For the second year in a row, Ireland was without its annual St Patrick’s Day parade, and yesterday lacked the costumes, floats and crowds of Patrick’s Days past. In Irish tradition, however, the celebration of St Patrick is not limited to March 17th, and stories of his many feats, journeys and teachings survive, both in … Continue reading St Patrick: A Legend in the Landscape
A speckled thrush upon a bush pours forth her matin hymn A new-born hope has in her woke; with her 'tis not a whim. Some wondrous thrills her bosom fills - what can she do but sing When back again o'er wood and plain has come the joyful Spring. Tomás Ó Muircheartaigh holding a bird. … Continue reading The Joyful Spring
The Protestant ascendancy, and members of the wealthy upper middle classes, have tended to dominate in discussions of the Protestants of independent Ireland, with little knowledge of the cultural or folk aspects of Protestants’ identity and behaviour or of the socio-economic diversity of Irish Protestants. In particular, the experiences of rural and urban working-class Protestants … Continue reading Culture and Tradition and the Protestants of Independent Ireland
The harvest comes as a time of abundance and fruition, with crops that grew in unhurried determination through the wind and rain of spring now standing ripened and ready for gathering. For our forebears, this was a time of great celebration, as it marked the point at which the lean months of June and ‘Hungry … Continue reading PROFUSION AND PLENTY–THE HARVEST IN IRISH TRADITION
In Irish folk tradition, the calendar is principally split into ‘Quarter Days’, so called as they divide the year into each of its four seasons of autumn (Lammas / Lúnasa), winter (Halloween / Samhain), spring (St. Brigid’s Day / Imbolc), and of course summer (May Day / Bealtaine), which falls on the 1st of May. In marking the transition … Continue reading Welcome, noble summer!
‘One of the greatest sources of information we have in Ireland is the Ordnance Survey Books, which were made about a century ago by three men, John O’Donovan, Eugene O’Curry, and George Petrie. They went around and took down all the place names of the country and recorded material of very great importance. But the … Continue reading Dear Diary…
Tomás Ó Muircheartaigh was one of Ireland’s most prolific photographers of the early 20th century. He’s perhaps best remembered for capturing the everyday life of ordinary people living in Ireland’s rural districts. Ó Muircheartaigh was born in Dublin in 1907. His father Tomás and his mother Bríd Ní Mathúna both worked as teachers in the … Continue reading The Ethnologist’s Eye
Moments in Motion from the National Folklore Collection’s Photographic Archive Traditional customs and practices, particularly those no longer forming part of our daily lived experience, can often be difficult to envisage. We can read intricate written descriptions, or listen to vivid audio recollections, but sometimes all you really need is a photograph to bring the … Continue reading Show, don’t just tell