“The traditions of Ireland are the background of our history; they have helped in large measure to mould the Ireland of the past; they are part and parcel of the Irish nation of today. We desire to see them known and honoured, for the Ireland of tomorrow will have need of them, finding in them a source of inspiration and pride.”
J. H. Delargy, Honorary Director, Irish Folklore Commission (1942)
Much of the archival material housed in the National Folklore Collection was amassed by its forerunners, the Irish Folklore Institute (1930-1935), the Irish Folklore Commission (1935-1971), and the Department of Irish Folklore UCD (1972-2005). Also included are archive materials collected by the Folklore of Ireland Society (1926- ), a group closely associated with the National Folklore Collection. Since 2015 the Collection resides administratively within UCD Library.
The audio and film recordings, manuscripts and rare printed materials in the Collection span many aspects of human endeavour, from material culture to oral literature, language and artistic expression. Inspired and informed by the systematic efforts of Scandinavian scholars to document their own folklore and cultural history in the early 20th century, the Commission worked carefully and enthusiastically to document traditions at a point in time when the Irish language was in serious decline, while the effects of urbanisation and industrialisation had not yet eroded older cultural patterns and practices.
Our specialist library contains books, periodicals and offprints dealing with Irish and comparative folklore, ethnology and related fields. A range of finding aids will assist researchers in locating information about a particular district, subject, or material contributed by any of the many thousands of informants, collectors and correspondents over the years. A range of archive material from the Collection can be viewed at www.duchas.ie and at digital.ucd.ie.
National Folklore Collection inscribed into UNESCO Memory of the World Register
In recognition of its “world significance” and “outstanding universal value to culture”, our foundational collection - The Irish Folklore Commission Collection 1935-1970 - was inscribed into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in September 2017.
Studying Irish Folkore at UCD
Information on Folklore courses offered by the UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore can be found at: http://www.ucd.ie/icsf/en/study/undergraduateprogrammes/irishfolklore/