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PUBLIC LECTURE, 25 September 2017, 7.00pm National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Paul Rouse: The Death of Hurling

When the GAA was founded in 1884, it pledged itself to revive the game of hurling. The official history of the Association tells of a game that was dead – or almost dead – before Michael Cusack set upon its rebirth against the backdrop of cultural revival in Ireland. This talk will examine the history of hurling in the years between the Great Famine and the founding of the GAA. Using questionnaires from the National Folklore Collection and a wealth of other national and international sources, an alternative history of hurling will be offered that examines what happens to an ‘ancient sport’ at a time of intense social change.

Paul Rouse is a lecturer in the School of History at UCD. He is the author of Sport and Ireland: A History (OUP, 2015) and has written extensively about the history of hurling. The first meeting of those interested in setting up the Folklore of Ireland Society was held in November 1926. Subsequently the Society was formally established in January 1927. Among its founder members and first officers were Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha (‘An Seabhac’), Douglas Hyde (‘An Craoibhín Aoibhinn’) and J.H. Delargy.

 

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Welcome to the National Folklore Collection's new website! We hope it will serve to familiarise the public with the breadth and depth of our collections, as well as providing a space in which those interested in learning more about Irish folk tradition and its importance might keep informed of the latest events, publications and projects with which we are involved.

By clicking on the banner headings located at the top of the page, users can find detailed information regarding our holdings; from manuscript collections, sound and video recordings to our specialist library and more.

Coinciding with the launch of our new website is  the latest edition of Blúiríní Béaloidis / Folklore Fragments, the monthly podcast from the National Folklore Collection. The podcast aims to explore aspects of Irish (and broader European) folk tradition across an array of different subject areas and topics, so that we might come to know and honour the customs and artistry of our forebears and ancestors. Drawing from various archival sources including sound recordings, manuscripts and older publications, the podcast aims to familiarise listeners with the depth and richness of our traditional cultural inheritance; believing that a knowledge and understanding of our past might better inform our present, and should aim to guide our future.

This month’s edition of the Blúiríní Béaloidis / Folklore Fragments podcast focuses on the arrival of the harvest, which was for our forebears a time of great celebration, as it marked the point at which the lean months of June and ‘Hungry July’ (when the year’s stores were traditionally at their lowest), gave way to a period of profusion and plenty. Join us as we take to the fields then, to discuss hilltop celebrations, contests of ability and strength, naked horse-swimming races and the spirit of the crops itself, which appears all over Europe in the form of a female nature spirit known broadly as the ‘Corn Mother’, as well as being symbolically represented by several animals. The podcast can be downloaded from the iTunes store, or at this Soundcloud page.

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