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1001 Stories Collection

Song of the Sea

1001 Song Of The Sea
Added on 09th August 2020

Director Tomm Moore
First released 2014, Cartoon Saloon

A beautifully told and illustrated version of the stories of the selkies - people who can transform from seal to human,


The story is based on the Irish and Scottish stories of the selkies, people who can transform from seals into people. Ben and Saoirse’s mother disappeared when Saoirse was born and they believed she died in childbirth. Ben and Saoirse are taken to the city by their grandmother, but it becomes clear that the call of the sea is too strong for Saoirse and she and Ben set off an adventure to free the faeries from the evil Macha and find Saoirse’s voice.

Why we chose it

Song of the Sea is both a beautifully told and beautifully drawn story based on the selkie folk stories.

Where it came from

Song of the Sea is the second animated film from Cartoon Saloon, an Irish Production Company founded by Tomm Moore and Paul Young. The film is primarily hand drawn which adds to the mythical feel. Tomm Moore chooses to portray Celtic legends, presenting them in a way which is accessible to children.

Where it went next

The film premiered in the Kids section of the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014 and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature but lost out to Big Hero 6.

It has been released with separate casts in Irish and French as well as in English.

Associated stories

In Scottish and Irish folktales the selkies are seal people. In the sea they are seals but when they come ashore they can take off their skins and become human. To return to the sea they put their skins back on, becoming seals again the moment the water hits their skin. In many of the stories a man hides the skin of a selkie woman so that she must stay on land. Though she misses the sea, the selkie marries the man and has children. When those children find the hidden skin and give it to their mother she returns to the sea leaving her family behind.

Added on 09th August 2020

Director Tomm Moore
First released 2014, Cartoon Saloon