Hey there, I’m Steve, from Resonance.

I’m here to spill the beans on why we took the plunge and dived headfirst into organising a mind-blowing “festival of ideas” in our charming twin towns, Ballina and Killaloe. Picture this: I was strolling around town with a friend, when we got to chatting about what gets our creative juices flowing. And then it hit us—what if we could gather a bunch of awe-inspiring speakers and musicians in our cosy little community for a mind-expanding “festival of ideas”?

That magical moment took place in the summer of 2022, and that friend of mine was none other than the sensational Emily Ross. We drew inspiration from the likes of TED Talks and Other Voices, envisioning a celebration of intellect and music. Now, when it came to picking the perfect spot, our eyes landed on none other than the majestic Saint Flannan’s Cathedral, perched on the banks of the mighty River Shannon—a spot dripping with history and timeless charm.

But let’s not kid ourselves here. There’s a world of difference between having a brilliant idea and pulling off a full-blown, multi-day extravaganza. Fortunately, Emily and I had some experience organising events from our work lives, giving us the audacity to believe that Resonance could become a reality. We were blessed with a network of talented friends in the music, arts management, technology, and creative realms—a circle we knew we could rely on. Plus, we were lucky to be situated in a breath-taking tourist destination, boasting hotels, restaurants, music venues, scenic trails for walkers, runners, and cyclists, and a whole spectrum of water-based adventures.

Our theme took inspiration from the musings of the remarkable John D. Barrow, the author of “Impossibility,” as he grappled with the realisation that science has its limits and that new-fangled technologies don’t always yield positive outcomes. Yet, at the same time, we acknowledged that creatives require fresh tools and technologies to tackle the complex challenges facing our society.

And let me tell you about our jaw-dropping venue—a place steeped in history, where change moves at a glacial pace. Dust has settled, cobwebs remain undisturbed, and there’s an undeniable wisdom lingering within those ancient stones that have stood the test of time. There’s a defiance, a sense that our forebears came together, poured their hearts into building this majestic structure for a loftier purpose. Even if they didn’t live long enough to witness the fruits of their labour, they left us with the awe-inspiring legacy of Saint Flannan’s Cathedral.

Resonance asks the burning question: are we failing to learn from our past? Will the future witness humanity not only repeating mistakes but compounding them? Can we navigate toward a vision of a brighter tomorrow by uniting creatives and technologists beneath one awe-inspiring roof—a 13th-century cathedral roof, gazing out upon the mighty River Shannon? And what sort of mind-bending ideas might spark in the minds of our audience through these electrifying conversations?

Resonance was an idea that begged for realisation. However, the journey from idea to waterside event turned out to be no smooth sailing. We needed funding, a dream team, a captivating line-up of speakers, and top-notch technical setup encompassing sound, lighting, and staging—all within a 13th-century structure that requires tender loving care. But fear not, my friends, I’ll fill you in on the juicy details in my next update. Stay tuned!