As well as collecting names in the field from the farming community, we’re also doing archival research to see what names we can find. Today we made a visit to the National Folklore Collection at UCD, one of the world’s biggest ethnological collections. The collection is a repository of a large array of material relating to Irish culture and folklore. One of the most useful sources in the Collection for researching field names and other place names is the Schools Manuscript Collection:
In 1937 the Irish Folklore Commission, in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, initiated a revolutionary scheme in which schoolchildren were encouraged to collect and document folklore and local history. Over a period of eighteen months some 100,000 children in 5,000 primary schools in the twenty-six counties of the Irish Free State were encouraged to collect folklore material in their home districts.
The Schools Manuscript Collection contain information on stories, traditional crafts, riddles, proverbs, weather lore, flora, fauna and place names. There are 24 bound volumes of manuscripts in the collection from Louth. Today we looked at the volumes from Muchgrange, Monksland, Dulargy, Rampark, Bellurgan and Faughart.
The manuscripts are full of fascinating fragments of placelore. There are several lists of field names with English translations (but not maps to show where the field are!). Raths, lisses, hills and bushes feature prominently as fairy dwellings.