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The fifth Sneem International Storytelling & Folklore Festival took place from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th November 2016 in the charming colourful village of Sneem on the Ring of Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way.
“There is a story in all of us and the festival is a platform for all enthusiasts, young and old, to enjoy a yarn and share a tale”, commented Batt Burns, festival founder and renowned seanachaí.
This year the festival attracted leading professional storytellers who performed at the Storytelling Concert on the Friday night of the festival. Rhode Island’s famous author and teller Mark Binder, Kilkenny’s Jim Maher, Cork’s Pat Speight as well as Kerry’s Batt Burns who performed along with a guest performance by singing legend, Seán Ó Sé.
The festival centrepiece was ‘The Matchmaker’ starring the much loved television and stage actor Mary McEvoy and actor and comedian Jon Kenny, formerly one part of D’Unbelievables, which played the Saturday night of the festival in the Sneem Hotel. Together they played a myriad of characters in this hilarious and earthy dramatic comedy directed by Michael Scott and based on the novella ‘Letters of a Country Matchmaker’ by John B. Keane, which followed the efforts of Dicky Mick Dicky O’Connor as he made matches for the lonely and lovelorn.
Other highlights were the storytelling walk in the countryside, adult and children’s storytelling workshops and talks including a conversation with best-selling Irish author and poet Alice Taylor and a lecture on the life of Lady Albina Broderick by Kerry author Pádraig Ó Concubhair.
Once again, our Young Tellers, who are sponsored by the Friends of Muckross put on a sterling performance. These young people are our future, and without them learning Storytelling it will be a dying art. That cannot happen in a county with such a history of storytelling.
There was also a storytelling pub trail, lunchtime theatre (‘Faith Healer’ by Brian Friel, performed by Sneem DramSoc) and the hugely popular ‘Story Swap Sessions’ which were hosted by our featured tellers over the weekend and where members of the public came along to share and swap stories with each other.
The South Kerry Rosen Choir also performed in the Church of the Transfiguration this year to a full house. They were commemorating the Easter Rising and The Battle of the Somme in Song and Verse.
Closing our most successful festival to date, the Festival Seanachaí Batt Burns commented, "The most promising thing about this year's festival was the participation by visitors and locals in the storytelling at our Story Swap sessions and also the fact that we had tellers from eight to eighty years of age. The more people we can inspire to share stories with each other in a natural setting the better for the tradition."
The Storytelling Committee would like to thank everyone who came to see us. Thank you to our Storytellers, Young Tellers, Lecturers, Sneem Dramsoc, The South Kerry Rosen Choir and their musicians, the fabulous cast and director of "The Matchmaker". The pubs, Sneem Community Creche, Sneem Community Centre, National School, Church of the Transfiguration, Louis Moriarty and the Staff at the Sneem Hotel and our wonderful volunteers without whom this festival could not happen. Thank you all, and look forward to seeing you next year.
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