Writer, film maker and public speaker

Thank you for visiting my site. I'm a storyteller. In person, on film, or in book form, I listen to people's stories, and relate them to others. I research the stories of my people, and bring the relevance of their wisdom into our modern world. 

To see what people have said about my stories, here are some excerpts:"Do Mhargadh Déanta, a documentary about the now-dead tradition of arranging marriages...."A joyous new series, Bibeanna Mheiriceá......built around entertainingly irreverent conversations with women....exhilarating, nostalgic, sometimes moving viewing" (Hilary Fannin, Irish Times.)

"In another generation people won't believe this took place deep into the 20th century. The practise is already gone; the living proof will be too. This documentary will at least act as a fine oral history." (Shane Hegarty, Irish Times.")

"Their words never reflect the cosy, stereotypical viewpoint." (Catherine Foley, Irish Times)

Full reviews can be found under Books on this site.I hope you look at some of my work, and that you enjoy it. If you have any stories you would like me to tell on your behalf, or that you would just like to share with me, please contact me at brendanish@gmail.com

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Latest Activities

TV Documentary:

Fomhuireáin agus Fearaibh Uaisle: now in production. A rare and heartwarming story of WWII.

Bibeanna Mheiriceá,  recently rebroadcast on TG4 - thank you to all of those who responded with favourable comments. 

RINCE AR PHÁR, a documentary on modern literature in Irish - a groundbreaking series, is, I think, one of the best things I have done, with an excellent researcher, DrRóisín Ní Ghairbhí ....

Fearaibh Fionntrá / Men of Ventry

Muiris Ó Fiannachta and Jaws of VentryJohn Holstead, who loves family, fishing, and sculpting: see his wonderful Egg of Ventry.And Harris Moore who owns the only woolly mammoth in Ireland - and much besides. Dave O"Shea has great memories of his youth, and enjoys his life in the US - he still has the suitcase he came with (it was almost empty, but now he lives in a lovely New England house, and he has memories of mad donkeys, sea rescues, clipping a poor woman's whole garden of flowers..... 

Ventry is emptying. Generations have been lost to emigration, the men of Ventry have scattered, and are still scattering all over the globe. But in recent times there has been a new and welcome phenomenon: people are moving in to Ventry. People of talent and skill, people of competence, humour and culture. The Men of Ventry television programme gives us a brief glance at some of those who have gone and at some of those who have come. 

Bibeanna: A series on the domestic stories of the women of West Kerry, made in 2007, with accompanying book, Bibeanna, Memories from a Corner of Ireland. Something of a cult. 

Do Mhargadh Déanta: Matchmaking, it surprises people to hear, was the common model of marriage in many Kerry communities up to the middle of the last century. This unique film captures the experiences of six couples in the Dingle area whose marriages were arranged - and successful. 



Published by Futa Fata  and in the shops. It has been described as "a jewel" and "a breath of fresh air, actually". A bilingual book, bringing the wisdom of Irish folklore to a new, broad audience. Look out for the launch - coming soon!

Bibeanna:  Bibeanna, Memories from a Corner of Ireland, published by Mercier Press, and widely acclaimed, is now out of print. A new edition is being considered. Watch this space. 

Corca Dhuibhne: A collection of the inspired Corca Dhuibhne artist, Liam O'Neill, with text assembled and selected by me. The selections are drawn from material by writers from Corca Dhuibhne, or from well-known, sometimes unexpected prominent authors (like Brendan Behan) who wrote about the peninsula. 

Two Birthdays

Still in preparation, a book like Bibeanna: Memories from a Corner of Ireland. Two Birthdays tells the stories of women who left Ireland for the United States in the middle of the last century. Leaving Ireland with minimal education, poor or no English language skills, and no familiarity with urban life, these women have managed enormous changes with composure and dignity. They made a success of a new life, and while remaining fundamentally Irish, they are fiercely proud citizens of the United States. Their experience both breflects and differs somewhat from that of emigrants from many countries. And I apologise to my wonderful women for the inordinate length of time their book is taking! Next on the agenda, I promise. 

Speaking engagements:

Talks and Presentations

  • Launch of Catalogue of Maria Simonds Gooding Retrospective Exhibition, in RHA, September 2014.
  • Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT, presentation to students at the Dingle Campus, May 2014. (Gender Issues in Ireland)
  • University of Colorado at Denver: presentation and interaction with leadership students: May 2014.
  • WHAI conference, UL, Limerick, April 2013
  • ACIS conference, SHU, Connecticut, October 2012
  • IBAM conference, Chicago, October 2012
  • Elms College, Springfield MA, October 2012
  • Scoláirí na Gaeilge, NYU, Iona College, 2011.
  • Proceedings of An Blascaod san Amharcealaín, published 2014, article. 
  • Visual Arts on the Blasket Islands/Léargas ar Amharcealaín na mBlascaod. (See forthcoming Proceedings)
  • Florence, Spring 2013
  • London, April 2013

Book Launches:

Pietas: Poems by Bríd Ní Mhóráin, launched at An Díseart, 2010 Bríd Ní Mhóráin

Crú Capaill, poems by Máirín Feirtéar, Launched in An Muséam. Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, 2013.

Criathar Meala, a collection of works by Corca Dhuibhne poets, launched at An Díseart, 2008.

Clogher Quartet, poems by Louis Mulcahy, An Muséam, Ballyferriter, Féile na Bealtaine 2014

Catalogue of Maria Simonds Gooding's Retrospective Exhibition, RHA, launched in Dingle Bookshop, 2104

I am always delighted with suggestions and ideas for new projects. Contact: brendanish@gmail.com

I am also always delighted to have requests for addresses, after dinner speeches, or other presentations on the history and folklore of Ireland, and very specially of the Dingle area. 
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