Eighty years ago, a special project was carried out by the Folklore Commission,aproject which saw schoolchildren interview neighbours and grandparents on a range of topics. These interviews were transcribed into copybooks and are gems for providing insights into lore and customs.
This project provided the inspiration for the staff in Moate Library who wanted to recreate the intergenerational interviews on a smaller scale. Six brave adult participants volunteered for the project including: Liz Ross, originally from Shannon Grove near Banagher, Mary Shortall who is originally from Irishtown in Athlone, Ned Buckley from Drumraney & Moyvoughly, Peter Cunningham from Drumraney, Tommy Henry from Glasson and Sean Keane from Moate. They were interviewed by their grandchildren who included: Susan Kennedy, Lucy Brady, Niamh and Matthew Heduan, Ruth Seery, Isla and Conor McEnroe and Sarah Ravenhill.
The interviews covered topics including: Memories of School Days, Weatherlore, Customs & Holy Wells, Ruins, Games & Sports and Placenames . The results were compiled into a small book which was launched during Heritage Week in Moate Library. The book was launched by Gearoid O’Brien. As a local historian, Gearoid is well aware of the importance of both the original folklore project and of projects like this saying “The importance of a compilation such as this is that it reminds us just how much local lore is being lost with each generation, and just how much work is out there to be undertaken. “ As a intergenerational project, it is a given that this type of project gives children and insight into a world which has changed. However, it is hoped that it is also going to inspire these children to become the researchers and historians of the future, giving them the interest and confidence to ask questions. As Gearoid said,“hopefully it might encourage children to ask their grandparents and other older relatives more questions in the years to come”.
Melanie McQuade, Heritage Officer for Westmeath County Council was also in attendance and supporting the Heritage Week theme of Sharing Stories. Melanie also acknowledged the support of Creative Ireland in the project.
The book will be available to view in Moate Library and will also be added to the local studies departments in Athlone and Mullingar Library. The original folklore commission material for Westmeath, and many other counties, can be viewed freely by visiting duchas.ie- it’s fascinating so leave plenty of time to browse through the site.
For details of all activities in Moate Library, call 090 6481888 or follow us on www.facebook.com/moatelib
Back row: Susan Kennedy, Liz Ross, Sean Keane, Peter Cunningham, Kieran Farrell, Tommy Henry, Anne McEnroe
Middle Row: Sarah Ravenhill, Ruth Seery, Conor McEnroe, Isla McEnroe (the four children)
Front Row: Mary Shortall, Lucy Brady, Gearoid O’ Brien, Lorna Farrell
Senan Brady, Mary Shortall & Lucy Brady
Melanie McQuade, Heritage Officer with Gearoid O’Brien
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 29/08/2018