James Hamilton Delargy

Life

1899-1980 [Séamus Ó Duilearga]; b. Cushendall, Co. Antrim, 26 May; son of sea captain (d.1901); moved to Dublin; ed. Castleknock and UCD (Celtic Studies); devoted himself to preserving folklore in his native Antrim; lect. in lang. and lit., UCD, and prof. of folklore, 1946; co-fnd. Folklore of Ireland Society in 1925; co-fnd with Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha its journal Béaloideas, and ed. 1927-73 (46 years); directed the Irish Folklore Commission from its foundation in 1935;
 
published The Gaelic Storyteller (1945); Leabhar Sheáin I Chonaill (1948), taken from one of the last monoglot speakers and storytellers in S. Kerry [and famous as such DIW], and Seanchas ó’n Oileán Tiar (1956), a collection made on the Great Blasket by Robin Flower; decorated by governemnts of Sweden and Iceland; hon. doctorates from Nova Scotia, Wales, and three Irish universities; d. 25 June 1980, Dublin. DIB DIW OCIL

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Works
The Gaelic Storyteller
[Sir John Rhys Lecture, 26 Nov. 1945] (1945), 47pp.; ed., Stiofán Ó hEalaoire, Leabhar Stiofán Ó hEalaoire, corrected by Dáithí Ó hÓgáin (Dublin 1981).

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Criticism
[?] Seanachaide, ‘Culture Push at UCD, Seamus Delargy on the Irish Folktale;, in The Leader, LXXXIII, 18 (1941), 421-23; see also Arland Ussher, Cursai an tSean Shaoghail, A Ussher do schriobh Ó Sheanchas Thomas Ui Mhuirthe Reamhradh le s Ó Duileargha (Oifig an tSoláthair. 1948), 175pp.

See also Mícheál Briody, The Irish Folklore Commission 1935-1970: History, Ideology, Methodology (Dinish Lit. Soc. 2008).

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Quotations
Medieval Irish manuscripts would seem indeed to be related to living storytelling much as the museum of today is related to living material culture. When, therefore, we form a picture of the orally narrated Irish tale as something immeasurably superior to the suggestions of it a monastic scribe has recorded we are not creating a figment of the imagination, we are merely restoring to the corpose buried in the manuscript th soul that once animated it.’ (Cited in Donnchadh Ó Corráin, ‘Early Ireland: Directions and Re-directions’, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 1, 2, Autumn 1994, p.1-15; p.1-2.)

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Seanachie: [The term seanachie is ] ‘applied as a rule to a person, man or woman, who kakes a speciality of local tales, family sagas or genealogies [...] and can recount many tales of a short realistic type about fairies, ghosts and other supernatural beings.’ (The Gaelic story-teller with some notes on Gaelic Folk-Tales, London 1947, p.6; quoted in Patrick Sheeran, The Novels of Liam O'Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism, UCG 1972, p.41.)

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Irish oral trad.: ‘The nearest European counterpart of the tradition - bearers and reciters of Gaelic heroic literature and international marchen - are the blind singers and story-tellers of Russian. Nowhere else today between Ireland and the Slav countries is there any living and appreciable remnant of the hero-tale and the wonder-tale; certainly nothing in any degree comparable to the tales which are now being collected in Ireland. (The Gaelic Story-teller, with some Notes of Gaelic Folk-tales, 1947, p.6; quoted in Patrick Sheeran, The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty, Dublin: Wolfound 1976, p.47.)

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