Literature Research Guide: Music

This guide highlights resources available from the McClelland Library to anyone researching the Music of Ireland. The McClelland Library owns many musical titles and can be found by searching our catalog. This guide is curated by Chas Moore, the former founding Director and Head Librarian of the McClelland Library and former Executive Director of the Irish Cultural Center & McClelland Library. Listen to Chas talk all about Irish Music in episodes of Podcrawl Podchroal, the library’s podcast:

music composition

General Collection

Folk Music and Dances of Ireland by Breandan Breathnach

Call Number: 782.62196 B7408f 1977 Publication Date: 1977

The account of the folk music and dances of Ireland is an introduction to the subject. 

Irish Songs of Resistance (1169-1923) by Patrick Galvin

Call Number: 782.42159 G1399i Publication Date: 1962

Fifty songs of Ireland’s struggle for freedom and independence, with historical notes and guitar chords.

Music in Ireland: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture by Dorothea E. Hast
Call Number: 781.62916 H279m Publication Date: 2004

This describes traditional Irish music and dance in Ireland and in America, and opens the door for discussion of cultural and historical issues.

Last Night’s Fun: In and Out of Time with Irish Music by Ciaran Carson

Call Number: 781.62 C2392L 1997 Publication Date: 1997

In this celebration of Irish music,  each chapter takes the title of a traditional tune weaving in and out of melodies and variations.

O’Neill’s Music of Ireland by Miles Krassen

Call Number: 787.219 On29 1976 Publication Date: 1976

Miles Krassen has gathered and re-edited over 1,000 tunes, bringing Captain Francis O’Neill’s famed collection of Irish dance music, airs, jigs, reels, hornpipes, and marches up to date. 

Percy French and His Songs by James N. Healy

Call Number: 782.4213 H3499p Publication Date: 1966

Percy French was one of the most prolific of Irish songwriters. This book contains all of his songs and music to nearly forty of them. Included is engaging commentary which tells the story behind the songs and the man who wrote them.

Sean O’Riada: His Life and Work by Tomás Canainn

Call Number: 780.92 Os11s Publication Date: 2003

Sean O’Riada was a major factor in the rise of Irish traditional music in the second half of the twentieth century. He is the man most influential in changing the direction, and popularity, of traditional music that set the stage for bands like The Chieftains and Planxty.

Songs of Percy French, Vol. 1 edited and arranged by W. Stanley Moore

Call Number: 782.42162 F8888s V.1 Publication Date: 1937

Musical score book for voice and piano. Songs include The Mountains o’Mourne; The Emigrant’s Letter (Cutting the Corn); Slattery’s Mounted Fut; Kitty Gallagher; Ach! I Dunno; The Night Miss Cooney Eloped; Drumcolliher; Are Ye Right There, Michael?

Songs of Percy French, Vol. 2 edited and arranged by W. Stanley Moore

Call Number: 782.42162 F8888s V.2 Publication Date: 1937

Musical score book for voice and piano. Songs include Phil the Fluter’s Ball; Gortnamona; Mat Hannigan’s Aunt; Little Bridget Flynn; Mick’s Hotel; Eileen Oge; Whistlin’ Phil McHugh; Come Back Paddy Reilly; McBreen’s Heifer; Larry Mick McGarry.

The Tri Coloured Ribbon: A Selection of Irish Songs and Ballads published by Walton’s Musical Instrument Galleries

Call Number: 782.42162 T7301 Publication Date: 1966

Features rebel songs of Ireland.

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O’Neill’s Music of Ireland: Random Tunes

Percy French, 1854-1920 with Brendan O’Dowda

Songs of Percy French’s Ireland

Seán Ó Riada 1970

Packie Byrne’s Triple Whistle

Reference Collection

Amhráin Mhuighe Seóla: traditional folk-songs from Galway and Mayo collected and edited by Eileen Drury Costello

Call Number: REF 782.42162 Am48 Publication Date: 1919

Unaccompanied vocal melodies that are written in Irish with English translation. 

A Dossan of Heather: Irish Traditional Music from Packie Manus Byrne of Donegal for tinwhistle, fiddle or flute published by Mel Bay

Call Number: REF 787.2162 D741 Publication Date: 2000

Packie Manus Bryne is a familiar name to traditional-music lovers in Ireland and the UK, where he was a successful folk musician dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. These 85 tunes give a sense of community out of which the music came and those who played it. The included CD has 33 of the tunes performed by Jean Duval, Stephen Jones, Johanne St. Laurent and more on a variety of instruments.

A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music: Containing a Variety of Admired Airs Never Before Published, and also the Compositions of Conolan and Carolan by Edward Bunting

Call Number: REF 786.21629 B886g 1996 Publication Date: 1996

This is a collection from the harpers in the different provinces of Ireland, and adapted for the piano forte with an introduction.

The Irish Harp by Joan Rimmer

Call Number: REF 787.52 R468i 1977 Publication Date: 1977

This text provides a general survey of Irish harps and their uses for anyone of interest. 

Irish Minstrels and Musicians: With Numerous Dissertations on Related Subjects by Francis O’Neill

Call Number: REF 782.62916 On27i Publication Date: 1987

History and criticism of the story of Irish music.

Moore’s Irish Melodies

Lois Marshall sings Irish Country Songs (arr. Hughes) 

A Nation Once Again-18 Irish Rebel Ballads

Special & Rare Collection

(These titles can be accessed by request.)


A bhfuil aguinn dár chum Tadhg Dall O’Huiginn (1550-1591) by Tadhg Dall O’Huiginn; edited and translated by Eleanor Knott (The Bardic Poems, Vol. 1) 

Call Number: RareBks 891.6212 Oh7a v. 1 Publication Date: 1922-1926

Songs of St. Columcille by Douglas Hyde

Call Number: RareBks 891.6214 H992s Publication Date: 1942

A Centenary Selection of Moore’s Melodies by Thomas Moore

Call Number: Special 782.42162 M7868c Publication Date: 1979

Irish Country Songs edited, arranged, and collected by Herbert Hughes*

Call Number: Special 782.42162 Ir43 v. 1 Publication Date: 1909

*Also available in Reference

Songs of Erin: A Collection of Fifty Irish Folk Songs: op. 76 by Charles Villiers Standford

Call Number: Special 782.42162 St246s Publication Date: 1901

Spirit of the Nation: Ballads and Songs by the Writers of “The Nation”: with original and ancient music, arranged for the voice and piano-forte published by Duffy, James

Call Number: Special 782.42159 Sp484 1882 Publication Date: 1882

The Standard Orange Song Book: A Collection of Loyal & Constitutional Songs, Original and Select published by The Armagh Guardian Office

Call Number: Special 782.42162 St243 Publication Date: 1848

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