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Irish Music

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

ITMA: Irish Traditional Music Archive: Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann

ITMA: Irish Traditional Music Archive/ Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann

A national public reference archive and resource centre for the traditional song, instrumental music and dance of Ireland.

Anyone interested in Irish traditional music should keep this site bookmarked. The extensive catalogues and digital library are constantly being developed and new items frequently added.

The following is a sample of what is available through the ITMA site:

  • Catalogues: These are available for searching online, and include details of books and recordings in the collection. The ITMA Special Collections include the collection of the Late Breandán Breathnach, and other musicians and collectors of music. The audio collection includes both commercial recordings and field recordings from many sources
  • Digital Library: The Archive has digitized a broad range of holdings including manuscripts, sound recordings, broadside ballads and video.
  • PW Joyce Irish Music Microsite: An online microsite presenting the published and unpublished work on Irish music of Patrick Weaton Joyce (1827-1914)
  • Inishowen Song Project: A unique 2,000-item online microsite presenting the traditional singers and songs of Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal, and incorporating digital sound and video recordings, books, photographs, transcriptions of song texts, and metadata catalogue information for each item.
  • Port: An ITMA tune resource: digitized collections of Irish tunes which can be searched by name and also browsed by collection. Scores may be read, listened to, shared and analyzed using Port. Port (pronounced purth) is an Irish word for a tune or air, sung or played.

Ward Irish Music Archives

Ward Irish Music Archives, located in Milwaukee, WI, collects the Irish music of America and the music of Irish-Americans. The collection includes sheet music, recordings and ephemera relating to Irish-American music from the 19th century to the 21st. Digital projects have made some of the collection available in the Web:

The Dunn Family Collection / Francis O'Neill Cylinders

The Ward Irish Music Archives houses the extensive Dunn Family Collection, donated by David K. Dunn, containing the collection of Michael J. Dunn (1855-1935) and also thirty-two wax cylinders of recordings by Francis O’Neill, made probably between 1904 and 1914.  The cylinders are digitized and may be listened to online.

Irish Sheet Music Archives is a digitized collection of Irish-American sheet music.

Boston College

The Irish Music Center  at the Burns Library specialized in documenting Irish music in America

In addition to archival collections that may be used in the Burns Library, the Irish Music Center has made the music collection of Seamus Connolly available digitally on a website, The Seamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music.

See the guide by subject librarian Elizabeth Sweeney for more information on the Burns Library collections.