MODERN media and the knowledge of the older generation have been artfully blended in a project by pupils at a North Clare school exploring the history and folklore of their local area.
The result is ‘Faery Tales & Folklore: A Clare Conversation’, a podcast produced and presented by the students of Clouna National School – https://bit.ly/3LHKFze
The students worked with local historian Tom Barry to explore folklore and storytelling, and also engaged in a digital conversation with Pat Carroll, Mary Hurley and Bridie Davoren, who are currently patients in the Ennistymon Community Hospital.
Pupils from fourth to sixth class in Scoil Cholmcille Clouna spent five weeks working with artist John Lillis on the project and used recording technologies to establish the conversational interaction between the pupils and hospital residents.
They recorded questions and answers to document some of the memories of Pat, Mary and Bridie from times gone by.
The podcast was co-produced and recorded with John as part of the Blast Residency (Bringing Live Arts to Students and Teachers) and was funded by the Department of Education through the Clare Education Centre.
This inter-generational project facilitated a recording exchange to unlock memories of days past, local folklore and local history from the area of Clouna and Ennistymon.
This area is rich in local history and the school wanted to engage with the older generation to capture their memories of days gone by and record some of their stories from the area.
The passing on of the oral language storytelling tradition was a key component of this project and as was the tradition in rural communities, music, dance and storytelling would have been fostered through the social interaction of the different generations of family in the home through the tradition of ‘ragairne’ or’ bheith ag ragaireacht’.
The overall project looked at the theme of identity within the community of North Clare, and how this differs from that of the older generation.
Local historian and Clouna native Tom was invited to the school to work with the pupils on local history and folklore and to capture some of the oral storytelling traditions of the past.
The outcome is a 27 minute audio piece to share on social media and to be enjoyed by the school and wider community.
The podcast also includes recordings of pupils playing and singing traditional music from Clare and listeners are also treated to a song from Mary Hurley.
Working with John on this BLAST project, has exposed the children to working with media and communications through using recording equipment such as microphones and audio interface equipment and software to edit their recordings.
It was very much a hands-on project with children getting the opportunity to work as sound engineers, producers, directors and performers.
Saoirse, a fourth class student said, “We got a chance to set up all the microphones and learn about the recording equipment.”
It also opened lines of communication with the local community to connect with them on local history and folklore stories from Clouna and the surrounding area.
Saoirse’s classmate Eabha said, “It was great to learn about the local history of Clouna and what it was like here years ago.”
That thought was echoed by Lily, also from fourth class, who said, “It was nice we got to listen to the old people and the memories they had to share about long ago.”
In all, the project gave the children many avenues to express their learning experiences and ideas – through music, dance, art, conversational skills, storytelling, local history, folklore and so much more.
The school has offered “huge thanks” to the residents and staff at the Ennistymon Community Hospital, artist John Lillis, Tom Barry, teacher Sarah Molloy, principal Éadaoin Ryan, the Clare Education Centre and the Department of Education for their help and support with this project.