Once Upon a Time in Ireland
Irish Storytelling for Children
With Máire Clerkin

Máire Clerkin is an Irish Storyteller and performing artist. In 'Once Upon a Time in Ireland,' she reads and enacts enchanting fairy folk tales from Ireland's rich cultural heritage. Myths and legends of supernatural creatures, wise old women and curious fairies fire the imagination. Listen, watch, and join in the fantastical adventures of The Piper and the Púca, Finn McCool and the Giant's Causeway, The Pot of Gold, Tír na nÓg, Magic Shoes and The King's Secret!

A Few Quotes...

Clerkin as a storyteller is a mystical force of nature, inspiring children of all ages to dream againLiam Reidy, President of the United Irish Cultural Center, San Francisco

You are so expressive in your storytelling! The students thoroughly enjoyed your tales, the music, and the dancing! - Rita Exposito, Principal, Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy, Pasadena, California

Máire's storytelling sessions are an absolute wonder. She is a force of boundless energy and radiant joy as she wraps herself in the cloak of the Irish seanchaí, the beloved storyteller of days of old. And she's the only person I've seen who can keep my small children intrigued and engaged for a full hour of enchanting stories of wild winds, midnight fairy dance parties, ancient druids, and cursed castlesMaureen E. Shay, PhD. In Global Anglophone and Postcolonial Literatures

Máire Clerkin engages and captivates her audiences with full energy and enthusiasm. It's wonderful to see how she brings joy to people of all ages through Irish tales and folkloreCammy Truong, Executive Director, L.A. Arts Group Network

Máire's stories are taken from Celtic Mythology and Irish Seanchaí (storytelling) traditions and told in theatrical form. She begins with a book, and the words 'Once Upon a Time in Ireland…'. Using a vivid assortment of costumes and props, and a variety of accents and voices, Máire switches characters in tales full of atmosphere, laughter and mystery. Fear not: the darkest elements of folk tales are adapted for tender young ears. Leprechauns, fairies and giants crop up in unexpected ways. Máire invites audience participation with rhymes, body percussion – and cracking dance routines – give it a go! Each story is an adventure. Using music recordings, Máire draws on her teaching and acting expertise to bring it all to life. Once Upon a Time in Ireland is entertaining and educational, with a feast of fun and magic!



Click a link to listen to a story...


Máire Clerkin, a Londoner of Irish parents, lives in Los Angeles. She has a background in theatre, education, journalism, and Irish dance. A certified teacher and adjudicator with the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin, Máire trained in the Performing Arts and founded her own dance theatre companies which toured the UK and Ireland extensively. Specializing in comedy and choreography, she has created work for the West End, for Broadway and for TV and radio, and she trained with the BBC as a broadcast journalist. Máire's teaching credits include University of Limerick, Loyola Marymount, Santa Monica College, LAUSD, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Los Angeles Music Center and LA Arts Group. Since moving to California she developed programs in Irish dance drama and literacy, and founded A Gaelic Gathering ensemble. She created eight title-winning Irish Dance Drama productions for Irish Dance schools in USA. Máire's TV storytelling debut was in Telling LA on PBS; and she has toured her award-winning solo show, The Bad Arm – Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer across North America, Ireland and the UK. She is currently co-running Irish Camp for the United Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco. Working as a voice actor, Máire developed her storytelling repertoire, specializing in Irish folk tales for children.

A Few More Quotes...

Revisiting Irish folk tales through Máire's storytelling was akin to me seeing Shakespeare live for the first time in Stratford-upon-Avon. The words became real and I suddenly understood the magic. I was transfixedMichael Dillon, Principal, Michael Dillon Irish Dance School

I absolutely loved the show and then I realized the kids were loving it even more than me!Laura LeMesurier, Irish Dance examiner-adjudicator

Máire Clerkin's ability to enact stories, giving life to words, is a sight to behold: she transforms folk tales into an interactive, theatrical experienceJohn Funk, actor


  • The Piper and the Púca
  • Finn McCool and the Giant's Causeway
  • The Pot of Gold
  • Tír na nÓg
  • The Magic Shoes
  • The King's Secret

Customized to suit your needs...

  • Tailored to requirement, age, setting, occasion
  • In-person school performance (with added option of dance participation)
  • Online zoom performance
  • Classroom visits / after school activity
  • Libraries, festivals, parties

Download Once Upon a Time in Ireland flyer HERE


©Maire Clerkin 2010
Phone: 310 801 5520 or email:

Website by Darcy Creative