The Working Lives Project is a collection of memoirs from people of West Limerick, each candid and emotive narrative focusing on the way life was for them in the past up to the present day. It represents the various themes in our society and culture, both spiritual and temporal, including the early life and school, the working life and politics, the supernatural and folklore, religious matters and love. It not only gives one a sense of place but also a sense of the self-worth and diversity in County Limerick. The various life stories in this publication will enchant and fascinate, helping to embody the county and demonstrate the value of collecting information on the more transient heritage that all too often fades quickly over generations.

Folklore, the study of the folk-mind and the investigation of the world and ways of ordinary people, continues to fascinate, with the culture of the ordinary citizen and the traditions of the past remaining very significant.

Taking this into consideration, As Dúchas Dóchas staff set out in 2000 and began the process of interviewing people in the West County Limerick on their working lives. The selection was, approximately, the people living in the county west of a line from Askeaton to Dromcolliher, an area teeming with local history and folklore ranging from the most unassuming ring fort or standing stone to the commanding structure of a castle in the countryside.

In the few years, researchers from the company have met people from all walks of life in the area, from blacksmiths, shoemakers and stonemasons to former soldiers, farmers and dancehall owners. Their stories have been frank and intimate, detailing all aspects of their lives from the earliest memory to the present day and all in between that has made them who they are. Each one of their accounts represents Ireland, past and present.

The Working Lives series of books mark another success for the partnership between the company's patron bodies, FÁS and Limerick County Council, both who should be commended in making the project a reality. The company has already produced valuable work to strengthen its position as a research project and this publication represents a further step in showing the importance of local history and is an indication of the positive role that projects like this one can achieve in their community areas.

David O'Grady, Project Manager at As Dúchas Dóchas, was given editorial control of the compilation of the material and the direction and dedication that both he and Catherine Hartigan, Assistant Project Manager, have shown has been exceptional. The many FÁS trainees also involved in the publication and those who have left to take up employment or to return to further education can be proud of the contribution they have made to this book

Our first publication, "Working Lives - Memoirs of Rural Ireland".

Contact As Dúchas Dóchas at (069) 62215 or for further details.

the Working Lives website