September 17th to 19th, 2021

Welcome to the 3rd annual Listowel International Storytelling Festival at Kerry Writers’ Museum. We are delighted to announce that the festival will be live in person in Listowel from September 17th to 19th and will feature a packed programme of events including storytelling sessions & workshops, story & history walks, children’s events and music sessions. We are especially thrilled to have acclaimed storyteller Maria Gillen as our Artistic Director for the festival.




View our festival Covid-19 Safety Regulations


Ireland’s Storytelling Tradition

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. Ireland is famed throughout the world for the art of storytelling. The Irish 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. Today in the 21st century there has been a tremendous revival of this ancient art which we celebrate and promote at Listowel International Storytelling Festival.

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.

Listowel International Storytelling Festival is kindly supported by:

Kerry County Council & Fáilte Ireland under the Festival & Participative Events Programme 2021