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What’s the Scéal? mini-symposium will explore the world of the storyteller in Ireland today

Some participants involved in the 'What's the Scéal?' event series by the NMI in partnership with Poetry Ireland

The National Museum of Ireland (NMI) - Country Life and Poetry Ireland are delighted to present a mini-symposium in collaboration with a host of talented storytellers from Ireland and further afield, exploring the ancient tradition of storytelling and its continued development and relevance today.

What’s the Scéal? Scéalta agus an Seanchaí/Stories and the Storyteller takes place at 2pm on Friday, 2 December, at the NMI - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

It will be chaired by poet, writer and journalist Theo Dorgan, joined by a panel of some of Ireland's best known storytellers, including Jack Lynch, Liz Weir, Pat Ryan and Oein de Bhairdúin.

This is the second annual partnership between the National Museum of Ireland and Poetry Ireland to deliver What’s the Scéal? The symposium was presented online in 2021 due to COVID-19 public health guidelines so this is the first year that storytellers will come together for an in-person event at Turlough Park, just outside Castlebar.

What’s the Scéal? is an event series with three strands – storytelling sessions for primary and post primary school groups; a public performance for adults; and a more in-depth symposium for storytellers and the broader culture, arts and education sector.

Niall de Búrca will conclude the What’s the Scéal? series with a public performance for adults in the Museum galleries on Saturday, 3 December. Niall is one of Ireland’s leading storytellers and he will deliver what looks sure to be an atmospheric performance of stories in a unique venue, inspired by objects from the National Folklife Collection.

Welcoming the continued partnership with Poetry Ireland, Thomas Doyle, Assistant Education Officer at the National Museum of Ireland, said:

We are delighted to partner once again with Poetry Ireland and these talented storytellers, who are preserving an important part of our cultural heritage which provides so much enjoyment, entertainment and educational value. This mini-symposium is an opportunity to celebrate a unique and ancient craft that has survived over the centuries and continues to remain relevant to modern audiences. The symposium is sure to be an interesting afternoon of discussion, reflection, sharing and learning.”

Jane O’Hanlon, Education Officer with Poetry Ireland, also welcomed the continuation of the initiative:

Ireland’s rich storytelling traditions are now being valued even more as part of our ‘intangible’ heritage. We are our stories and, more importantly, we become the stories we tell ourselves. Never has the world been more in need of sharing these stories and What’s the Scéal? invites the listener and the teller to do just that. Poetry Ireland is delighted to be a part of the initiative again this year.”

What’s the Scéal? Scéalta agus an Seanchaí/Stories and the Storyteller is a free event but booking is essential as places in the audience are limited. For booking enquiries, please email the Museum Bookings Office at

Tickets for the public performance with Niall de Búrca on Saturday, 3 December, are also free of charge but booking is required. Book your place by emailing

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