Find publications (beta)

From CODECS: Online Database and e-Resources for Celtic Studies

Results (27)
Lysaght, Patricia, “An artist on Inis Oírr and Inis Meáin: Simon Coleman’s visit to the Aran Islands in 1959 on behalf of the Irish Folklore Commission”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 131:1 (March, 2020): 1–33.
Although the main emphasis of the work of the Irish Folklore Commission throughout the thirty-five years of its existence (1935–70) was on verbal tradition, it also sought, from the middle of the 1930s, to document the material culture of rural Ireland. While this work was carried out mainly by a staff member, the Commission also, in the late 1940s and 1950s, employed an artist, Simon Coleman RHA, to undertake fieldwork for short periods of time in a number of areas in the countryside, assisted by the Commission’s collectors. His task was to make drawings and, where feasible, paintings of traditional buildings, work practices, farm tools and machinery, sea-craft, fishing techniques, and tradition-bearers. This article surveys the contexts in which the artist worked and assesses the contribution that he made to the Irish Folklore Commission’s endeavours to document the material culture of the Irish countryside.
James, Ronald, “The other side of the Tamar: a comparison of the pixies of Devon and Cornwall”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 131:1 (March, 2020): 76–95.
A consideration of pixy traditions of Devon and Cornwall reveals similarities and differences. Although people from both places described the supernatural beings in similar ways, examples of migratory legends diverge, particularly when comparing those from the far west of the peninsula with those from Devon. A method employing Reidar Christiansen’s index demonstrates that differences in these narratives reflect the isolation of far western Cornwall. This analysis indicates that nineteenth-century Cornish folklore should be seen as distinct from English traditions.
Leary, Peter, “Bicycles, ’barrows, and donkeys: pinning a tale on the Irish border”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 129:2 (June, 2018): 111–128.
A popular smuggling story still told in Ireland concerns a man who crossed the border every day, either on a bicycle or wheeling a wheelbarrow, and usually carrying some sort of load; hay, turf, potatoes, or vegetables—goods that were free from customs duty. The suspicious officials subjected the traveller to regular searches but could never catch him out. This article contextualizes that story in the history of the Irish border during the mid twentieth century, and locates it within Irish folklore traditions, before exploring its probable origin in similar tales found outside Ireland.
Bishop, Hilary Joyce, “Memory and legend: recollections of penal times in Irish folklore”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 129:1 (March, 2018): 18–38.
Stories of priests being hunted down and murdered at Mass Rocks by priest-catchers and soldiers during the Penal era in Ireland persist to the present day. Using a tripartite taxonomy of memory, this article explores the reasons why these images continue to dominate and reflect the persecuted nature of Catholicism.
Hill, Thomas D., and Kristen Mills, “The (pregnant) mouse freed from the gallows: a ballad parallel for the conclusion of Manawydan fab Llŷr”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 129:3 (September, 2018): 302–315.
In the concluding episode of the Third Branch of the Mabinogi, the Welsh nobleman Manawydan takes the (pregnant) mouse that he has captured to the magically significant site Gorsedd Arberth and prepares to hang her for theft, according to the law. As he prepares the gallows, various figures attempt to intervene until finally a ‘bishop’ redeems his transformed wife by disenchanting the land, freeing Manawydan’s companions, and swearing not to take vengeance. We argue that this scene is strikingly similar to the famous ballad widely attested all over Europe, ‘The Maid Freed from the Gallows’, a parallel which not only illuminates this episode in the Mabinogi, but also suggests how the Welsh storyteller used traditional material in shaping these narratives.
Robitaillié, Audrey, “The bagpipe player in the cradle, an Irish changeling motif”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 128:4 (December, 2017): 376–395.
This study investigates the motif of music, and particularly of bagpipe-playing, in Irish changeling folk narratives, an aspect which has seldom so far been researched. After an overview of its corpus, this article will detail the characteristics of ‘Changeling Piper’ tales to then look at the symbolism of the bagpipe in this context. A final analysis of the dissemination of the sources on changelings playing the pipes suggests that this motif is particular to Ireland.
Lysaght, Patricia, “From the British Museum to the Great Blasket: Robin Flower and the Western Island”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 128:3 (September, 2017): 219–243.
This lecture examines Robin Flower’s engagement with the Irish language, with Irish literature, and especially with the oral traditions of the Great Blasket Island, Co. Kerry, Ireland, commencing in 1910 and continuing for more than three decades. He was taught modern Irish by the Blasket Islander, Tomás Ó Criomhthain, and, during his several visits to the Great Blasket, he collected folklore from many of the Islanders, including the noted storyteller Peig Sayers.
Young, Sheila, “The evolution of the contemporary blackening”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 128:3 (September, 2017): 244–270.
‘The blackening’ is a pre-nuptial rite of passage for men and women that takes the form of capturing, dirtying, and cleansing the bride and groom. I show that it evolved from an older ritual called the feet-washing. Scottish in origin, widespread as a feet-washing ritual, both in urban and rural settings, the blackening is now a predominantly rural tradition. Although it can and does occur for men anywhere in the country, it is mainly confined to northern and, particularly, north-east Scotland for women, and it is women who are the main focus of this article. I describe the contemporary blackening, before tracing its evolution. I then consider the form and function of blackening’s predecessor, the feet-washing, before discussing how and why it evolved to become the ritual it is today.
Houlbrook, Ceri, “Saints, poets, and rubber ducks: crafting the sacred at St Nectan’s Glen”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 127:3 (September, 2016): 344–361.
This article focuses on St Nectan’s Glen, Cornwall, where layers of ritual deposition imply a long history of spiritual significance—an implication that is debunked by a diachronic examination of the site, which reveals a relatively recent, and conscious, crafting of the sacred.
Darwin, Gregory R., “On mermaids, Meroveus, and Mélusine: reading the Irish seal woman and Mélusine as origin legend”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 126:2 (July, 2015): 123–141.
‘The Seal Woman’, a migratory legend attested throughout north-western Europe, is commonly associated with particular families in Ireland. A structural reading of this legend reveals similarities with other tales and dynastic origin myths involving supernatural, aquatic female ancestor figures, and identifies similar social functions for such narratives.
Coward, Adam N., “Edmund Jones and the Pwcca’r Trwyn”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 126:2 (July, 2015): 177–195.
Motivated by a religiously-based defensive credulity, the accounts of apparitions recorded by Edmund Jones (1702–93) are heavily coloured by his personal religious beliefs. One of the best examples of this is his account of the Pwcca'r Trwyn, which differs widely from other versions of the tale. Through close investigation of Jones's telling, greater insight can be gained into his own folkloristics and the reluctance of later writers to use him as a source.
Miller, Stephen, “Cyril I. Paton and the editorship of Manx calendar customs (1942)”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 126:2 (July, 2015): 224–231.
Manx Calendar Customs published by The Folk-Lore Society in 1942 did not have a smooth path to publication. Surviving correspondence between Cyril Ingram Paton and M. M. Banks shows that several editors were considered before Paton and work was underway before his appointment. The precarious financial status of The Society also delayed its appearance.
Sumner, Natasha, Barbara Hillers, and Catherine McKenna, “A night of storytelling and years in the ‘Z-Closet’: the re-discovery and restoration of Oidhche sheanchais, Robert Flaherty's ‘lost’ Irish folklore film”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 126:1 (March, 2015): 1–19.
This article describes the acquisition by Harvard University's library of a print of Robert Flaherty's short 1934 film in the Irish language, Oidhche Sheanchais (A night of storytelling), the apparent disappearance of all copies of the film after 1943, the rediscovery of Harvard's copy in 2012, and the restoration process that has ensued. The authors discuss the song and the maritime legend at the heart of the film, as well as the film's significance as an early ethnodocumentary. The Appendix provides, for the first time, the text of the film's soundtrack, with full English translation.
Mills, Kristen, “An Irish motif in Guta saga”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 126:2 (2015): 142–158.
This article examines a folk motif occurring in a pivotal scene in Guta saga in light of Irish analogues and parallels. It considers the chronology of the Irish sources alongside the history of Scandinavian settlement in Ireland, in order to establish a possible context for borrowing between Ireland and Gotland.
Bernhardt-House, Phillip A., “ [Review of: Pluskowski, Aleksander, Wolves and the wilderness in the Middle Ages, Woodbridge: Boydell, 2006.]”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 119:2 (2008): 245.
Hemming, Jessica, “Bos primigenius in Britain: or, why do fairy cows have red ears?”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 113:1 (April, 2002): 71–82.
Many medievalists, especially scholars of Celtic literature, have observed that red-eared white animals are associated with fairies and other supernatural beings. What has not been satisfactorily answered is why this should be so. This article offers a possible explanation, suggesting that this widespread phenomenon is rooted not in fantasy but in zoology.
Ross, Miceal, “Anchors in a three-decker world”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 109 (1998): 63–75.
Doan, James E., “The folksong tradition of Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 96:1 (1985): 67–86.
Carey, John, “Irish parallels to the myth of Odin’s eye”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 94:2 (1983): 214–218.
Doan, James E., “The legend of the sunken city in Welsh and Breton tradition”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 92:1 (1981): 77–83.
Spaan, David B., “The place of Manannan mac Lir in Irish mythology”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 76:3 (Autumn, 1965): 176–195.
Jackson, Kenneth H., “Some fresh light on the miracle of the instantaneous harvest”, Folklore: The Journal of the Folklore Society 51:3 (September, 1940): 203–210.
Hull, Eleanor, “The hawk of Achill or the legend of the oldest animals”, Folk-Lore 43:4 (1932): 376–409.
Hull, Eleanor, “Old Irish tabus, or geasa”, Folk-Lore 12:1 (May, 1901): 41–66.
Meyer, Kuno, “The Irish mirabilia in the Norse ‘Speculum Regale’”, Folk-Lore 5 (1894): 299–316.
Internet Archive: <link>
Stokes, Whitley, “The Edinburgh dinnshenchas”, Folk-Lore 4 (1893): 471–497.
TLH – edition: <link> TLH – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Stokes, Whitley, “The Bodleian dinnshenchas”, Folk-Lore 3 (1892): 467–516.
TLH – edition: <link> TLH – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link>

Work in progress

This user interface is work in progress.