Irish Music Symposium

Flyer for Notai/Notes SymposiumA research symposium organized by the National University of Ireland Galway in conjunction with the Irish Music Archives in the John J. Burns Library at Boston College will capitalize on the energy of music-related scholarship happening globally and present findings in a special themed edition of Éire-Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Irish Studies.

The full-day symposium, Nótaí/Notes: Music and Ireland, will be held in Boston College’s Gasson Hall on Saturday, September 23. On Friday September 22, participants will have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Boston College’s extensive Irish Music Archives at an opening reception at the Burns Library that will also include a demonstration and presentation on Egan harps by harp historian Nancy Hurrell.

Keynote speakers on Saturday will include Helen O’Shea (University of Melbourne), who will explore the music of East Clare, and Méabh Ní Fhuartháin (National University of Ireland Galway), who will discuss parish and dance halls as spaces for music and dance practice in early twentieth century Ireland. Morning and afternoon panel sessions will include presentations on Patrick Kavanagh’s “On Raglan Road,” the Willie Clancy Summer School, piper Shaun O’Nolan, and more. Panelists include Verena Commins (NUI Galway), Aileen Dillane (University of Limerick), Adam Kaul (Augustana College), Dan Neely (New York University), Michael Nicholsen (Oakton Community College), and Thomas O’Grady (University of Massachusetts, Boston). A brief performance of Irish traditional music will cap off the day’s events.

The special issue of Éire-Ireland, guest edited by Ní Fhuartháin and Commins, will be published in 2019. It will include papers from the symposium and related research. Éire-Ireland has been a leader in the process of expanding the literary-historical axis on which Irish Studies initially developed, and this issue acknowledges a significant and growing area of research.

Registration for the Saturday symposium is free and includes lunch and coffee breaks. For a complete schedule, and to check on seating availability for Friday and/or Saturday, please visit or contact the onsite coordinator, Irish Music Librarian Elizabeth Sweeney. Additional Irish Music Archives programs for fall 2017 are listed at

This symposium is cosponsored by Comhrá Ceoil, Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, together with the Boston College Libraries and Boston College Center for Irish Programs, with additional funding provided by the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme.

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