Years ago, throughout Irelands rich cultural history, the ancient art of storytelling was a main feature of Irish society with the seancaithe and scéalaí, who were known as the Tradition Bearers and Storytellers respectively, passing down the old stories to new generations in various intimate cosy indoor and outdoor settings. Throughout the long held traditions of ancient Irish storytelling, the colder months of autumn and winter were the times of year when storytelling was most popular with November traditionally being known as the month of choice for one of Irelands oldest forms of entertainment.
Whilst forgotten for awhile the ancient art of storytelling is having resurgence with a number of storytelling festivals popping up in a number of scenic villages nationwide. For anyone interested in delving into and getting a sense of the long lost art of Irish storytelling and folklore then it might be worth taking a trip to Ireland and popping down to the charming little village of Sneem nestled within the heart of the Ring of Kerry for the Sneem International Folklore Storytelling festival.
Running on the 7-9th November the weekend festival is packed with a variety of events from concerts and plays such as the award winning Tom Crean – Antartic Explorer to informal storytelling performances in different settings, workshops, storytelling walks set amongst stunning rural scenery, pub trails and lectures all based around the rich Irish tradition in storytelling and folklore. Many of the events will be held across several locations including one notable storytelling session taking place in the atmospheric and old time setting of a local barn.
As well as that there are many events that take advantage of the natural setting of the village and its surrounds positioned as it is between mountains on the Ring of Kerry.
With seanachai storytellers and musicians hailing from Ireland, the UK and the USA and from a range of backgrounds and ages from old masters to new performers, it is clear that this ancient form entertainment will continue on for many generations to come. For anyone taking a vacation in Ireland and who are interested in a festival that celebrates our ancient customs and heritage and brings it to modern 21st century audiences then this delightful festival in Sneem in the Kingdom of Kerry in early November is one to watch.