The front cover of the book.

‘Tales my Granny Told me’ to be launched next week

The official launch of a collection of stories and songs celebrating the diverse voices of the new Irish community in Athlone is set to take place on Monday night next, June 20, in the Aidan Heavey Library.

Described as “a local project with national impact” by its creator, the former John Broderick Writer in Residence, Keith Payne, the unique book, and an accompanying podcast of ‘Tales my Granny Told me’, are already earmarked to become part of the National Folklore Collection.

The original idea for the project came from Gerry Callaghan of the New Horizons group in Athlone, whose volunteers work in close collaboration with displaced communities from all over the world who are currently living in the Direct Provision Accommodation Centre in Lissywoollen.

Funding to bring the idea to life came from Creative Ireland, and Philomena Barry from Athlone Community Radio was brought on board to record the many stories and songs from the residents in the Direct Provision Centre for a podcast series.

Keith Payne said the stories he heard had “a profound effect” on him, and he is very excited to be bringing these stories to a wider audience with the local launch of ‘Tales my Granny Told me’ on Monday night next in Athlone.

Keith Payne

Professor Kevin Rafter, Chair of the Arts Council of Ireland, will launch the book at 6.30pm in the Aidan Heavey Library, which will feature extracts from some of the many stories selected and edited by Keith Payne.

‘Tales my Granny Told me' is a renewal of Irish identity and an enrichment of the lives of the entire community, according to its creator, who strongly believes in the transformative power of storytelling.

The book includes stories from places as far away as Galicia, Granada, Ghana, Nigeria and many other corners of the world, and one of the things that struck Keith Payne and Philomena Barry very strongly during the listening phase of the project was that there is more that unites us than separates us.

“The more we think we are all different, the more we are the same,” adds Keith Payne.

The creators of the book and podcast believe that story is essential to who we are and are eager to point out that the book which will be launched on Monday night next “recognises that a community with a voice is a community that exists.”

The book contains twelve stories and an Irish translation by primary school students of a Bangladeshi song.

Tales my Granny Told me was funded by the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme, managed by Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts.