Paul Greaney, February 2015
The National Folklore Collection, based at University College Dublin, has recently made their Schools’ Collection for Galway freely available online. This is a collection of stories gathered between September 1937 and January 1939 in primary schools throughout Ireland. It includes material collected in all of the schools in the local area: Anach Cuain (R.S. Ó Conaill), Corr an Droma (Breandán Ó Míodhcháin), Scoil an Mhainistir, Carrowbeg (An Br. Coinleith Ó Mainnín), Caisleán hAicéid (S. Ó Floinn), Scoil Bhríge Naofa, An Cheathrú Bheag (Máire Ní Loideáin) and An Bán Mór (Liam Ó Mainnín). Most of the schoolchildren collected stories from their parents, some from their grandparents, and a few also visited neighbours. Many of them give accounts of events which occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
In Annaghdown, some of the stories describe local personalities under the title ‘Daoine Cáileamhla in Eanach Cuain’, such as Padraig O Coincheanainn’s account of Seán Ó Fearrachair of Baile na Coille, collected from his father, Micheal O Coincheanainn of Roinn na hÁirne. He also gives an interesting account of the brick industry in Annaghdown. The local landlords are also described: An Blácach, Alcorn, Bean Uí Riain and the Ffrench family, with a mention of Michael’s Davitt’s arrival at ‘Cnoc Gaibhín’ in Corrandulla.
In Corrandrum, Eibhlín Ní Gráinne gives an account of Oíche na Gaoithe Móire, collected from her father, Seán Ó Grainne. She also collected her father’s description of Sorcha Ní Oisin’s house being destroyed by fire in 1917. Under the same title of ‘Dóiteán’, Gráinne Ní Fathaigh describes the death of Tomás Ó Ceallaigh of Ath Cloigin, collected from her grandmother. Seán O Cuinneagáin gives an account of the drowning of three boys from his father’s home village of Bunatober.
In Castlehacket, Annie O’Dowde of Cluide collected the same story from Brigid Burke, giving the names of the victims as Martin Greaney, Patrick Cunningham and Martin Noone. Other stories collected in Castlehacket include accounts of the weather, matchmaking and weddings, animals and old trades.
Trades also feature in the collection from Scoil Bhrige, with several accounts entitled ‘tuíodóireacht’. Others describe the travels of Raftery, with Siobhán Ní Gaoithinn’s account saying that the poet stayed at the house of Seán Ó hÁinín in Cloonboo.
‘Daoine Caileamhla’ is also the subject of several of the accounts from Scoil an Mhainistir, with names mentioned including Dómhnaill de Burca, Tomás O Caomhacán, Séamus O hAnlaigh of Baile Beag, and Séamus Ó Gráinne of Cill Gill.
Landlords are also described in the Bawnmore collection, including the Kirwan, Blake and Joyce families and Lady Larpent of Waterdale. Sighle Ní Mhaoilríain gives an account of the appearance of the bean sí in Liscananaun and Waterdale. Other stories concern placenames, trades and animals.
The collection can be viewed online at duchas.ie/en/cbes. The relevant books for Annaghdown are as follows:
Anach Cuain (Annaghdown National School)
An Mhainistir, Carrabeg (Boys’ National School, Carrowbeg)
Scoil Bhríge Naofa i gCor an Dola (An Cheathrú Bheag) (Girls’ National School, Carrowbeg South) – Book 1
An attempt at translating the stories written in Irish (particularly for the benefit of members of the diaspora), is located here.