In The 1930s, Irish schoolchildren were tasked with asking their oldest relatives and neighbours about stories and superstitions from times past so that ordinary people’s lives could be preserved and celebrated. What those schoolchildren wrote in their copybooks resulted in the National Folklore Archive’s Schools’ Collection, and this book contains a selection of its best stories. With chapters on ghost stories, agriculture, forgotten trades, schooling and pastimes, this is a people’s history of Ireland.
There are incredible stories of self-sufficiency from an era when everything on the table was homemade. Discover how people survived on flour, milk and potatoes, and how fabric, dye, soap and candles were made by hand. There are delightful memories of childhoods spent outdoors, gathering nuts and berries, playing Tig and fishing; while stories of folk remedies reveal how wellbeing in Ireland had long been a heady potion of miraculous medals, doctors, healers, holy wells and pilgrimages.
With each chapter introduced and contextualised in John Creedon’s inimitable voice, this beautiful treasury of tales is a stunning tribute to ordinary Irish people and how they lived long ago.