New interview posted

516 (5)For those who missed it the May 2015 interview by Pete Castle with Brendan Nolan in Facts & Fiction magazine is posted on this site in its entirety.
Thank you.

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New media page

paperBoy615sWe have added a media page to the site.

Here we reference media interviews we participated in recently.

We will post our own press releases as we issue them.

If you want to arrange an interview, or to book a storyteller for a public event,  please email

You can also be included in the mailing list for our free newsletter by sending your email address to us and requesting inclusion


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Dublin Folk Tales back in print

8728 Dublin FTales CVR.inddSupplies of a reprinted Dublin Folk Tales are now with the distributors.

Dublin Folk Tales was the first published of the Irish county folk tales series from The History Press Ireland

It consistently goes in and out of stock in retailers.

This time, it went out of print.
It’s back now and will sell alongside my Little Book of DublinLittle Dublin 8152.indd

When you see it, turn it face out, please, for the jacket alone sells this book.



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Sam McAughtry

Sam Mc AughtryWe lost a great raconteur and writer when Sam McAughtry passed away on March 28, 2014.
Sam was a storyteller first and foremost: all his stories were told with great wit and compassion and never failed to enthral the listener.
I served with him for many years on the executive committee of the Irish Writers’ Union with great enjoyment.
I became the newsletter editor under Sam’s chairmanship, and Sam regaled me in private with his tales of his own editorship of something similar in Belfast. On occasions when no material was to hand he would write a pseudonymous letter to himself as editor to create a stir. He would then respond to it using more fictitious names if no readers took the bait to his satisfaction.
He was free with his advice on a book contract of mine: “Ask them for double that advance,” he said in a soft Belfast accent.
I did and he was right; it was worth double the offer.
Long before I got to know Sam I had followed his remembered exploits on radio and in print.
His 2003 memoir On the Outside Looking In, ranks with Saroyan, in places, an opinion I happily was able to express to him years before a long illness began for Sam.
When he could no longer travel to Dublin and had retired from the IWU committee, I posted him a collection of my own published stories of mad people I encountered in humorous situations.
He was kind enough to write back to say he was enjoying the stories and reserved the reading of each new episode for his return from hospital treatments.
Sam was a kind man, a caring guide and a resolute warrior for what he believed in.
He is at peace.
Thank you Sam.
Brendan Nolan


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Wicklow Folk Tales is a bestseller

Delighted to see our Wicklow Folk Tales listed as a bestseller on the publishers new website
Good stories never end.
April will see publication of The Little Book of Dublin by the same publisher.
Meanwhile, both Dublin Folk Tales, the launch title for the series, and Wexford Folk Tales continue to sell well.
And why not?
They are all written by storyteller and author Brendan Nolan.


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Howya Bridget

Pagan times are not far below the surface in Dublin.
Not so long ago, in February, in Brittas, Co Dublin, the Bride Oge was celebrated in honour of St Bridget or, the pagan goddess Bridget, for she was the one person, changing only depending on who was telling the story.
A little figure was carried on a pole and this was the Bride Oge, or young Bridget.
Made of straw and bits of coloured cloth, it had hair made of sheep-wool like the men that carried it, so they all appeared to be from the same family of wooly-heads.
At a time when there were plenty of sheep about that caught their coats in briars as they passed there was plenty of free wool to be had on the roadside, for face decoration.
Men dressed up in long white shirts, and with wool plucked from the bushes, made beards and moustaches for their faces, and wooly wigs for their heads, to go in procession in disguise.
They went from door to door and householders gave them some money.
At neighbours’ houses they said a prayer, sang and danced to the music of fiddles and goatskin tambourines.
That night they partied.

The Little Bok of Dublin

Extract from The Little Book of Dublin by Brendan Nolan

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November 1 is the first day of winter. The night before is Hallowe’en, and is marked with feasting, merrymaking and divination.

The Celts celebrated Hallowe’en as the Feast of the Dead, when the dead revisited the mortal world. The fairies are abroad on that night as well, so it can be quite congested what with all the comings and goings.

The Church designated the first day of November as All Saints or All Hallows Day. So, All Hallows Eve became Hallowe’en.

The púca is a malicious fairy and it is his wont to spit on wild fruit on Hallowe’en so that nobody should dine on berries as winter progresses.

On the night, many families leave unused produce out to feed the fairy host as it proceeds to blast with its breath all berries, thistles, ragworth and hedgerows.

Traditional Hallowe’en foods include colcannon: boiled potato, curly kale cabbage and raw onions. Coins are wrapped in baking paper and placed in dinners for children to find.

Hallowe’en barmbrack is a fruit bread laced with hidden clues and each person gets a slice. Finding a rag suggests your financial future is doubtful. A coin presages a prosperous year. A ring is a sign of romance or continued happiness, or marriage.

Children dress in scary costumes and go house to house asking householders to “’Help the Hallowe’en Party.”’

Celtic Druids dressed as spirits in case they encountered spirits during the night. Witches, goblins and ghosts remain the most popular choices for costumes amongst children and adult revellers alike.

Indoors, children play games — the most popular of which is Snap Apple.

An apple is suspended from a string and children are blindfolded. The first to get a bite of the apple keeps their prize. The same game is played by placing apples in water and biting the apple with hands held behind the back.

Outdoors, older children light bonfires; often unaware they are continuing a centuries-old tradition.

To celebrate the start of winter Druids built huge sacred bonfires. People brought produce and sacrificed animals to share a communal dinner in celebration.

After the festival, people re-lit household fires from the sacred bonfire to help protect and keep them warm during the winter.

Nowadays, householders drag garden cuttings and unwanted domestic furniture to the fire and set it all ablaze, and may go seeking spirits in bottles. Some even bring them home with them.

Extract from the Irish Companion by Brendan Nolan

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Echo writing

Thanks to the ECHO for splendid full page coverage of my latest book: Wicklow Folk Tales.
It and I graced the front page of the Life section.
I’m an ECHO cover celebrity now.
Surely, this is fame.
Wicklow Folk Tales

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Wicklow Folk Tales launched

Wicklow Folk Tales was selling well from the Dubray Bookshop in Bray even before the book launch on September 16.
Local folklorist and author Ray Cranley launched the latest title in the History Press Ireland series of county titles.
Martin Nolan provided the music and the book began its journey into the world of literature and folklore…


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Storytelling Bursary for woman

Verbal Arts Centre in Derry has announced a storytelling training bursary in memory of storyteller Pat Mulkeen.
Application is restricted to females, according to the Verbal Arts Centre’s criteria for application.
The bursary aims to provide the recipient with the opportunity to develop her skills in storytelling, through formal training.
The Verbal Arts Centre will provide the opportunity for one successful candidate to avail of £600 towards formal training to support the art of storytelling and assist her in her career as a storyteller.
Candidates are asked to submit  a video, podcast, or,  letter that highlights why “I believe that everyone has a story to tell…”
A candidate must be original, illustrate appreciation of local culture, strive to bring out the story of others, and demonstrate her own create style of storytelling.
Work must be submitted no later than 5pm on 15th November 2013 to the Verbal Arts Centre, Stable Lane and Mall Wall, Bishop Street Within, BT48 6PU.
On receipt of applications, the bursary committee will use a formal selection criteria to judge and select the work entered.
All candidates will receive confirmation of their work by no later than 10th December 2013, said the Verbal Arts Centre.

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