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Our Aims

We do this through the donation, copying and purchase of materials. We also collect our own audio and video recording both the field and in the Archive’s recording studio. Since 1993, recorded over 1,300 singers, instrumentalists, and dancers, and in addition have recorded lectures, public recitals and concerts, and other traditional music events
The Archive has won a Gulbenkian Museums and Archives award for ‘Best Collections Care’, utilising techniques such as digitising, binding, security copying on paper and different digital formats, all while using specialised archival and digital storage.
Since its foundation the Archive has taken advantage of the development of information technology, and its holdings are organised on a networked computer system to a degree of detail not found elsewhere. Our staff are experts in library techniques as accessioning, classifying, stock-listing, cataloguing and indexing.
We do this by giving full in-person access; by giving limited remote access by phone, fax, post and Internet; by extensive broadcasting and lecturing, exhibiting and publishing activities; and by cooperating with a wide range of other organisations engaged in performance, teaching, broadcasting, publishing, and archiving. All of this work is done both in support of the living tradition and contemporary traditional artists and audiences. Our secondary aim, of collecting traditional music from other countries in a representative way, is to provide a national access point to those musics and to the world of ethnomusicology. We have a particular coverage of those traditions closest to the Irish: the Scottish, Manx, English, Welsh, and North American.

Collections

Support Us

ITMA is committed to preserving the rich cultural tradition of Irish music for future generations. We cannot do this without private support.

By making a donation – at any level – you help ensure that the well of Irish music, song and dance is preserved and available for use by present and future generations of musicians, researchers and listeners throughout the world. Your donations will help us expand the digital library of our collections, offering free open access to everyone around the world. They will also go towards promoting artists and celebrating the traditions of diverse community groups.

The Archive is a charity (CHY 9283) and is an Approved Body under the terms of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. Donations of €250 and upwards are deductible against tax by self-assessed and corporate donors under certain conditions. In every case the Archive receives more than the donor actually gives. We can take credit card payments by phone – Mastercard or Visa. Receipts are issued.

Tailored Donations

If you have a specific project you would like to support please fill out with the form below with the details of this. With this info we can then put together a tailored support option that will allow you to support your project of choice.

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Staff

All our staff are practitioners in Irish traditional music: musicians, singers and dancers. Their professional experience encompasses librarianship, archival studies, audiovisual technology, information technology, broadcasting, education, design, management and business, and a range of European languages.

Liam O'Connor

Director [email protected]

Seán Potts

Office Manager [email protected]

Kyle Macaulay

Executive Assistant [email protected]

Dr. Adam Girard

Digital Archivist [email protected]

Maeve Gebruers

Archivist [email protected]

Treasa Harkin

Digital Librarian [email protected]

Róisín Conlon

Librarian [email protected]

Alan Woods

Artist Liaison and Field Recording Officer [email protected]

Brian Doyle

Digitisation and Digital Access Officer [email protected]

Robert Mackenzie

Digital Communications and Engagement Officer [email protected]

Iarlaith Mac Gabhann

Audio Digitisation Assistant [email protected]

Contributors

The Archive has also benefited from the active involvement in its work of many others including Director Emeritus Nicholas Carolan, its co-founder Harry Bradshaw, Kate O’Dwyer, Glenn Cumiskey, Orla Henihan, Seán Corcoran, Sorcha Ní Mhuiré, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Aileen Dillane, Clíona Ní Shúilleabháin, Colette Moloney, Antain Mac Lochlainn, Lisa Shields, Edel McLaughlin, Packie McGinley, Peter Browne, Tom Fuller, Brian Masterson, Tony Moreau, Roland Gosda, Eoghan Neff, Mícheál Ó Cathain, Ian Lynch, Áine Ní Bharáin, Brigitte Bark, Elaina Solon, Danny Diamond, Hanna Bush, Ellen Doyle, Jackie Small, Rónán Galvin, Erin Sterling, Piaras Hoban, Rebecca Draisey-Collishaw, Lynnsey Weissenberger, James Redmond, Róisín Ní Bhriain, Sadhbh Nic Ionnraic, Seán Caverly, Celine Jourdan, Stephanie SK Marbach, Iarfhlaith Ó Domhnaill, Sophie Ryan, Seán Hughes, Grace Toland etc.

Board

The operations of the Archive are directed by a Board of directors, who have performing, collecting, broadcasting, archival, financial, marketing and management experience. One third of the members is replaced annually by election.

Áine Hensey

Appointed 2018
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Áine Hensey

A Board member since 2018, Áine Hensey was named ITMA Board Chairperson in 2023, replacing outgoing Chair Brian Montague. Áine has worked in broadcasting since 1979. She began her career with RTÉ Radio 2 (now 2FM), and worked with Radio 1 and Clare FM before joining Raidió na Gaeltachta in 1995. Best known as a presenter and producer of traditional Irish music programmes (Heather Breeze, Sunday Folk, the Mist-Covered Mountain, Mind the Dresser, Béal Maidine, An Ghaoth Aniar, the Late Session, An Ghealach Ghorm and more) she has also been involved in the production of current affairs, sport, and history shows at both local and national levels. Most recently, she produced the flagship Raidió na Gaeltachta series of debates on the legacy of 1916. She is a regular contributor to programmes on TG4 and has acted as a script consultant on Geantraí, Gradaim Ceoil TG4, and other productions. She was a member of the selection panel for the Gradam Ceoil awards and also wrote and edited the commemorative book that was produced to mark the tenth anniversary of the Gradaim. Áine has many years of experience in the field of arts administration and public relations, having worked with the renowned youth festival, Slógadh, from the late 1970s. She has been musical director of Éigse Mrs Crotty in Kilrush, project animator with Oidhreacht an Chláir, and, since 2014, co-director of Consairtín, the national concertina convention. She was awarded a PhD in early modern history from Maynooth University in 2012 and is currently chairman of the board of directors of Gael-Linn.

Máire Ní Ghráda

Appointed 2018
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Máire Ní Ghráda

Máire is an uilleann piper originally from Cork, now living in Clonlara, County Clare. She is a regular teacher at international piping tionóil and and at the annual Willie Clancy School in Miltown Malbay. Máire also teaches Irish and Irish Folklore Studies in the University of Limerick. On behalf of the university, she has developed an innovative collaboration between UL and RTÉ-Raidió na Gaeltachta, Ar Bhruach na Sionainne. This radio series airs over a six week period each summer and gives students of the university, including those studying in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, the opportunity to gain experience of the research, performance and presentational aspects of Irish language and music broadcasting.

Síle Denvir

Appointed 2019
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Síle Denvir

Síle Denvir is a harpist and sean-nós singer from the Connemara Gaeltacht. She is a founding member of the group Líadan, she has toured with The Chieftains and recent performances include a collaboration with Liam Ó Maonlaí and Peter O’Toole in Macalla, a performance of music and sounds. She also performed as part of Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin’s composition Fill Arís with Iarla Ó Lionáird, Lillis Ó Laoire and The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in June 2018. Síle is a regular contributor to various TV and radio programmes and has also presented the programmes ‘Sean-Nós’ and ‘Fleadh TV’ on TG4. Síle is also an academic and works as an Irish language lecturer in Dublin City University. She has a particular interest in Irish-language song and her publications include Ciarán Ó Fátharta - Amhráin, an edition of songs composed by the Connemara songwriter Ciarán Ó Fátharta, published by Cló Iar-Chonnacht. Síle has a BA in Music and Irish from NUI Maynooth, an MA in Irish from NUI Galway, a Graduate Diploma in Music Education and an MA in Traditional Music Performance from the University of Limerick. She also received her PhD doctorate from the University of Limerick in 2012. Her latest research project, a CD/Booklet called Caithréim: Ceol agus Amhráin ó Dhrámaí an Phiarsaigh, was published by Cló Iar-Chonnacht in May 2016 and was shortlisted by The Irish Times in the highly competitive ‘Best Traditional Album 2016’ category. Úna has held artist residencies at the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris, the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas Montréal, and the Future Music Lab at the Atlantic Music Festival, Maine, USA. Úna also works as a sound engineer specialising in Irish traditional music, and experimental, live electronic and multichannel music—a role in which she travels worldwide. In 2016, Úna was awarded a James M. Flaherty Research Scholarship by the Ireland Canada University Foundation. She released an album of her compositions for harp and electronics, named For in 2018, and in 2019 received the inaugural Liam O’Flynn Award from the Arts Council of Ireland and the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Úna Monaghan

Appointed 2018
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Úna Monaghan

Úna Monaghan is a harper, composer, researcher, and sound artist from Belfast. She held the Rosamund Harding Research Fellowship in Music at Newnham College, University of Cambridge from 2016-2019. Her research examines the intersections between Irish traditional music, experimental music practices, improvisation, and interactive technologies. She performs with harp and electronics. Her recent work combines traditional music with bronze sculpture, sound art, and movement sensors. Her compositions have been presented on BBC and RTÉ television and radio, in theatre productions, and at international festivals and conferences, such as the International Computer Music Conference, York Festival of Ideas, and New York Electroacoustic Music Festival. She holds a PhD on New Technologies and Experimental Practices in Contemporary Irish Traditional Music from Queen’s University Belfast. Úna has held artist residencies at the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris, the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas Montréal, and the Future Music Lab at the Atlantic Music Festival, Maine, USA. Úna also works as a sound engineer specialising in Irish traditional music, and experimental, live electronic and multichannel music—a role in which she travels worldwide. In 2016, Úna was awarded a James M. Flaherty Research Scholarship by the Ireland Canada University Foundation. She released an album of her compositions for harp and electronics, named For in 2018, and in 2019 received the inaugural Liam O’Flynn Award from the Arts Council of Ireland and the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Kate Barry

Appointed 2022
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Kate Barry

Kate Barry has a law degree from Birmingham University, she has worked for Eversheds Law Practice in the UK. She moved to Ireland and is now working in Academic Law.

Libby McCrohan

Appointed 2022
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Libby McCrohan

Libby McCrohan is an Irish traditional musician and artist from Fingal. She plays a round back Greek bouzouki. Her approach to accompaniment is sensitive, subtle, and rhythmical, taking inspiration from the reg playing of uilleann pipers. She holds a BA in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from Trinity College Dublin as well as a Higher Diploma in Data Analytics. She is also very interested in visual arts, digital design and crafts.

Edwina Guckian

Appointed 2022
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Edwina Guckian

Dancer, choreographer, film maker and cultural producer Edwina Guckian hails from outside the village of Drumsna in Co. Leitrim. She learned her dancing from her mother and the local dancers of Leitrim and Roscommon. Her style is greatly influenced by the style of local music she grew up listening and dancing to. Her grandfather, Ned Lee, from Easter Snow, Co. Roscommon taught her to play the fiddle and brought her to many sessions, ceilís and rambling houses across Connacht in her youth. Having started teaching dancing at the age of 16, Edwina has now taught her steps and around the world sharing the stage with some of Ireland’s most influential acts. In 2004 Edwina established a culture club Áirc Damhsa which now has over 400 members, 11 teachers and is based in 9 counties. The following year she left her full – time primary school teaching career to focus on her personal development in dance. Since then, she has been awarded Leitrim County Council Arts person of the Year, Art’s Councils Next Generation Award and Connacht Business Person of the Year by the Irish Enterprise Board which led to her setting up www.irishdancecourses.com, an online learning hub for dancers worldwide with courses in all styles of Irish dance with the modern-day dance masters of Ireland. Since 2016, with the support of The Arts Council of Ireland, Dance Ireland and Leitrim Arts Office she hosts a hugely successful festival called Leitrim Dance Festival of which she is artistic director. She also organises many events in her community throughout the year such as the Effrinagh Crossroads Dance. In January 2020, Edwina launched her independent film production company, Dreoilín Productions, making creative videos and documentaries focusing on music, dance, heritage, culture, nature and community. Edwina continues to produce a series of public talks with Vincent Woods hosting musicians, singers and dancers from Leitrim that have had a significant impact on the tradition in the area. Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, it is called Jenny Put the Kettle On and will see another series of the project in 2022. She is currently curating a Creative Ireland project called Sowing the Seed with her Leitrim community and further afield encouraging the return of old farming techniques to work with nature once again and looking at the traditions and folk customs associated with the land. The project featured in National Geographic December 2021 issue. In April 2022, Edwina was awards the Gradam Comaoine TG4.

Niamh Ní Charra

Appointed 2022
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Niamh Ní Charra

Niamh Ní Charra is a musician, composer and professional archivist. Strongly influenced by a wealth of local Sliabh Luachra musicians, she started playing music at the early age of 4. A multiple award winner on both fiddle and concertina, she toured from 1998 to 2006 as a soloist with Riverdance, before returning to Ireland where she is now based. Her recently released 5th album “Donnelly’s Arm”, recorded under challenging circumstance during the Covid_19 pandemic and several lockdowns, has none-the-less received much critical and public acclaim. It was crowned Number 1 Trad Album of 2021 by Alex Monaghan, reviewer for several publications including Irish Music Magazine, Living Tradition and FolkWorld. Niamh is also a professional archivist having completed an MA in Archives and Records Management at UCD. She is based at the University of Galway where she is project manager and project archivist for their two largest archives; the Conradh na Gaeilge and Mary Robinson collections. She is the Communications and Campaigns officer for the Archives and Records Association, Ireland, she is co-host of the podcast series Archive Nation, and regularly gives presentations on her work in this field, including recently at both Electric Picnic and at the International Council on Archives (ICA) conference in Rome. Along with touring extensively as a solo artist and with her own band, Niamh has also performed and recorded with The Chieftains, Galician piper Carlos Núñez, and Basque musicians Ibon Koteron and Xabi Aburruzaga. She regularly gives workshops and masterclasses on both fiddle and concertina, has performed for several presidents and members of royalty and has additionally coordinated concerts hosted by the Irish embassy, on behalf of the government. A selection of her compositions featured in ITMA’s Saothar series in July 2022.

Mairéad Hurley

Appointed 2022
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Mairéad Hurley

Mairéad Hurley is a concertina player from a musical family in Ballymote, Co. Sligo. She has performed on stages and taught concertina master classes in Ireland and the UK, as well as in various locations across Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. In 2014, she was the resident Irish music tutor at the Gaelic Club in Sydney, Australia. In 2016, Mairéad, John Blake and Nathan Gourley released a trio album entitled The Truckley Howl, the name coming from an enigmatic phrase uttered by legendary piper Séamus Ennis. In 2021 she was part of ITMAs 'Drawing From The Well' series alongside her sister Deirdre, in which they explored the connections between tunes, songs and stories associated with the famed “Petticoat Loose” of Co. Waterford. In her professional life, she is an Assistant Professor in Science Education at Trinity College Dublin, and her research examines learning approaches which combine science with the arts. She has been successful in securing over €5M in funding for international cooperative projects on science education since 2017.

Martin O'Connell

Appointed 2023
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Martin O'Connell

Martin O’Connell is an accordion player and an electrical engineer from County Kerry. An accomplished and award-winning academic, Martin co-founded Nasal Medical in 2014.

Iarfhlaith Ó Domhnaill

Appointed 2023
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Iarfhlaith Ó Domhnaill

Iarfhlaith Ó Domhnaill hails from Donegal and is a documentary film maker and fiddle player. He is also a chartered accountant.

Governance

History

The Archive arose directly from a proposal to the Arts Council/ An Chomhairle Ealaíon in 1987 made by Harry Bradshaw and Nicholas Carolan to preserve historic sound recordings of Irish traditional music. These had been been uncovered during their production of the RTÉ radio series ‘The Irish Phonograph’ (1983–86).

The Council, which had earlier made a decision in principle to establish an archive of Irish traditional music, on the recommendation of a committee chaired by Breandán Breathnach, accepted the proposal. It appointed a Board to oversee its operations, and funded it first as a pilot project and then on an ongoing basis. Important additional revenue funding was later received from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The remit of the Archive has expanded over the years in line with its founding aims, and staff numbers have grown considerably. Staff have archival, library, audiovisual-recording, music engraving, administrative, digitisation, IT and other skills, and are themselves singers, musicians and dancers.

While its chief documents are still sound recordings, it has become a multimedia archive with substantial holdings of printed materials, still and moving images, artefacts, etc.

The Archive was first situated in Eustace St, Dublin, and moved to larger premises in 63 Merrion Square, Dublin, in 1991. On 15 November 2006 it opened in a permanent home at 73 Merrion Square. It holds there the largest collection of Irish traditional music in existence, and the largest collection of information on this tradition. It is now a premier centre for enjoying and studying this music.