Lunchtime Talk: The National Folklore Collection
Jonny Dillon
Thursday 18 October 2018, 1.15pm–2pm


The National Folkore Collection at University College Dublin is a rich store of Ireland’s ‘fringe’ history, containing personal stories, traditions and tales that are integral to our identity. In recognition of its ‘world significance’ and ‘outstanding universal value to culture’, the archive’s foundational collection - the Irish Folklore Commission Collection 1935-1970 - was inscribed into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in September 2017. In this lunchtime talk, archivist Jonny Dillon will unpack the unique history of this valuable national resource, recognised as one of Europe’s largest archives of oral tradition and cultural history.

Much of the archival material housed in the National Folklore Collection was amassed by its forerunners, the Irish Folklore Institute (1930-1935), the Irish Folklore Commission (1935-1971), and the Department of Irish Folklore UCD (1972-2005). Also included are archive materials collected by the Folklore of Ireland Society (1926- ), a group closely associated with the National Folklore Collection. Since 2015 the Collection resides administratively within UCD Library.

The audio and film recordings, manuscripts and rare printed materials in the Collection span many aspects of human endeavour, from material culture to oral literature, language and artistic expression. Inspired and informed by the systematic efforts of Scandinavian scholars to document their own folklore and cultural history in the early twentieth century, the Commission worked carefully and enthusiastically to document traditions at a point in time when the Irish language was in serious decline, while the effects of urbanisation and industrialisation had not yet eroded older cultural patterns and practices.

The talk is free and all are welcome. Click here to book your free place.

A range of archive material from the Collection can be viewed at and at

Image: Manuscripts, courtesy of the National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin.