Storyteller in the news

It isn’t every day a storyteller is featured on Good Morning America, but that’s where Northern Ireland’s Liz Weir found herself in July 2009. When I watched the clip and read the accompanying article, I traveled back to my first meeting with one of Ireland’s premier storytellers and a woman whose friendship is a jewel in my life.

Belfast Mayor, Cathryn, Liz

How young we all look in this 1988 photo of the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cathryn, and Liz Weir

That friendship began in 1988. My first husband (ah, life!) and I were spending a year in the Netherlands. Storytelling friends had given me a contact in Ireland – Liz Weir. When I wrote telling her I was an American storyteller and was planning a visit to Ireland, she didn’t hesitate. She not only invited this complete stranger to stay with her. She set up a storytelling tour for me, without ever hearing me tell a tale.

Crehans and others

Cissie and Junior Crehen, Pat Ryan, Liz Weir, Claire O'Brien at the Crehans farm in County Clare

Her hospitality didn’t stop there. To the horror of the two friends with whom she’d booked a holiday cottage in County Clare, she invited me to join them. Fortunately, the foursome clicked. Oh, what a grand time we had together. A visit with premier fiddler and storyteller Junior and his champion, set-dancing wife Cissie Crehan, another with the wildly entertaining folklorist and storyteller Eddie Lenihan, music, laughs, good food – all of it unforgettable for me.

At the time, Liz was a librarian who also told stories. Before long (or so it seems as I look back), she would launch an international storytelling and writing career, buy a country property and develop it as Ballyeamon Camping Barn, and become known around the world for her work in preserving and passing on the rich heritage of her land.

How lucky can I be that the peripatetic wanderings of my life brought Liz Weir into my life? And how lucky can the storytelling world be that she chose the chancy but deeply rewarding path of the modern tale teller?

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Claire O'Brien - May 27, 2010


you didn’t mention the ash bucket lined with cabbage leaves – that ancient art of fire prevention! I still tell Mr Wiggle & Mr Waggle to Children’s Nursing students- they love it.

Tweets that mention Storyteller in the news « Story Route – Cathryn Wellner -- - May 27, 2010

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ernest Blythe, Desmond Alexander. Desmond Alexander said: Storyteller in the news « Story Route – Cathryn Wellner: How lucky can I be that the peripatetic wanderings of my … […]

storyroute admin - May 27, 2010

So many other memories too – like Pat not telling me Junior Crehan had already turned him down before Liz sent me off to ask if we could come by to see him. And Junior’s play, “Come at four and bring your tape recorder.” Or Junior standing out in the lane in his wellies and wool hat, his border collie standing with him, watching for us. Or Cissie’s and Junior’s warm welcome and Junior’s stories and fiddling. And all the laughter and fun in the seaside cottage. Ahhhh

Leave a Reply: