Write By The Sea and Wexford Library are delighted to present an hour of storytelling from some of Ireland’s most beloved storytellers,
EDDIE LENIHAN, JOE BRENNAN AND BAYA
Date: Saturday 28th September 2019
Venue: Registration is at 6.45pm in the Stella Maris
Centre, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford.
These events are free and open to all. Places are limited. All three storytelling events run concurrently. To book a place for Eddie Lenihan, Joe Brennan OR Baya, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, see www.writebythesea.ie
See below for more information on our storytellers.
When Eddie Lenihan appeared in Irish national television’s 12-part series ‘Storyteller’ in 1986, most of those seeing and hearing him were doing so for the first time. However, two further series titled ‘Ten Minute Tales’ in 1987 and 1988 changed all that for good.
But what viewers did not know was that he had already by then 6 books behind him, as well as 5 audio tapes, besides years of folklore-gathering, particularly in his native Co. Kerry, but also in many other parts of Ireland. It is this love of mixing with, listening to older generations (which he still keeps to this very day) that underpins everything he does, and after 42 years of collecting, he now possesses probably the largest tape-library in private hands in Ireland – a unique resource of irreplaceable material that would otherwise have been lost.
In gratitude to the excellent storytellers who have shared their proud and ancient Irish tradition with him down the years – and who were so insistent that it should not die – Eddie has done his best, through personal appearances, as well as books, tapes, CDs and video, to spread the wonderful message of Irish lore – no difficult task, since its own very depth and scope make it a world unparalleled.
By a happy accident, in 1981 he began to tell bed-time stories to his own children, and the hero he chose was Fionn Mac Cumhail (Finn Mc Cool). Down the centuries the adventures of this mighty warrior and the Fianna, his heroic band of companions, has given pleasure to Irish people.
Eddie began to develop a whole new sequence of tales – presently over 400 and the list is still growing. Seven books of these have already been published and there is no end to the list in sight. And let no one be fooled by the words ‘for children’ on each. Adults will find them equally thought-provoking, amusing, grotesque and more.
Another interest central to Eddie’s research is the fairies, the Good People. This had very practical results in 1999 when, through his single-handed efforts, a sceach (fairy bush) was saved from road-builders at Latoon, Co. Clare. The case made world-wide news, featuring in the New York Times, on CNN as well as on several European national TV networks and received much public support. The authorities finally agreed to re-route the new highway, and the bush is still standing.
Haunted places, fairy paths, holy wells: Eddie’s researches into them all is ongoing. In fact, whatever involves walking the landscape, talking to old people, hopefully glimpsing the Otherworld, interests him. This is reflected in his books ´Meeting the Other Crowd´, an anthology of testimonies from believers in the fairy faith, and ´In the Tracks of the West Clare Railway´, which is a walk down the track-bed of the most famous of all of the Irish narrow-gauge lines, which closed in 1961.
Irish fairy stories, naturally, form a prominent part of his huge repertoire, but there are historical tales, too, stories of notable persons (women especially, including the banshee), devil stories, accounts of saints (St. Patrick prominent among them, naturally), of monsters, ogres, giants, ghosts and much, much more.
He lives in Crusheen, Co. Clare, but his travels have taken him as far afield as such places as the USA (over 40 states, including a performance at the Smithsonian Institute and award for contribution to the Arts by the City of Philadelphia), UK, Germany, Belgium, Finland, France, among otherplaces. He is always delighted to bring the fruits of his years’ researches and collecting to whoever he may share it with.
In Ireland, too, he is a frequent visitor to schools, libraries, prisons, literary festivals – in fact anywhere people are prepared to sit a while, listen and reflect – as their forbearers did when these stories were first told.
As well as a seanchaí he is the author of 17 books and 12 recordings. His book, `Meeting the Other Crowd´has been published in Italian and will, in 2013, be available in Japanese.
He broadcasts regularly on tv and radio in places as far apart as Dubai, UK, Canada and most recently in China (where his 6-part series on Irish animal-lore was shown).
He is currently working on a novel on the Civil War (1922-23) in Co. Kerry based on some of the oral material he collected there in the 1970’s, and another of his long series of Fionn MacCumhail books for children is currently being prepared for publication.
He was short-listed as one of the 2012 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award finalists by the Swedish Arts Council, and has been short-listed again in 2013.
Wexford storyteller Joe Brennan will dip into his collection of traditional stories to bring his audience on a magical journey. Each performance is unique as he invites his audience on a journey that will excite, surprise, inspire, challenge, cause the odd fright even and many laughs. Joe’s gift as a storyteller, from many years sharing stories across the globe, is to respond to his audience, to lead them gently on the journey and to insure they come out the other end feeling all is right in the world.’ The stories will choose themselves on the day,’ says Joe. Each telling of a story is a new experience and a new version for that audience, for that place. His storytelling performances are unadorned wonders; just Joe, his voice and his hands.
Joe has been telling stories professionally for the past 18 years. He has performed as far North as Iceland, Moscow in the East, Washington DC in the West, Indian in the South and many points in between. He has told stories at festivals, in schools, in people’s homes, at weddings, birthday parties and on mountainsides. He has gathered his stories from people he has met on his travels, fellow storytellers, collections of folklore, things that have happened to him and the gifts of his imagination. The listener will be surprised, as is Joe, by the stories that’ want to be told’. Joe grew up immersed in stories of his home town of Wexford. He is the author of Donegal Folk Tales which was the featured book for Read DL in 2014. He is a children’s playwright with a number of productions, including the highly successful ‘The Wichin’ Well’ which toured nationally twice and was performed in Bucharest. He is the creator and performer of the magical ‘Star Boy’, a theatre show without words for early years, which continues to tour. He facilitates workshops in storytelling, creative writing and drama with all ages. He was the Children’s Curator at Kilkenny Arts Festival and Director of Ramelton Storytelling Festival.
Baya is a storyteller and a performance artist.Her courses and events offer a unique brand of storytelling which blends research with current day applications and performances.Baya has also contributed to the revival of the old Celtic Festivals all over the South East of Ireland, bringing venues to life with her voice and her ceremonies. From The Hook Lighthouse to the walls of Wexford Town, adults and children are entertained and sometimes startled by her tales.She lives on her small holding near Waterford with her dog Milou, two cats, three hens and, may be one day a few goats.Baya is a member of the Storytellers of Ireland / Aos Scéal Éireann