Project Info

Project Info
Participating Schools
Contact Information

Following on the success of the recently published “Working Lives - Memoirs of Rural Ireland”, featuring the life stories of many local people, As Dúchas Dóchas has embarked on a new and exciting venture. The Newcastle West based company which is dedicated to the study and research of folklore and local history is undertaking a unique analysis involving national schools in the West Limerick area. It should prove highly beneficial to all involved, not merely the pupils and their teachers, but also their families and the wider community.

Folklore, the study of the folkmind and the investigation of the world and the ways of the ordinary people, continues to fascinate, and with this in mind, As Dúchas Dóchas are offering  older national school pupils a chance to participate in capturing a little piece of history. In doing the work that they do on a daily basis; interviewing people, collecting data, researching the West Limerick area, As Dúchas Dóchas are encouraged by the work done by the Irish Folklore Commission. With the help of the Department of Education, in 1937-’38, the Schools’ Scheme collection of folklore was initiated by the Commission throughout the national schools of the 26 counties. It was carried out by school children aged 11 to 14, who took home specially prepared questions to ask of their elders. The results continue to be a source of study and research by students of social history, both here and abroad. The information collected by national schools in the area are available for study in the public library in Newcastle West.

This experiment in collecting folklore was unique on a national level, but As Dúchas Dóchas are in the process of repeating the project on a local level, in the West Limerick area, for 2002. With the permission of the school principals, who have been most co-operative and who are to be praised for their vision, fifth and sixth class pupils are being given specially prepared questionnaires which they will use to do a little research of their own, with the help of parents, grandparents, other family members, or perhaps a neighbour. The questions cover a wide range of topics; childhood in the past, school days, workings lives. Pictures, maps, drawings, place names, trades, customs and local stories will also form part of the questionnaire, as well as a section which will be about the children themselves and their opinions, hopes and dreams.

This data will then be collected by As Dúchas Dóchas, transcribed, indexed and made available for study. They envisage using this information to form the basis for a series of public exhibitions and lectures at a later stage, not discounting the scope for publication. The benefits are enormous, providing West Limerick with a wealth of data to process and study and for the children, too, there are many benefits; to listen, and not hear, the stories of where they come from, to uncover a world gone before them, to perhaps learn where they might go in the future. The opportunity to learn from those who have gone before us must never be ignored, for it is only when we know where we have come from that we learn where we can go. It gives As Dúchas Dóchas the chance to tell stories that might otherwise remain untold, and awaken the gift of an enquiring mind in these future adults.

The willingness of those schools who have chosen to participate is exemplary and their principals and teachers are to be highly commended for the time and effort that they have put into this project. The pupils who are taking part are providing an unique and valuable resource to the West Limerick, and their hard work, coming as it does at the end of the school year, cannot be praised highly enough.

As Dúchas Dóchas are also currently working on several other projects, all aimed at heightening awareness of the richness and diversity that is West Limerick .A fantastic new web site is presently under construction. This web site will not only feature Newcastle West as the county capital, but will also include all other towns in West Limerick. Amenities, attractions, services and education will all be covered in a comprehensive manner, including plenty photographs of the area to enhance the overall product.

Work is also under way on a second publication in the “Working Lives” series. The popularity of the first book was such that a second is a must and copies of the first publication "Working Lives - Memoirs of Rural Ireland" are still available in shops locally.

[back to the top]

Home | Project Info | Participating Schools | Resources | Schedule | Search | Discussions | Links | Contact Information

 Copyright As Dúchas Dóchas 2002.
For problems or questions regarding this web contact As Dúchas Dóchas.
Last updated: Wednesday, 15 May 2002.