Several centuries of oral history detailed in second run of folklore book

A second print run of a collection of West Cork folktales offers the chance to snap up a piece of history.

Utilising data from the Irish Folklore Commission, author Eugene Daly stitched together accounts of local lore “straight from the horse’s mouth”.

A poet, historian, and author, Mr Daly has printed 100 extra copies of his book Leap and Glandore; Fact and Folklore due to a resurgence in interest.

The retired schoolteacher published the first edition in 2005. But his research took him through several centuries of oral history, collected through the work of a pioneering scheme unique to Ireland.

In 1937, the Irish Folklore Commission, instigated by DeValera in a bid to protect Ireland’s oral history, set up the School’s Folkore Scheme. A voluntary initiative, fifth and sixth-class pupils were asked to produce a collection of tales from their parish.

Elders of the area were consulted in villages all over Ireland to provide fodder for the scheme.

The stories that found their way into Mr Daly’s book were delivered vialocal schools at Leap, Knockskeagh, Maulatrahane, Corran, Glandore, and Reenogreena from pupils that would be well into their 80s today.

The initiative lead to the collection of half a million manuscript pages of folklore relating to local heroes, saints, poets, fairy places, ruins, and monuments.

Mr Daly said the book’s stories tell of a “completely different way of life”.

“They look back to a period in our history which has practically disappeared. People lived much closer to nature. They relied on weather lore to judge the coming weather as their livelihood depended so much on it,” he said.

The book documents the lives of several prominent figures including James Redmond Barry and William Thompson. Barry’s foresight and financial aid brought about the 136ft-long curved pier in Glandore, a bid to develop the local fishing industry.

Around the same period as Barry, the ‘first Irish socialist’ William Thompson was writing and publishing works composed from a circular turret on lands he inherited between Leap and Rosscarbery.

lThe book is available from local bookshops and Eugene Daly on 028 33277.

More in this section