About us and our work

Jane and Maurice O'Keeffe What We Do
Since 1990 Maurice and Jane O'Keeffe of Tralee, Co. Kerry, have produced thousands of recordings for their Irish Life and Lore Series.

The O'Keeffes understand that the unique oral heritage of Ireland; the peoples' stories, attitudes, behaviours and accents are diminishing in the face of modernity and the internet age and these rare elements should be preserved. Numerous aspects of Irish social and national history and the essence of old Ireland, which was in danger of being lost, is now documented through Irish Life and Lore's audio recordings and books, and so the work continues.

Several illustrated books have been edited by Jane O'Keeffe, based on specific Irish Life and Lore oral history Collections.

Our Audio Collections
All audio recordings have been compiled into Collections according to their region or their theme. Each Collection is accompanied by an illustrated and indexed catalogue.  Recordings and catalogues are digitised. Recordings are in MP3 format (128 and 160 kbps). You can now purchase individual recordings directly by download.  They may also be purchased on USB key or on disk.

Feel free to search the recordings database for particular subjects and locations. Oral history collections have been compiled in the majority of the Irish counties. Collections have also been compiled on historical events in Irish history. The most recent project completed is the 1916 Rising Oral History Collection, launched in January 2016.

Funding provided to Irish Life and Lore by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and by other bodies such as Local Authorities, in order to compile oral history collections is utilised entirely for travel from Kerry each week and for overnight expenses, time spent on recording and later editing, the production and digitisation of the audio material, and the writing and printing of the accompanying illustrated booklet. In order to fund the continued work of Irish Life and Lore, the oral history collections are sold to college and public libraries for research and study. Irish Life and Lore is not affiliated to any public or private body in relation to this work.

The Value of Oral History
Gabriel Doherty, Historian Mr Gabriel Doherty, Lecturer, School of History, at University College Cork, talks about the value of oral history and the place of Irish Life & Lore recordings in that record.

  1. Gabriel Doherty

Our Work

Our work is commissioned by Irish Local Authorities, public bodies or institutions, colleges, private companies or individual groups.

The topics and issues covered in the recordings range far and wide, depending on the people recorded and the places and times in which they have lived. A great many of the elderly people recorded over the past 20 years have now passed away, but their unique voices and their life experiences have been preserved for future generations.

Irish life and Lore also publish books, which are based on specific recordings and have rare, applicable photographs.

Use of Irish Life and Lore Oral History Collections – copyright
Irish Life and Lore (Maurice and Jane O'Keeffe) retain copyright to the recordings compiled by them and to photographs created or sourced by them. When a library purchases an oral history collection, or collections, the promotional video supplied by Irish Life and Lore with the collection, which contains audio clips and images from the collection, may be used internally in the library and externally (e.g. YouTube) for promotional purposes. The recordings in their entirety may not be put on YouTube. Each recording in the oral history collection/s may be used in its entirety on library computers, and copies of the recordings may be made for lending to library members.

What Others Say
Read testimonials about our work
Read references to our work in print and broadcast media