Stories, pastimes and traditions as written by Irish Children in the 1930’s

Stories from our past

These stories are from  a collection of folklore compiled by schoolchildren in Ireland in the 1930s. The children recorded (over 740,000 handwritten pages) of this material from their parents, grandparents and neighbours.

These are their stories in their own words.

Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege.

An Irish Saying

Proud Irish Heritage Certificates

The Schools Collection

In 1938 the then Irish Government wanted to record for prosperity local Irish folklore, traditions, customs and history. To do this they got every national school in the country to get local children write down and record all the local stories and information they could – from their family, neighbours and especially the old folks. The children wrote down what they learned in copybooks which were sent to Dublin for safe keeping.

The content is stored by the National Folklore Collection, UCD, Dublin, Ireland.

This included oral history, topographical information, folktales and legends, riddles and proverbs, games and pastimes, trades and crafts. The children recorded this material from their parents, grandparents and neighbours.

Approximately 740,000 pages (288,000 pages in the pupils’ original exercise books; 451,000 pages in bound volumes) of folklore and local tradition were compiled by pupils from 5,000 primary schools in the Irish Free State between 1937 and 1939.

These are their stories in their words.