1939 - National Folklore Collection is underway

On a visit to Germany in 1936, Séamus Ó Duilearga, the head of the newly-created Irish Folklore Commission, bought a Rolleiflex camera for the Commission. Although the aim of the Commission was to document traditional folk culture in Ireland, the methods it used were strikingly modern. Its collectors used portable Ediphone sound recorders as well as cameras. Even as a camera, the Rolleiflex was up to date, having been first sold in 1929. Between the 1930s and the 1970s, the Commission accumulated an archive of nearly 13,000 images, mostly relating to the west and south-west of Ireland. This wonderful resource can be explored at www.duchas.ie

Photo by Domhnall Ó Cearbhaill shows an informant speaking into an Ediphone recorder, Poullaphuca, County Wicklow, 1939. The timing would suggest the collecting was part of the recording of local folklore prior to the flooding of the area for the creation of the reservoir and hydroelectric dam. Image ref: M002.10.00007 courtesy Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD

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