Storytelling, an art form you need to see

For the 5th cosneemstorynsecutive year, the small village of Sneem in South Kerry (Ireland) hosts an international storytelling festival in November. Storytelling is not just a made-up idea, not just a clever off-season touristic draw, storytelling has real meaning in this South Kerry parish.

Although not everyone considered it in any depth at the time, the local children at St. Michael’s National School in the village were lucky to have had the festival’s founder, Batt Burns, as their teacher in the 70’s/80’s and 90’s. You couldn’t fail to be mesmerised by the stories Batt sometimes rehearsed on us for part of his own stage shows in far flung irish and folklore communities in America. Batt would cite Eamon Kelly as a major inspiration for his delivery in seanchaí style of these Irish tales.

The weekend programme is jam packed for newcomers and seasoned storytelling enthusiasts. Household names like Jon Kenny, Mary McEvoy, Alice Taylor & Seán Ó Sé (the Poc ar Buile) feature in this year’s programme. With daytime events, guided storytelling walks, llectures and workshops, story swaps, performances for and by children, a performance of John B Keane’s The Matchmaker and a local drama soc’s production of Brian Friel’s Faith Healer there is a lot to see and hear over the 3 days. Check out the programme and make your plans and reservations now for a weekend guaranteed to shorten the winter! In addition to the accommodation listed on the site, I can highly recommend Ardmore Lodge (5 miles from the village) as superb family accommodation for the weekend. 


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