Thursday, 4 June 2015

Dú adds Co. Sligo to online Schools Collection

The National Folklore Collection of Ireland (NFC) has completed the digitisation and upload of another set of manuscripts within its Schools Collection, this time for County Sligo.

Gathered into 33 volumes, the Sligo manuscripts were written by schoolchildren in the 1930s in some 130-plus schools across the county. The nationwide project asked children to interview older members of their family and community and record their stories, observations and snippets of information about local interest; the result is a fascinating collection of folk tales and legends, oral history and topographical information, and details of riddles and proverbs, games and pastimes, trades and crafts.

Sligo's collection joins those for Counties Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Leitrim, Mayo and Waterford on the NFC's website, Dú

I've amused myself this morning with a root through the Sligo manuscripts and found some delightful entries. Among them is a report from Maura Cryan of Coolavin School who had interviewed 46-year-old William Cryan of Monasterredan about an attempted eviction from the French Estate on 2 April 1881 when tenant farmers fought the authorities as they came to execute their warrant; and a surprisingly detailed description from fellow student Mary McHugh of Island Road, Monasteraden, who had learned from 57-year-old Mr M McHugh of the mid-19th century Hedge School that had been held (summers only) near the local church.

My favourite discovery, however, comes from Imelda O'Grady of Mullaghroe who recounted tales told to her by John Grady. She called her report The Care of the feet, but it's really about several local characters who didn't wear shoes. Here's part of one of the stories (click image if you want to read the full piece):