Donegal Heritage Office to launch Oral History Audit & Workshop

4,000 oral history recordings from 57 collections relating to County Donegal

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Donegal Heritage Office to launch Oral History Audit & Workshop

Reel-to-reel tape recording from the Seán Ó hEochaidh Collection at the Department of Folklore, University College Dublin.

The County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council in association with The Heritage Council will launch the Audit of Oral History Recordings for County Donegal on Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the County Museum, High Road, Letterkenny. The audit identifies over 4,000 oral history recordings from 57 collections relating to County Donegal and was complied by Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara, an oral historian from County Clare.  Cllr. Terence Slowey, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, will perform the official launch followed by a short illustrated presentation by Dr. Mac Conmara.  The event is free and everyone is welcome to attend.  Light refreshments will be served.  The audit will also be available on-line on the County Donegal Heritage Office website at www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage after the launch.
“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 has ranged from the professional work undertaken by Seán Ó hEochaidh of the Irish Folklore Commission to recordings undertaken to document the memories of a family member.  The purpose of the audit was to identify, in so far as possible, what has been collected at national, regional and local levels, and to put that information together for the first time into 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.”On Saturday, May 27, the County Donegal Heritage Office in association with the County Donegal Heritage Forum and The Heritage Council has organised a free oral history training workshop in the Events Centre, Central Library, Letterkenny.  The free, one-day workshop will be led by Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara, who undertook the audit of oral history recordings for County Donegal, and Dr. Arlene Crampsie, an historical geographer in the Department of Geography, University College Dublin and Chairperson of the Oral History Network of Ireland.

The training workshop will offer a basic introduction to all aspects of an oral history project from commissioning to disseminating and archiving.  It will introduce concepts of best practice in terms of ethical and legal considerations and provide participants with the key skills necessary to properly research, prepare for and conduct oral history interviews.  It will be an interactive workshop and participants will be invited to raise questions and concerns about their own projects.  “Oral history as a method of exploring our past enables a more personal and human story to unfold and leads us often to a deeper understanding of ourselves and of our history,” said Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara.  “There remain categories of our past which can only be truly understood by the documentation of our oral tradition and history.  The folklore and stories of local places and people are crucial to a more complete telling of our past.”

 There are only 30 places available on the Oral History Training Workshop on Saturday, May 27 so early booking is strongly recommended.  An outline of the workshop and a booking form is available on the County Donegal Heritage Office website at www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage and you can book a place by completing the booking form and returning it by post or e-mail to museum@donegalcoco.ie or by telephoning (074) 912 4613.