Folklore is both subject matter and critical discourse, amateur enthusiasm and academic discipline, a resource for committed nation-builders and for local historians. As an introduction to Irish folklore from an Irish perspective, this book develops a theoretical understanding of the dynamics of folklore, and questions its role in society. There are few cultures which offer as much scope for an analysis of this sort as Ireland. The author usefully locates the Irish experience within a comparative framework, using ethnography from Nordic countries and cultural theory from Latin America to show how the notion of folklore plays a pivotal role in identity formation used by various groups for their own legitimisation. The first of its kind, this book is a key text for the study of folklore in Ireland and will be of interest to anyone working in the area of Irish cultural studies, ethnography or anthropology.