Book General Admission

Scotland and Ireland – Intimate Strangers and Wider Resonances by Dr Donald Smith

presented by Mellon Centre for Migration Studies

Book Tickets
a cliffside view of green mountains and blue sea and blue sky with clouds
Saturday 14th October
Event type

Time: 10:30 to 14:00 

Come along to this special lecture where the stories of our common identities are linked to landscape and the power of place by master storyteller, Dr Donald Smith, on Saturday 14th October. 

Dr Donald Smith will discuss the close ties between Scotland and Ireland and how this has been portrayed through storytelling traditions. We'll be looking at themes of memory, identity and connection - connecting with ourselves, others and our environment. Although these themes are universal, Donald will discuss them with special reference to Scotland and Ireland and their common storytelling traditions. 

Donald argues that our identities are first shaped by our common landscapes, with its varied contracts of land and sea, highland and lowland, rural and urban. Despite these distinctive landscapes, our coastal geographies make us a very open, restless, and passionate group of people, but often divided between the tug of home and the need to branch out. 

Dr Donald Smith has discovered some very old storytelling traditions which seem to meet a contemporary need - to explore and share identity without aggression or conflict. Storytelling is first and foremost about live encounters between people, and Donald excels at this - his simple storytelling is both rich and elusive. He believes that storytelling is a crucible in which the matter of ordinary, shared experience may be transformed into something unique and special. 

What to know

  • This is a free event however booking is necessary. 
  • Tea/coffee and registration in the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, located at the Ulster American Folk Park from 10:30
  • For more information, please contact Liam Campbell, Director at Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at

About Dr Donald Smtih 

Dr Donald Smith is Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and himself a storyteller, playwright, novelist and performance poet. Born in Glasgow of Irish parents, Donald has worked in theatre and literature in Scotland since the seventies. Director of the Netherbow Arts Centre from 1983, Donald Smith became founding Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre in 1996. He was also a founding Director of the National Theatre of Scotland and first Chair of the Literature Forum for Scotland.

In addition to his creative work Donald has written and lectured widely on Scotland's cultural and religious life, past and present. Donald heard his first traditional tales as a child, but has been an active student of Scots and Irish storytelling for over thirty years. Donald is interested in the recovery of local storytelling traditions, in site specific events and story walks, and working with community and church groups.

This event is part of Twenty-Third Autumn School – Literature of Irish Exile