We caught up with Emily Flaherty of Milk & Cookies to find out what stories we’ll be hearing on St. Patrick’s Day…
Dubliners have always been famous for telling stories - it’s something that’s culturally ingrained in us! Milk & Cookies is a live storytelling night, where you can tell a story or just listen, while enjoying some delicious baked goods made by the organisers. It’s a simple but brilliant idea, which now has a huge following in Dublin. This St. Patrick’s weekend will see a very special Milk & Cookies event take place as part of the weekend-long St. Patrick’s Festival taking place from the 14th - 17th of March. We caught up with event organiser Emily, to find out what it is about Irish storytelling that’s so special and what we can expect from Milk & Cookies this St. Patrick’s weekend.
How did Milk & Cookies stories come about?
Milk & Cookies was set up in 2009 by Sean O’Hegarty and Sarah Quigley. They wanted to create a nice space for people to share and listen to stories. It was supposed to be like a society thing, but then the turn-out was so great, they decided to have more frequent and bigger events.
Is storytelling alive and well in Dublin?
I think so! What’s great about the stories we get at Milk & Cookies is that it’s not just an old Seanchaí telling stories. It’s modern people with new stories to tell. It seems everyone has a story and we’ve created a space for that. A story can be about anything, and that’s what we’re about at Milk & Cookies - letting everyone tell their story.
Why is storytelling such a natural thing for Irish people?
I think it’s almost part of our identity. Our lives are a collection of stories, and when you’re chatting with your friends you’re always sharing them. It’s what we do. Storytelling also feeds into all our art forms; it’s in our theatre, painting, music, film - there’s a narrative to everything.
Is there a typical type of Milk & Cookies story?
Not really. We usually have a theme to shape the evening, but we encourage diversity. We like people to tell as many stories as they have. We have this one guy, who tells funny versions of myths and legends. Another girl does classic style stories, with a dark modern twist. It’s really about variety.
What’s the atmosphere like at the events? Does it change depending on that particular group of storytellers?
Basically if you’ve a story you’re welcome! We set it up as a comfortable atmosphere, it’s entirely open-mic. Most importantly, we’ve a great audience, who provide an interested ear for the person telling the story. The vibe we’re going for is a place to hang out with friends, eat food and meet like-minded people.
What’s the most memorable (good or bad) story you’ve heard in your time doing this?
It was a first-timer. He was about 17 and he just told this simple, brilliant story about folding clothes in Abercrombie & Fitch. It sounds like nothing, but it was the way he told it - his timing was hilarious! That’s another thing that makes live storytelling special – it’s as much about the way the story is told as what the subject matter is.
What do you have planned for your St. Patrick’s Festival event?
We have some really exciting things up our sleeve. But it’s a surprise!
To inspire you, we’ve created an illustrated recipe for the perfect story. We’ve based it on the ‘Hero’s Journey’, a storytelling structure that has been used in stories from The Iliad to Wall-E. So whether you’re telling a bedtime story or working on a screenplay, this will be of interest!
To find out more about Milk & Cookies and to see a list of their ongoing events, like the Secret Garden Music festival, visit http://www.milkandcookiestories.com
To find out more about this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival and see a list of all the great events planned for you, visit http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie