he 2014 and 2013 Mid Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil storytelling champion, Marianne was born and raised in County Down, on the shores of Belfast Lough. She grew up in the town of Bangor, where she heard her Granda tell stories around the hearth on many an evening.
Bangor is steeped in tales from the distant past. In the year 590, Saint Columbanus set forth from its renowned Abbey on his journey to spread Christianity in Italy – a journey from which he would never return. And only a few miles distant at Movilla Abbey, Colmcille made his forbidden copy of Finnian’s Holy Book, and so condemned himself to a life of banishment on Iona. Nearby, along the shores of Strangford Lough, lie the ruins of the Monastery at Nendrum, founded by Saint Mochaoi. It was here the saint met the Bird of Heaven and fell into an enchanted slumber, while the heavenly bird sang three songs to him.
The countryside around her breathed stories, with fairy thorns and fairy forts in the fields, and the cries of the banshee whistling on the wind at night. Is it any wonder Marianne became a storyteller, growing up in the landscape of Irish legend?
Now living in the NYC area, Marianne has been a featured storyteller at festivals on both sides of the Atlantic and has shared her stories at social events, schools and libraries. A dancer since she was a wee girl, she has been known to kick off her shoes and do a few steps at the end of a tale. She also plays celtic harp and often accompanies her stories with haunting melodies. Her telling of folk and fairy tales from around the world has enchanted audiences of all ages, but her special love remains the legends and myths of her native land, Ireland.
“You can’t teach what Marianne already knows. The scent of peat fires, the sights and sounds of the Irish landscape permeate her tales.”
Carol Birch, Master Storyteller