New website makes Aran’s folklore accessible to all


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

New website makes Aran’s folklore accessible to all New website makes Aran’s folklore accessible to all

A new website featuring extracts from Bailiúchán Béaloidis Árann (the Árainn Folklore Project), a community folklore collection that is more than 20 years a-growing, will be launched this Friday in Árainn (better-known as Inis Mór), the largest of the three Aran Islands. Partnering on the project are Gaois, Fiontar agus Scoil na Gaeilge, DCU, and the National Folklore Collection at UCD, the co-creators of the website dú

Bailiúchán Béaloidis Árann is the only major collection of island folklore to be created by Inis Mór islanders themselves. Since 2000, it has earned support from major figures of the Aran canon including photographer Bill Doyle, writer and cartographer Tim Robinson, and linguist Dr James Duran. In addition, it has resulted in two excellent books, Árainn: Cosáin an tSaoil (2003) and Ár nOileán: Tuile is Trá (2004).

When Bailiúchán Béaloidis Árann was founded, it had two primary objectives: to preserve island folklore for future generations of islanders; and that this folklore would be accessible on Inis Mór itself. The new website enables islanders to combine those two objectives.

It includes hundreds of photographs and 102 audio recordings, as well as videos collected over the past 20 years. All are enriched with detailed information, identifying the people and places appearing in them.

The website’s search capacity extends to a variety of elements, and transcriptions written by island women accompany the sound recordings of interviews.

This digital project means the people of Árainn now have easy, bilingual access to their own heritage from anywhere in the world. It also opens up this unique world to tourists.

The project’s digital curator Deirdre Ní Chonghaile said: “Though the entire collection awaits a permanent home at home in Árainn, we remain hopeful its day will come. In the meantime, people will savour and delight in this new resource, which demonstrates so well the faith and creativity of the women who created Bailiúchán Béaloidis Árann, attributes that will undoubtedly inspire other communities.”

The website will be launched by Dr Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh, Director of the National Folklore Collection, in Kilmurvey House in Árainn from 2.30-4pm this Friday, January 6. It’s available at


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