Share This:

Ireland is well known for its folklore, myths and legends and part of this are the recordings of old cures and healing powers attributed to people. In times when a doctor or vet could be ill afforded knowing someone with a cure was invaluable. Our ancestors had cues for almost everything from a broken heart to stomach disorders to colic in horses.

The Schools' Collection compiled in the 1930s provides a great local history resource for anyone interested in researching myths, legends, and history in a very local context. As part of the school's curriculum children aged between 11 and 14 were invited to research stories in relation to over 55 themes, one of which was cures. The children would enlist the help of their parents,  grandparents and even neighbors to complete their research. Once ready each student presented a copybook of their research to their teacher who complied a master book for each class. The collection is retained at University College Dublin and is part of the wider archives represented by the National Folklore Collection and includes approximately 740,000 pages of folklore and local tradition written by students between 1937 and 1939. Over 5,000 primary schools took part mostly in rural parts of the country. The schools that were chosen can be viewed online by county, school, and the name of the school child.  More and more of the School's Collection is being made available online on a phased basis through the Duchas Website.  These stories written just after the Famine provide a rich insight into what life was like at the time and also important genealogical information such as the name of the student, age, address coupled with names addresses, and occupations of those who helped with the research. You can browse the 'weekly pick' here.

Community new status