashion and the organisers hope to create a Wildeflower Town, asking the Council and high street shops to create their own flower displays using Wilde’s favourite flowers and colours.

Festival venues will include “the Big Houses of Fermanagh” such asCastle Coole and Florence Court. Other venues will include Portora Royal School, the Masonic Hall, the Ardhowen Theatre, the Old Gaol in South West College, Forthill Park (using its former name Camomile), the Clinton Centre and Castle Island.

Specific events will include Wilde Talks, classical music events and performances such as Oscar Wilde at home (in Florence Court) with seven actors performing texts from Lady Windermere’s Fan and Importance of Being Earnest and The Decay of Lying (at Castle Coole Library), where Wilde’s essay will be narrated by two actors, directed by Adrian Dunbar.