TRALEE historian Maurice O'Keeffe and his wife Jane were in Cork City Library last Friday for the launch of their Irish Life and Lore Cork City Collection of oral history, which turned out to have many Kerry connections.
The main focus of the work was to record memories associated with the Cork Opera House, and the theatrical history of the city down through the years of the 20th century.
The recordings in the Cork City Collection include the fond memories of many people who remember the first performance of John B. Keane's Sive produced by Dan Donovan of the South Theatre Group in 1959, and many other plays by John B. Keane such as Many Young Men of Twenty, Moll, The Buds of Ballybunion, and The Rose of Tralee.
The collection comprises recordings with 50 people with each recording running to approximately one hour. The recordings are presented on individual CDs, each with its own inlay and cover providing a photograph of the interviewee, CD number, running time and a brief synopsis of the content of the recording.
The project undertaken by the O'Keeffes this summer was funded by the city council and was launched by the Lord Mayor Mr Brian Bermingham.
The collection of recordings is accompanied by an illustrated indexed catalogue, and is presented in an archival box specially commissioned from Mucross Bookbinders, Killarney.
The Cork City Collection will be housed in Cork City Library, The National Library of Ireland and other county libraries, and also in universities and colleges around Ireland.
In conjunction with the launch of the collection of recordings, an Irish Life and Lore photographic and audio Exhibition is running in the City Library.
The exhibition consists of 52 portraits of the participants in the collection, together with some old photographs.
Meanwhile, Maurice is planning a compilation of an oral history of ' The Rose of Tralee Festival' as we are now approaching the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the festival.
The Rose of Tralee Collection of recordings would then be available for research and study for future generations.