Major audit of Kilkenny's oral history is under way

Over the years, precious memories of times gone by have been recorded in an effort to document the fading memories of our past

Kilkenny People

Reporter:

Kilkenny People

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

ORAL HISTORY OF KILKENNY

Danny Walsh, Ballynacooly, with photo of himself and a prizewinning bull

Kilkenny County Council has begun a major audit of ‘oral heritage recordings’ made about people, places or topics in Kilkenny, to compile a comprehensive list for the first time.

Over many decades in Kilkenny, precious memories have been recorded by groups and individuals in an effort to document what are often fading memories of the past.

The consultant appointed to lead the audit, Dr Tomás Mac Conmara, says the identification of collected material relating to Kilkenny will help encourage the people to engage with their own heritage. The project is not seeking to physically take collections, but is instead aimed at compiling a detailed list of what has been recorded as well as information about the collections.

“The people of Kilkenny are steeped in an oral culture” said Dr Mac Conmara.

“A significant amount of material has been collected over the decades relating to Kilkenny. This can range from the professional work undertaken by the Irish Folklore Commission to a community collection of folk traditions and customs,
or a family recording, undertaken to document the memories of a grandmother. The purpose of the audit is to just identify, in so far as possible, what has been collected and to put that information together for the first time in one database."

Dr Mac Conmara will be investigating local and national sources to find out the extent and nature of oral history collections for County Kilkenny. This will include local history societies, Kilkenny County Library, Raidió na Gaeltachta, local radio stations as well as regional and national repositories such as the National Folklore Collection, National Archives and the National Library of Ireland. The audit will also focus on private collections

“This audit and database will give us an idea of the recordings that already exist and will help to identify priorities for future recording work,” says Dearbhala Ledwidge, County Kilkenny Heritage Officer.

“We would really appreciate people’s help in identifying other oral history recordings or collections held by community groups and individuals.”

The successful completion of the audit will be a significant resource for historians, scholars, the education system and then public. If you have any information on oral heritage recordings or collections on Kilkenny topics, people or places, contact the Kilkenny Heritage Office, Kilkenny County Council on 056-7794925 or by e-mail at heritage@kilkennycoco.ie.

The audit will be completed by the end of the year and will be available to the public online. A publication, based on the findings of the audit will also be produced.