They Love Music Mightily: Exhibition Photographs by Paul McCarthy, 2000


‘They Love Music Mightily’: Contemporary Recordings of Irish Traditional Music – An Ceol Comhaimseartha was a joint cross-border audiovisual travelling exhibition of the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum in Cultra, Holywood, Co Down, and the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin. It was on display in various venues from 2000 to 2004. The exhibition was intended to emphasise that Irish traditional music is an exciting and varied contemporary artform. It consisted of stands with giant back-lit transparencies of thirteen leading contemporary singers and musicians, and sound recordings on headphones of the featured performers. The title of the exhibition is a quotation from the writings of William Good, an English observer of the Irish in the 1560s.

The exhibition was initiated by Robbie Hannan (then Curator of Music at the UFTM), advised by Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin of the University of Limerick (former Chairman of the ITMA Board). It was designed by Michael Donnelly of the UFTM, and featured specially commissioned photographs by Paul McCarthy (an independent photographer) and sound recordings by Glenn Cumiskey (then ITMA Sound Engineer), with additional recordings by Robbie Hannan, Niall Keegan (UL), and Paul Dooley, one of the featured performers. It was curated by Robbie Hannan in Cultra and by Nicholas Carolan (ITMA Director) in Dublin, with the assistance of Orla Henihan (then ITMA Visual Materials Officer). For further information on the life of the exhibition, click here.

The exhibition catalogue (produced by Robbie Hannan and Glenn Cumiskey) was a CD with the recordings and photographs featured in the exhibition, and with notes on the performers and material. It was only on sale in conjunction with the exhibition.

With thanks especially to the thirteen performers who took part in the exhibition, to all listed above and otherwise who contributed to its success, and to the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum and Robbie Hannan, Head of Folklife and Agriculture at the UFTM

NC, 1 October 2009

They Love Music Mightily: Exhibition Photographs by Paul McCarthy, 2000