The heart of our work involves the documentation of everyday life in the past and present.
Our main activities focus on recorded audio interviews: we sit down with individuals (and, more rarely, groups) and explore their memories and stories in a recorded conversation.
These interviews can last from 45 minutes to two hours or longer, and might look at memories of what life was like in childhood neighbourhoods, particular experiences (working in the Sunbeam textile factory, being a cooper or an Echo boy), and stories about characters and landmarks in the city in the past and present.
We tend to follow the interviewee’s interests and thoughts so that topics important to them don’t get left out.
These interviews serve as windows into the ordinary and extraordinary lives of individuals, and taken together they give a vivid picture of life in the city down through the years.
Each interview is preserved in audio format, and is transcribed word-for-word.
This material is then preserved in our archive along with our interviewers’ field notes, interview logs, and any photos that might have been taken on the day or suggested and scanned from the interviewee’s own collection.
Each interviewee receives a copy of their interview on CD, so that they and their family and friends can enjoy it.
We also carry out research and dissemination through film, photography, and exhibitions, and house a number of donated photographic collections.
Since the beginnings of the Cork Folklore Project in 1996, our community staff members have been trained in ethnographic research and fieldwork, to identify, collect, document and archive many aspects of local oral history, traditional and popular culture.
The Cork Memory Map project is our most recent way of making stories from our interviews available online. Click on a point of the map to hear a memory or story from that area and read the transcript. We are carrying out interviews and adding to the Memory Map all the time, so keep checking it, and contact us if you would like to ‘put yourself on the map’ by being interviewed or contributing a story.
Our annual journal The Archive features articles by Project Researchers and members of the public, and showcases elements of our photography collections and extracts from our interviews. Available on the website in PDF format, this journal is distributed for free in its paper format as a ‘thank you’ to the community of which we form a part.
Project Researchers continuously engage with our collections in order to build upon our holdings and disseminate material, often through audio slideshows.
One example of this is our Beamish Brewery slideshow "The Counting House: Beamish Brewery in the '60s & '70s", produced by Mark Wilkins and Tom Doig through interviews with former Beamish workers and using photographs from the Hammond Collection as a starting point.
CFP Researchers are currently working on a similar project on Cork industry in the 1960s and 70s: please check out the photos on our Facebook page.
Our ‘How’s it goin’, boy?’ project, carried out during Cork’s tenure as European Capital of Culture in 2005, focused on those born and bred in the city and those who came to Cork from elsewhere, giving an insight into the diversity of the city through a series of six half-hour radio programmes (available to stream from the website) and a book.
The 48 interviews and photo collection from the project have been deposited in our archive. Highlights from Fawn Allen’s photo project carried out during this period are to be seen in our photo galleries.
Film work: We have made a number of films, all of which are available to view in whole or part on the website. Topics range from Bingo to The Sunbeam to The North Infirmary.
The book "Life Journeys" was published in 2000 with support from The Heritage Council. Edited by Stephen Hunter, Project Researcher, this book documents the lives and lore of the people of Cork’s Northside, famous for their strong sense of identity. What emerges is a picture of a vibrant modern city, displaying the immense pride of her people.
All of our research is deposited in our permanent archive, which is open to the public.
Our archival holdings serve as a resource for researchers from a wide variety of backgrounds.
In addition to interested individuals, researchers from primary schools, community groups, and University College Cork have consulted us, with ages ranging from 7-70.
In order to access individual interviews and their transcripts, researchers must visit the archive, although we also disseminate our research in a variety of formats and projects.
If you wish to access the archive, please contact us by email or telephone to make an appointment to visit the Cork Folklore Project.
Prior to publication or dissemination of material from the Cork Folklore Project, permission to do so is required from the Research Director or Project Manager. Please contact the Project by email, attaching a description of the proposed publication or use, the proposed excerpts and their references.
On receipt of permission to publish, the following acknowledgement is recommended for inclusion in the publication:
The Cork Folklore Project, University College Cork (UCC).
Footnotes and endnotes are suggested as follows:
Cork Folklore Project (henceforth CFP): Sound Recording Number, contributor/interviewee, date of interview.
Example: CFP: SR 315, Noreen Hanover, 01.07.04.
We will be happy to receive an electronic or hard copy of the publication to add to our files. Failing that, please send us the reference for the publication.
Referencing the CFP at conferences:
Please refer to the Cork Folklore Project Archive (CFP Archive) when referring to or quoting material from the archive.
Downloadable PDF of Citing Recommendations