The Musical Roots of Séamus Connolly, Sullivan Artist-in-Residence: An Exhibit of Irish Music at the John J. Burns Library

Materials on display as part of the "Musical Roots of Seamus Connolly" exhibit. (Photograph by Gary Gilbert.)

Materials on display as part of the “Musical Roots of Seamus Connolly” exhibit. (Photograph by Gary Gilbert.)

On view through May 23, the Burns Library exhibit, “The Musical Roots of Séamus Connolly, Sullivan Artist-in-Residence,” highlights influences and milestones in the music career of Sullivan Artist-in-Residence Séamus Connolly. A world-renowned Irish traditional musician, performer and teacher from Killaloe, Ireland, Connolly won ten All-Ireland solo fiddle championships before immigrating to the United States in 1976.

Seamus Connolly is the architect and guiding spirit behind Boston College’s acclaimed Irish music programs.  (Photograph by Bachrach Photography.)

Seamus Connolly is the architect and guiding spirit behind Boston College’s acclaimed Irish music programs. (Photograph by Bachrach Photography.)

Connolly’s career at Boston College began in 1990, when he worked with Dr. Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin to coordinate the Boston College Irish Fiddle Festival. Joining the Boston College faculty shortly thereafter, Connolly developed the Irish Music, Song, and Dance Program within the Irish Studies Program of Boston College. In his current role as Sullivan Artist-in-Residence in the Center for Irish Programs, Connolly teaches fiddle; directs Irish music and dance instruction on campus; and curates the Gaelic Roots Music, Song, Dance, Concert and Lecture Series.

The “Musical Roots” exhibit draws primarily from the Séamus Connolly Papers at the Burns Library, with additional items from the library’s Irish collections. Selections include a certificate from Connolly’s first fiddle award in 1957; an annotated program from the 1967 Fiddler of Dooney competition; and a 1903 edition of Francis O’Neill’s Music of Ireland. The exhibit also features the CCÉ Morrissey Cup (Corn Ní Muireasa) from the private collection of Séamus Connolly.

Under-14 Munster fiddle award, CCÉ, 1957.  Séamus Connolly Papers. IMC.M064, Irish Music Archives, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Under-14 Munster fiddle award, CCÉ, 1957. Séamus Connolly Papers. IMC.M064, Irish Music Archives, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

The Gaelic Roots Music, Song, Dance, Workshop, and Lecture Series will celebrate the “Musical Roots” exhibit on April 17, 2013 with an “Irish Dance and Céilí” in Gasson Hall. During the céilí, a digital slide show will be on view in the Gasson Hall Rotunda.

The “Musical Roots” exhibit is curated by Elizabeth Sweeney, Kathleen Williams, and John Kearney. For more information – whether about the exhibit, the Séamus Connolly Papers, or the Gaelic Roots series – we invite you to contact the Burns Library Irish Music Center at imc@bc.edu or 617-552-3956.

  • Elizabeth Sweeney, Irish Music Librarian, John J. Burns Library, Boston College

About John J. Burns Library

The University’s special collections, including the University’s Archives, are housed in the Honorable John J. Burns Library, located in the Bapst Library Building, north entrance. Burns Library staff work with students and faculty to support learning and teaching at Boston College, offering access to unique primary sources through instruction sessions, exhibits, and programming. The Burns Library also serves the research needs of external scholars, hosting researchers from around the globe interested in using the collections. The Burns Library is home to more than 250,000 volumes and over 700 manuscript collections, including holdings of music, photographic materials, art and artifacts, and ephemera. Though its collections cover virtually the entire spectrum of human knowledge, the Burns Library has achieved international recognition in several specific areas of research, most notably: Irish studies; British Catholic authors; Jesuitica; Fine printing; Catholic liturgy and life in America, 1925-1975; Boston history; the Caribbean, especially Jamaica; Nursing; and Congressional archives.
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