From the Rock to the Emerald Isle

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March 14, 2021 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Name: Cards
Name: Kerry Writers Museum


From the Rock to the Emerald Isle

Sunday, March 14
5:30 pm NST / 8:00 pm GMT

Free! Live on YouTube


St. John’s Storytelling is thrilled to be undertaking our second partnership with the Kerry Writers Museum in Listowel, Ireland for an NL/Ireland cultural exchange. Join us for a celebration of song and story from some of the finest talent on either side of the Atlantic. Traditional song and ballad, Jack tales, rhyme, wit, and hilarity will burst forth from our tellers with a shining lineup including Maria Gillen, Sonny Egan, and Frances Kennedy from Ireland, and Eleanor Dawson, Mary-Lynn Bernard, Andy Jones, and host Matthew Byrne from NL. And just in time for Paddy’s Day!


How to Tune In


On Sunday, March 14th head to the St. John’s Storytelling YouTube channel and enjoy!


Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel to receive reminders and updates.



About our Tellers




 With parents who were both singers and song collectors and a strong family focus on sharing songs, Matthew Byrne has inherited a unique repertoire as well as a fascination with unearthing and reimagining traditional songs. Byrne is also a student of history whose love of traditional music goes well beyond the words and music. For him, songs are ways of understanding people before him…their lives, work, language, and worldview.

“I see songs as sources of the past – windows into my own family history. Traditional music has always been the most important tool for me to understand where I come from and who I am. My live performance is meant to bring audiences on a journey through the lineage of my repertoire and share what these songs have revealed to me.”

Matthew is set to record his 4th studio album next year in Sheffield, UK. It will be produced by folk legend Martin Simpson and feature instrumentation by some of the finest musicians on the English folk scene including Nancy Kerr, Andy Cutting, and Liz Hanks. Byrne’s last two recordings were each awarded Traditional Album of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards and this highly anticipated 4th album is sure to grab further attention of traditional music audiences across the Atlantic.



Eleanor Dawson grew up in Bay Roberts, NL where she developed a life- long interest in the history, folklore and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the founders of the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, Eleanor has a particular interest in traditional singing and has a vast repertoire of songs from the English, Irish and Newfoundland traditions. She is currently co-host of the monthly St. John’s Song Circle at the Crow’s Nest officer’s Club in St. John’s.



The winner of the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Rhonda Payne Award, Mary-Lynn Bernard has, besides her recent work as a puppeteer in the many Newfoundland and Canadian tours and performances of Queen Of Paradise’s Garden, (including the Banff Centre and The National Arts Centre), acted in and produced many works in  theatre and film in Newfoundland and Labrador throughout the past 30 years.


SONNY EGAN (Ireland)

Sonny is a storyteller, singer, musician and impromptu dancer who hails from North Kerry. For years, Sonny’s home in Abbeydorney was open to locals and strangers dropping in for tea and a chat and soon developed into a rambling house. Sonny won the All Ireland storytelling competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2019.



Maria works through the medium of Drama and Story Telling and has designed and delivered workshops on Building Resilience, Exploring Difficult Community Issues and Team Building in several environments.

In 2018 and 2019 Maria featured as an emerging storyteller in the annual Cape Clear Storytelling festival.  In 2018 and 2019 she won the Mick McCarthy All Ireland Storytelling competition in Finuge with her own original tales harvested from her work with the six-part story and collecting local wisdoms through story. She was a featured teller at the annual Listowel Writers Week in 2017.   In 2017 she won the Butter Road Storytelling Competition in Blarney with an original story about the Butter Roads.

Maria has just been appointed Storyteller in Residence at Kerry Writers’ Museum



A stalwart of Newfoundland theatre for nearly fifty years, Andy Jones was born in St. John’s, where he was a co-founder of the Resource Centre for the Arts at the L.S.P.U. Hall, writing, co-writing, acting in, and directing many original productions (and fundraising and washing floors).

He has been a story teller since 1979 and been involved in a number of story-telling workshops, tours, and readings in the schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. He is well known across Canada as part of the comedy troupe CODCO, in both its theatrical and television incarnations. More recently, Jones has been adapting Newfoundland folktales as children’s books.


LISTOWEL STORYTELLING FESTIVAL 2020 LAUNCHED THIS WEEK IN LISTOWEL : Pictured at the launch : Storyteller Frances Kennedy from Listowel pictured in the John B Keane Room inside of the Kerry Writers’ Museum located in Listowel town.


Even though Frances now lives in Listowel, Co. Kerry she is quick to point out that she is very much a Cork woman.  The youngest of a family of eleven, songs and stories were always part of her home life. Neighbours called at night and her father would fill them up with all sorts of stories. Her mother, a great believer in ghosts would tell of strange lights seen and things going bump in the night, so it was easy for Frances to fall into singing and telling the odd story. But it was in Listowel that Frances first started singing in public and everyone in Kerry had a story to tell, so she just joined in.

It was in Listowel, of course, that Frances met the writer John B. Keane, one of her idols and there were many great singing nights in his pub. John B encouraged Frances to tell a recitation or a yarn and before she knew it she was entertaining often.