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Folklore of Clare Book Cover (Paperback)

Folklore of Clare Book Cover (Hardback)

Folklore of Clare: A Folklore Survey of County Clare & County Clare Folk-Tales and Myths
by Thomas Johnson Westropp
Chronicon Westroporum
A Review Article: North Munster Antiquarian Journal, Vol. 41, 2001

LIAM IRWIN, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

Maureen Comber (ed.), Thomas J. Westropp, Folklore of Clare
A Folklore Survey of County Clare and County Clare
Folk-Tales and Myths, CLASP Press, Ennis
2000, pp iv+130  Hardback ISBN: 1 900545 12 8, Price: €19.00
Paperback, ISBN: 1 900545 16 0, Price: €12.00

T.J. Westropp also had a life long interest in folklore and folklife. This was initially stimulated by stories from his mother and listening to workmen on the family estate. He used the opportunity of his field work excursions to gather material on these subjects also. Most of this material was published in the journal of the English Folklore Society, Folk-Lore: transactions of The Folk-Lore Society and the articles reprinted [in "Folklore of Clare"] are from vols xxi to xxiv, 1910-13. They have been re-ordered by the editor on a thematic basis but as in the previous work the original sequencing is made clear. There is also a useful index. The distinguished NUI Cork folklorist Gearóid Ó Crualaoich contributes a very valuable introduction. He shows that Westropp came from the British tradition of folklore collection which had strong anthropological and archaeological leanings which was to be superseded in Ireland after 1927 with the founding of The Folklore of Ireland Society and the publication of its journal Béaloideas. This took a Scandinavian approach and led to a rather dismissive approach to earlier workers like Westropp both in regard to his methodology and his lack of knowledge of the Irish language. Ó Crualaoich argues that this is unfair and that he was, for his time, an enlightened and progressive scholar in this field. He drew ethnographically sophisticated inferences as to the transmission and interpretation of tradition from his material especially involving members of his own family. He demonstrated an acute understanding of the nature of his sources and the enterprise on which he was engaged.

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Other Reviews

Books Ireland,
April 2002

Irish Times,
April 2001

Books Ireland,
February 2001