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Folklore Schools 1937-38

Abstract A collection of primary school copybooks gathered under the direction of the Irish Folklore Commission to bring together information on Irish traditions from across the country.

In collection

Date
1937/1938
Extent
2 items
Location of original
Original items located in National Folklore Collection.
Repository
National Folklore Collection
Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive
Language
English ; Irish
Scope and Content
The aim of this project was to begin to catalogue, index, and conserve the primary school copybooks entrusted to the National Folklore Collection under the 1937 ‘Schools’ Scheme’, a joint initiative carried out under the direction of the former Irish Folklore Commission, with the assistance of the Department of Education, and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO). A scheme largely unparalleled in Europe, the Schools’ Manuscripts Collection has been described by Séamas Ó Catháin, former director of the National Folklore Collection, as ‘a snapshot of the state of Irish tradition across the greater part of Ireland, a long exposure… taken over a period of eighteen months’, and it is representative of a wide body of lore and custom as varied and diverse as the communities from which it was originally gathered. The collection and transcription of this material was carried out nationwide, by the sixth class students of 1937, who, on exploring a given topic set out by the commission and distributed to their school via a small handbook titled Irish Folklore and Tradition, would consult with their parents, grandparents, and any other members of the locality who may have been able to assist them in gathering the information they were looking for. Topics covered under the scheme included those of supernatural lore, hidden treasures, diseases, cures and herbs, local crafts and customs, famous local people, information regarding holy wells, fairy forts, local fairs, and games played by children, to list but a small few. This project opens up and allows for further valuable research into the Schools Collections, while adding sharper focus to the contextual details of the families and communities who voiced this material over seventy years ago. Further reading – 1. Ó Catháin, Séamas, Scéim na Scol, in Proceedings from the McGlinchey Summer School, 1998 2. Ó Catháin, Séamas, Súil Siar ar Scéim na Scol, Sinsir 5, 1988.
Arrangement
Material was written first into the children’s homework copybooks, and then re-written into the larger official notebooks that had been distributed for the scheme.The completed official notebooks were bound, paginated and numbered, according to parish, barony, county and province. An interim catalogue was also completed, and the school copybooks were all boxed, labeled and numbered according to their corresponding manuscripts. It is important to make a distinction between the two separate components of this collection, and the copybooks present their own fascinating research possibilities. There has been no comprehensive cataloguing or indexing of the copybooks, and this project aimed to start that process, by recording the names of individual students and numbering and labeling each separate copybook from a particular school. The books have had their staples removed, to conserve them and avoid further corrosion and damage, as well as being re-housed in acid-free boxes. The information gathered from these copies (thus far only reaching to cover the opening manuscripts from Co. Galway) was entered into a database covering topographical information, as well as giving the child’s name and individual copybook number. School roll numbers were also recorded.
Subjects
Children's writings--Ireland
Storms--Ireland
Schools--Ireland

Record source
No Finding aid available - M.S.03 December 2009.

Finding aid author
Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA)
1 [Collection of material scanned from the original copybooks and cover sheets of the Schools Manuscript Collection] [View...]
2 [Index file of all the participants in the Schools Manuscript Collection 1937-38] [View...]

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