People enjoy stories; this is true of all races and periods of history; and there have always been storytellers. Among the Gaelic-speaking people of Ireland and Scotland, story-telling was both an art and an amusement originating in the pre-Christian era. In olden days, there were professional storytellers, divided into well-defined ranks: ollaimh (professors), filí (poets), baird (bards), and seanchaithe (historians, storytellers)- singular form is seanchaí. The ollamh, filí, baird and seanchaithe recited by heart tales, poems and history for the entertainment and praise of clan chiefs and princes and were rewarded by their patrons. After the battle of Kinsale in 1601-2, and Culloden in Scotland (1746), the Gaelic order collapsed and the role of the seanchaí declined.
CLUES TO A GREAT STORY
THE MYSTERY OF STORYTELLING