LISTOWEL INTERNATIONAL STORYTELLING FESTIVAL
September 18th to 20th
Welcome to the 2nd annual Listowel International Storytelling Festival at Kerry Writers’ Museum. While we would love to bring you the festival in person, it is just not possible this year, so we are delighted to present the next best thing with a programme of online storytelling events featuring the best of Irish and international storytellers. We are especially thrilled to welcome Maria Gillen as our featured teller for the weekend and we are also partnering with St. John’s Storytelling Festival in Newfoundland this year.
Events will be delivered live online via ZOOM, our Facebook page and our YouTube channel.
For the full programme of events and how to register for each click HERE
Storytelling is as old as humanity itself. In fact, it’s the oldest form of entertainment, well before the written word and well before radio or television. It dates to the times of tribes gathering around the fire to listen to heroic tales and legends. The word seanchaí means a bearer of “old lore” (seanchas). In the ancient Celtic culture, the history and laws of the people were not written down but memorised in long lyric poems which were recited by bards (filí) in a tradition echoed by the seanchaithe. Because of their role as custodians of an indigenous oral tradition, the seanchaithe are widely acknowledged to have inherited – although informally – the function of the filí of pre-Christian Ireland.
Born in Sliabh Luachra, Co. Kerry in 1914, Eamon Kelly is considered Ireland’s greatest Seanchaí. Whilst teaching in Listowel, Eamon co-founded the Listowel Drama Group with Bryan MacMahon in 1944, where he developed his love for acting.
I only know what I heard, I only heard what was said and a lot of what was said was made up to pass the night away! So put a sod on the fire, give an apple to the child and pour a drink for the storyteller.
A message from our featured teller Maria Gillen
MEET OUR TELLERS
During the Covid Lockdown Maria has hosted ZOOM storytelling sessions with global input for Storytellers of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day and World Storytelling Day. She was Bean an Tí for the Mermaid Arts Centre Bealtaine Festival. She has also been running popular Medicinal Story Circles online in New Zealand and Ireland.
In 2018 and 2019 Maria featured as an emerging storyteller in the annual Cape Clear Storytelling festival. In 2018 and 2019 she won the Mick McCarthy All Ireland Storytelling competition in Finuge with her own original tales harvested from her work with the six part story and collecting local wisdoms through story. She was a featured teller at the annual Listowel Writers Week in 2017. In 2017 she won the Butter Road Storytelling Competition in Blarney with an original story about the Butter Roads.
It was in Listowel, of course, that Frances met John B. Keane, one of her idols and there were many great singing nights in his pub. John B. encouraged Frances to tell a recitation or a yarn and before she knew it she was entertaining often.
Originally from California, Godfrey now lives in Listowel, with a leprechaun, a fancy dog, and a retired pirate. She tells stories regularly at the Kerry County Library and works with Fighting Words, a creative writing program that helps students of all ages develop their writing skills and explore their love of writing. She regularly walks the streets of Listowel, searching for new adventures and new friends.
Paddy can entertain any audience from age 3 to 103 with his fantastic stories, songs and verse – told in his own inimitable way.
Consider making a donation!
In this unparalleled time of challenge and change, we have moved our storytelling festival online to protect our tellers and audiences. All our events are free to attend.
While we are generously supported by State and Local Authority funding, and as a community not-for-profit organisation our tickets sales are an integral part of how we continue to provide exceptional storytelling and cultural experiences. If you are in a position to do so, please consider making a small donation: €5 – €20 will help us to deliver quality programming . Thank you!
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under The Small Scale Festivals Scheme 2020.
Kerry County Council and Fáilte Ireland under the Festivals & Participative Events Programme 2020.