September 15th to 18th, 2022

Welcome to the 4th annual Listowel International Storytelling Festival at Kerry Writers’ Museum. We are delighted to announce that our 2022 festival will take place from SEPTEMBER 15th to 18th 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.


A message from our Artistic Director

I am DELIGHTED to be returning as your Artistic Director and as your Storyteller in Residence in 2022. It has been a tough few years where the Listowel International Storytelling Festival has had to find ways to stretch and change as the world circumstances demanded. We are SO proud that we managed to keep going through the Covid Crisis, bringing our festival online in 2020 and having a smaller live festival in 2021.

During that time we have found many silver linings to the Covid Cloud. The inception of our wonderful archive that has gained a world wide fan base, the online story circles that kept us connected and the recognition of those efforts by Bealtaine when we won the Bealtaine Hero Award.

We are near the end of the tunnel now, Thank God, and we are ready to CELEBRATE as the Listowel International Storytelling Festival 2022 gets underway. Come join our tribe, meet old friends and new on the Story Road – All are welcome and we can’t wait to see you.

Mise le meas – Maria Gillen



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:

Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media

Kerry County Council

Fáilte Ireland