Ephemeral Arteries: Connecting with our past through ‘disposable’ artefacts

As time passes and we move further away from specific moments and events, nuance is lost. An historical narrative is written and in it incidents may be omitted and periods of time compressed so that a story can be neatly told. This is the nature of history-telling for the most part - condensing the story … Continue reading Ephemeral Arteries: Connecting with our past through ‘disposable’ artefacts

Holy Wells and Sacred Trees: Interference with the natural world

While legal and religious factors have long guided our moral compass, our traditional code of right and wrong has also been informing individual conduct for a considerable amount of time. In oral tradition, particular behaviours deemed to be unacceptable are often followed by examples of what happens when this code is ignored. Among the prohibitions … Continue reading Holy Wells and Sacred Trees: Interference with the natural world

John O’Donovan Manuscripts in UCD Special Collections

UCD Special Collections holds several manuscripts written by the 19th century antiquarian John O’Donovan.  Of these manuscripts, perhaps the most intriguing is one entitled Description and historical illustrations of the round towers and other contemporaneous ecclesiastical remains in Ireland [UCD MS 49]. It also holds a collection of correspondence between O’Donovan and his friend and … Continue reading John O’Donovan Manuscripts in UCD Special Collections

By the Cover: Dust Jackets and the Austin Clarke Collection

Dublin-born poet and author Austin Clarke (1896 - 1974) amassed a large personal library during his lifetime. Encompassing prose, poetry, drama, literary criticism and biography, this collection of publications is now part of the Poetry Ireland Library, housed in UCD Special Collections. As well as revealing much about Clarke’s own reading interests and the type … Continue reading By the Cover: Dust Jackets and the Austin Clarke Collection

Part-time Collecting for the Irish Folklore Commission

In general, I may say that these part-time collectors have been excellent, because we do our best to pick them carefully. -Seán Ó Súilleabháin, 1950 On walking into the archive of the National Folklore Collection (NFC), you are greeted by walls of numbered manuscripts. To your right are the rolling shelves holding the bright green … Continue reading Part-time Collecting for the Irish Folklore Commission