The Doegen Records Web Project

The Doegen Records Web Project has gone on line. The Doegan records are a folklore collection of world significance and probably the most important of Ireland’s linguistic and folkloric collections. it is a great pity that we have had to wait this long to have them freely available – neverthless there are here now.

The original records were made in 1928-31 by the German Dr Wilhelm Doegen on the request of the Irish Government. The site has not been entirely translated to English as yet although I am sure that they will get round to it.
From an Ulster point of view there are 144 recordings, whilst 85 of those are from Donegal other counties are well respresented. It is a great pity that no Rathlin speakers are in the collection but alas a bout of flu in the island prevented people travelling to Belfast for the recordings. The dialect of Louth, if fact anywhere North of Dublin (even Dublin itself?) is also considered Ulster Irish.

It is my opinion that lesser spoken and ‘extinct’ dialects do have a role to play in language revival movements, both in terms of language itself and the identification of that language but I shall return again. Meanwhile I have alot of listening to do.

  • OC


    Are you able to understand them? Any dialects give you difficulty?

  • GGN

    The quality of some of the recordings isnt great so it can be difficult.

    Some of the speakers in the far west would have been monolgots and may have a vocabulary beyond me.

    I know must of the East Ulster material of by heart. I am a nerd.

  • The Third Policeman

    Flann O’Brien maintained that at the turn of the 19th centuary the average Irish speaking peasent had a vocabulary streaching into hundreds of thousands and in fact there were some old men in Donegal who as a matter of pride would never use the same word twice…

  • Danny

    It will be nice when they post the information about each speaker.

    “In addition to the audio material itself, there is a significant body of information about the speakers. After each recording, a detailed questionnaire was filled up by Dr Doegen or one of the members of the Irish Studies Committee who was present at the recording session. These forms, with questions printed in German, were supplied by Doegen, and were the same as those he used when recording informants in other countries. They contain valuable information such as date of birth, place of birth, addresses at various stages in life, place of parents’ birth, level and place of education, occupation, father’s occupation, level of literacy, competence in other languages, musical ability, and religion.”

  • Arty Renny

    Go raibh míle as ucht na hachmhainne sin. Tháinig mé ar a chéad chur amach ach is sár-bhreá na taifid uilig a aimsiú. Cha raibh mé in ann teacht ar Eilís Ní Chléircín sa daonáireamh 1911 ach le gnéithe pearsanta a saoil ar eolas, ní bheadh seo chomh casta.

  • GGN


    Seo dhuit roinnt eolas uirthi, gheobhaidh tù a bhfuil uait agus tuilleadh trìd an nasc.

    àdh mòr

    Eilis Ní CHLÉIRIGHEAN (Bn Uí Dhonnghaile), Labby, Baile na Scríne 1857–1935
    Doegen: Rugadh: Glengamna, 1857 (74 years)
    0-6: Glengamna
    7-20: Glengamna
    20+: Glengamna
    Primary school, Bancran
    Athair ó Glengamna, feirmeoir; máthair ó Doon
    Native language: Irish. Also speaks English.
    Can read and write only English, a little.
    Language is rather corrupt, as she has long since lost the habit of speaking Irish.

  • Arty Renny

    Ar fheabhas. Bainfear leas as na foinsí sin go direach. Go raibh míle maith ‘s fiche agatsa.

  • ersehole

    The release of this material stokes again the possibility of improvement in the fortune of Irish.

    It seems to me that there is hardly a corner of Ireland that cannot form a decent authentically local gaelic language if these sources and others could be combined with standard provincial and national works. The local accents remain mostly intact.

  • Greenflag

    For those who may be interested in languages the same Prof Doegen also did recordings of English regional accents with POW’s during WW1 . There was an article in the Guardian circ Nov 9th on the subject -Accents ‘recorded ‘ were from Macclesfield , Aberdeen and Wolverhampton .

    Gurbh maith agat GGN .

    I had the pleasure of meeting an old lady in Camus Iochtair near Casla one time who could only speak Irish . For a Dub it came as a bit of a culture shock at the time 😉

  • RG Cuan

    Áis iontach ar fad!

    I have a few of the East Ulster speakers on CD but having everything available online is amazing.

    Maith iad!

  • GGN


    What about a campaign to get the RBE archives on line as well?

    They are treated as private property for academics to dip into as they please.

    I would hold that they are public property and should be made availble for all online immediately.

    Why should Kilkenny Irish be kept a secret from the people of Kilkenny for example?

  • bil

    The RBE catalogues are free for anyone at all to access, not just academics. They are in trust, and are not at all like private property.

    They have such a massive job of work to do processing what they already have, that putting it all online is low on the list. As is funding for same.

    And anyone from Kilkenny is free to go the archive and listen away to their hearts content.