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Irish Music

A guide to Irish music resources in the Hesburgh Library and online.

Ballads in the Hesburgh Library and Online

The Hesburgh Library Collection of Irish and British Broadside Ballads

The Hesburgh Library has a large collection of Broadside Ballads in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The majority of this collection of over 500 sheets were printed in Dublin between 1860 and 1876, by the printer Peter Brereton.  The broadsides may be studied in the Rare Book Room, and they are also available online.

Madden Collection

The Madden Collection is a very large collection of broadside ballads, collected by Sir Frederick Madden in the mid-nineteenth century.  The collection has been microfilmed, and Hesburgh Libraries have a copy of this set.  For a description of the collection, see the information on the Gale Microform Guides page.

The microfilm collection in the Hesburgh Library is as follows:

Madden Ballads.  Hesburgh Library Microforms: Microfilm G 2057

Microforms are all in the Hesburgh Library's lower level.  The desk is staffed from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday and noon to 5, Saturdays and Sundays. You may use the microfilms later in the evening, but it is a good idea to make your first visit during the daytime and to ask for assistance. 

Madden Ballads Author Index

Madden Ballads Reel Listing

Ballads in Books

There are many print collections of ballads and songs in the Library.  Use the catalog to find books, using the words "Ballad Collection" or "Irish Ballad Collection".  As you see from the small selection below, ballad collections may be shelved with literature or with music.

Francis James Child. English and Scottish  ballads. Boston, 1857-1860

There are many editions of Child's famous work, both on the shelves of the library and online.  This edition (8 volumes) is at PR 1181 .C53.

Colm Ó Lochlain. Irish Street Ballads. Dublin, 1939.  M 1744 .O4 I7 1939

Leslie Shepard. The Broadside Ballad: a study in origins and meaning. London, 1962.
PR 507 .S547

Broadside Ballads Online

The following are great sources of digitized collections:

Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads: The allegro Catalogue of Ballads.

The Word on the Street
The National Library of Scotland's collection of broadsides includes ballads as well as news and other broadsides.

Irish Collections:

Colm Ó Lochlainn Collection: Ballads in the UCD Digital Library.
Ballads can be searched by words in the title

ITMA: The Irish Traditional Music Archive/ Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann.

Relevant collections on this page include the following:

Nicholson Ballad Sheets, Belfast, 1800s & 1900s.

Leslie Shepard Irish Ballad Sheets.

Ballad Research: The Roud Index and the Vaughan Williams Memorial LIbrary

The Roud Number helps to identify all variants of the same song. The search form of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library includes the option of searching by Roud Number.