Irish songs Traditional

July 27, 2016

BLAS 2012 30

The home of the Irish Traditional Music Archive - Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann at 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland

The Irish Traditional Music Archive – Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann is a national public archive, information centre, and resource centre intended to be of use to everyone with an interest in the contemporary art forms of Irish traditional song, instrumental music, and dance, and in their history. The Archive’s area of interest covers the performance traditions of the island of Ireland and the Irish diaspora – Irish-Britain, Irish-America, Irish-Australia, etc. – and those of all other performers of Irish traditional music throughout the world. In its attitude to the Irish and connected traditions, the Archive defines ‘traditional music’ in a broad and inclusive way.

It holds and preserves the largest multimedia collection in existence of the materials of Irish traditional music. In addition to thousands of sound recordings, it hosts books and serials, photographs, sheet music, DVDs, posters, catalogues and more. It also holds the largest body in existence of information about Irish traditional music, contemporary and historic, organised on customised computer databases, indexes and stock-lists. Founded with the Breandán Breathnach Collection, the collection has been expanded through donations by radio, television, libraries and private collectors, among other means.

The Archive is housed in a historic Georgian house in central Dublin made available through the Office of Public Works. Guests travel from all over the world to access the collection.


Nicholas Carolan, Director Emeritus, holding a lecture at the "Craiceann Bodhrán Festival" 2014

The Archive has published two major printed publications deriving from historical manuscript collections of Irish traditional music: Tunes of the Munster Pipers: Irish Traditional Music from the James Goodman Manuscripts, 500 pre-Famine melodies edited by Dr Hugh Shields from a Trinity College Dublin collection; and The Irish Music Manuscripts of Edward Bunting (1773–1843): An Introduction and Catalogue by Dr Colette Moloney, a guide to 1, 000 18th- and early 19th-century melodies and 500 song texts held in Queen’s University Belfast. The Archive has recently begun a programme of publishing historical and archival sound recordings with the release of the EP-CD Adam in Paradise by the County Londonderry singer Eddie Butcher (in conjunction with the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum).


The Archive is also currently cooperating with the national broadcasters RTÉ Radio and RTÉ Television in two major projects. In the radio project the archives of Irish traditional music of RTÉ Radio, dating back to the 1940s, are being remastered, copied and catalogued for public access in the Archive. Over 15, 000 items have been processed to date and many radio programmes drawn from them. In the television project Archive staff have researched since 1994 the traditional music holdings of the early decades of RTÉ Television (1961–1991) and other television and film archives such as those of Ulster Television in Belfast. The Director of the Archive has presented a traditional music TV programme Come West along the Road derived from archival footage. In twelve series to date, and in nine series of a related TG4 Irish-language series Siar an Bóthar, more than 900 historic performers of Irish traditional music have been brought to the screen in over 270 programmes, and in an RTÉ-published video and two DVDs of selected performances.

Whyzdom - Bonny Portmore (Traditional Irish Song)
Whyzdom - Bonny Portmore (Traditional Irish Song)
Charlie Zahm on Bodhron playing traditional Irish songs
Charlie Zahm on Bodhron playing traditional Irish songs
Traditional Irish song at the 2015 Mayo Ball
Traditional Irish song at the 2015 Mayo Ball

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