Seán Ó Conaill
Homage to an Oral tradition
Though Ireland had been a literate culture for 1500 years, the majority of the population lived on the periphery of that world. One of these people was Sean O’Conaill, a farmer in Cill Rialaig, Co Kerry. The literate culture was separate from everyday reality and it was in the hands of the church, and the ruling class. This written culture served a feudal system that led to our current capitalist society. The oral tradition worked parallel to the written tradition. What is radical, is that the oral traditions preserved subversive elements that the literate tradition wanted to stamp out.
The only vestiges we have of our prehistory are through these stories from the oral tradition. They are the last link to the first of our people. Working with them now I can feel the pulse of the ancient world. A world that would have disappeared if it weren’t for these stories and the storytellers, and those who came to listen by the fireside.