• Tommy Hourigan, Raheen, Limerick

Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 35)


The National Folklore Collection - Grange National School

The suggested book article for reading last week (week 34) was Thomas Lynch, NT - Folklorist. This week (week 35) we continue with the folklore theme and suggest the book article The National Folklore Collection - Grange National School, written by Dan Conway (RIP). The book contains a trilogy of articles with the folklore theme, and we will suggest the third article next week (week 36).

In his introduction, Dan Conway provided the following context:

In 1937, the Irish Folklore Commission, in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, initiated a revolutionary scheme in which schoolchildren were encouraged to collect and document folklore and local history.

Over a period of eighteen months, some 100,000 children in 5,000 primary schools in the twenty-six counties of the Irish Free State were encouraged to collect folklore


material in their home districts. The topics about which the children were instructed to research and write included local history and monuments, folktales and legends, riddles and proverbs, songs, customs and beliefs, games and pastimes, and traditional work practices and crafts. The children collected this material mainly from their parents and grandparents and other older members of the local community or school district. Now known as the Schools’ Manuscript Collection, the scheme resulted in more than half a million manuscript pages of valuable material. (Reference: National Folklore Collection website).

Grange National School participated in the scheme. For the purpose of this book, the Director of the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, provided Grange Book Committee with access to the original copy books of the children of Grange National School, with permission to publish the contents, subject to acknowledgement of the source and full compliance with the stipulated terms and conditions laid down by UCD. The book committee is most grateful to the director and staff of his department, who assisted a committee representative in accessing the Grange material (Volume 516) and kindly made copies of many pages selected from the copy books.

Dan went on to reproduce selected essays from the copy books of ten children. The reproductions are accurate copies of the original writings. No adjustments were made to language, spelling or punctuation in order to maintain the authenticity of original writing. The name of the pupil is followed by his/her essay(s). Each essay has a heading that also indicates the date on which it was commenced by the pupil. At the end of some essays, the name of the 'Informant' is mentioned, if the pupil provided it. An 'Informant' was a person, perhaps a grandparent, who provided story information to a child.

The following is one of the essays that appears in Dan's article. All of the essays are fascinating and well worth reading.

"By Máire Ní Dublaoíc (Mary Dooley)

Holy Wells (28-3-1938)

About three miles east of Holy Cross there is a holy well called St. Patrick’s Well.

It is so-called because St Patrick visited it long ago when he was on his way to Limerick. About fifteen yards east of the well at the trunk of a tree is a green piece of ground called “St. Patrick’s Bed” because St. Patrick slept on this bed one night.

One day a woman living in the neighbourhood went to the well for a barrel of water and she forgot to take a cover for the barrel. On her way back the water began to spill. She left down the barrel and went back to the tree and broke off a branch of it and placed it over the barrel. In the middle of the night she heard a voice calling her to get up and replace the branch of the tree.

It is said that the trees near the well were never set and it is a remarkable fact that the trees grew in the shape of a shamrock.

If a person was very sick and if sour milk could not be got it is said the water of the well mixed with new milk would make whey which would cure the sick person. On St. Patrick’s Day every year people come from far and near to visit this well and to do “rounds” there. Invalids comes there too, to drink the water. The well is in three parts and one part is capped.

It is said that the waters of the eastern or first part of Patrick’s Well can never be boiled no matter how long a person tries to boil it.

One day a girl who was a stranger in the district filled a pot of water from the eastern part of the well and she put it on the fire. When it was on the fire for a couple of hours she found it was as cold as when she first put it into the pot.

She went out and told her master and he told her to throw out the water and never again bring the water of that part of the well because it could never be boiled."

This week's (week 35) book article may be read in full HERE.

Next week (week 36) we will suggest another book article for reading.

Kind Regards to All.

#NationalFolkloreCollection #DanConway #GrangeNationalSchool

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