The small East Kerry village of Gneeveguilla, in the hinterland of the Sliabh Luachra region, was the birthplace of seanchaí Eamon Kelly. Sliabh Luachra is a unique area that touches into the Cork, Kerry and Limerick border areas and it is steeped in the age old crafts of traditional music, song, dance and storytelling.
It can be said that Eamon Kelly took a bit of a circuitous route to find his true passion for his craft. As a young boy he was involved in carpentry and later, stemming from that, became a woodwork teacher. Following a posting to a school in Listowel, Eamon became friendly with the writer Bryan MacMahon, who encouraged him to join the local drama group. Finding deep enjoyment in theatre, Eamon embraced all aspects of staging plays from performing in them to producing and directing them and everything in between. In 1966, he received a Tony Award nomination for his stage performance in the 1964 play, Philadelphia, Here I Come.
One of Eamon Kelly's other great talents was that of raconteur. He had his own weekly radio show entitled 'The Rambling House' where he regaled listeners with his stories and his great turn of phrase.
The life sized bronze statue is by sculptor Don Cronin and depicts Kelly in a seated story telling pose, with his hands resting upon a hawthorn stick.