PW Joyce's NLI Music Manuscripts, 1856–1912

There are three PW Joyce music manuscripts in the collections of the National Library of Ireland, which are reproduced here courtesy of the Library.


Detail from NLI Joly MS 25

They are Joly MS 25 (fair-copied tunes chiefly collected by Joyce on holiday in Limerick in July and August 1856), and MSS 2982–2983 (which together form a large and somewhat disorderly single collection from which Joyce intended to draw his next published collection). They contain tunes and the words of song recollected from his childhood or collected by him in his native area in the 1840s and 1850s, and extensive copyings from the manuscripts of other collectors: James Goodman especially, William Forde, John Edward Pigot, and a variety of correspondents. Many are manuscript cuttings pasted in from other sources, and are usually but not always in the hand of Joyce himself.

Joly MS 25

Irish airs collected by P.W Joyce, chiefly in Co. Limerick, 1856

Joyce’s Final Manuscripts, 1889-1912

Joyce was still working on what would have been his final collection at the time of his death in 1914, and the two working manuscripts from which it was to be drawn were supposedly found on the table beside his bed.

They were acquired by the National Library of Ireland, who have kindly given permission for their reproduction on this site.

In the preface to his first publication of 1873, Joyce had said that ‘I will continue to publish [Irish music] as long as I can obtain materials’, and in the preface to his 1909 publication he was, in his early eighties, calling on his readers for the loan of manuscripts that he might examine for his next volume. With undiminished zeal he continued work on this until his death five years later.

nli_logo.gifThe manuscripts of this final work, which contains 878 songs and melodies with notes, have been copied courtesy of the National Library of Ireland for facsimile publication on this site. They are NLI MS 2982 and NLI MS 2983.

NLI MSS 2982

Irish songs and melodies collected by PW Joyce : first volume, 1889-1912

NLI MSS 2983

Irish songs and melodies collected by PW Joyce : second volume, 1889-1912