Stories written in the late 1930s by children in more than 70 schools in County Laois have been published on Dúchas.ie, the online platform of the National Folklore Collection.
The Schools Collection is the first major project to be published on the website. The project ran from 1937 to 1939 and involved more than 50,000 schoolchildren from 5,000 schools in the 26 counties of the Irish Free State. They were asked to collect folklore from their parents, grandparents and neighbours, and record their findings on oral history, local topography, folktales and legends, riddles and proverbs, games and pastimes, trades and crafts, and so on. Importantly, they were also asked to record the name, address and age of their informants – details which can provide useful genealogical clues.
The scheme resulted in the creation of over half a million manuscript pages. Those written in counties Dublin, Mayo, Donegal, Waterford, Galway, Leitrim, Kildare, Kerry, Sligo, Limerick, Monaghan, Laois and Kilkenny are now online and it is hoped to have material from all 26 counties on the site by the end of this year.