Tuesday 18 June 2019

Michael Fortune's DVD collection of local folklore is a sell out

Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin, who launched the DVDs; filmmaker Michael Fortune and Fr Donal Berney
Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin, who launched the DVDs; filmmaker Michael Fortune and Fr Donal Berney
Some of the locals who featured in the DVDs, front row: Kathleen Kinsella, Tom Cullen, Molly Kavanagh and Mick Higgins. Back row: Maureen Cullen, Tommy Tutty, Nellie Murray, Seamus Bolger and Jimmy Higgins

Sara Gahan

A special DVD collection of local folklore called 'A Ramble Through Time' has sold out everywhere after a very successful launch just before Christmas.

The limited edition collection was recorded and produced by artist/folklorist Michael Fortune during the year that including a host of people from Kilanerin, Ballyfad and Coolgreany chatting about traditions such as fair days, burial customs, wedding customers, pastimes, local superstitions and beliefs as well as local words, sayings and recitations.

'The limited edition run of 100 sets of DVDs were sold within days with DVD orders coming from all over Ireland as well as Canada and America,' said Michael. 'It is a great sign that people want to connect with the local as the material in the collection is real and personal.'

The launch took place in the most unusual venue - a converted kitchen space in the home of Tommy Tutty from Ballyfad, one of the many people who features on the DVDs. It was cosy, small and intimate, which Michael says 'added an air of magic to it'.

The project began in February last year and it features interviews recorded in peoples homes and at sites of folkloric and historical importance around the areas.

Michael pointed out that the areas 'have one of the richest streams of folklore in the county'. However, Michael claims that 'the area was continuously bypassed by collectors and academics and as a result many of the locals don't realise what they have and believe such traditions/customs are found elsewhere'.

Michael was welcomed into the communities and said he has never recorded such rich folklore, beliefs, words and sayings in all his years of doing this type of work.

The rural communities are without doubt changing and projects like this allow Michael to capture these places, stories, words and characters while he can.

More DVDs are currently being printed and will be available from the same local shops in Ballyfad, Kilanerin and Coolgreany or directly from Michael.

The complete set features three individual DVD sets, with almost eight hours of local folklore and customs and like the stories in them, they will only get better with time. For more information phone 087 6470247 or email

The project was supported by the Old Kilnenor Historical Society and the Arts Department of Wexford County Council.

Gorey Guardian