Béaloideas / Folklore and Ethnology - Doctoral Theses

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    The ties that bind: Irish homes and post-war emigration to North London
    (University College Cork, 2022) Browne, Siobhán Marie; O'Carroll, Clíona; O Gealbhain, Ciaran
    This thesis focuses on the practices within and between homes within the diaspora space of post-Second-World-War migration from Ireland to North London. As conceived by cultural theorist Avtar Brah, diaspora space is a conceptual space that encompasses the sending and host societies and the people who migrate and “stay put”. This thesis concentrates on a particular element of Irish diaspora space of the period by entering through the doors of Irish homes of the past, both in Ireland and North London. These homes are investigated primarily through the oral testimonies of thirty-four witnesses. By exploring their histories, practices, and daily routines, it is examined how the flow of people, objects and ideas between these post-war transnational homes maintained continuity and brought about incremental change to the practices and identities of those who inhabited them. Anthropologist Daniel Miller notes that most of what matters to people happens behind the closed doors of the place they call home. The habits of everyday life are one realm through which we can gain an understanding of culture, and Miller argues that culture is best understood by examining practices. Home is a context filled with shared norms, values, and practices of everyday life. In light of historical and social scientific thinking on migration and diaspora space, these homes were also the site of shared and contested memories, histories, and multi-vocal identities. They were also sites of interconnection, in this case, between Ireland and North London. In this thesis, words like leaving, going back, space, trickle, movement, flow, bridge, settling, and anchor describe the processes at play within and between the homes in this diaspora space. The practices, ideas, and memories that were transported and took root within this conceptual (diaspora) space can be identified as transhistorical, and transnational. The homes within this conceptual space have provided a fertile ground for research into specific migrant and diasporic experiences. Through exploring the minutiae of daily experiences and practices of those within these homes of post-war Ireland and North London, themes including gender, domestic labour, respectability, social class, poverty, shame, empowerment, personal agency, family obligation and reciprocity have emerged.
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    RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus cultúr phobal na Gaeltachta
    (University College Cork, 2019) de Mórdha, Dáithí; Ó Cadhla, Stiofán; Ó Gealbháin, Ciarán
    Is é atá leagtha romham agam sa tráchtas seo ná éachtaint a thabhairt ar an dtionchar atá imeartha ag RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta ar shaol agus ar chultúr mhuintir na Gaeltachta ó bunaíodh an tseirbhís lán-Ghaeilge i 1972. Déantar scéal RTÉ RnaG a insint, trí fráma tagartha an bhéaloidis agus na heitneolaíochta, den gcéad uair. Tugtar léargas ann ar stair na meán cumarsáide in Éirinn roimh theacht RnaG, agus i bpobail bundúchasacha agus mionlacha ar fud an domhain, agus go háirithe an tslí inar léiríodh cultúr na bpobal úd ar an raidió. Tá anseo cur síos ar na cúinsí inar bunaíodh RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta i 1972, maidir le saol na Gaeltachta mar a bhí ag an am, agus i gcomhthéacs gluaiseachtaí agóide idirnáisiúnta maidir le cearta sibhialta agus cearta daonna, agus an bhaint a bhí ag cúrsaí na meán chumarsáide leis na gluaiseachtaí seo. Déantar plé ar an ról a bhí, agus atá, ag RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta i saol phobail iomadúla na Gaeltachta, agus ról lárnach RnaG i gcruthú ‘Pobal na Gaeltachta’ mar phobal cumarsáide ‘tras-áitiúil’ (Coleman 2003). Féachtar ar obair RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta sa chéad fiche bliain, go háirithe maidir le bailiú, craoladh agus caomhnú chultúr na Gaeltachta. Cuirtear obair RnaG i gcomparáid le hobair Choimisiún Bhéaloideasa Éireann, ag léiriú na cosúlachtaí agus na difríochtaí a bhí idir obair an dá eagraíocht, agus frámaítear obair RnaG mar ‘Béaloideas Poiblí’. Déantar sainmhíniú ar an dtéarma ‘Béaloideas’, maidir le cultúr beo na ndaoine, go háirithe pobail na Gaeltachta. Scrúdaítear an cartann ábhair atá cnuasaithe ag RnaG, ar an saibhreas atá ann maidir le cultúr bheo na Gaeltachta, na fadhbanna a bhaineann leis, agus ar na deiseanna atá ann do Léann an Bhéaloidis agus na hEitneolaíochta, agus do raidhse ábhar eile. This thesis is a study of the impact RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta (est. 1972) had on the life and especially the cultural life of the Gaeltacht communities. The story of RnaG is told in the context of folklore and ethnological studies. It includes a history of radio in Ireland before the establishing of RnaG in 1972, and in indigenous and minority communities worldwide, with an emphasis on how the culture of those communities was presented on their radio services. The context in which RnaG was established is explained, with regards to the life in the Gaeltacht communities at the time, in the context of Irish and international protest movements fighting for civil and human rights, and the role the broadcast media played in these movements and in these communities. The role played historically and currently by RnaG in the life of the many and varied communities of the Gaeltacht is discussed, along with the role of RnaG in the creation of ‘The Gaeltacht Community’ as a ‘translocal’ communication community (Coleman 2003). The work of Raidió Na Gaeltachta in the first 20 years of the service is studied, especially with regard to the collection, broadcasting and archiving of different aspects of Gaeltacht culture. The work of RnaG is compared to the work of the Irish Folklore Commission, detailing the differences and similarities of the two organisations. This thesis attempts to define the term ‘Folklore’, with regard to the living culture of the people, especially of the Gaeltacht communities. The vast sound archive collected by RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta is detailed, along the wealth of material in it, the problems associated with access to it, and the opportunities it holds for Folklore and Ethnological Studies, and for many other fields.
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    An ethnography-based exploration of Irish vernacular medicine in the 21st century
    (University College Cork, 2019) Kingston, Rosari; Ó Gealbháin, Ciarán
    This dissertation is an ethnography-based exploration of contemporary vernacular healing in in 21st century Ireland. It illuminates the world of healers and healing in the context of what have heretofore been considered ‘traditional’ or ‘folk’ healing practices; it is a study of indigenous medicine as opposed to formal biomedicine. This study of Irish vernacular healing today, and its practitioners, signposts the changes that have occurred and are occurring in its practice. It explores the provenance of certain vernacular cures and how they were transmitted to the current holders. The range of cures discussed are divided into three broad categories: plant-based cures, including those for skin conditions, dropsy, tuberculosis, and arthritis; manipulative techniques, such as bone-setting and ‘lifting the breast bone’; and cures that employ charms/prayers and/or rituals for the treatment of shingles, ringworm, ‘heart-fever’ and haemorrhage. The current legal status of Irish indigenous healers and their status within their respective communities is also discussed.
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    Understanding value in digital humanities: a case study from a community oral history archive
    (University College Cork, 2018) Johnston, Penny; O'Carroll, Clíona; Murphy, Orla; Irish Research Council
    This thesis investigates concepts of value and the ways in which it is assessed in the digital humanities. It does this by examining digital cultural heritage projects created by a community oral history archive. Pressures such as increased oversight, funding cuts and changing audience expectations make it necessary for digital humanists to demonstrate the value of their projects. While both quantitative and qualitative methods can be used, long-form qualitative approaches are rarely applied. My research makes an original contribution to the scholarly literature by using a long-form qualitative methodology (participant observation) to study digital projects in context, within the organisations in which they are created. By looking at the “behind the scenes” processes, I have constructed an account of value for my digital project work that concentrates on meaning rather than on measurement. This approach examines criteria such as distinctiveness, the ability to challenge expectations, usefulness, the contribution to fulfilment, whether the material is worth it for its own sake and the contribution that a project can make to public engagement. I argue that, rather than solely examining value through the actions of the end user, value also accrues through making, the process of creation. This thesis also examines the sensitivities and ethical conundrums that emerge when material collected from living subjects is disseminated online. Digital humanists generally endorse open access. In contrast, oral historians frequently adopt a curated approach to online dissemination (because of concerns about ethics and privacy). Drawing on empirical data collected during my digital practice, I argue that it is important to eschew dogmatic and binary positions (curated versus open), and instead adopt reflective approaches to the material that we disseminate online. The ethics debate in digital dissemination is not resolved or over, it part of a cycle of engagement that is nuanced, ongoing and relational.
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    Ó Sheán Clárach Mac Domhnaill go dtí Nioclás Tóibín: traidisiún na hamhránaíochta ins na Déise
    (University College Cork, 2016) Ó Gealbháin, Ciarán; Ó Cadhla, Stiofán; Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences
    Féachann an tráchtas seo le solas a chaitheamh ar an amhránaíocht mar a chleachtaítí agus mar a chleactaítear fós i gcontae Phort Láirge í. Ardaítear ann ceisteanna a bhaineann le seachadadh agus le sealbhú na n-amhrán I measc an phobail i gceantar na nDéise sa tréimhse c.1750-1960, ó aimsir Sheáin Chláraigh go dtí an ré sin ina raibh Nioclás Tóibín, ‘rí-amhránaí Éireann’, ar bhuaic a réime. Cuirtear spéis anseo i bhfás agus i dteacht chun cinn an Rómánsachais agus (a leathchúpla) an náisiúnachais ar Mhór-roinn na hEorpa in earr an 18ú haois agus amach san 19ú haois; ar thionchar na ngluaiseachtaí sin i bhfad ó bhaile ar Éirinn i gcoitinne san aimsir úd; orthu sin a raibh díolamaí amhrán á gcur in eagar acu in Éirinn san 19ú agus amach san 20ú haois; agus, ar deireadh, ar an stór amhrán mar atá le clos inniu I measc na ndaoine i nGaeltacht na Déise.