Moth & Butterfly is a storytelling and arts collective based in the west of Ireland. Our bi-monthly events feature different styles of storytelling, including personal, fictional, and improvised tales. Contributions come from the Moth & Butterfly Crew, guest artists, and audience tellers. We also host an annual International Festival of Storytelling and Improvisation, the first weekend in February.

Moth & Butterfly brings together the art forms of both Storytelling & Improvisation. In our regular nights, there are three types of Storytelling: 'Moth' style stories are short, true, thematic, and feature the teller themselves as the central character. A homage to the wonderful 'Moth' personal stories style, tellers tell for around 8 or 9 mins (but shorter is fine). Much more interesting to us than jokes or a yarn, we always prefer a story of something that had an impact on you, something important to you. It can be funny of course but by no means has to be. Think of it as a story that changed you in some way, however small, We love your truth, warts and all!

Improvised 'Butterfly' stories will be created fresh on the spot - no two are the same! We have different improvisational forms including: ' Stories From The Hat' (where the audience picks an object for the story), and 'Found in Translation' (where the tellers improvise and translate bilingually). Free-Fall stories are all other stories that still fit the theme, be it a true story about someone else, a piece of fiction, a folk or fairy tale, or a tall tale. Moth & Butterfly is an event for oral storytelling, so no notes allowed, just pure story!

Our events are for both tellers and listeners, for without good listeners, there would be no good stories! There will be an opportunity for people to tell, and also just to sit comfy and enjoy the journey of imagination. Great stories invite us in for a listen. They don't always have to be funny by any means (but they can be!). Stories draw from a wide emotional palette. We love to laugh, but also to cry, to growl, to gasp and to cheer! We invite people to tell stories from the heart.

“There’s nothing quite like this night in Ireland – thank you for putting it on, it is spectacular” ~ James (audience Member Bi-Monthly Event)

“This show was the highlight of our visit to Ireland” ~ Maura (Galway Theatre Festival Audience Member)

“A really lovely night – thank you for creating something very special, we’re already looking forward to the next one, and glad we discovered you!” ~ Michael (Culture Night Audience member)


Our regular Galway City events are generally every second month and usually on a Wednesday, so make sure you’re on the mailing list (sign up at the bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when and where! Our festival dates for 2024 are the 1st through the 4th of February, and details can be found on this website and on our social media. We also travel as guests of other festivals and events throughout the country. We are open to enquiries for Arts, Public and Private Storytelling & Improvisational Events.


Moth & Butterfly was founded in 2012 by Artistic Director Órla Mc Govern


“I wanted to bring together the elements of both storytelling and improvisation in one night. I felt the two art forms would complement and support each other, but it was unknown territory. When I lived in the US, I’d experienced great ‘true’ story nights (such as The Moth, showcasing true/personal stories), and I wondered how well these would sit alongside our own rich, yet very different storytelling tradition back in Ireland.

The same with improvisation, I wanted to introduce this, even in a small way, to new audiences and I began to see a connection, where there was room for all at the table. I came up with a structure for the night, where it would very much stick to the oral tradition and focus on storytelling (vs music/poetry which I also love, but I wanted to make a dedicated space for story). Within that scaffold we could explore true stories, traditional stories, improvised stories, and all the stories in between.

The name would be a reflection of that, ‘Moth’ being a homage to true tales, ‘Butterfly’ being about transformation and ‘Freefall’ representing all other Story forms. A few friends were approached (actors, writers, musicians as well as storytellers and improvisors), and we launched our first night in the wonderful Townhouse Bar.

After that we had a magical winter residency in Ard Bia (great memories), Claddagh Cottage (ah, the cozy stove!), festival adventures at The Body And Soul Festival, The Athenry MAD Festival, Culture Nights including The Secret Garden, Cloonacauneen Castle (Galway Theatre Festival), and several other events over the years.

When the clouds began to gather around the world in early 2020, we kept going online, and now we have a festival!

I’d like to extend my warmest Galway welcome to all the tellers, performers and listeners who join us from all over the world.”



Órla is an award-winning Storyteller, performer and writer based in The West of Ireland. Órla performs, tells stories and leads workshops at venues small and large around the world. Her plays have been produced globally and she has written two books of stories ‘Dublin Folk Tales For Children’ & ‘Wild Waves & Wishing Wells’ (The History Press). She is a member of Galway collective Theatre 57 and of the Connemara Arts Collective Interface Inagh. As well as theatre performance, Órla acts for film and TV. Some credits include ‘Stay’, ‘Lily’, Sanctuary, and ‘North Circular Road’. She is a member of Ohana, the European Collective of Improvisors, and she loves to swim in the sea!


Niceol is a storyteller in song and spoken word. A singer, songwriter, writer, improviser and storyteller, she grew up in Pacific Northwest, an environment that shaped her performance styles. Niceol is a published poet and writer, and her music has been described as 'exceptional'. She is a founding member of Moth and Butterfly, and works both behind the scenes as well as on stage.


As well as being the Moth & Butterfly festival producer, Rose is a Social Entrepreneur, Managing Director, & Board Member to various organisations. An experienced worker for Non-Profits and Festivals, Rose is Passionate about female power and inclusion. Skilled in Project Planning and Management, Web management, Event Management, group Facilitation and Funding Proposals, she is the Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival Co Director, and Chairperson of Umoyo Moringa, a local women's group initiative to improve nutrition and health in their community, by growing Moringa in Bwelero Village, Nkhata Bay.


Aoife is a senior marketing and communications professional and arts advocate with over 20 years strategic and operational experience in the national cultural and heritage sector. She has a proven track record of developing and implementing creative and engaging marketing, communications and PR campaigns across all media channels and arts projects. Aoife has worked as Marketing and Communications Manager in Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre since 2007 where she has curated and organised the annual YARN Storytelling Festival for the past 12 years. Aoife is a voluntary committee member of both Storytellers of Ireland and of the Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival.


Sorcha Keane, Aoife Demel, Barbara Gual Coll, Catherine Brophy, Órla Mc Govern

Céad Míle Fáilte!