Stories of the Otherworld: An Interview with Eddie Lenihan


Theatre and Performance Studies

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Be-spectacled and be-whiskered, with his ruddy moustache and mutton-chops cascading down to his chest, storyteller Edmund (Eddie) Lenihan looks very much like he may have stepped directly out from the sídhe, those earthen mounds that dot the landscape of Ireland and are said to be inhabited by the fairy folk. The suggestion is appropriate, since Lenihan is the foremost tradition bearer of Irish fairy lore today. Indeed, one of the great pleasures of hearing Lenihan tell the fairy stories he has collected over three decades is that listeners may feel a direct contact through him to that numinous Otherworld. His work as a collector and teller of Irish folklore, particularly fairy lore, has led to the publication of his numerous books on the subject, most notably Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland, as well his own activism to preserve sites associated with the lore.

This interview, which focuses on his development as a storyteller of Irish fairy lore, took place on the afternoon of March 13, 2008, on the stage of the Stillwell Theatre where Lenihan was scheduled to perform later that evening as part of his residency for StoryFest, a festival of storytelling workshops and concerts sponsored by the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies in the College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University.