Longford historian to release final issue of Fireside Tales

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Longford historian to release final issue of Fireside Tales

County Librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds, County Archivist Martin Morris, Fireside Tales author and historian Jude Flynn, and Longford MD Cathaoirleach Cllr Peggy Nolan Picture: Shelley Corcoran

Despite Covid-19 restrictions, Jude Flynn has still managed to produce final issue of Fireside Tales

Christmas is coming and just like every year for the past 18 years we have looked forward to the arrival of Jude Flynn’s latest copy of Fireside Tales.

The question is always what or who has Jude interviewed this year? What new stories will he tell? Will there be lots of great photographs? When will the launch take place? And, most importantly, where can we get our copy of the book?

Despite Covid-19, Jude has produced Edition 18 of Fireside Tales but, sadly, this year, because of the current Level 5 restrictions, it is not possible to have a public launch of Jude’s latest edition.

He is telling us that edition 18 is his last but we will wait and see. He has recently donated his extraordinary collection of recordings that he has been conducting since the 1980s to Longford County Library and Archives Services.

The collection consists of over 530 cassettes, each with an interview recorded by Jude with Longford people down through the years. The interviews were done over a period of almost forty years, and indeed in some cases, Jude had to travel outside the county and to other parts of the world to record them. Many of these stories Jude collected were used in Fireside Tales, which have been published every year since 2003.

The new edition is the eighteenth in the series and, like all the previous ones will not disappoint with stories from north and south of the county including the Dromard Film Festival, the Lanesboro Drowning 300 years ago, the story behind the Ballad of the Old Bog Road, and a very interesting account of the McNally family from Longford town to mention a few.

Speaking to the Leader, Cllr Peggy Nolan, Cathaoirleach of Longford Municipal District, expressed her gratitude to Jude for his generosity and dedication and for the valuable legacy he has bequeathed to the people of Longford.

“Jude Flynn’s recordings are treasures which will be preserved for future generations wishing to know more about the folklore and oral history,” she said.

“We owe him a huge debt of gratitude for the great work he has done over many years.”

The recordings, of which there are over 500, include interviews with people from all over the county, recounting events of the past century, and oral history and folklore from earlier times. Without Jude’s work, so many of these stories would have been lost.

Mary Reynolds County Librarian said, “Longford County Library and Archives are delighted to accept this very generous donation of Jude’s work.

“This collection will be catalogued and digitised and made available to researchers as a very rich resource for those interested in Longford’s history and folklore.”