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Until September 2020

Séamus Mag Uidhir Mayo Folklorist

Admission free

Born in Doohoma in 1902, Mag Uidhir travelled the county on his bicycle during the 1930s collecting and recording the folklore and traditions of Mayo. He published his writings widely, including an important collection of books and a series of articles in The Folklore of Ireland Society journal Béaloideas.

The exhibition, Séamus Mag Uidhir Mayo Folklorist, was created by Mag Uidhir's family to chart and pay tribute to his life and his significant contribution in the area of collecting and recording folklore. Seamus' role in the development and promotion of the Irish language in Co. Mayo is also remembered.
Welcoming the exhibition to the Museum, Clodagh Doyle, Curator, commented:

"Séamus' family has created the information panels and the National Museum of Ireland is honoured to exhibit them in commemoration of Séamus Mag Uidhir and folklore collecting in Ireland.  The National Folklife Collection on display here at the Museum is made up of objects which illustrate the lives of the ordinary people in Ireland but Séamus collected their stories."

About Séamus Mag Uidhir

Mag Uidhir was born into a home and community where the Irish language was spoken with great pride. He grew up in a tradition of storytelling, where myths, legends, folktales and superstitions were very much a part of day-to-day life. He attended the local national school into his teens but worked with his father on their boat and also spent harvest times working in Scotland potato picking.

Mag Uidhir's first writings appeared in Béaloideas and he was selected as a collector of folklore in Mayo.

His series of articles in the Irish language newspaper An tÉireannach were published weekly from June 1935 to February 1937, under the pen name Sliabh Chairn.

He became a well-known figure travelling from village to village on his bicycle and his writings encapsulated the folklore and traditions of County Mayo from the Erris Peninsula through to Tourmakeady and Cong.
Séamus attended courses in Coláiste Samhraidh, Tourmakeady, in 1936 designed for teachers wishing to improve their standard of Irish and he was later appointed as Timire Gaeilge do Conragdh na Gaeilge (Irish Language Organiser) in the area of  Swinford, Kiltimagh and Ballaghaderreen.

He married national schoolteacher Úna Hennigan on 12 August 1940.

After a period of time teaching in Achill, Séamus was appointed to the Vocational School in Ballina.

While his contributions to An tÉireannach, Scéala Éireann (The Irish Press) and the Irish Independent were significant, his four books were the most important part of his writings.

Dhá Chrann na Marbh (1939), An Marcach Dubh (1940), Fánaidheacht i gCondae Mhuigheo (1944) and Idir Talamh is Tráigh (1953) are collections of Mayo stories about local events, histories, lore and traditions gathered from people and often through Irish.

These stories were selected for broadcasting on Radio Éireann and first aired in September 1954.

Séamus continued his writings with a weekly article in The Western People under the pen name Préachan Néifin (The Nephin Rook) from June 1964. He submitted his final article in March 1969.

Séamus died in May 1969 and his friend and colleague in Ballina, Aodh Ó Nualláin, wrote: "Múinteoir, scríbhneoir, seanchaí agus scoláire - bhí sé oilte ar a lán bealaigh agus chomh maith le sin fíor-Chríostaí a bhí ann agus fíor dhuine uasal."

Séamus Mag Uidhir Mayo Folklorist is on display on Level A of the main exhibition galleries at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.


Séamus Mag Uidhir Mayo Folklorist is located at:
Turlough Park,
Co. Mayo
F23 HY31

The remarkable life and work of Erris born folklorist and writer Séamus Mag Uidhir is being celebrated in a new panel exhibition on Level A of the galleries

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Country Life

Turlough Park,
Co. Mayo,
F23 HY31

+353 94 903 1755