Even though today is World Storytelling Day, we know the Irish are the best storytellers in the world without a shadow of a doubt. It’s no happy accident that some of the greatest scriptwriters are Irish and that Ireland has a strong line of literature greats. Here are the top ten reasons why the Irish are the best at telling a story…
1. We never stop talking
Anyone who has worked abroad will be entirely aware of the problems the Irish face on foreign soil with our inability to shut our mouths, we are literally incapable of not talking. This serves us nicely for storytelling though, Ireland has a strong tradition of orally passing on tales and folklore which would explain why even if you see an old man standing at the bar in a pub here, you’ll still have the chats with him and come away with at least seven new tales.
2. We have an example for every event that has ever occurred, ever
“Oh my god, I remember the time something similar happened to my brother’s girlfriend’s mother’s friend…” We have definitely heard this one a few times over the course of our lives. Whatever the situation, whether it’s scalding yourself with hot water to a bombing in the Middle East, we Irish will know someone that something similar has happened to… every time.
3. We actually have named our storytellers, that’s how important they are
Seanchaí are revered members of the Irish society who come from a long line of oral storytelling. Originally, the seanchaí were servants to the chief of the tribe and kept important information for their clan. Unfortunately, the oral tradition is beginning to die out but don’t we all think that seanchaí’s hold some mystical power that we are completely unaware of? They definitely know something we don’t…
Famous Kerry Seanchai Eamon Kelly
4. Even our music tells stories. 15 more verses now!
No three verses and a chorus for us, no way! We like the big long ballads that tell a terrible story that inevitably involves someone falling in love, a death, perhaps a raid on a house, some poor young guy who’s been taking by police, a family starving, someone kicked off their land and various other heartbreaking scenarios. There is rarely a happy ending…
5. We’re pretty inspiring
Over the years, plenty of poets, writers and artists have come to our shores for inspiration and they have found an abundance of it, whether it is the busy streets of Dublin or the wild land in Galway, Ireland is a virtual treasure trove of inspiration. We only have to leave the country for five seconds before we start harping on about how beautiful certain parts of this country are!
6. We have amazing legends that we take as fact
Up until the age of about twelve, most of us actually believed that Cúchulainn did actually exist and guarded the gates for the King until he died after killing his precious guard dog. We won’t go near fairy forts, we believe in banshees and we have been warned to never walk around lighthouses more than three times. Ireland’s folklore and legends are some of the most famous in the world, all passed down by storytelling tradition.
7. We have, in our possession, the Blarney Stone
The legend goes that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you will get the gift of the gab. Well, we own it. Explains everything.
8. It was our heritage
It’s hard to believe that barely one hundred years ago the education in this country was nowhere near the level it is at now; a substantial amount of the population were illiterate. Storytelling exists not only to tell a good story around the fire, but to pass on family’s history, heritage and stories. Some may be a little embellished than others… No sorry, we can’t really confirm if you are related to Brian Ború.
9. This guy
W.B. Yeats. That is all.