My name is Martha Begley Schade, founder of Galway FairyTales and I love Irish Fairy Tales! Born in Limerick Ireland, I moved to Galway when I was 17, bags, baggage, and heart. Growing up in rural Ireland, storytelling was part of our family culture. My father would sit at the top of the dinner table and recount stories that would amaze us, stun us, and keep us in line with his values. Using storytelling, he communicated so much to us – a gang of ten children, all listening, wide-eyed. Bedtime always included a short while in the older sister’s bed all cuddling together while she would create the most fantastical stories. These memories are warm and sweet and let’s face it, indelible. After all, what you experience as a child, stays with you all your life, doesn’t it!
Once all the tasks were done, playtime was always in the woods near our home. There you could be as creative, as wild, as loud, and as adventurous as you wanted to be. You ran fast to escape from bears or tigers, you jumped higher than a stallion over fallen branches, you climbed trees to catch a wider view over the green fields, like a pirate on the high seas. The sun’s rays would flicker through the leaves and paths between those trees were well-trodden – by dinosaurs maybe? The woods were never the same on any two days. Winds whispered through the trees and lights changed the constellation of those woods forever. The hundred-year-old branches of the trees would ache and groan in the winds, telling you something. And the fairies were always listening.
When I became a mother of two, it was little wonder that I then used storytelling as a parental tool. Reading aloud to children is so important – even if you make it up as you go along. Storytelling builds empathy, creates a lifelong love of reading, improves language and listening skills, activates and empowers imagination. But most of all, while being fun, storytelling facilitates important and/or difficult conversations and this is the ultimate aim of the books I have written.
Only in the last two years with all the COVID restrictions did I sit down and write these stories and so it was that Galway Fairytales came into being. The first series “The Merlin Woods” series describes how pigeons, squirrels, badgers, cats, and dogs go through topics such as bullying, friendship issues, the difficulties of being in a team, finding the strength in others, persevering in friendships, homelessness, depression, concepts of family, honesty and much more, in light-hearted but engaging Irish stories.
The second series “The Merlin Fairy” series will be released over the coming year. Book 1: Liam & Carmie. Apologies Matter! is already available. Normally a business coach with a degree in Physics and an MBA, this journey with the children’s books that I have been on since has been the most wondrous I have ever experienced. Who knows where it is headed and for how long. One thing is for sure, if you follow your intuition and “just do it”, it may take you only on a short journey but then again, it could lead to life-changing places.
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