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How To Tell A Story -The Seanachaí (Eamon Kelly)

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Uploaded on Mar 14, 2008

Clip from 1987.

The Traditional Art of Storytelling.

The seanachaí made use of a range of storytelling conventions, styles of speech and gestures that were peculiar to the Irish folk tradition and characterized them as practitioners of their art. Although tales from literary sources found their way into the repertoires of the seanchaithe, a traditional characteristic of their art was the way in which a large corpus of tales was passed from one practitioner to another without ever being written down.

Because of their role as custodians of an indigenous non-literary tradition, the seanachaí are widely acknowledged to have inherited -- although informally -- the function of the filí(poets) of pre-Christian Ireland.

Some seanachaí were itinerants, traveling from one community to another offering their skills in exchange for food and temporary shelter. Others, however, were members of a settled community and might be termed "village storytellers."

The distinctive role and craft of the seanchaí is particularly associated with the Gaeltacht (the Irish-speaking areas of Ireland), although storytellers recognizable as seanachaí were also to be found in rural areas throughout English-speaking Ireland. In their storytelling, some displayed archaic Hiberno-English idiom and vocabulary distinct from the style of ordinary conversation.

Eamon Kelly (1914 -- October 24, 2001) was an Irish actor and author.

Childhood

Kelly was born in Sliabh Luachra, County Kerry, Ireland. The son of Ned Kelly and Johanna Cashman, Eamon left school at age 14 to become an apprentice carpenter to his father, a wheelwright. He first became interested in acting after viewing a production of Juno and the Paycock.[1]

Career

Both an actor and storyteller, he became a member of the RTÉ actors group in 1952. He is best known for his performances of storytelling on stage, radio, and television. As an actor, he worked extensively with both the Gate Theatre and Abbey Theatre in Dublin. He was also nominated for a 1966 Tony Award in the category Actor, Supporting, or Featured (Dramatic) for his role in Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come.

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