Commissioned by Clare Arts Office and glór, Dial A Seanchaí is a unique audio experience celebrating Irish folklore, storytelling, and song. It is curated and produced by Clare artist John Lillis and is funded by Creative Ireland Clare and The Arts Council. Photography by Myriam Riand.
The project is a contemporary re-imagining of the 1988 project developed by the then Clare Arts officer Kay Sheehy. Hot-line callers will be invited to choose from the list of short recordings by well-known Irish artists and performers. The recordings are a mix of story and song, with themes universal to mythology the world over – widows, witches, lost islands, sun gods, drunkards, and devils.
Please note this is a telephone playback service in line with the original project, and thus sound quality operates in a limited frequency range to preserve the phoneline listening experience.
Dial a Seanchaí 2021 will feature new recordings from six acclaimed Irish voices. Featured artists are Lisa O’Neill; Aindrias De Staic; Ruth Smith; Ian Lynch; Ceara Conway and Kevin Barry.
The Dial a Seanchaí service will be available to access from Friday 1st October to Monday 1st November.
- To access the Dial A Seanchaí phoneline from Ireland, please dial IE 065 6723000
- To access the Dial A Seanchaí phoneline from the UK, please dial UK 020 80503206
- To access the Dial A Seanchaí phoneline from the US, please dial US 833 4630651 (Toll Free)
Please dial, as you’re bound to hear something that will delight your ears.’ Eddie Lenihan
The Seanchaí is the custodian of an oral tradition, preserving the past for future generations. Dial a Seanchaí 2021 is a contemporary re-imagining of the 1988 project introduced by the Clare Arts Officer at that time, Kay Sheehy. The original project was developed to share the storytelling tradition of the seanchaí, and featured recordings made by three renowned seanchaithe in Co. Clare: Junior Crehan of Mullagh; Francie Kennelly of Miltown Malbay, and Eddie Lenihan of Crusheen.
Artist Statement: John Lillis
The seanchaí holds an important role in Irish society, one far more expansive than just entertainment and stories. They are teachers, musicians, collectors, historians, geographers, and psychologists. Reservoirs of community knowledge. The rambling house and the cuaird acted as their broadcast station, transmissions from the soul. A place to share, exchange and perform.
When the seanchaí spoke, the community listened. A felt resonance with both the landscapes and traditions being explored. Their stories and songs carry a deep understanding of the human condition, be it temptation, humour, loss, death, joy, or longing. Their words blur the line between the physical world and what lies beyond the veil, the unseen. The seanchaí provides a narrative to help communities understand our heritage, culture, and tradition. And on a deeper unconscious level, our surroundings and ourselves.
Dial A Seanchaí is a commission by glór and Clare Arts Office, with funding from Creative Ireland Clare and The Arts Council.