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Engaging with Community and Organisations

'Catching Stories' from Spanish Flu to COVID19

13 May 2021

Cork Folklore Project have launched a new ‘Catching Stories’ initiative in a unique oral history and health collaboration. ‘Catching Stories’ is an online social history resource focused on infectious disease in Ireland in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It brings oral testimony and family memory together with an immunologist’s perspective, in a multi-media exploration of diseases such as measles, polio and tuberculosis.

Listen to what it was like to be a recipient of ‘The Branding Iron’ in 1960s childhood tuberculosis vaccination, view the memorial cards of Cork brothers dead from Spanish Flu within a fortnight of each other or browse the accounts of how families and communities were affected by infectious disease and listen to the stories. This unique resource collects and shares our history of these diseases, what causes them, how they spread and the efforts to combat them. 

'Catching Stories' is led by UCC researchers Cliona O’Carroll (Folklore and Ethnology) and Beth Brint (Pathology/APC Microbiome Ireland) who say they are excited to bring their two, very different, research areas together, to create this resource which will be of interest to the general public, medical educators, schools and public health practitioners. They hope that this project will help raise awareness of how effective vaccination programmes in Ireland have been and will contribute to ongoing conversations about vaccination.  

Highlighting an open invitation to the public to connect with the initiative, Clíona says,

"We would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to share their stories and memories relating to infectious disease in Ireland. From polio and measles to HPV and COVID-19, we are interested in capturing and preserving memories about these diseases and how they affected individuals, families and communities."

The project will also collect memories about the vaccination drives of the 1950s onwards, in order to give a trace the changing landscape of public health in Ireland.

The pilot resource is available to browse at, and will be added to over the next 2 years.

Earlier today, Beth spoke to PJ Coogan on 96FM about the initiative:



For more on this story contact:

More detail and a form to express interest in sharing your story can be found here: 

Civic & Community Engagement

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