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Museum of Country Life Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Folklore In Art And Social Life
By Bernie Byron
10, Feb 2007 - 11:23

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Dáithí Ó hÓgáin to give inaugural talk to the Folklore of Mayo Society
Cumann Béaloideas Mhaigh Eo

The first lecture of the newly formed Folklore of Mayo Society, Cumann Béaloideas Mhaigh Eo, will be delivered by Professor Dáithí Ó hÓgáin, of University College Dublin on Friday, February 16th 2007 at 8.00 p.m. in the Knockranny House Hotel.  Dr. Ó hÓgáin is one of the foremost Irish folklorists with an unrivalled knowledge of Irish literary and folk tradition.  As he himself says he is "an avowed enemy of pretence" and he continually seeks fuller meanings from the world we inhabit.   He will talk to his audience on

The talk will concentrate on folklore and folk tradition as a personal and social resource, which can enrich the individual lives of people and also can strengthen the social framework of conviviality and mutual assistance. Nothing is more suited as a community resource than folklore, because folklore comes from the very community itself and is the diluted vision and fancy of generations of local inhabitants. It teaches young people to take pride in their background and their environment, it gives older people respect as the relayers of tradition, and it entertains all with its stories and multifaceted lore. Without its imaginative heritage, the Irish landscape would be less inspiring, and its colour and beauty less alive and humanised. In an era of necessary planning, the oral traditional heritage - which belongs to everybody and in which everybody takes part - should be valued for its great potential to improve the quality of life, to guarantee inclusion, and to function as a special resource in the cultural infrastructure. Many aspects of Irish life could benefit from this - social harmony, communal cohesion, co-operative effort,  artistic creativity, and cultural tourism, not to mention the simple enjoyment of each other's company and the development of our heritage in line with the culture of others.

The formation of the Folklore of Mayo Society - Cumann Béaloideas Mhaigh Eo -
came about from a perceived need of a group of interested Mayo people to provide an outlet for the rich diversity of folklore which has been collected from Mayo people in the past and to understand the meaning behind the enormous body of tradition, belief  and seanchas which is still with us in an unbelievable way in our 21st century everyday lives.  While folklore is an international concept the collecting of Irish folklore is second only to that of Finland.  Collecting folklore in Ireland began in an organised way in the first decades of the 20th century and the fruits of that labour from then to now are preserved in the Delargy Centre for Irish Folklore.

In these early days of collecting there was an urgency to collect the many versions of the variety of folktales told around an Irish hearth as they were also told around the cooking stoves and fires of most rural communities throughout Europe and as far away as India.  Today the relevance of folklore is still with us for we will always listen to and tell a story, sing a song and have a curiosity about our localities whether it be  in understanding placenames or finding out how people lived in the generations before our own.
While Professor Ó hÓgáin will give the inaugural lecture to the Folklore of Mayo Society - Cumann Béaloideas Mhaigh Eo, the committee has also lined up a series of talks for the coming months.  We are pleased that Father  Seán Ó Duinn of Glenstal Abbey and well-known author of the Rites of St Bridget and The Three Streams will give the next talk on March 23rd.   Further speakers will include Nicholas Carolan of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, Bairbre Ní Fhloinn and Ríonach Uí  Ógáin of the Delargy Centre for Irish Folklore at U.C.D., Fiachra Mac Gabhann of U.C.G. and Michael D. Higgins T.D.
The Cathaoirleach of Westport Urban Council, Teresa Maguire, will officiate on the night.

Following Professor Ó hÓgáin's talk, there will be music by local artists and traditional musicians in the bar at the Knockranny House Hotel.  All are welcome and there is a small charge of EUR5 per person.  Children will be admitted free.

For further information please contact Justin Sammon. Telephone: 098 27818.

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