Archive footage from an RTÉ show in 1979 documents the talent and tradition of Irish storytelling. 

Seanchaí (shan-a-key) were Irish storytellers and the definition of entertainment in old Ireland, known for reciting tales of Irish folklore, fables, myths, and legends.

This type of Irish tradition was passed down from generations and stories would be re-told purely from memory. In the RTÉ show 'PM', presenter Doireann Ní Bhriain speaks to some of these storytellers in County Clare

First, we meet Sonny Welsh from Caherhurley, Bodyke, County Clare as he finds an attentive audience in a local pub while reciting the story of ‘Timmy Coffey’s Cat’ about a sick cat who recovers and kills mice.

In Sixmilebridge Christina Hoban is a poet that has been chronicling local and national events. She sits in front of an open fire and recalls how she was first inspired by a local protest over a rise in the price of a pint. 

"It was the boys’ decision when the pint was increased. Because of the cider, the pubs had them fleeced. The publicans met and decided to raise the price of the pint and their stock in trade."

In the town of Kilkishen, another local bard PJ Halloran describes the inspiration he found in a flowing river and wrote ‘Where the Owenogarney Flows’ which he also performs in song.

*Originally published in May 2021. Updated in August 2022. 

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