Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 36)
Folklore Collection 1988-1989
The Lough Gur & District Historical Society Journal, No 7 (1991) was a “Special Folklore Edition”. As Michael J Quinlan, Editor, Lough Gur & District Historical Society, explained in his editorial to the Special Edition, the edition contained extracts from the work of 32 contributors, taken from taped material from 98 contributors which the 1988 folklore project yielded. Many Grange people were among the 98 contributors. The tales by some of those Grange people which were published in the "Special Folklore Edition" were reproduced in the Grange Book article, Folklore Collection 1988-1989. The book article also contained contributions by people from the wider Grange locality.
The Grange contributors included in the book article were Annie O'Keeffe, Michael Madden, Michael Lombard and Danny O'Riordan (grandfather of the late Dolores O'Riordan). A number of other Grange people contributed to the said "Special Folklore Edition".
In his introduction to the "Special Folklore Edition", Michael Quinlan stated the following, inter alia:
'Go Out And Gather Up The Fragments Lest They Perish'
The above is the motto of the Irish Folklore Commission which was set up in 1935 and incorporated in the Department of Irish Folklore in University College Dublin in 1971. Dr Dáithí Ó hÓgáin of Bruff, is a member of the faculty and forges a strong link with this area. His encouragement was invaluable in collecting the folklore of which this compilation is the partial result. His references and notes give it an academic status which otherwise would be missing. Eventually the tapes and transcripts will be handed over to Daithi and be placed in the National Archive.
The Folklore Collection was made during the Autumn of 1988 as part of the FAS/Lough Gur Development Association Folklore Project. The young trainees went about, interviewing and recording. They were repeating a process which was last done fifty years previously. They very likely met some people who contributed to the Schools Collection which was taken up during the school-year 1937-1938 by the pupils who were then in fifth class. That collection can be viewed on microfilm in the Limerick County Library, O’Connell Street, Limerick.
The following is one of the stories contained in the Grange book article - it was told by Annie O'Keeffe of Grange on 23rd August 1988:
Oh, I remember the wakes, all in houses. There were no things such as parlours then. And the person died, and the priest came in the morning and he said Mass in the house and he had his breakfast. And then the remains would go out that evening to the church. The house would be crowded day and night. You just brought a ham and a leg of mutton and cooked it, and everyone got something – and plenty – to drink. But there was no moving anywhere else, you see. They would drink mostly whiskey; there was hardly any other dished out at wakes, mostly whiskey. No poteen around our area, no all whiskey and…I remember they having clay pipes that night and they supplying tobacco and giving it to the people, to the men around at Francis O’Loughlin’s wake.
No one went home: they stayed till morning daylight, and they went home to do their work. But always some neighbour stayed on, four or five of ’em women as well. No one was left alone. They would be talking, and you’d hardly hear them talking above their voices: whispering they used to be. I was at one, one night, and we played cards. Yera, there was this man: he was an uncle of my cousins, and he came home from America. And we didn’t know him at all: we were born here, and he was over in America always and I suppose he had no money or anything. But he happened to die there anyway. And ’twas the time of the depression here: ’33. During the depression, people weren’t paying their rent and rates, and they were seizing your cattle you see. So we were in the house and this man was dead inside the room. And they came in to seize the cattle from my aunt for not paying the rates and the two cousins ran out and they said “Our uncle is dead; he is dead inside in the bed, you can’t take the cattle!” So they came in, and I remember them putting a mirror in front of his mouth to see if he was breathing. And he was dead of course, but they didn’t believe us; we didn’t know him at all, only as a man home from America. But we were roaring laughing: he was someone that you didn’t know that much. But they were all sad wakes mind you, and very respectful to the dead. We didn’t play any other games besides cards.
We highly recommend the Lough Gur & District Historical Society Journal, No 7 (1991) - Special Folklore Edition to you for a more extensive array of local folklore tales that make for marvellously entertaining reading. We suggest loughgur.com for enquiries.
Next week (week 37) we will suggest another book article for reading.
Kind Regards to All.