30th Storytelling Festival Opens in Stirling Castle Great Hall

This year’s Scottish International Storytelling Festival opens in the Great Hall of Stirling Castle with a unique blend of music, song and story on Thursday 18 October.

OSSIAN: The Pipes and the Story’ brings together a feast of musical talent with some of Scotland’s leading storytellers to share the great Celtic saga of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, Diarmaid, Grainnhe and Ossian.

At one time the Stewart Kings would have been entertained by these tales in the Great Hall, but now the stories are being brought to a modern audience, in an event sure to appeal to residents and visitors alike.

The audience will sit by mellow candlelight like Scots kings and queens, with their love of storytelling, poetry and music.

Storytelling Festival Director, Donald Smith, commented:

Growing up in Stirling, I watched the Great Hall being restored with apprentices serving their time on the fantastic stonework, and the magnificent roof timbers. Now, I want to make the Hall echo again with culture fit for kings.

Though Fionn, Diarmaid, Grainnhe and Ossian are part of a shared Scottish-Irish saga, Scotland has its own version of these stories, and its own songs and music. This unique, one off event assembles a stellar line-up of Scotland’s musical talent, including Ross Ainslie, Allan MacDonald, Brighde Chaimbeul, Griogair Labhruidh, and Angus & Kenneth MacKenzie.

The music will be linked with dramatic dialogue which follows the rise of Fionn, the mysterious passion of Sabha, the birth of Ossian as a deer-child, the loves of Diarmaid, the tragic hunting of the Boar that lead to his death, the departure of Ossian, and finally his return from the land of the ever living.

All this material is the backdrop to James MacPherson’s romantic poems of Ossian, to connect with Scotland’s continuing oral traditions of song, music and story.

The languages of Scotland – Gaelic and Scot – will be woven through the programme. Storytellers Martin MacIntyre, Janis MacKay, Donald Smith and David Campbell will provide a connecting narrative.

Devised by Hamish Moore and Donald Smith, ‘OSSIAN: The Pipes and the Story’ will be recorded for BBC Radio Scotland.

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