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Batt Burns, an elementary school principal in the village of Sneem, on The Ring of Kerry, began a second career as a Seanachie ( storyteller ) after he had won The All-Ireland Teachers Talent Competition in Dublin in 1983.
Prior to that he had worked to make significant changes in the curriculum of Irish Primary Schools by his experimental work in Environmental Studies and this led him into writing a series of textbooks on this topic.
As a youth in the Kerry Hills, he was surrounded by storytellers, and he spent invaluable years with his storytelling grandfather, Michael Clifford.
In 1994 he gave up teaching and became a full time entertainer in the USA, where he has appeared at all of the major storytelling festivals including The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough ( 1994 ), The Corn Island Festival in Kentucky, and The Timpanogos Festival in Orem, Utah.
He has performed at several US campuses including Notre Dame, Northwestern, Harvard, Boston College, Kent State ( where he was Storyteller in Residence in 1995 ) and John Hopkins in Baltimore. He has also taught courses on Irish Studies at several colleges over a span of twenty five years.
In October 2000 he was a featured teller at The Masterton Storytelling Festival in New Zealand and he worked in several primary schools. One of his most successful nights “ Down Under” was at The Irish Club in Auckland.