about kate seanchai
Kate Danaher tells the stories of Eamon Kelly, Ireland’s renowned Abbey Theatre actor and storyteller. When he passed away in 2001, Eamon’s wife gave Kate his book of collected works and said, “Here now, you tell these stories.” And so began Kate’s delightful journey of telling Eamon’s tales. Ten years later, after an interview on Limerick radio, Kate was invited by Ireland's Minister of Arts, Culture, and the Gaeltacht to perform in Ireland. She was honored to carry on the hallowed tradition of storytelling in her father’s native land.
Imagine a time when the whole country sat by their turf fires on a Sunday night, listening to Eamon Kelly, Ireland’s master storyteller, live on Radio Eireann. Kate will transport you into that timeless experience. With Eamon’s stories as well as her own, along with songs and fiddle tunes (learned at the kitchen table of that other Irish master, Sligo fiddler John Vesey), Kate will take you to Ireland once again or for the first time. Either way, you’ll feel like you are home.
Kate has performed at the Philly Folk Festival, the Kimmel Center, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, and at numerous storytelling and Irish festivals from New York to Chicago and beyond. She has opened for The Chieftains, Tommy Sands and Aiofe Clancy. Some of her stories for children are featured on the national-award-winning CD, Just Kiddin’, recorded with her duo, Danaher and Cloud.
Kate also enjoys acting in theater, her favorite roles, of course, being Irish: the Widow Quin in Playboy of the Western World, Maura in Riders to the Sea, and Madge in Philadelphia, Here I Come. It was through the latter play that Kate first met Eamon. The year was 1964, when Eamon arrived in America on a tour with Irish actors. In playing Madge, in the same Walnut Street Theatre where Eamon had performed, Kate felt she’d come full circle. She gave a grateful nod each night to Eamon, whose photo hangs in the theater lobby.
But when it comes to things she is proud of, Kate treasures this note she received from an Irish fan: "For someone who grew up in the 60’s listening to the greatest storyteller (seanchai) of all time, Eamon Kelly on Irish radio, it is so heartening to discover someone who cares enough for this great art to perpetuate his memory.”
Audience: Family, Adult
All Things Irish
Across the Broad Atlantic
Land of Saints, Sinners, and Scholars
With fellow storyteller Jim Hawkins:
Eamon Kelly: His Life and His Stories
"Kate's stories are as lilting and infectious as her fiddle playing. Your emotions will be moved by the one and your toes by the other."
— Carol E. Titus, Founder,
NJ Storytelling Network