Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


Institute of Technology Tralee

First Advisor

Dr. Muiris Ó Laoire


We live in a global village of ever increasing travel and mass communication resulting in multiculturism in society. As our country has become part of an enlarged E.U., the debate concerning the place of the Irish language in E.U. life is a salient issue. The challenge of a minor poet upon his Famine deathbed echoes down the generations urging us to discover and further develop the rich seam of our own saíocht or culture, so dear to the mind of Diarmuid Na Bolgai. This thesis seeks to reveal that saiocht as lived by the people of Tuosist. It indicates how this cultural heritage can be accessed and interpreted with a view to encouraging similar communities to appreciate their own story, be aware of its value and have the heart and will to develop same. Folklorist Sean O Suilleabhain shows the way: “one of the richest strata enshrined in Irish is what is termed seanchas - traditional lore of the countryside which is handed down orally....This lore embraced all that was held in popular memory concerning the area....local family history...wars....Famine....penal, saints, festivals, holy wells, castles, ruined well as that, it was one of the main sources of information about the way in which ordinary people of the countryside lived their daily lives - you will search the history books in vain for knowledge of that important part of our country’s story” (O Suilleabháin 1969:56).

“Desde los pequehos” was the profound lesson I learned while working among the shanty town communities of Northern Peru ‘from the little ones’ (i.e. poor folk). Ó Súilleabáin lectured about the theme during the 1976 Writers’ Week in Listowel, Co. Kerry: “the folk are any group, large or small, which has distinctive traditions...folklore is a living thing. It never dies out at all, it changes all the time” (O Suilleabhain Writers’ Week Lecture May 1976 - recording in possession of researcher). Modem poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh recognises a like story of struggle and survival in the landscape and folk of his Donegal.


Images and appendices within this thesis have bee redacted or removed due to copyright.

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