P.W. Joyce’s Collections of Irish Music: 1873, 1888 & 1906

Patrick Weston Joyce (1827–1914), from Glenosheen in south-west Co Limerick, was a noted Irish educationalist and popular historian, and from his youth a collector of Irish traditional music and song.

He contributed many items to the collections of George Petrie, and also edited a number of important music collections which were published from 1873 to 1909.

The first edition of P.W. Joyce’s first published music collection – Ancient Irish Music, Dublin: McGlashen and Gill etc., 1873, ix+104+5 pp. – is presented below, as is a 'new edition' of his second collection – Irish Music and Song, Dublin: M.H. Gill and Son, 1901, vi+[ii]+44 pp. – a volume first published in 1888. Joyce's third collection – Irish Peasant Songs in the English Language, London etc.: Longmans, Green & Co; Dublin: M.H. Gill & Son, 1906, iv+16+[4]  – also appeared in a Dublin Talbot Press reprint of 1922 with a redesigned cover and shortened preface. Both printings are also reproduced below.

By coincidence, P.W. Joyce’s son, Professor Robert Dwyer Joyce, lived from 1907 to 1936 in the present premises of the ITMA, no 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 (see here, pp. 6–7). P.W. Joyce himself must have been a frequent visitor to this house as he was president of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland at no 63 Merrion Square (former home of the ITMA, 1991–2006) during the period of his son’s residency in no 73.

The first two books are from Cnuasach an Bhreathnaigh, the Breandán Breathnach Collection, which was donated by the Breathnach Family to the ITMA in 1987; the second two were purchased by ITMA.

ITMA would welcome the donation of other materials of this kind which are not yet in its collections (check our catalogues here), or of their loan for copying.

NC & MG, 1 December 2008

[In January 2014, to mark the centenary of the death of P.W. Joyce, ITMA launched its 'P.W. Joyce Irish Music Microsite', which massively augments this collection of his publications. It is available here.]