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Irish Folk Music

In 1974, the Department of Education transferred to University College Dublin, the large collection of music and song assembled by the late Breandán Breathnach. This led to the creation of the Irish Folk Music Section of the Department of Irish Folklore.

The Irish Folk Music Section has inherited a number of other collections of music and song assembled by the Irish Folklore Commission. The range and depth of recorded folk music and song material has been extended considerably since the 1970s through the work of the specialist music and song collector, Tom Munnelly, and other members of the Department of Irish Folklore.

In addition to sound recordings, the Irish Folk Music Section houses a large collection of manuscripts and books dealing with almost every aspect of music, song and dance. Among the most interesting of these is a set of English-language songbooks dating from the 18th century, and an important collection of broadsheet ballads.

The collection includes first editions of major works on music and dance by Edward Bunting, George Petrie, and Francis O’Neill; the collected papers of music scholars and collectors such as Fionán Mac Coluim and Dónall Ó Súilleabháin; and a large collection of commercially-released recordings, mostly concerned with Irish traditional music, 78-rpm records, LPs, cassettes and CDs.

The Folk Music Section of the National Folklore Collection is housed in room A207c, John Newman Building, Belfield, UCD. Access to the Section can be arranged by phoning (01) 716 8439 for an appointment or emailing: or

NOTE A sample selection of songs recorded by Tom Munnelly will feature shortly on this page, which is currently being upgraded, to coincide with the recent publication of The singing will never be done: Tom Munnelly, Collected Essays and Lectures, 1990–2007, edited by Anne Clune, published by the Old Kilfarboy Society, August 2014.

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tom-munnelly-160-148.jpg mickey-doherty-160-148.jpg johnny-doran-160-148.jpg
The late folk music collector Tom Munnelly Fiddle player Mickey Doherty Uileann piper Johnny Doran


Sample  Audio

Title: An Jug Mór is é Lán (The Big Jug When it is Full)
Reference: 1_An Jug Mor.aiff
Duration: 1 minute 13 seconds
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Title: The Chattering Magpie, played by fiddle player Aggie White
Reference: 2_Chattering Magpie.aiff
Duration: 1 minute 7 seconds
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Title: Caoineadh (Lament), sung by Seán Ó Conghaile
Reference: 3_Caoineadh.aiff
Duration: 1 minute 5 seconds
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Title: Cherish the Ladies, played by Michael Coleman
Reference: 4_Cherish the Ladies.aiff
Duration: 55 seconds
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Title: An Chúileann (The Fair Maiden), played by Johnny Doran
Reference: 5_An Chuileann.aiff
Duration: 1 minute 9 seconds
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Title: The Swallow’s Tail, played by Mickey Doherty
Reference: 6_Swallows Tail.aiff
Duration: 1 minute 3 seconds
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Title: Charlie McMurrow - The Knights of Saint Patrick
Reference: -
Duration: -
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Folk Music Score
National Folklore Collection