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All the best: Liz Weir dicusses her favourite things

By Kerry McKittrick

The 66-year-old, who is storyteller in residence for Libraries NI, lives in a converted barn in Cushendall and travels the world telling stories and running workshops.

My best moment

The birth of my daughter Clare in 1981. I thought I was having a boy so it was a bit of a surprise - there were no scans in those days. She had lots of black hair and it was very fine. I remember thinking "what am I going to do with this?" as I had no experience of babies. But we managed.

My best song

You Got A Friend by Carole King - listening to that track from my well-worn copy of Tapestry helped me get through my finals at Queen's University, Belfast, back in the day. Another favourite is Aretha Franklin's Natural Woman. Aretha is still singing after all these years.

My best way to relax

Reading or horse riding. I'm a voracious reader and a big crime fiction fan these days. I have loved riding horses since I was a teenager and though I don't get the opportunity so often these days there is nothing better than trekking through the local countryside and admiring the scenery from horseback.

My best bit of advice anyone has ever given to me

My mother always used to say 'do your best, you can't do better than that', when I was going out to do exams, so I follow this advice whatever challenges I face.

My best job

I'm still doing the best job in the world. As a professional storyteller I meet people of all ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds and get to travel all over the world while I'm doing it. I loved my job when I worked full-time in libraries, but now as storyteller in residence with Libraries NI - thanks to the Peg and Jim Armstrong Memorial Bursary - I have the best of both worlds.

My best gift

Probably my first German Shepherd dog called Rebel - named after the dog in Champion the Wonder Horse, a childhood favourite TV show. He was the first of many German Shepherds - the only breed for me.

My best movie

I'm a sucker for romantic movies and loved The Way We Were, an old film from 1973 with Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand. I remember crying buckets watching it one New Year's Eve - a sort of pity party for myself. 

My best achievement

My natural answer would be having my daughter, but I guess turning a semi-derelict building in the Glens of Antrim into Ballyeamon Barn which is now a thriving tourist hostel and cultural centre is something that makes me feel proud, too.

My best buy

An electric fleece blanket to keep me warm when I'm reading late at night.

My best book

It's too difficult to pick a novel, but for work it's A Handbook of Irish Folklore, by Sean O'Suilleabhain, a treasure trove which is a fantastic resource. Probably the most expensive book I own, but worth it.

  • Liz Weir Storytelling will take place at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh this Friday at 11am. The Home of the St Patrick Festival across counties Armagh and Down will feature an international programme of arts, culture and entertainment until March 17. For details visit saintpatrickscountry.com

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