Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 34)
Thomas Lynch, NT - Folklorist
This week's (week 34) featured book article is about is about Thomas Lynch, National Teacher at Grange School, with a particular emphasis on his renown as a folklorist.
The article was introduced by Sheila Fitzgerald (retired NT) - Sheila and Master Lynch were teacher colleagues at Grange NS until the school closed its doors to pupils in July 1967. Thomas Lynch retired then, and Sheila Fitzgerald went on to continue her teaching career at Bruff National School for boys, where she taught many of her former pupils of Grange NS.
In her introduction to the book article, Sheila Fitzgerald stated the following:
No doubt, like me, many local people were not aware at the time and are probably still unaware of Mr Lynch’s interest in folklore. He was probably best known in the Grange locality as the principal teacher at Grange National School for many years. He taught there from the very early 1930s until his retirement when the school closed. However, I am glad to have this opportunity now to set the record straight and to introduce the most illuminating account of Mr Lynch’s important contribution to the researching and recording of local folklore.
In addition to being a teacher, Mr Lynch was also a folklore collector and chronicler of some repute. In her chapter titled “A Map of Lough Gur” contained in the book Sean, nua agus síoraíocht – Feilscríbhinn in ómós do Dháithí Ó hÓgáin, Bairbre Ní Fhloinn (Lecturer in Irish Folklore at UCD) concluded “… Thomas Lynch shares with Dáithí Ó hÓgáin the distinction of adding valuable layers to the intricate map of Lough Gur and its history.” Praise indeed! The fact that a whole chapter in a book, written to honour and commemorate the wonderful academic and creative life of Dáithí (deceased), is dedicated to the work of Mr Tom Lynch is notable testament to the importance of Tom Lynch’s writings which are preserved in the National Folklore Collection in UCD.
At the commencement of her chapter, A Map of Lough Gur, in the book alluded to above by Sheila Fitzgerald, Dr Bairbre O'Flynn, UCD, wrote as follows:
Much has been written about the Schools’ Manuscripts of the National Folklore Collection, and the scheme which gave rise to them, from the point of view of their origins, history and textual content. Not a great deal of attention has been paid to the visual content of the manuscripts, however, despite the fact that a significant number of them contain photographs, drawings, maps and other illustrations which invariably enhance the material concerned. In many cases, visual content of this kind has an aesthetic quality and value of its own, which deserves a recognition that may be difficult to incorporate into a purely academic assessment of the collection. This could probably be said of the contribution to the Schools’ Collection from Grange National School in Co Limerick, situated near the shores of that ‘very picturesquely situated piece of water’ known as Lough Gur, to use a quote from the archaeologist Bertram Windle (see below). The collection, which is bound in Schools’ Manuscript 516, pp.200-465, of the National Folklore Collection (NFC), and which appears to have been largely compiled and written by the principal teacher in the school, Mr Thomas Lynch, is accompanied by a coloured map detailing many of the places mentioned in the school’s contribution, thus providing an illustrative dimension to the material which greatly adds to its interest. The lake and its environs are given physical reality, and the reader finds him/herself constantly referring to the map in order to see where the different narratives and events described in the manuscript took place.
Dr O'Flynn went on to talk about the importance of the map made by Thomas Lynch as well as aspects of the folklore associated with Lough Gur.
This week's article, Thomas Lynch, NT - Folklorist, from the Grange Book is most informative and interesting. A very closely related Grange Book article (The National Folklore Collection - Grange National School) will be featured here over the coming weeks. Those with an interest in local folklore may be encouraged to visit (online or on site) the National Folklore Archive at UCD - a veritable treasure trove!
Next week (week 35) we will suggest another book article for reading.
Kind Regards to All.