THIS year marks 10 years of stories, tall tales lies and legends in the Slieve Bloom Mountains of Laois and Offaly. The 2012 Slieve Bloom Storytelling Festival will take place between Wednesday October 10 and Sunday October 14, and will celebrate the anniversary in style.
Set among the castle, great houses and public houses of the midland mountains, the festival programme will bring back many of the star performers from the past decade with a special gala performance has been added to the programme for next Sunday evening. One of the returning storytellers will be Nuala Hayes, who started the whole thing when she was artist in residence with Laois County Council.
The venues for the four day event will include Dempsey’s Pub in Cadamstown in Offaly, where on Wednesday October 10 the event takes the form of a rambling house session of stories and song. The elegant surroundings of Roundwood House located outside Mountrath provides the backdrop for the performance on Thursday night, while the most haunted castle in Ireland - Leap Castle in Offaly - is the eerie place to be on Friday night October 12. The intimate Balcony Theatre in Mountmellick will welcome the performers on Saturday, October 13 and the festival concludes with a gala performance at Kinnitty Castle at 7pm on Sunday October 14.
Performers will include the legendary singer, songwriter and raconteur Colm Sands, Cork’s great storyteller, Kate Corkery and the woman who opened up the treasure trove of stories in Laois, Nuala Hayes. Also returning will be the dynamic Niall De Burca, a great hit with young and old, and there will be a great welcome for the much loved Jack Lynch.
The performances will include local storytellers, Paddy Lowry, Paddy Heaney and Michael Creagh along with a host of local singers and musicians. Festival organiser Chris Byrne of the Slieve Bloom Rural Development Society says that this tenth year is a special one, “The Festival has brought great joy and laughter to the area over the last ten years and it has also brought in a share of visitors. It has also made a significant cultural contribution opening up the art of storytelling to a whole new generation.” For more visit www.slievebloom.ie.