Our Oral Heritage

What is Folklore?

Folklore relates to traditional tales and stories, fairies, banshees and old folk beliefs in supernatural creatures. It is also family lore, folk songs and music, folk art, pottery and carving. In addition, folklore is the traditions and customs of our families and our communities.

What is Oral History?

Oral History surrounds the the collecting and recording of the memories and experiences of an individual or group. Oral tradition relates to the the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next. It enables us to see the human side of historical events, rather than relying solely on books and records. It also allows us to challenge assumptions about our recent past by asking direct questions to people who lived through those times.

The Importance of Recording our Elders

Our elders in Clare provide a unique insight into our history and offer the last opportunity for this insight to be backed up by the force of personal testimony.  They are the ‘children of the revolution’, being the first generation to grow up following independence in the twenty-six counties.  They were there when the country was first illuminated by electric light and saw the earliest aeroplanes cross the sky.  They knew people who witnessed the famine, had parents who marched with Parnell, and who knew Biddy Early personally.  They are natural storytellers, whose formative years were immersed in a vibrant oral tradition.  They lived most of their lives in a time when entertainment was inextricably connected to the centuries old art of conversation, storytelling, music and song.  Yet, for all their experience and wisdom, they remain largely silent.  In an era characterised by an increasing disconnection from our sense of identity, the time is surely ripe to now invoke that aspect of our tradition that is so much a part of our identity.



                              Miltown storyteller Francie Kennelly



National Development PlanLEADERThe European Agricultural Fund for Rural DevelopmentClare Local Development CompanyDepartment of the Environment Community and Local Government