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Irish folk tales


Irish people have always told stories. In modern times we usually enjoy stories as a form of entertainment and escapism, but stories also serve to connect people. We tell each other stories to share a laugh, to persuade and to build relationships: a joke in the pub, an advertising campaign, a tale for our children. There is something irresistible and universal about a well-crafted story.

The strongest tales are those from our past. Folk tales have survived being passed down through generations, and traditionally would have been told by people as an attempt to explain the world around them. These stories reflect the beliefs, hopes and fears of our ancestors and now offer an insight into a different way of life. Although similar themes and tales crop up all over Ireland, each region has developed its own unique mythology.

As well as often ending with a moral or lesson, in the days before technology it was important that folk tales were highly entertaining. Today going to a storytelling performance is a special experience, and offers something you can’t get from TV: interaction, energy and spontaneity. As ever more sophisticated technology continues to permeate and aid our lives, we hold on to these sustaining experiences and stories to connect to our past and to each other.

The History Press has become known as the premier contemporary resource for Irish folk tales. We are delighted to be associated with Storytellers of Ireland and the work they do in upholding and reviving traditional stories and culture.

Irish Folk Tales in association with Storytellers of Ireland / Aos Scéal Éireann

Ireland is famed throughout the world for the art of storytelling. The Seancaithe and Scéalaí, the tradition bearers and storytellers passed the old stories down through the generations. Today, in the 21st century, there has been a revival of the ancient art. Founded in 2003, Storytellers of Ireland / Aos Scéal Éireann is an all-Ireland voluntary organisation with charitable status. Its aim is to promote the practice, study and knowledge of oral storytelling in Ireland through the preservation and perpetuation of traditional storytelling and the development of storytelling as a contemporary art. Storytellers of Ireland / Aos Scéal Éireann foster storytelling skills among all age groups, from all cultural backgrounds. It also aims to explore new contexts for storytelling in public places – in schools, community centres and libraries, in care centres and prisons, in theatres, arts centres and at festivals throughout the entire island of Ireland. See for further information.

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