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Wexford People

Folklore film travels back in time

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At the launch of the ‘Bolldoons and Wren Boys’ DVD in Wexford Library: Lorraine Marrey of Wexford Library, Peadar Mordaunt and Colin McDevitt, Kilanerin Men’s Shed, Patrick Healy of Enniscorthy Men’s Shed) and Michael Fortune, producer

At the launch of the ‘Bolldoons and Wren Boys’ DVD in Wexford Library: Lorraine Marrey of Wexford Library, Peadar Mordaunt and Colin McDevitt, Kilanerin Men’s Shed, Patrick Healy of Enniscorthy Men’s Shed) and Michael Fortune, producer

At the launch of the ‘Bolldoons and Wren Boys’ DVD in Wexford Library: Lorraine Marrey of Wexford Library, Peadar Mordaunt and Colin McDevitt, Kilanerin Men’s Shed, Patrick Healy of Enniscorthy Men’s Shed) and Michael Fortune, producer

A lioness on the loose in Taghmon, The Mexico running aground on the Keragh Islands, and Rosslare Fort being washed away are just some of the stories recounted in the six-hour historical DVD collection 'Bolldoons and Wren Boys'.

Compiled by local folklorist Michael Fortune the documentary features interviews with members of Men's Shed Groups in Killanerin, Bunclody, Kilare, Rosslare Harbour and Taghmon each of whom reflect on the local history of their area.

And the filming process was conducted in what Michael describes as an 'unscientific way'.

'These are the kind of stories which wouldn't make it on to RTÉ, there's a bit of boldness in it. We had a completely unscientific way of doing it, we just let things unfold and waited to see what happened,' he said.

Each group of men had specific tales to tell, tales unique to their area. The fishing, farming and funeral customs of Killanerin and Castletown feature, as does the custom of Hunting the Wren in Bunclody on St Stephen's Day, a tradition not practised in other parts of the county.

The Enniscorthy Men's Shed shared what they do at Christmas, Halloween and Shrove Tuesday while in Taghmon Michael was greeted with a selection of words, sayings and expressions used by people from the area. One such word, a 'bolldoon', meaning tomcat, is used in the title of the documentary.

Also in Taghmon the story of the lioness who escaped from Heckenberg's Big Top in 1939 and momentarily roamed the village's streets is recalled in the form of a poem written by a local man.

The Killrane/Rosslare Harbour interviewees discuss the maritime and social history from the area, recalling the rescue of the crew of The Mexico in 1914, a Norwegian vessel which ran aground on the Keragh Islands with the loss of 9 of its 14 members.

They also provide an account of when Rosslare Fort was literally washed away and the affected families moved to what is now Rosslare Harbour and built a collection of houses known today as Tintown and Strawtown.

'Bolldoons and Wren Boys' is available to rent from Wexford Library and Michael said he wants to share the footage and ensure as many people have access to it as possible.

'The journey only really starts now, I'll be continuing to share clips on Facebook. Each clip has been getting between 5-15,000 views. We've always found that if the content is good people will engage, even people from other counties are interested in it.

'They're data DVDs so people can take them home and copy them on to their laptop, it's about sharing it,' he said.

At the official launch of the collection at the Library an edited 45-minute compilation was screened to provide a flavour of the wide range of topics and themes recorded during the four months of filming.

The DVDs will be available to borrow from Wexford Library in the New Year while excerpts have been and will continue to be shared online at www.facebook.com/folklore.ie.

This project was funded through the Dormant Account Funds via the Department of Rural and Community Development with the support of Wexford County Council and in association with Wexford Men's Shed Ireland and folklore.ie

Wexford People