Bilingual book of Sperrins folklore launched

‘Sgéalta Mhuintir Luinigh: Munterloney Folk Tales’ book launch

Published: 24th November 2015

Images: John Keadeney

A bilingual book of Tyrone folklore, which includes a collection of folk stories, songs, proverbs and riddles particular to the Sperrins, took place on Saturday 21 November 2015 in An Creagán Visitor Centre, Creggan, Omagh.

With support from Comhairle Béaloideas Éireann (The Folklore of Ireland Council) and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, the book, ‘Sgéalta Mhuintir Luinigh: Munterloney Folk Tales’ has been made available in Irish and English for the first time by Professor emeritus Seosamh Watson.

‘Sgéalta Mhuintir Luinigh’ was first published in 1933 by the Irish Folklore Institute in Dublin.   Its contents were collected by Professor Éamonn Ó Tuathail of Trinity College Dublin from Tyrone’s native Irish speakers in the parishes of Badoney  and Termonmaguirk. Chief among these was Eoin Ó Cianáin (Owen Keenan) who lived in An Creagán.

The 2015 publication offers a new Introduction by Professor emeritus Séamas Ó Catháin and updated folklore notes by Dr Kelly Fitzgerald.

‘Sgéalta Mhuintir Luinigh: Munterloney Folk Tales’ showcases the dialect of Irish that was spoken in Tyrone in years gone by, with the last native Irish speakers in Tyrone passing away in the early 1970s.  The book has notes on the history of the language in Tyrone prior to the 1933 publication and discusses the sound system and distinctive grammatical features of that dialect.

The book was officially launched on November 21 by Professor emeritus Séamus Mac Mathúna of the University of Ulster.

Siún Ní Dhuinn, grand-niece of the driver who brought  Professor Éamonn Ó Tuathail to Tyrone’s native Irish speakers in the parishes of Badoney  and Termonmaguirk in the 1930s, and Professor emeritus Seosamh Watson, who translated the 1933 version of ‘Sgéalta Mhuintir Luinigh’ into English, also both spoke at the event.

After the formal launch proceedings, Peter Smith with accompaniment from Ray Moore, sang two traditional songs from the Munterloney area of the Sperrins while Aisteoirí na hÓmaí performed a drama based on a story from ‘Sgéalta Mhuintir Luinigh’ called ‘An Fear a Robh Bean Dheas Aige’.

‘Sgéalta Mhuintir Luinigh: Munterloney Folk Tales’ has been republished by Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann (The Folklore of Ireland Council).  The bilingual version of the book is available to purchase from www.comhairlebheal.ie or from www.fourcourtspress.ie.

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