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The series of Rambling House sought to capture the atmosphere of a proper Donegal rambling house by recording six radio shows back in 2009. With this series finished and ICR no longer in existence, this website and its various stories serves as a portal to a disappearing world. Master storyteller Bertie Bryce has passed on and the producer no longer lives in Ireland, but the themes and tales will hopefully tell you some fascinating anecdotes about a special part of Ireland.

How it worked

Each episode had a theme to “get the ball rolling”, but we weren’t tied rigidly to the theme for the duration of the programme. In Rambling House, if you had a story or opinion that relates to the theme, we wanted to know. If you had an interesting story about the area, we also wanted to hear it. If you were shy or need Dutch courage, don’t fret, we were able to record your story away from the petrifying thought of a live audience!

A bit of preparation

Our Rambling House shows sound effortless, but they took some planning to ensure that there was a “flow” to the evening. We researched and worked out a series of themes that were relevant to the locality. From there, we located the best books and personalities who could shed more light on these topics and work on a ten minute script.

After this script, we’d have some music and then invited either extracts from the book to be read or the personalities to tell us what they knew. More music followed and before we know it, it was time for some home baking, sandwiches and of course, tea. By the time Rambling House was back, everyone was well and truly relaxed and the stories and songs started to flow. It was a great way to spend an evening - you never know what you’d find out about your locality!

Inishowen in action

To give you an idea of what we mean, some of the topics included in the first series below were: - living off the land, smuggling, emigration, maritime history and superstitions, but just as anything went at a rambling house of old, so it did at Rambling House.


Episode One - Living off the land and sea in Malin Head

Click here to hear the full show.

Episode Two - The Poitín Republic: tales from the Urris hills.

Click here to hear the full show.

Episode Three - Border Tales: the golden age of smuggling.

Click here to hear the full show.

Episode Four - Inishowen’s fiddle tradition, Buncrana.

New in 2013- click here to hear the full show.

Episode Five - Inishowen’s maritime heritage, Greencastle.

Click here to hear the full show.

Episode Six - Superstition & customs on trial, Carndonagh.

Click here to hear the full show.


Want to hear more? Click on the Episodes above to hear them or go to our podcasts section for excerpts of previous episodes from Inishowen, County Donegal. In Rambling House, there was no charge and a proper welcome, a cup of tea and a sandwich or two awaited  you. Conviviality & audience participation were essential  and with any luck you’ll enjoy dipping into this website time and again to hear everything from the poignant to the potent, the sublime to the truly ridiculous.

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