National School Prize Scheme
Saving the National Folklore
For the past six or seven weeks Philip O’Bhaldraithe, Irish Language and Gaelic League Organiser for Connacht, has been engaged in the Cois-Fhairge, or West Galway, Gaedhealtacht, or Irish-speaking districts. His efforts have been mainly directed towards establishing a lasting system of co-operation between the fearless Seancaidte Sheanachee’s of the district and the school-going children (who have been unconsiously drifting away from the native customs, manners, traits and traditions of their ancestors; and especially from the literary traditions so long and fully preserved by the village Seanchaidhe or folk-lorist.
To bring this system of co-operation to a success in such a large district is not an easy matter; but with the cordial assistance of the school-managers and National teachers, these difficulties were easily surmounted. The organiser lost no time in visiting the National Schools of the district and explaining to the children the prize scheme which he had arranged for them. By the school children the scheme was received enthusiastically. In the schools the Timthire announced to the children his intention of holding a ceilidhthe, or social functions, in the different townlands of each parish, where the olf folklorists or Seanchaidhe could meet, and where competitions in story telling, singing, etc., would beheld in presence of of the school-going children, and where the children in turn could study the true traditional styles of the Seanchaidhe: where Timthire could explain to the old people the system of co-operation he desired and the prizes offered, both to the children and those who were willing to assist them in acquiring the stories, folk-lore etc., of their native district.’
Galway Express, 2 December 1916