British aristocrat Dame Emily Naper is returning after 30 years in Ireland to her childhood home of Manorbier Castle to run writing and creative arts courses and retreats at the historic site.

The courses – for both residents and day visitors – kick off on November 9th with the critically-acclaimed Esther Freud on novel writing, followed by food writing and poetry courses, and creative fiction for beginners in December.

It’s a labour of love for Dame Emily (nee Dashwood), a master gilder who plans to teach the ancient art at the medieval castle, the birthplace of Gerard of Wales. She is leaving her County Meath estate in Ireland, which she saved from financial ruin by setting up a successful adventure course and opera festival.

“Manorbier and the immediate vicinity have strong literary associations including George Bernard Shaw, Walter de la Mare and Virginia Woolf,” said Emily, who had to learn to walk again after suffering postoperative paralysis.

Each four-day residential writing course in the castle will involve assignments, discussions and one-to-one teaching, culminating in a candle-lit supper in the atmospheric 13th century chapel.

And Dame Emily is now hoping the writing courses will become as popular as the surfing, hiking and walking in this beautiful coastal location.

Said course director, the arts correspondent and author Celia Lyttelton: “The courses are designed to be fluid and informal and not too intensive, to leave time for participants to write and explore the gorgeous coastal paths surrounding the castle – although the castle drawbridge is pulled up at 11pm!

“Participants will dine together and take turns to cook supper in pairs by rota, with menu-cards and ingredients supplied by the course directors. Guests will be encouraged to read from their course work or personal projects after dinner if they so wish.”

For information visit or call 01646 621500.