Storytelling Today

Many people now tell stories for a living. Among the most famous oral storytellers is Eddie Lenihan, who collects and retells folktales. Derek McKenna, a young storyteller from Dublin, was born in 1980. He learned the art of storytelling from his father and now plies his trade in an energetic and lively style on the “Folklore Storytelling Irish Experience” in Dublin.

“For my folklore storytelling show I normally tell three stories and sing a few songs in between,” says Derek:

"I do this in costume, around the fire and by candlelight in one of the oldest bars in Dublin which has a perfect Victorian character to it. This is intended to recreate an atmosphere of a time when there were no televisions or radio in Ireland, and the only way people could entertain themselves was to go to people's houses and to bars and sing and tell stories.

The stories I choose to tell mainly depend on the audience. I normally try to tell one about the little people or fairies to emphasise their importance to Irish folklore. I would then normally tell one that I learned from listening to the great Eddie Lenihan himself. It’s a great old tale called Hudden, Dudden and Donal O'Leary about two greedy old farmers who try to do all in their power to get their neighbour's land, but come up against a formidable opponent in the wise Donal O'Leary. It’s a very funny story that always gets a laugh and I love to tell to people. My third story is normally one of the classics of Irish folklore such as Tír na nÓg, the Children of Lir or Fionn and the Scottish Giant."

(See http "" for more details.)

Gaming platforms, TV, the internet, and even the spread of books changed the oral nature of folktales, saga cycles, and legends. But even in these mediums, they have not died, with prominent characters from folklore cropping up time and again. They live on.


previousPrevious - Traditional Storytelling
Next - Fionn and the Fiannanext