In the 1930s, Irish schoolchildren were tasked with asking their oldest relatives and neighbours about stories and superstitions from times past so that ordinary people’s lives could be preserved and celebrated. What those school children wrote in their copybooks resulted in the National Folklore Archive’s Schools’ Collection, and this treasury contains a selection of its best stories. With chapters on ghost stories, agriculture, forgotten trades, schooling and pastimes, this is a people’s history of Ireland. There are incredible stories of self-sufficiency from an era when everything on the table was homemade. Discover how people survived on flour, milk and potatoes; and how fabric, dye, soap and candles were made by hand. There are delightful memories of childhoods spent outdoors, gathering nuts and berries, playing Tig, and fishing, and stories of folk remedies reveal how wellbeing had long been a heady potion of miraculous medals, doctors, healers, holy wells and pilgrimages. Recall legends of our past in the retellings of stories of our brave mythical heroes and read about sightings of leprechauns, mermaids and banshees–the stories may be fanciful at times, but they always contain a kernel of truth as relevant today as they were then. With each chapter introduced and contextualised in John Creedon’s inimitable voice, this beautiful treasury of tales is a stunning tribute to ordinary Irish people and how they lived long ago.
One of 12 children, John Creedon grew up in Cork City. In 1987, he joined RTÉ Radio 1 through a public competition, and he has won both Jacob’s and PPI awards for his work. He currently produces and presents The John Creedon Show, a popular nightly music programme on RTÉ Radio 1. John completed a diploma in Regional Studies at UCC, and his love of Irish folklore and culture has seen him take to the roads of Ireland to present Creedon’s Wild Atlantic Way, Creedon’s Epic East, Creedon’s Shannon and several series of Creedon’s Atlas of Ireland. In 2018, he spearheaded the National Treasures project, a collaboration between RTÉ and the National Museum of Ireland, which culminated in a television series and an exhibition of artefacts that celebrate the nation’s story. His first book, That Place We Call Home, was a bestseller. John lives in his native Cork with his partner, Mairead, and broadcasts mostly from the local RTÉ studios. In 2022, he was announced as Cork Person of the Year.