Ba dheirfiúr í an seanchaí seo le Seán ‘Bán’ Mac Grianna, le Seosamh Mac Grianna, le Domhnall Ó Grianna agus le Séamus Ó Grianna. Ba é Féilimí Dhónaill Phroinsiais a hathair agus ba í Máire Shéamuisín Ní Dhomhnaill a máthair. Bhí aon duine déag clainne ann ach fuair beirt díobh bás ina naíonáin. Col ceathar di an scéalaí Neidí Frainc Mac Grianna. Bhailigh Aodh Ó Duibheannaigh (Hiúdaí Phadaí Hiúdaí) agus Gordon Mac Gill-Fhinnein scéalta agus seanchas uaithi atá ag líonadh breis agus 2,800 leathanach i gcartlann Roinn Bhéaloideas an Choláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath. Idir 1937 agus 1939 a bhí Ó Duibheannaigh ag bailiú uaithi agus bhailigh Mac Gill-Fhinnein seacht scéal 22 bliain ina dhiaidh sin. Foilsíodh thart ar an gcúigiú cuid déag den bhailiúchán iomlán in Seanchas Annie Bhán, 1997 arna chur in eagar agus aistrithe ag Alan Harrison agus Máiri Nic Gill-Fhinnein.

Deir Gordon Mac Gill-Fhinnein: ‘She had a normal childhood and upbringing but, perhaps because of her poor eyesight, she never went to dances, never had a boyfriend and never married. She was none the worse for that and she was a sociable person. By nature she was soft-hearted and compassionate, with a good sense of humour. On the other hand, she had some strong opinions, and a rather wicked tongue, if provoked. In her outlook and ways she was conservative and traditionalist, which is an asset for a seanchaí, of course, but does not explain how she came by her exceptional knowledge of traditional lore.’ Deir sé go bhfuil nóta ag Seán Ó Súilleabháín gur dall a bhí sí agus dearbhaíonn nach fíor dó agus gurb amhlaidh go raibh an radharc go lag aici. ‘The source of her talent was rather her own declared love of stories, her excellent memory, certainly, and the fact that she belonged to a family which was steeped in tradition and whose house was known as a céilí house, a rendez-vous for storytelling’. I 1962 bhí sí fostaithe mar scéalaí sa choláiste samhraidh a bhunaigh Mac Gill-Fhinnein in Anagaire. Bhí beartaithe ag Mac Gill-Fheinnin eagar a chur ar an mbailiúchán iomlán agus d’iarr Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann air concordáid dá stór mór focal a ullmhú ach níor éirigh leis an obair sin a thabhairt chun críche. D’éag Annie san Ospidéal Ceantair sa Chlochán Liath, Co. Dhún na nGall, 20 Feabhra 1963.

Diarmuid Breathnach

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