Austin Kenny

Wanted: Emigrant Stories

Austin Kenny wants to hear stories as told by Irish emigrants.

He is working on a documentary about Irish emigration from a period in the not-too-distant past and is seeking contributors from the general public who have collections of audio or video cassette tapes documenting their own, or their loved-ones, emigration in a time before the cell phone, internet or even an accessible landline telephone.

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"The documentary is inspired by a college film that I made which was based on old audio cassette tapes which I had discovered in the attic," says Kenny, who works for RTE, the Irish national broadcaster.

"My parents had kept them from the time that they had emigrated to Australia in the late 1970s. The concept of the cassettes came from the fact that the families back in rural Ireland had no access to a nearby phone.

"So, the best way to hear a loved-one's voice was to record them into the stereo speaker and post the tapes back. What resulted was a treasure-trove of lost memories covering topics from new-born babies to new potatoes, and from GAA commentaries to live sessions and story-telling. 

Anyone with such stories on tape or cassette can contact Austin at or call him, from the U.S., at 011-353-87-753-8031.