The Community: rich and poor
Bawnboy, Co. Cavan
Leo grew up in Rossport, Erris, county Mayo and began work with the Irish Folklore Commission as a microfilm operator in 1950 at the age of twenty-one. In 1952 Leo assumed responsibility for the work of the Irish Folklore Commission’s mobile recording unit, taking over from Kevin Danaher. This work required a good deal of technical expertise, as well as an ability to maintain a relaxed bearing while operating in challenging circumstances.
Through diligent work and a cheerful demeanour, Leo overcame all the challenges of fieldwork, adding considerably to the quantity of audio materials preserved today at the archives of the National Folklore Collection. His work brought him all over Ireland, recording several performers before moving to another district. This could include intensive recording of a particular individual on location, such as his work recording the repertoire of singer Róise Ní Ghrianna, Árainn Mhór, Co. Donegal. In 1982, some years before his retirement, Leo accompanied Séamas Ó Catháin to the USA to record Irish emigrants in Holyoke and other districts of Massachusetts.
In addition to his responsibilities as an audio technician and collector, Leo took over one thousand photographs in the course of his career, the film negatives of which are preserved today in the archives of the National Folklore Collection. His carefully composed images capture the world of the folklore collector, while his warm, personable temperament is reflected in the sense of compassion and humanity accorded his subjects.
Read more about Leo Corduff in this leaflet.