Croker: Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland

Pdf Croker, T. Crofton. Fairy legends and traditions of the south of Ireland. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1882.
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Thomas Crofton Croker was born in Cork on 15th January 1798. The son of an army major, Croker had little school education but did read widely while apprenticed to a merchant. In 1819, thanks to John Wilson Croker (no relation), he became a clerk in the Admiralty. He held this position for some years.

During rambles in southern Ireland from 1812 to 1816, Croker collected legends, folk songs and keens (dirges for the dead). This collection formed the basis of Researches in the South of Ireland , his first book. The poet Thomas Moore acknowledged a debt to him in his Irish Melodies for “many curious fragments of ancient poetry”. He and his wife's testimonies about funeral customs, particularly the tradition of keening the deceased are among the earliest and most significant contributions to the understanding of the Irish language lament and the accompanying traditions. His work was published in six editions and was translated into German by the Brothers Grimm.

In 1825 he produced his most popular book, The Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland. These folktales of Irish mythology feature uniquely Irish creatures such as the Pooka and other types of fairies, such as banshees and leprechauns. They are accompanied by drawings done by his walking companions.

Croker followed this with the publication of his Legends of the Lakes (1829), his Adventures of Barney Mahoney (1852), and an edition of the Popular Songs of Ireland (1839).

He was made a member of the Irish Academy in 1827; in 1839 and 1840 he helped to found the Camden and Percy Societies, and in 1843 the British Archaeological Association. He wrote Narratives Illustrative of the Contests in Ireland in 1641 and 1688 (1841), for the Camden Society, Historical Songs of Ireland, &c. (1842), for the Percy Society, and several other works. He was also a member of the Hakluyt and the Antiquarian Society.

He died on the 8th of August 1854 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

His collections of songs and legends formed a storehouse for writers of the Irish literary revival.

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