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17/10/2016 - Oral History Recordings


 Audit of Oral History Recordings in County Donegal




Do you know of oral history recordings made about people, places or topics in County Donegal?  Perhaps you’ve made recordings yourself?  Maybe there are collections of oral history recordings that you know of?  If there are, then the County Donegal Heritage Office of Donegal County Council would like to hear from you.  As part of the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan, Donegal County Council in partnership with The Heritage Council has commissioned an audit of oral history recordings and collections from County Donegal.



According to the consultant appointed to undertake the audit, the identification of collected material relating to Donegal, will create a unique platform for the people of the county to engage with their own heritage.  Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara, an oral historian from County Clare, has been actively engaged in the collection of oral history and folklore for many years.  He explained that the creation of a database, which identifies what has been recorded over the years and where the material currently is, will offer for the first time a coherent representation of the folkloric heritage, documented by a variety of people over many decades, relating to County Donegal.



“The people of Donegal are steeped in an oral culture” said Dr. Mac Conmara.  “However, the changes which we have seen in recent decades mean that it has never been more important for us to actively engage with our oral tradition and heritage.  A significant amount of material has been collected over the decades relating to Donegal.  This can range from the professional work undertaken by Seán Ó hEochaidh of the Irish Folklore Commission to a family recording, undertaken to document the memories of a grandmother.  The purpose of the audit is to just identify, in so far as possible, what has been collected and to put that information together for the first time in one database.  By creating this resource, more Donegal people will be in a position to explore that material where that is possible and ultimately engage more deeply with their own heritage.”



Some of the repositories that Dr. Mac Conmara will be investigating to ascertain the extent and nature of oral history collections for County Donegal will include Donegal County Archives, Donegal County Library, Ionad an Acadaimh – Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal Historical Society, local history societies, Raidió na Gaeltachta, Highland Radio, Ocean FM, Derry and Strabane Libraries as well as regional and national repositories such as the National Folklore Collection, National Archives, National Library of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland, Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Ulster Museum, RTÉ Radio & BBC Radio Foyle/Ulster.  “We have a tremendously rich oral tradition in County Donegal in both the Irish and English languages and one of the purposes of this audit will be to document the known oral history recordings that exist for County Donegal” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.  “The audit and the accompanying database will give people an idea of the recordings that already exist and will help to identify priorities for future recording work.  We would really appreciate people’s help in identifying other oral history recordings or collections held by community groups and individuals so that we get as complete a picture as possible as to the current volume and extent of recordings.”



If you have any information on oral history recordings or collections on County Donegal topics, people or places, please contact the County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council on (074) 917 2576 or by e-mail at [email protected]  The audit will be completed in mid-November.



For further information, please contact:


Joseph Gallagher

Heritage Officer,

County Donegal Heritage Office,

Donegal County Council,

Station Island,


County Donegal.


Telephone:         (074) 917 2576

E-mail:  [email protected]




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