The Countdown Is On!

Excitement is growing!

It’s only 40 days until I fly to Ireland to begin my storyteller’s tour.

There is so much to do before I take off and I have several lists on the go, trying to make sure that I have done all I need to do before take-off, as well as setting up my itinerary as much as I can, without shutting down the spirit of adventure!

All this began with a simple question, “Might you be in Ireland this November?” This was followed by an invitation to be a guest storyteller at Sneem Storytelling Festival. From this several other concerts have sprouted and many opportunities for study and research. Best of all there are so many wonderful people to meet, many of whom I have been talking to online from this side of the planet for several years. A couple of them have written books I have devoured. I can’t wait to meet them all in person!

I think the road to Sneem Storytelling Festival might just be lined with cups of tea and a few pints of Guinness.

Newport House Concert

Niki na Meadhra becoming the hound of Culainn, reading to attack the young Setanta.
Niki na Meadhra becoming the hound of Culainn, reading to attack the young Setanta.
Setanta spies the hound in the shadows.
Setanta spies the hound in the shadows.
The story takes over!
The story takes over!

It was a joy to tell stories of ancient Ireland and weave them together with stories of my own Irish ancestors, at my recent House Concert in Newport. First the audience was introduced to my grandfather, Tom Walsh, a man of great charm and a lover of literature, to whom the first story of Fionn MacCumhaill (Finn McCool) was dedicated. The second series of three shorter stories about the Cailleach, the Irish crone/goddess, were dedicated to my feisty great-grandmother, Florence.

After some chai and afternoon tea we regathered and I launched into the grand tale of the childhood deeds of Cú Chulainn. This story was dedicated to my great-great-great-great-grandmother, Kitty McCann, of Belfast, because she and Cú Chulainn both hailed from Ulster.

I suspect that I have a little of Kitty’s spirit in me, because one of my favourite things to do is become the warrior, Cú Chulainn, when he goes into ‘Warp Spasm’ – a frightening state that overcomes him, when he goes into battle. (Though Kitty never took up a sword, she faced major obstacles in her life with enormous courage, beginning with migrating from Ireland to Australia, aged 16, alone.) A ‘Warp Spasm’ is quite tiring and I really did enjoy that cup of tea when the stories ended.

Warmest thanks to my host, Jackie Kerin, for generously opening her home for this event and making everyone so welcome and comfortable. Jackie is a wonderful storyteller herself and the current president of Storytelling Australia Victoria. She is a great champion for storytelling and storytellers and has been a great supporter of my practice.

Thanks also for my wonderful audience, who came out for some stories and generously supported this fund-raiser, to help make my upcoming trip to Ireland possible. Thanks for joining me in the stories and all your feedback and suggestions afterwards.

Preparing for storytelling in Ireland.

It’s 40 days now until I fly to Ireland – and I couldn’t be more excited!

I’ve been invited to tell stories, in Kerry, at Sneem Storytelling Festival, and will also be performing in Cork and Waterford.

My last visit to Ireland, in 2008, had a powerful impact on me as a person, an artist and especially as a storyteller. It was my first time in the land of my Irish ancestors and I totally fell in love with the place and its people. As I traveled I collected many tales and came home with a swag of myths and legends to look up and research in more depth. The mysterious and powerful crone, Cailleach Bheara, who I was introduced to in the small town of Eyeries, in West Cork, has been the central figure of much of my storytelling and art making ever since. Many audiences here in Melbourne have enjoyed her stories. On this trip I will be doing a course investigating her further, led by Dr. Sharon Blackie, in a circle of creative women who are just as fascinated with her tradition as I am.

Last time, it seemed some of the Good Folk, or perhaps a Guardian Angel, led me around the country-side creating all kinds of adventures and introducing me to an array of wonderful people. I could not tell you how many times I thought I was lost, but was helped all long by friendly people wherever I went.

I do hope the Good Folk will come along this time – a little faerie magic offers protection and ensures the craic will be very, very good!