Fadó Fadó

Long Long Ago in Ireland.


The BEO (Irish for ‘alive’) Digital Local Heritage Archive Library is a collection of photographs, films and stories that reflect the social, economic, educational, religious and cultural life in Galway and Ireland in days gone by with a particular focus on the twentieth century.

The primary method of gathering this historical material is through community social events hosted by local schools as well as by heritage groups and active retirement associations.

The BEO project is coordinated by the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway in association with the Galway Education Centre, Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association, Galway GAA and the Heritage Office of Galway County Council.

Scoil Cloughanover 1923


Over the last three decades Ireland has experienced the largest social, economic, demographic and cultural change since the Great Famine (‘An Gorta Mór’) of the 1840s.  Urbanisation, immigration and becoming part of the ‘global village’ has meant that a once largely monolithic rural nation has lost or is losing many of the features that once defined it as a country, namely poverty, emigration, nationalism, religious observance, a closely knit local community ethos and a labour intensive agricultural village-based economy. This change could and should be an opportunity to enrich mainstream Irish culture by absorbing new influences.

Though Ireland has been invaded many times over the last twelve hundred years, it nevertheless still managed to maintain a ‘Celtic’ ethos and survive centuries of oppression relatively intact. Our millennia old love of poetry, music, spirituality, freedom and nature still burns deep in our souls and many invaders have become bewitched and found themselves becoming ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’ enriching the country’s culture in the process. Being Irish is really more a state of mind than an element of race.

But it is important that we recognise and preserve our country’s human, built and natural heritage so that it is does not fade into obscurity and that its more positive characteristics can be developed to give meaning, purpose and value to the population of 21st century Ireland.

Life on the Farm

Images of 20th century rural Ireland

Off to the Bog!

In many parts of rural Ireland, the bog was the main energy source for homes & workplaces. The sweet aroma of burning peat from cottage fires was a characteristic of the Irish countryside for centuries. Many family farms possessed a strip of bogland where during the summer months they cut, stacked, dried out and finally transported the turf  back to the homestead. There was a tradition of pupils bringing free turf to heat the school fires. Working in the bog was a great shared family experience that often lasted from dawn to dusk over many weeks.

School Days


The local parish national school was a characteristic of rural communities from the mid-19th century onwards.