Amsterdam. June 22. Storytelling at the launch of an art exhibition.A most pleasant experience, it seemed, for people I wasn't quite expecting to understand the niceties of Irish fairy-stories (as I've been collecting them from an older generation here in Ireland for 37 years past). I certainly was wrong on that point. The audience - a full house - listened very well, carefully, and for that I have to thank them.
There was a young child present who was somewhat noisy beforehand (which any little one is entitled to be!) and I thought "Oh-oh! This could be a problem. I hope the parents have the good sense to take the child out if necessary". But, as I found out afterwards, the little one made no noise at all during my telling (which went on for over an hour - far longer than intended! - No one told me to stop !! Maybe it was a good parent who was doing the quietening - or .... maybe that child is on the first steps to appreciating something unusual (stories) in life. Who knows? Children are unpredictable, special, after all.
There were quite a few questions afterwards, intelligent ones re Ireland and its regard for its culture. I'm afraid I was rather negative on that point, particularly where storytelling is concerned. But I'm often so, considering the lack of interest here at home - particularly in official circles. E.g. The Heritage Council's annual budget has been cut by 70% over the past 5 years by the government, a most short-sighted policy, in my opinion.
Yet, all one can do is what one can do, even if one has to do it at one's own expense.