Eamon Kelly – master Irish storyteller

Eamon Kelly. Master of the traditional Irish story

For centuries the Irish have been famous as great storytellers and performers.

Tales would be passed down through the generations and some people would even make their living by travelling from town to town to tell traditional stories.

We have found a YouTube video of one of the masters at work, County Kerry’s Eamon Kelly.

Eamon Kelly. Master of the traditional Irish story

He was an actor by trade, but soon realised that his real skill lay in storytelling. Kelly’s charming accent and natural charisma meant that he could have audiences sat on the edge of their seats and hanging on his every word.

He was born in 1914, and spent many years working as an actor and performer for RTÉ. Much of his career was peforming on stage, television and radio as a storyteller.

Kelly died in 2001 but left his mark on Irish culture and tradition. He is fondly remembered as one of the best storytellers of the 20th century.

This YouTube video sees him telling a story about a ‘tea-man’. In the late 19th century tea was still a luxury item in Ireland and wasn’t readily available. A tea-man would travel from town to town selling tea to those who could afford it.

Kelly’s story involves one tea-man who gets stranded by the weather and has to spend the night with a jealous husband and his wife.

Watch Kelly at his best in the video below.

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