The oral tradition, or Béaloideas, has always been very strong in Ireland and Irish people have been great storytellers – as expressed
eloquently in Irish folklore and in the Irish literary tradition. Collecting these stories forms an important role in creating this
fabric of history. Telling history, though, is not just about recounting the story of famous and powerful people but also of giving a
voice to the everyday memories of ordinary people in every corner of the country. Where possible, these threads can be strengthened
through searching through documentary sources, or physical buildings and places, all helping to create a rich tapestry of local historical
and cultural knowledge.
The idea for threads has been inspired by the Schools Collection project undertaken in the 1930’s by the Irish Folklore Commission who collaborated with the Department of Education and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation. The project saw almost 50,000 schoolchildren collect and document folklore and local tradition with approximately 740,000 pages compiled by pupils in around 5,000 primary schools between 1937 and 1939. The article written for the INTOuch magazine details some of the thinking we went through in bringing this project together.
The pupils who contributed to the Schools Collection had pen and paper to record the folklore they gathered. The pupils of today can enhance their research through a variety of digital and other means, and present their findings using a multitude of different formats - digital text, sound, video, animations and combinations of some or all of these formats. Threads provides the online space to build new tapestries of local folklore and historical knowledge.