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16 October 2014
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Storytelling - keeping warm the "embers of a way of life"

In these days when technology seems to be invading every part of our lives is the art of storytelling under threat?

The Arts

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Many of us when the dark evenings draw in tend to sit in front of the television screen, rather than joining neighbours for an evening's ceilidhing. As a result, we miss sharing and passing on stories about a way of life now gone. Stories, however, are actually a great way of preserving our social and cultural heritage.

Contributors to the 'Your Place and Mine' storytelling special
Clockwise: Anne Harte and Lela Traynor, Declan Forde, William Roulston and Mary Murphy, Tom Sweeney, Sinead McLaughlin.
Contributors to the 'Your Place & Mine' storytelling special

It is as important to relate the details of ordinary events as those of great historical significance. Every person, every townland has its story. It's not just the stories that are important though, but also the way in which they are told. Local expressions and dialect give a sense of a place's past.

The Your Place & Mine programme hosted an evening of storytelling in the An Creggan Centre, near Omagh in November 2003. You can listen below to some of the programme's highlights.

(To access audio and video on Your Place and Mine you need RealPlayer. )

Listen to Lela Traynor relating the story of Cuchulainn
Listen to Lela Traynor relating the story of Cuchulainn, a myth set in ancient Ulster. But first Mary Ferris talks to Lela and Anne Harte (both of whom used to work at Navan Fort) about celtic myths and folklore.

Declan Forde and Don McGurgan speak to Michael MacNamee about story collecting. Then Paddy Montague chats to Paul Moore.
Listen to Declan Forde and Don McGurgan speaking to Michael MacNamee about story collecting. Then poet Paddy Montague chats to Paul Moore and tells a tale set near Drumquin, as well as reciting a poem.

William Roulston explains how graveyards can be a great source of historical information
Listen to William Roulston of the Ulster Historical Foundation explaining to Michael MacNamee about how graveyards are rich in historical information.

Mary Murphy recites a poem
Listen to Mary Murphy reciting a poem, during which most of the shirt factories in Derry are named.

Don McGurgan talks about meeting the lady whose granny had lived through the famine. Have you a story about your family or local area you'd like to share? Which is your favourite Irish myth or legend? Submit your comments or stories by filling in the form below.

The site William Roulston mentioned in his interview with Michael MacNamee is History from Headstones , where you can find out more about graveyards in Ulster.

(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.)


I was interested to see your name William Roulston ( Ulster Historical Foundation ) as it was the same as my father, his father was Alexander Roulston who married Catherine Malcolm they left Northern Ireland where they were farmers to live in Glasgow many years ago, I wonder if we are linked?
Moreen Coulson nee Roulston - October 2004

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