Duchas.ie folklore site allows local Irish history to go global

Another €1.75m to be made available for next phase of folklore digitisation project

Tue, Dec 17, 2013, 22:48

A new website collating handwritten folklore, images and local history from around the country was launched today.

Duchas.ie contains some 64,000 pages of material so far from Counties Dublin, Mayo, Donegal and Waterford, but is a work in progress.

Launching the site at the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley welcomed the fact the four provinces were so far represented on the online resource.

The original handwritten material was taken as part of the Schools’ Manuscript Collection during 1937 and 1938.

Schoolchildren were asked to write down stories, local history, pastimes, songs and proverbs from their parents and elders in order to save them for future generations.

More than 5,000 schools in the State subsequently collected 500,000 pages of material. Some of this has been digitised, and more is to appear on the website on a phased basis.

Mr McGinley said he was delighted to launch a site that would “enable Irish heritage and culture to be disseminated to a global audience”. The project was innovative in bringing together old material and new technology, he noted.

The National Folklore Collection at UCD features an estimated two million manuscript pages, 12,000 hours of sound recordings, 80,000 photographs and 1,000 hours of video material.

Mr McGinley said the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and UCD would be providing another €1.75 million for the next phase of digitisation of such material during 2014-2016.