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The Power of Stories

Do you tell stories about your childhood or growing up in Ireland that are much different to today? The power of stories like these should never be underestimated.

We all love to hear stories. The ability to tell a good story is even one trait that Irish people are famous for.

Whether we have the abilities of a seanchaí or just liked telling stories to young children, we all love stories. With the increased reliance on screentime for entertainment, are we losing the ability to engage with stories. Or is the pull as powerful as ever?

Are stories still powerful?

Stories for children don’t have to be fanciful or complicated; they certainly don’t need to be a literary masterpiece. I can recall loving when a great aunt used to visit from England. I much preferred her to any of my other great aunts. Why? Because she used to tell me stories about when my dad was young. Stories of how he got up to mischief and got into trouble alongside his elder brother. My own father has started telling my children stories about how they used to farm years ago. They are intrigued by stories of ploughing with a Clydesdale mare and buying the first Massey Ferguson tractor in 1956. They will remember those stories for years.

Wisdom of the Elders

A book entitled ‘Wisdom of the Elders’ has been published by Footprints Press. It recounts stories from 71 older people in Kenya, stories from those who were freedom fighters, stories by ordinary people. Stories of how Kenya’s history has shaped its people.

It is recognising the importance of the tales and experiences of all sectors of society.

Vanishing Ireland

The ‘Vanishing Ireland’ series by James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury has remained hugely popular. It recounts stories about older people in our society, many of whom lived in rural locations eking out a living from the land and living a way of life that is slowly disappearing.

The series of four books tell stories of living without electricity, milking cows by hand, seeing siblings emigrate, being harassed by the Black and Tans, that happiness is not about having gold in your pocket but family community and health – all stories of personal histories that are captured before they disappear, each one fascinating in its own right. As individuals, we seem to value personal stories more now. Perhaps we have become so saturated by reality television and soaps that we now celebrate their ordinariness.

Do you tell stories?

Who do you tell them to and what are they about?

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