References & Resources

Interested in knowing more about the places, people, and media featured in A Grand Time

View annotated lists of references and resources about Ireland, Newfoundland, song, music, and oral traditions. These lists focus on resources available within ITMA, though attempt to include other relevant publications.

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Reference, Bibliographies, and Discographies

General reference resources relating to published sources in Newfoundland song, music, and Irish-Newfoundland connections.

Mercer, Paul. 1979. Newfoundland Songs and Ballads in Print, 1842–1974: A Title and First-line Index. Bibliographical and Special Series, No. 6. St John’s, NL: Memorial University Folklore and Language Publications.

An index of approximately 1500 published song texts from the Newfoundland song tradition, organised according to titles and first lines. Published as part of the same series as Taft’s A Regional Discography of Newfoundland and Labrador, the two reference works are intentional complements.
Paul Mercer's Newfoundland Songs and Ballads in Print, 1842-1974 (1979)
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Metress, Seamus, and Donna Hardy-Johnston. 1999. The Irish in North America: A Regional Bibliography. Toronto, ON: PD Meany Publishers.

A bibliography of sources relating to the Irish presence and experience in North America. The bibliography is organised according to region, including a section on Newfoundland, with additional thematic lists devoted to biography, Fenianism, and Orangeism.

Taft, Michael. 1975. A Regional Discography of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1904–1972. With a preface by Herbert Halpert. Bibliographical and Special Series, No. 1. St John’s, NL: Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive.

Compiled with the intention of understanding the unique blend of Irish, country and western, and traditional musics that comprised Newfoundland popular music during the 1970s, this discography provides a detailed listing of recordings by Newfoundlanders as well as recordings of Newfoundland songs made by non-Newfoundlanders. Taft also discusses the range of recordings that existed within the record collections of Newfoundlanders.

Ireland–Newfoundland Connections

Sources pertaining to the historical relationship between Ireland and Newfoundland. This list is dominated by historical and geographical accounts of 18th and 19th century fisheries and case studies of communities in southeast Ireland and Newfoundland, as well as maps and diagrams demonstrating aspects of this history. Also included are scholarly studies of the literature and folkways that connect the two islands.

Aalen, FHA, Kevin Whelan, and Matthew Stout (eds). 2011. Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape. 2nd ed. Cork, IE: Cork University Press.

This historical atlas brings together interdisciplinary contributions from leading scholars to explore the history and geography of Ireland and its diaspora. It features full colour maps, images, and diagrams, and includes several chapters of relevance to the study of historical connections between Ireland and Newfoundland. These include: “Inistioge and the Nore Valley, County Kilkenny” by Edward McCarron and Fidelma McCarron (pp. 368–86) and “Point Lance: An Irish Settlement in Newfoundland” by John Mannion (pp. 387–409). The latter chapter, by John Mannion, is of particular relevance to understanding where the people who feature in this exhibition came from as it focuses on the Cape Shore and the particular conditions that led to its settlement by Irish migrants beginning in the late 18th century.

Byrne, Cyril. 2004. “Donnchadh Ruadh Mac Conmara: Poet at the Edge of the Old Gaelic World and the Edge of the New World.” An Nasc 16:13–18.

This paper, presented in the Seminario Annuale di Storia Atlantica at University of Genova, focuses on the biography and poetry of Donnchadh Ruadh Mac Conmara (1716–1810). Born in Co Clare, little is known about Mac Conmara, yet his poetry provides insight into the early links and lifeways of the Irish in Newfoundland.

Byrne, Cyril J, and Margaret Harry (eds). 1986. Talamh an Éisc: Canadian and Irish Essays. Halifax, NS: Nimbus.

Essays and proceedings from the 16th International Conference of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies, held at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 16–20 March 1983. The theme for the conference was Irish Culture from Grattan’s Parliament to the Famine and Links with Atlantic Canada.

Farquharson, Danine. 2008. “Introduction: How Irish is Newfoundland?” Special issue, The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 34(2):10–11.

The introductory essay for a special issue interrogating the historical and cultural links between Newfoundland and Ireland, including the role of the tourism industry in inventing this connection.

Feder, Alison, and Bernice Schrank, eds. 1977. Literature and Folk Culture: Ireland and Newfoundland. Papers from the 9th Annual Seminar of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, February 11–15, 1976. St John’s: Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Proceedings from a conference addressing the relationship between Ireland and Newfoundland, with topics including language, theatre, storytelling, song traditions, and other aspects of vernacular culture.

Harris, R Cole, and Geoffrey J Matthews (eds). 1987. Historical Atlas of Canada: From the Beginning to 1800. Vol. 1. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Gentilcore, Louis (ed). 1987. Historical Atlas of Canada, 1800–1891. Vol. 2. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

These historical atlases use a series of full-colour maps and diagrams to depict patterns of migration, settlement, and demographic change as influenced by broader events and historical trends. Several plates are of particular relevance to study of the relationship between Ireland and Newfoundland: “Plate 25: The Newfoundland Fishery, 18th Century” by John Mannion, W. Gordon Handcock, and Alan G. Macpherson (vol. 1); “Plate 8: Origins of the Newfoundland Population” by John Mannion and W. Gordon Handcock (vol. 2); “Plate 9: Trans-Atlantic Migrations, 1831–1851” by John C. Weaver, James de Jonge, Dannell Norris (vol. 2).

Keough, Willeen. 2008. “Creating the ‘Irish Loop’: Cultural Renaissance or Commodification of Ethnic Identity in an Imagined Tourist Landscape?” Special issue of The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 34(2). DOI 10.2307/25515715

An article about the resurgence of Irishness on the Avalon Peninsula’s Southern Shore. The author considers historical connections, but also how commercial incentives of the tourism industry may incentivise more overt performances of a specifically Irish Newfoundland identity.

Lalor, Joshua D. 2009. “Ethnicity, Culture, and Globalization: Exploring the Memorandum of Understanding between Newfoundland and Labrador and Ireland.” Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 24(1). 

An article about the Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Ireland and Newfoundland, and the role of this agreement in shaping perceptions of the relationship between the two islands.

Mannion, John J. 1974. Irish Settlements in Eastern Canada: A Study of Cultural Transfer and Adaptation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

——— (ed). 1986. The Peopling of Newfoundland: Essays in Historical Geography. Social and Economic Papers No. 8. St John’s: Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

———. [1993]. “Tracing the Irish: A Geographical Guide.” Immigrant Ways. NL-Irish Connections.

———. 2001. “Irish Migration and settlement in Newfoundland: The Formative Phase, 1697–1732.” Newfoundland Studies 17:257–93.

Galway-born historical geographer John Mannion is the leading authority on Irish migration to Canada, particularly Newfoundland. His research encompasses field work in Newfoundland communities, as well as extensive archival and historical work on the linkages between Ireland and North America. These (and other) studies by Mannion, document not only origins and places of settlement, but also how people retained and adapted their cultural resources to new conditions.

Mannion, Patrick. 2018. A Land of Dreams: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and the Irish in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Maine, 1880–1923. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

A comparative study of the historical development of Irish identity in three diaspora communities: St John’s, Newfoundland, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Portland, Maine. The author suggest that the development of a sense of “Irishness” developed over generations through a complex interplay of local, regional, national, and transnational influences.

Nolan, William, and Kevin Whelan (eds). 1990. Kilkenny: History & Society. Dublin, IE: Geography Publications.

This interdisciplinary volume brings together essays by geographers, historians, folklorists, archaeologists, and other related disciplines on the topic of Kilkenny’s social, cultural, and political history. John Mannion and Fidelma Maddock’s chapter, “Old World Antecedents, New World adaptations: Inistioge immigrants in Newfoundland” (pp. 345–404), is a case study exploring patterns of marriage, profession, inheritance, and religions, both in Inistioge, Co Kilkenny, and in Newfoundland, pointing to motivations for migration, parallels in the circumstances of migrants and those left behind, distinctions in the two populations, and changes in circumstance based on location.

Nolan, William, and Thomas P Power (eds). 1992. Waterford: History & Society. Dublin, IE: Geography Publications. 

This interdisciplinary volume brings together essays by geographers, historians, folklorists, archaeologists, and other related disciplines on the topic of Waterford’s social, cultural, and political history. Two of the chapters, by Cyril Byrne and John Mannion, respectively, focus on the history of migration to Newfoundland and trade links. Byrne’s “The Waterford Colony in Newfoundland, 1700–1850” addresses issues of religion, language survival, and folkways among the Irish who immigrated to Newfoundland as part of the fisheries (pp. 351–72). Mannion’s chapter, “Vessels, Masters and Seafaring: Patterns of Voyages in Waterford Commerce, 1766–1771,” analyses the extent of the trade links and shipping between Waterford, Newfoundland, and the West Country during a brief period of the 18th century (pp. 373–402).

O’Driscoll, Robert, and Lorna Reynolds, eds. 1988. The Untold Story: The Irish in Canada. Vols. 1–2. Toronto: Celtic Arts of Canada. 

An anthology of essays focusing on Irish influences and presence in Canada. Topics range from regional histories to the biographies of influential Irish-Canadians, and from issues of religion and representation to cultural and linguistic influences. Of particular interest to the study of Ireland–Newfoundland connections are essays by Kildare Dobbs, “Newfoundland and the Maritimes: An Overview” (vol. 1, pp. 175–94); CW Doody, “The Irish in Newfoundland” (vol. 1, pp. 195–201); Edith Fowke, “Irish Folk Songs in Canada” (vol. 2, pp. 699–710); Patrick O’Flaherty, “Growing Up Irish in a Newfoundland Outport” (vol. 2, pp. 723–28).

Trew, Johanne Devlin. 2005. “‘The Forgotten Irish’: Contested Sites and Narratives of Nation in Newfoundland.” Ethnologies 27(2):43–77. DOI 10.7202/014041ar

In “The Forgotten Irish,” Trew discusses how narratives of Irish, British, and American influence compete for prominence in Newfoundland’s public spaces. She focuses on Irish identity and influence in Newfoundland. Her discussion includes an interview with Aidan O’Hara and references the work he did to promote awareness of the cultural linkages between Newfoundland and Ireland.

Whelan, Kevin, and William Nolan (eds). 1987. Wexford: History & Society. Dublin: Geography Publications.

This interdisciplinary volume brings together essays by geographers, historians, folklorists, archaeologists, and other related disciplines on the topic of Wexford’s social, cultural, and political history. John Mannion’s chapter, “A Transatlantic Merchant Fishery: Richard Welsh of New Ross and the Sweetmans of Newbawn in Newfoundland” (pp. 373–421), relates the history of the Sweetman firm. This family of merchants was largely responsible for the founding and settlement of the Cape Shore’s present day communities.

Collecting, Archiving & Disseminating Newfoundland Oral Culture

A list of sources relating to the people and institutions involved in compiling and disseminating resources relating to Newfoundland song, music, dance, and traditional culture. Sources include biographical accounts of collectors and descriptions of specific projects undertaken by cultural institutions.

Casey, George J, Neil V Rosenberg, and Wilfred W Wareham. 1972. “Repertoire, Categorization and Performer-Audience Relationships: Some Newfoundland Examples.” Ethnomusicology 16(3):397–403. DOI 10.2307/850201

An article addressing problems with classifying repertoire (by both collectors and performers). The authors draw on examples from two Newfoundland communities to examine the relationship between collectors, performers, and audiences.

Diamond, Beverley. 2007. “Reconnecting: University Archives and the Communities of Newfoundland.” In Folk Music, Traditional Music, Ethnomusicology: Canadian Perspectives, Past and Present, ed. Anna Hoefnagels and Gordon Smith, 3–12. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.

An account of several projects developed in Newfoundland to make archival audio recordings held in the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive more accessible to the public. The article addresses the different mediums used for transmission, relationships between communities, culture bearers, and the university, and feedback on the resulting projects.

Diamond, Beverley, and Ian Brodie. 2013. “MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada.” Oral Tradition 28(2):335–340.

MacEdward Leach compiled the earliest recorded collection of songs in Atlantic Canada. This collection also covered a much greater geographic and generic range as he included local compositions, as well as American, English, Scottish, and Irish songs. This article describes the archival and pedagogical aims and challenges of creating the MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada website.

Guigné, Anna Kearney. 2007. “ ‘The Folklore Treasure there is Astounding’: Reappraising Margaret Sargent McTaggart’s Contribution to the Documentation of Newfoundland Folksong at Mid-Century.” Ethnologies 29(1–2). DOI 10.7202/018749ar

A critical examination of the influence of Margaret Sargent McTaggart on the collection of Newfoundland folksongs and the study of folklore in Canada. McTaggart was the first female musicologist employed by the National Museum of Canada and responsible for launching the first Canadian-funded research on Newfoundland folksong traditions.

———. 2015. “ ‘Took some photos. Everyone seems sorry I am going’: A New Consideration of Maud Karpeles’s 1929–1930 Newfoundland Folksong Fieldwork.” Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 30(1).

A re-examination of the song collecting activities of Maud Karpeles in Newfoundland (1929–30). This account was prompted by the discovery of 41 photos taken by Karpeles and preserved at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in London. The images provide a context and supplements to other field data, including diaries, music notebooks, and song index.

Peere, Isabelle. 1985. “Elisabeth Greenleaf: An Appraisal.” Canadian Folk Music Journal 13:20–31.

An evaluation of Elisabeth Greenleaf’s contribution to the scholarship on Newfoundland song. Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland, the collection of song compiled by Greenleaf and her assistant, Grace Mansfield, and published in 1933 is widely considered as the first academic study of Newfoundland song traditions.

Rosenberg, Neil. 1991. “The Gerald S. Doyle Songsters and the Politics of Newfoundland Folksong.” Canadian Folklore canadien 13(1):45–57.

A discussion of the influence of Gerald S Doyle and his songsters on Newfoundland song repertories.

Newfoundland Songsters, Tune Books & Collections

Published songsters, tune books, and collections are important influences on the repertoires of Newfoundlanders, not least on the songs sung by the people of the Cape Shore. Songsters published and disseminated early in the 20th century by the likes of John Burke and Gerald S Doyle frequently were available in outport homes, and many of the conversations captured in Aidan O’Hara’s field recordings make reference to learning songs from books. This list includes the songsters, collections, and people who have left lasting marks on Newfoundland song and music traditions.

Burke, John. 1918. Burke’s Christmas Songster. St John’s, NL: Herald Print.

Johnny Burke (1851–1930), also known as the Bard of Prescott Street, compiled many such songsters in addition to writing a number of well-known Newfoundland ballads (e.g., “The Night Paddy Murphy Died,” “Cod Liver Oil,” and “The Valley of Kilbride”). Other songsters include Burke’s Newfoundland Ballads (1912), The Allies Patriotic War Songster (1917), Burke’s Xmas Songster (1920), An Irish Songster (1922), Burke’s Popular Songs (1929).

Byrne, Pat (ed). 1977. The Ryan’s Fancy Song and Other Stuff Book. St John’s, NL: Breakwater Books.

The editor writes in the introduction, “This book is an impression. It is not simply a songbook, or a photo album, or a biography, or a documentary. By not being simply one or the other it runs the risk of being a little bit of each and not enough, or too much, of either” (1977:8). Comprising notated tunes, song words, photos, biographies, and impressionistic accounts of performances, this book is an account of a band (Denis Ryan of Co Tipperary, Fergus O’Byrne of North Dublin, and Dermot O’Reilly of Drimnagh, Dublin) that was influential in the Newfoundland folk revival of the 1970s and an example of the strong cultural connections between Newfoundland and Ireland.
The Ryan's Fancy Song and Other Stuff Book
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Doyle, Gerald S. 1978. Old-Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland: Songs of the People from the Days of our Forefathers. 5th ed. St John’s, NL: Gerald S. Doyle Ltd.

Gerald S. Doyle (1892–1956) was a businessman and folksong collector. He (and his descendants) published five editions of this song book, all containing songs that he collected during visits to Newfoundland’s remote outport communities. The songsters were freely available. Song collector Kenneth Peacock asserted that Doyle was “more responsible than anyone else for making the general public aware of Newfoundland songs.”
Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland
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Fowke, Edith (ed). 1973. The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books.

A collection of songs gathered from throughout Canada, including several songs from Newfoundland. Though Edith Fowke’s (1913–1996) collecting efforts did not focus on Newfoundland, she was part of the same “golden age” of folksong collecting that brought the likes of MacEdward Leach and Kenneth Peacock to Newfoundland.

Guigné, Anna Kearney. 2016. The Forgotten Songs of the Newfoundland Outports: As Taken from Kenneth Peacock’s Newfoundland Field Collection, 1951–1961. With transcriptions by Evelyn Osborne. Mercury Series Cultural Studies Paper 87. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Museum of History and University of Ottawa Press.

Based on collector Kenneth Peacock’s field recordings, this book makes available the songs that were omitted from Peacock’s three-volume Songs of the Newfoundland Outports (1965). Each song is fully transcribed with accompanying notation, details of collection, Roud number, and notes on song origins.
Anna Kearney Guigné's The Forgotten Songs of the Newfoundland Outports: As Taken from Kenneth Peacock’s Newfoundland Field Collection, 1951–1961
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Greenleaf, Elisabeth Bristol. 1933. Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland. Songs collected by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 

Collected during the 1920s and early 1930s, this collection of songs is considered the first academic study of Newfoundland traditional song. New Yorker Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf (1895–1980) first came to Newfoundland as a teacher. With the support of Vassar College, she hired Grace Yarrow Mansfield to help record and transcribe songs collected during their fieldwork.
Greenleaf & Mansfield's Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland
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Karpeles, Maud (ed). 1934. Folk Songs from Newfoundland. With pianoforte accompaniments by R. Vaughan Williams, Clive Carey, Hubert J. Foss, and Michael Mullinar. 2 vols. + Complete ed. London: Oxford University Press. 

———. 1971. Folk Songs from Newfoundland. London: Faber and Faber. 

British collector Maud Karpeles (1885–1976) made two separate trips to Newfoundland in 1929 and 1930, approximately contemporary with the collecting trips made by Greenleaf and Mansfield. The trip had originally been planned by Cecil Sharpe, who believed that Newfoundland, Britain’s oldest colony, must surely be a repository for folksongs of English origin. Karpeles completed the collecting trip after Sharpe’s death. She published the results of her collecting in two volumes with piano accompaniments (1934). 
Maud Karpeles' Folk Songs from Newfoundland
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Almost 40 years later she released a collection of 150 songs, with melodies and words only.
Maud Karpeles' Folk Songs from Newfoundland
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Leach, MacEdward (ed). 1965. Folk Ballads & Songs of the Lower Labrador Coast. Ottawa, ON: National Museum of Canada.

———. 1975. The Ballad Book. New York: AS Barnes and Co.

MacEdward Leach (1897–1967) was among the most influential North American folklorists of the 20th century. Based at the University of Pennsylvania, he made four collecting trips to Atlantic Canada between 1950 and 1960. His Folk Ballads & Songs of the Lower Labrador Coast derives from his 1960 trip to the Labrador Coast. Variants of many of the songs recorded by Aidan O’Hara are included in this collection. The Ballad Book, Leach’s magnum opus, was certainly influenced by his collecting work in Newfoundland though is constructed as a history and account of English-language balladry (rather than an account of ballads sung in a particular region).

Lehr, Genevieve (ed). 1985. Come and I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook. Songs collected by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best. St John’s, NL: Breakwater.

This collection of songs claims the distinction of being the ‘first major collection of Newfoundland folksongs compiled and edited by native Newfoundlanders’: Genevieve Lehr, a folklorist trained at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Anita Best, a folk singer and collector. The collection include several songs collected from the same people who feature on Aidan O’Hara’s recordings.
Lehr & Best's Come and I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook
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Morgan, Pamela. 2011. Newfoundland Ballads for Piano and Voice. St John’s, NL: Running the Goat.

Collected by folk revival singer Pamela Morgan (b. 1957), this song book includes arrangements of 12 traditional Newfoundland songs gathered from communities throughout Newfoundland. One of the songs, ‘A Sailor’s Trade,’ comes from the singing of Caroline Brennan of Ship Cove, Placentia Bay. Caroline’s songs, stories, and accounts of language are a significant part of the recordings featured in this exhibition.
Pamela Morgan's Newfoundland Ballads for Piano and Voice
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Murphy, James. [1895]1903. The Songs and Ballads of Terra Nova. St John’s, NL: Evening Telegram.

James Murphy (1868–1931) published a series of such songsters between 1902 and 1925, with titles including Songs of Our Land (1904), Murphy’s Sealers Song Book (1905), Coronation Song Book of Newfoundland (1911), Old Songs (1912), Songs of Newfoundland by Various Authors (1917), Songs Their Fathers Sung, For Fishermen, Old-Time Ditties (1923), Songs Sung by Old Time Sealers of Many Years Ago (1925).

Peacock, Kenneth (ed). 1965. Songs of the Newfoundland Outports. 3 vols. Anthropological Series No. 65. Ottawa, ON: National Museum of Canada.

Between 1951 and 1961, Peacock collected 766 songs from singers in thirty-eight communities representing the province’s anglophone, francophone, and Scottish traditions—the majority of which are published in this three-volume series. Peacock’s collection is highly regarded by singers of Newfoundland song, and well noted by many researchers for its breadth and scope.
Kenneth Peacock's Song's of the Newfoundland Outports
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Smith, Christina (ed). 2006. The Easiest Dance Tunes from Newfoundland and Labrador. St John’s: Battery Radio Publications.

A collection of 28 dance tunes transcribed in standard staff notation as well as accordion tablature. While the collection includes a few well-known tunes (e.g., ‘Mussels in the Corner’) the majority are less commonly heard. All tunes are accompanied by a note about where they were collected and context for performance.

West, Eric (ed). 1991. Catch ahold this one … Songs of Newfoundland & Labrador. Vol. 1. Revised ed. Ladle Cove, NL: Vinland Music.

———. 2000. All Together Now … Songs of Newfoundland & Labrador. Vol. 3. Ladle Cove, NL: Vinland Music.

Collections of contemporary and traditional Newfoundland song, set with piano accompaniment and guitar tablature.

Music, Song, Dance, and Oral Traditions

Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique history, geography, and culture are widely researched and topics of prolific publication. The sources listed here are just those that have particular relevance to discussion of Irish-Newfoundland connections and the music, song, and dance of Newfoundland. Though a range of recent and older scholarship is included, there is emphasis on more recent publications.

Benjamin, Elinor. 2001. “Crack! Wherein Elinor Benjamin Talks with Anita Best and We Get to Listen.” The Canadian Folk Music BULLETIN de musique folklorique canadienne 35(2):1–6.

An interview with teacher, archivist, and singer, Anita Best. The interview focuses on Anita’s memories of her father-in-law, storyteller Pius Power from Clattice Harbour and Southeast Bight.

Bennett, Margaret. 1989. Gaelic Traditions in Newfoundland. St John’s NL: Breakwater.

———. 1989. Last Stronghold: Scottish Gaelic Traditions of Newfoundland. Edinburgh: Canongate.

———. 2012. Jerome Just One More Song! Local, Social & Political History in the Repertoire of a Newfoundland-Irish Singer. Grange of Locherlour, Ochtertyre, Scotland: Grace Note. (And accompanying CD.)

During the late 1960s and 1970s, Scottish folklorist Margaret Bennett was a student in Newfoundland, where she studied the culture and language retention of Scottish speakers in the Codroy Valley. Her publications analyse these connections, exploring how cultures adapt in diasporic contexts. Jerome Just One More Song! is based on recording collected in partnership with Kenneth Goldstein and elaborates how Jerome Downey, a Newfoundlander of Irish descent, and his family lived and preserved aspects of Irish traditions in the midst of a community of with Scotch, French, English, and Mi’Kmaq influences.

Breslin, Samantha. 2017. “Musical Boundaries: The Making of Traditional Newfoundland Music(ians).” Shima 11(2):232–253. DOI 10.21463/shima.11.2.16

An article about the boundaries that define traditional Newfoundland music and musicianship, focusing on relationships between place, tradition, and history.

Byrne, Pat. 1991. “ ’Stage Irish’ in ‘Britain’s Oldest Colony’: Towards an Analysis of the Influence of the McNulty Family on Newfoundland Music.” Canadian Folklore canadien 13:59–68.

The McNulty Family were a trio Irish-American vaudeville performers who regularly toured in Newfoundland between 1930 and 1970 to promote the sale of their records. The popularity of this group left a lasting mark on song repertoires of Newfoundland.

Chafe, Maureen. 2002. “Two Newfoundland Folk Songs: Loss of the John Harvey and Union of St John’s.” The Canadian Folk Music BULLETIN de musique folklorique canadienne:29–33.

Two songs, with notated melody and words, from the singing of Jack and Tom Kehoe.

Cox, Gordon SA. 1975. “Christmas Carolling Tradition of Green’s Harbour, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland.” Canadian Folk Music Journal 3:3–10.

———. 1980. Folk Music in a Newfoundland Outport. Mercury Series Cultural Studies Paper No. 32. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada.

Cox’s publications are based on fieldwork completed in Green’s Harbour and other Trinity Bay South communities, Newfoundland. His article in Canadian Folk Music, focuses on the role of the religion in folk culture by exploring the Christmas carolling traditions of an outport community dominated by United, Anglican, and Salvation Army Churches. Folk Music in a Newfoundland Outport is a more extensive study, based on the author’s postgraduate research. Cox’s accounts of outport culture in Newfoundland provide a counterpoint to that represented by Aidan O’Hara’s recordings; though there are similarities that mark the traditions and repertoire of the communities, Cox’s work focuses on an area primarily settled by the British and shaped by Protestant traditions.

Diamond, Beverley, and Glenn Colton. 2007. Music in Newfoundland and Labrador. Special issue. Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 22(1). (accessed 8 February 2018).

This special edition of the interdisciplinary journal, Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, brings together articles suggestive of the breadth of the provinces musical life. Contributions address traditional dance music, folk song, song collecting, Indigenous musics, hip hop, and the influence of technology and forms of mediation. Contributors include Kelly Best, Tim Borlase, Paul Chafe, Glenn Colton, Beverley Diamond, Douglas Dunsmore, Paula Flynn, Tom Gordon, John Hewson, Anna Kearney Guigné, Judith Klassen, Peter Narváez, Evelyn Osborne, Neil V. Rosenberg, Christina Smith, Cory W. Thorne, and Janice Esther Tulk.

Everett, Holly. 2016. “Do You Play Newfoundland Music? Tracking Traditional Music in the Tourist Imaginary.” MUSICultures 43(1):112–131.

This study addresses the ways in which traditional Newfoundland music has been constructed by the tourism industry. Everett compares perceptions of tourist interests offered by individuals working in the Newfoundland music industry with statistical data about non-resident visitors to the province.

Goldstein, Kenneth S, and Neil V Rosenberg. 1980. Folklore Studies in Honour of Herbert Halpert: A Festschrift. St John’s, NL: Memorial University of Newfoundland.

A collection of essays written in honour of folklorist Herbert Halpert, who founded the Department of Folklore at Memorial University. The chapters in this festschrift cover a wide range of topics on the traditional cultures of North America and English-speaking Europe. “Forty Years Later: Maude Karpeles in Newfoundland” by Carole Henderson Carpeter, and Neil V Rosenberg’s chapters on Halpert himself are specifically relevant to the study of Newfoundland music and culture.

Gray, Michael. 1988. “Back to Belle Isle.” The Telegraph 29:68–108.

An article about the origins of Bob Dylan’s song “Belle Isle,” in which the author examines the song first, as a Newfoundland folk song and, second, as an Irish folk song.

Greenhill, Pauline. 2003. “ ‘Places She Knew Very Well’: The Symbolic Economy of Women’s Travels in Traditional Newfoundland Ballads.” The Flowering Thorn: International Ballad Studies, ed. Thomas A. McKean, 55–66. Logan: Utah State University.

A discussion of a selection of Newfoundland ballads from Kenneth Peacock’s Songs of the Newfoundland Outports (1965). The author examines themes of travel and outings from the perspective of queer studies.

Gregory, E. David. 2004. “Newfoundland Traditional Song: The Legacy from the English West Country.” Canadian Journal for Traditional Music 31:50.

———. 2006. “Vernacular Song, Cultural Identity, and Nationalism in Newfoundland, 1920–1955.” History of Intellectual Culture 4(1).

These articles explore Newfoundland song repertories. The 2004 article describes the possibilities for tracing connections between the song repertories found in 19th century Newfoundland outports and the four counties of the English West Country. The 2006 article examines the emergence of Newfoundland nationalist sentiment through early 20th century song collections (e.g., Gerald Doyle’s The Old Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland, Elisabeth Greenleaf’s Ballads and Sea Songs from Newfoundland, and Maud Karpeles’ Folk Songs from Newfoundland).

Halpert, Herbert, and GM Story (eds). 1969. Christmas Mumming in Newfoundland: Essays in Anthropology, Folklore, and History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

A study of the practice of “mumming”—or mummering, as it is more widely known in Newfoundland. This Christmas visiting tradition derives from British and Irish customs.

Harris Walsh, Kristin. 2002. “ ‘From the Kitchen to the Stage’: Recontextualization of Set Dance in Newfoundland and Labrador.” Theatre Research in Canada 23(1):83–100.

———. 2002. “Tradition, Tourism and Revival and the Dance Up Event: Or, How ‘Running the Goat’ Changed Set Dancing in Newfoundland.” Canadian Dance Studies Quarterly 2(3).

———. 2004. “Traditional Newfoundland Dance Today—Jim Payne’s Journey.” Newfoundland Quarterly 97(2).

———. 2006. “Integrating Vernacular Dance with Traditional Music: An Ethnographic Examination of the Auntie Crae Band.” Dance Studies Quarterly 6(2).

———. 2008. “Irish-Newfoundland Step Dancing and Cultural Identity in Newfoundland.Ethnologies 30(1):125–140. DOI 10.7202/018838ar

———. 2012. “Newfoundland Dance in the 1970s: Tradition and Innovation during Newfoundland’s Cultural Revolution.” In Renegade Bodies: Canadian Dance in the 1970s, ed. Allana Lindgren and Kaija Pepper. Dance Collection Danse Press/Presse.

———. 2015. “The Local, the Global and the Virtual: The Distance Feis in Step Dance in Newfoundland and Labrador.” Special issue on step dance in Canadian Folk Music / Musique folklorique canadienne 49(2/3), ed. Sparling, Heather, Sherry Johnson, and Kristin Harris Walsh.

———. 2015. “Irishness and Step Dancing in Newfoundland and Labrador.” In Global Movements: Dance, Place and Hybridity, ed. Adam Pine and Olaf Kuhlke, 23–38. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Harris Walsh’s research encompasses a variety of percussive dance styles found in Newfoundland, including set dancing, vernacular Newfoundland set dance, the Irish-Newfoundland style of step dance introduced by the Christian Brothers, and Irish step dance. Her articles address contexts of practice, issues of cultural identity, and the “Irishness” of the styles.

Hiscock, Philip. 2003. “Ten Things to Consider about ‘The Star of Logy Bay.’ ” Canadian Folk Music / Musique folklorique canadienne 37(2). (accessed 2 July 2018).

An analysis of the popular Newfoundland song, ‘The Star of Logy Bay,’ that weighs claims made by family members that it was originally composed by Newfoundland song-maker, Mark Walker (1846–1924).

Krajewski, Kathryn E. 2018. “Newfoundland and Irish Music: Synonymous or Similar?” Celebration of Learning. (accessed 3 July 2018).

An article that uses notated musical examples to explore the ‘Irishness’ of Newfoundland music. Newfoundland music, in reality, is a unique blend of Irish and English influences that has developed a ‘life of its own.’

McDonald, Terry. 2006. “Proud To Be an Islander: Newfoundland Identity as Revealed through Newfoundland Song.” Canadian Folk Music / Musique folklorique canadienne 40(2). (accessed 2 July 2018).

An examination of how Newfoundland’s song traditions reflect its unique identity and ambivalent relationship to the rest of Canada.

McNaughton, Janet. 1984. “Variation and Stability in Two Murder Ballads of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.” Canadian Journal for Traditional Music 12:3–19.

This article explores the conventions of murder ballads as sung in Newfoundland, drawing on two songs (“Carolan Anderson” and “McCanning’s Hanging”) collected by Eric West in 1978 in the area of Placentia Bay that is just north of the Cape Shore.

Motherway, Susan H. 2013. The Globalization of Irish Traditional Song Performance. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

In this monograph about the globalisation of Irish song traditions, a chapter-long case study of Irish songs in the Newfoundland explores historical connections and the adaptation of repertoire according to changing local conditions.

Moulden, John. 1986. “The Blooming Bright Star of Belle Isle: American Native or Irish Immigrant?” Canadian Folk Music Journal 14:2–9.

———. 2001. “The Blooming Bright Star of Belle Isle.” In Atlantic Crossroads: Historical connections between Scotland, Ulster and North America, ed. Patrick Fitzgerald and Steve Ickringill. Colourpoint Books.

Song scholar John Moulden’s initial article on the origins of “The Blooming Bright Star of Belle Isle” sparked considerable debate, primarily in the pages of The Telegraph (e.g., Gray 1988) and the Bob Dylan Critical Quarterly. Moulden provided a final response in his 2001 chapter in Atlantic Crossroads.

Narvaez, Peter. 1997. “ ‘She’s Gone Boys’: Vernacular Song Responses to the Atlantic Fisheries Crisis.” Canadian Journal for Traditional Music 24:1–13.

———. 2012. Sonny’s Dream: Essays on Newfoundland Folklore and Popular Culture. With an introduction by Neil V Rosenberg. St John’s, NL: Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Publication.

Folklorist and musician Peter Narvaez began his fieldwork in Newfoundland in 1974. Throughout his career he published on folkways, popular and traditional music in the province, and reactions within popular culture to social, economic, and political change. His posthumously published collection of 15 essays, written between 1977 and 2010, examines contrasting narratives of tradition in the music, folk, and popular culture of Newfoundland.

Neilands, Colin. 1992. “A Drop of the Irish: The Influence of Irish Folksong on Newfoundland’s Song Tradition.” Canadian Folklore canadien 14(2):45–72.

A comparative study of songs and ballads in Newfoundland communities that have also been sung in Ireland. The author draws on collected materials from Newfoundland, cross-referencing with his own unpublished catalogue of Irish broadside ballads to explore the possible Irish origins of Newfoundland repertories.

Nuthall, Deirdre (ed). 2009. “Ktaqamkuk, Across the Water, Thar Muir,” Special edition Irish Journal of Newfoundland and Labrador Research. Waterford, IE: Waterford Institute of Technology, Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies.

A Newfoundland and Labrador studies journal with an historical focus. Articles include: “A clash of ideologies: Fishermen/loggers in the logging industry” (Diane MM Coffey); “Rambling house the barrelman: Folklore and audience participation in radio broadcasting in Ireland and Newfoundland” (Ieuan Franklin); “Colonial-national identity and women's literature in late nineteenth-century Newfoundland” (Heather Gogacz O'Brien); “O’Donel’s mission: Catholics in Newfoundland in the eighteenth century” (John Mannion); “Examining the fiddle styles of western Newfoundland” (Bridget O'Connell); “Reconciling the past: identity, return and the Newfoundland woman migrant” (Louise Sheridan); “Multidisciplinary applications of tree-ring analysis in Newfoundland and Labrador” (Mariana Trindade and Colin Laroque).

O'Connell, Bridget. 2006. “Newfoundland and Irish Fiddle Styles: A Comparative Study.” In “Transcultural Perspectives on Canada / Perspectives transculturelles sur le Canada: Proceedings from the 15th European Seminar, Graz, 2006,” Canadian Studies in Europe 7:89–112.

———. 2011. “Canada/Newfoundland.” In Companion to Irish Traditional Music, 2nd ed., ed. Fintan Vallely, 105–6. Cork, IE: Cork University Press.

Bridget O’Connell’s research examines regional styles of Newfoundland fiddle playing.

Osborne, Evelyn. 2006. “Rufus Guinchard (1899–1990) and Emile Benoit (1913–1992): Two Newfoundland Fiddlers.” In Play it Like it Is: Traditional Fiddle and Dance Studies from the North Atlantic, ed. Ian Russell and Mary Anne Alburger, 87–93. Elphinstone Institute Occasional Papers 6. Aberdeen, Scotland: University of Aberdeen

———. 2008. “King William was King George’s Son: Adult Reflections on a Childhood Game in Princeton, Bonavista Bay.” Newfoundland Quarterly. 100(425).

———. 2015. “The Most Irish Place in the World? ‘Irishness’ in the Recorded Folk Music of Newfoundland and Labrador.” MUSICultures 42(2):79–102.

———. 2018. “Change and Stability in Irish-American-Newfoundland Fiddle Tunes.” In Ó Cos go Cluas, ed. Fintan Vallely and Liz Doherty. Aberdeen, Scotland: Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen.

Osborne’s research examines how traditional Newfoundland music, a style comprising English, Irish, Scottish, and French influences, as well as local compositions and media influences, has come to be perceived as inherently Irish.

Ó hAllmhuráin, Gearóid. 2008. “Soundscape of the Wintermen: Irish Traditional Music in Newfoundland Revisited.” The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 34(2):33–46.

This article provides an overview of the historical relationship between Newfoundland and Ireland, beginning with the fishermen and labourers who went out to Newfoundland from southeast Ireland during the 18th century. Ó hAllmhuráin provides a summary of the major published collections of songs, influential recordings—including those of the McNulty family and Ryan’s Fancy—and occasions for music and dancing.

Posen, Sheldon, and Michael Taft. 1973. “The Newfoundland Popular Music Project.” Canadian Folk Music Journal 1:17–23.

A report on a research project focusing on sources of Newfoundland popular music. Defined as commercially performed, recorded, or printed music available to the listening public in Newfoundland, the goals of the project were to compile a discography of Newfoundland recording artists (Taft 1975) and interview professional and semi-professional Newfoundland musicians.

Quigley, Colin. 1985. Close to the Floor: Folk Dance in Newfoundland. Monograph Series No. 3. St John’s, NL: Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore & Language Publications.

———. 1993. “Catching Rhymes: Generative Musical Processes in the Compositions of a French Newfoundland Fiddler.” Ethnomusicology 37(2):155–200.

———. 1995. Music from the Heart: Compositions of a Folk Fiddler. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

———. 2010. “Vernacular Sociality and Regional Iconicity in Step Dance.” Inbhear: Journal of Irish Music and Dance 1(1):97–108.

Ethnochoreologist and -musicologist Colin Quigley’s research addresses two topics that relate to Newfoundland music and dance. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, he explores the ways in which unique characteristics of the Newfoundland environment and culture have influenced a dance tradition that historically derives from the dances of Britain and Ireland.
He also writes on the music and life of Port-au-Port fiddler Emile Benoit (1913–1992), a preeminent musician from French Newfoundland. Music from the Heart (1995), for example, includes transcripts from interviews, notated versions of Benoit’s tunes, and analysis of Benoit’s music and influence.

Riordon, Michael. 2010. An Unauthorized Biography of the World: Oral History on the Front Lines. Toronto: Between the Lines.

Riordon’s chapter on Newfoundland includes descriptive accounts of conversations with singers, collectors, and other cultural mediators, including Anita Best, Pamela Morgan, Chris Brookes, Helen Woodrow, and Agnes Walsh. The account of Agnes Walsh includes excerpts from a play she wrote about Patsy and Bride Judge, two of the singers featured in “A Grand Time,” and a description of conversations with Mike McGrath, another singer from the Cape Shore.

Rogers, TB. 1982. “The Southern Cross: A Case Study in the Ballad as History.” Canadian Folk Music Journal 10:12–22.

A case study of the Newfoundland ballad, “The Southern Cross.” The song tells the story of a wooden-hulled steamer that participated in the seal hunt every spring between 1901 and 1914, before being caught in a storm and sinking with all hands. Rogers explores the degree to which the song text reflects the actual events.

Russell, Ian, and Anna Kearney Guigné (eds.). 2010. Crossing Over: Fiddle and Dance Studies from Around the North Atlantic 3. Aberdeen, Scotland: The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen.

Proceedings from 2008 North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCo), held at Memorial University in St John’s, NL. This volume brings together accounts of fiddle (and related traditions) from around the North Atlantic. The memorial note about the fiddling of Séamus Creagh (1946–2009) written by Matt Cranitch, and Evelyn Osborne’s chapter, titled “Crossing Over through the Recording Studio: The Island to Island: Traditional Music from Ireland and Newfoundland CD Project” (pp. 47–67), both address the musical relationship between Ireland and Newfoundland.

Russell, Ian, and Chris Goertzen (eds). 2012. Routes & Roots: Fiddle and Dance Studies from Around the North Atlantic 4. Aberdeen, Scotland: The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen.

Proceedings from the 2010 North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, held in Aberdeen, Scotland. This volume brings together accounts of fiddle (and related traditions, including dance) from around the North Atlantic. Samantha Breslin’s chapter on Irish tunes played in Newfoundland sessions focuses on how repertoire is localised by performers.

Smith, Christina. 2003. “Fiddling Around Newfoundland: Part One—Codroy Valley and Port-aux-Port.” Newfoundland Quarterly 96(1):21–23.

———. 2003. “Fiddling around Newfoundland: Part Two—Great Northern Peninsula and East Coast.” Newfoundland Quarterly 96(2):49–51.

Written by a Newfoundland cellist and fiddler, this two-part article identifies and describes four fiddle styles performed in Newfoundland.

Thomas, Gerald, and John David Allison Widdowson (eds). 1991. Studies in Newfoundland Folklore: Community in Process. St John’s, NL: Breakwater.

A collection of 16 essays on the folklore of Newfoundland. Chapters of particular relevance to song collecting and scholarship in Newfoundland include: “A Report on Continuing Research into ‘Treason Songs’: A Private Newfoundland Song Tradition” by Kenneth S Goldstein (pp. 126–53) and “MUNFLA: A Newfoundland Resource for the Study of Folk Music” by Neil V Rosenberg (pp. 154–65).

Trew, Johanne Devlin. 2013. “Traditional Music and Education Policy in Newfoundland.” In Crosbhealach an Cheoil / The Crossroads Conference 2003: Education and Traditional Music, ed. Fintan Vallely, Liz Doherty, Thérèse Smith, Paul McGettrick, Eithne Vallely, Desi Wilkinson, and Colette Moloney. Dublin: Whinestone.

A chapter on the status of traditional music in Newfoundland’s education policy points to historical connections between Newfoundland and Ireland, including initial migration but also more recent policy moves and efforts at cultural bridging. She observes that while Irish education policy creates a formalised space for the traditional arts, Newfoundland has not yet followed suit and explores the structural distinctions between these two contexts.

Webb, Jeff A. 2008. The Voice of Newfoundland: A Social History of the Broadcasting Corporation of Newfoundland, 1939–1949. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

———. 2008. “Repertoire and Reception: Radio and Music in St John’s, Newfoundland, 1930–45.” Journal of Canadian Studies 42(2):117–137.

Historian and radio scholar Jeff A Webb’s research addresses the influence of radio in Newfoundland. While his book, The Voice of Newfoundland, focuses more on the broadcast of news and interviews, he does include a chapter on music. His “Repertoire and Reception” article examines the influence of popular music on Newfoundland repertoire in the period immediately preceding the arrival of American troops and military bases in Newfoundland.

For wider ranging scholarship on Newfoundland and Labrador, consult:

Several journals and magazines regularly publish articles relating to the music, song, dance, and oral traditions of Newfoundland. These include:

Stories, Plays, and Other Literature

Elements of tradition often are reflected in the work of contemporary artists, writer, musicians, playwrights, and even publicists. This list is a sampling of some materials that offer responses and reflections on Newfoundland’s oral history and culture.

Anonymous. 1977. “Dr. Wilgus’ Lecture, or, How They Do It In Ireland.” Promotional Materials. St John’s, NL.

A broadside ballad, printed as promotional material for a lecture by song scholar DK Wilgus Memorial University of Newfoundland on 21 September 1977. Donated to ITMA by Aidan O’Hara.

———. N.d. “The Bard of Prescott Street, or, Who’s in the Cast?” Promotional Materials. St John’s, NL.

A broadside ballad, printed as promotional material for a performance by a mummers group and photography exhibition at an unspecified location in St John’s, NL. The musicians included John Burke, Ron Hynes, Bob Joy, AH Allen, Charles Hutton, and RA Browne. Donated to ITMA by Aidan O’Hara.

Davidge, Bud, and Ian Wallace. 1993. The Mummer’s Song. New York: Orchard Books.

A hand-illustrated picture book of singer Bud Davidge’s 1973 ‘The mummer’s song.’ The song describes a centuries old tradition of mummering that was in danger of dying out in Newfoundland. Since its initial release, the practice of mummering in Newfoundland has undergone a revival and is now celebrated in a St John’s based festival during December.

Doyle, Marjorie. 2005. Reels, Rock and Rosaries: Confession of a Newfoundland Musician. East Lawrencetown, NS: Pottersfield Press.

A memoir about a Newfoundland woman’s life in music, encompassing experiences as a convent girl in a choir, interests in American popular music, and Newfoundland’s traditional music.

McKenzie, Stephanie, and John Ennis. 2003. The Backyards of Heaven: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry from Ireland and Newfoundland & Labrador. Waterford: Waterford Institute of Technology, School of Humanities Publications, Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies.

An anthology of poetry by emerging poets from Newfoundland and Ireland. The poems are organised thematically, enabling continuities and distinctions in perspective to emerge from the overarching narrative of the anthology.

Sullivan, Joan. 2006. Newfoundland Portfolio: A History in Portraits, 88–90. St John’s, NL: Jesperson Publishing.

A book of biographies of Newfoundlanders who influenced the province’s politics, industries, and culture in a variety of ways, including one of the singers from “A Grand Time”: Bride Judge of Patrick’s Cove. Each portrait was originally published in the Toronto-based national newspaper, The Globe and Mail.

Tierney, Pat. 1988. Sheets to the Wind. With an introduction by Alan ‘O Cuirrín. Dublin: Tinker Press.

A collection of poems about Ireland and Newfoundland, dealing with themes of culture, nature, and justice.

Walsh, Agnes. 2011. Answer Me Home: Plays from Tramore Theatre. Newfoundland: Breakwater Books.

A collection of plays written for the Tramore Theatre, a community-based arts organization founded for the promotion of the Cape Shore’s oral history and cultural traditions.
Answer Me Home: Plays from Tramore Theatre
Get it at ITMA

Irish-language Resources

With a few notable exceptions, much of the Irish-language literature on the connections between Ireland and Newfoundland addresses Donnchadh Ruadh MacConmara (d. ca. 1814), an Irish priest and schoolmaster who visited Newfoundland in 1745. His poetry documents the early years of migration that brought Irish men and women out from southeast Ireland to settle in Newfoundland.

Doyle, Danny. 2015. Míle mile I gcéin: The Irish Language in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Borealis Press.

This academic study is an historical overview of the presence of the Irish language in Canada. Though widely spoken initially, after the Famine the Irish language went into decline among Irish immigrants and had largely died out in Canada by 1900. Illustrated with maps, colour images, song and poem texts, and statistics, this book provides a broad overview of the status of the language in Canada generally, with some reference to Newfoundland.

Ó Flannghaile, Tomás. N.d. Eachtra Ghiolla an Amarain and other poems by Red Donough MacNamara with life of Donnchadh Ruadh MacConmara. Baile Átha Cliath: Sealy, Bryers & Walker.

Ó Foghludha, Risteárd. 1908. Donnchadh Ruadh, Cct: Dioghluim ina Bhfuil Suim de Sna Duanogaibh is Fearr Dar Cheap Donnchadh Ruadh Mac Conmara (1715–1810). Ed. Fiachra Éilgeach. Baile Átha Cliath: MH Gill & Son.

———. 1933. Donnchadh Ruadh Mac Conmara 1715–1810. Ed. Fiachra Éilgeach. Baile Átha Cliath: Oifig an tSoláthair.

Ó Gríobhtháin, Nioclás. 2012. “Talamh an Éisc agus Labrador.” An Linn Bhuí 16:213–15.

Ó Laoire, Lillis. 2009. “’Is mé go déanach I mBaile Sheáin’: Donnchadh Rua Mac Conmara agus Talamh an Eisc.” Léann: Iris Chumann Léann na Litríóchta 2:105–28.

Ó Liatháin, Pádraig. 2011. “An Ghaeilge agus Talamh an Éisc: Taighde agus taithí phearsanta.” In An Ghaeilge i gCéin, ed. Siún Ní Dhuinn. Baile Átha Cliath: Leabhair COMHAR.

———. 2011. “Donnchadh Ruadh le Séamus Ó hAodha, drama.” An Linn Bhuí 15:59–77.

———. 2012. “Giolla an Amaráin le Gearóid Ó Sléibhín, drama cúig ghníomh.” An Linn Bhuí 16:13–28.

———. 2013. “Roinnt Tagairtí do Thalamh an Éisc i Litríocht na Gaeilge ón Ochtú agus ón Naoú Céad Déag.” EIGSE: A Journal of Irish Studies 38:94–103.

Unpublished Resources & ITMA Field Recordings

Theses, dissertations, academic studies, and presentations relating to the song, music, and oral traditions. Due to the difficulties of sourcing unpublished manuscripts or live presentations, this list emphasises field recordings from the ITMA Collection.

Bennett, Margaret. 2010 (7 July). ITMA field recordings of the Willie Clancy Summer School 2010. Talamh an Éisc: A Harvest of Newfoundland, Song and Music. Community Hall, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare. WAV file.

A presentation about Bennett’s fieldwork in the remote outports of southwest Newfoundland, focusing on Scottish-speaking communities and their traditions (audio only).

———. 2010 (7 July). ITMA field recordings of the Willie Clancy Summer School 2010. Talamh an Éisc: A Harvest of Newfoundland, Song and Music. Community Hall, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare. DVD.

A presentation about Bennett’s fieldwork in the remote outports of southwest Newfoundland, focusing on Scottish-speaking communities and their traditions (audio and video).

Dillon, Virginia M. 1968. “The Anglo-Irish Element in the Speech of the Southern Shore of Newfoundland.” MA thesis, University of Newfoundland, St John’s, NL.

An ethnographic study of the Irish influences on the speech patterns of Newfoundland’s Southern Shore, the cape to the east of the Cape Shore. This region was an enclave of Irish settlement in Newfoundland, resulting in the preservation of customs, culture, and speech patterns that demonstrate clear Irish origins.

Miller, Kelly Kathleen. 2004. “The Images of Atlantic Canada Found in Recent Roots/Traditional Music: What is it like ‘down there’?” MA thesis, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS.

A thesis that surveys 100 CD recordings of traditional music produced in Atlantic Canada between 1986 and 2002. The author discusses how recordings of traditional Scottish and Irish music from the region are used to construct the traditional culture of Atlantic Canada.

NAFCo. 2008. “Crossing Over: Newfoundland and Labrador 3–8 August 2008.” North Atlantic Fiddle Convention Conference Programme. St John’s, NL: Memorial University of Newfoundland.

A conference programme for a conference focusing on the music and oral traditions of the North Atlantic, with articles contributed by Liz Carroll and John Doyle, Matt Cranitch, Séamus Creagh, Alasdair Fraser, and Natalie Haas.

O’Connell, Bridget. 2012 (29 June). “The Role of the Musician in Community in a Newfoundland Outport.” ITMA field recordings of the North Atlantic fiddle convention (NAFCo) 2012 conference: Community context panel. University of Ulster, Derry. DVD.

A presentation examining the changing role of musicians in the outport communities of Newfoundland.

Osborne, Evelyn. 2003. “ ‘We Never Had a Bed Like That for a Violin! We Had a Bag!’ Exploring Fiddlers and Dance Music in Newfoundland: Red Cliff, Bonavista Bay and Bay de Verde, Conception Bay.” MA thesis, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON.

———. 2012 (27 June). “The McNulty Family: Singing, dancing and fiddling from Ireland to New York to Newfoundland.” ITMA field recordings of the North Atlantic fiddle convention (NAFCo) 2012 conference: The professional push panel. University of Ulster, Derry. DVD.

———. 2013. “The Most (Imagined) Irish Place in the World? The Interaction between Irish and Newfoundland Musicians, Electronic Mass Media, and the Construction of Musical Senses of Place.” PhD dissertation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, NL.

Osborne’s research explores Newfoundland fiddle styles and dance music, as well as more broadly addressing the mediation of a variety of Newfoundland musics as “Irish.” Her 2012 presentation at NAFCo, featured in an ITMA field recording, examines the role of the McNulty Family as agents of cultural exchange between Ireland, Newfoundland, and New York.

Preston, Virginia. 1977 (May). “ ‘The Old Ways are Goin’—They’re Goin’ Fast’: Some People of the Newfoundland Outports and their Songs.” BA thesis, Marlboro College, Vermont, USA.

A chapter from a longer thesis about the songs and people of outport Newfoundland. This chapter is a case study of Caroline Brennan of Ship Cove, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland—a woman whose songs and stories feature prominently in Aidan O’Hara’s collection. Indeed, Aidan O’Hara arranged the initial meeting between Preston and Brennan. The case study includes oral history, song transcriptions, images, and analysis.

Trew, Johanne. 2003 (26 April). ITMA field recordings of Crosbhealach an Cheoil, 2003 / Lectures from The Crossroads Conference: Education and Traditional Music. University of Ulster, Magee Campus, Derry. DAT recording.

A presentation on the status of traditional music in Newfoundland’s education policy. This presentation was later published as part of the conference proceedings, Crosbhealach an Cheoil (see Trew 2013).

Wells, Graham (ed). [2013]. “The Branch Heroes: A Booklet of 12 Songs from Branch, Newfoundland.” Collected by Aidan O’Hara; compiled and transcribed by Graham Wells. MA project, University of Limerick, Ireland.

A booklet including melody and lyric transcripts for 12 songs from the Aidan O’Hara Collection at ITMA. Songs include: “Aspell and Carter,” “Benecia Boy and Morrissey,” “The Blackwaterside,” “County Tyrone,” “Crockeryware,” “The Faithful Sailorboy,” “Old Leather Britches,” “The Scolding Wife,” “Paddy in New York,” “There’s Bound to be a Row,” and “Thomas Trim.” Also includes notes on the songs, singers, and collector.

Aidan O’Hara

Aidan O’Hara has played an important role in the preservation and transmission of Newfoundland song, music, dance, and culture over his lifetime. His publications, broadcasts, films, and presentations reflect this contribution. But he is a man of wide-ranging interests. 

Aidan spent his career as a broadcaster, making it difficult to list every radio programme in which he was involved. He’s also a regular contributor to several journals and magazines—including Teabhtha (the Co Longford Historical Society journal), The Donegal Annual (the Co Donegal Historical Society journal), The Knocklyon Historical Society Journal, and Irish Music Magazine—as a book reviewer and writer on historical subjects.


McCarthy, Dermod (dir.). 1980. Westward Ho from Waterford. Radharc documentary. Reported by Aidan O’Hara, edited by Brian Cash. First broadcast 14 December 1980. Dublin: RTÉ.

This 26 minute television documentary recounts the history of the many thousands of Irish who emigrated from the area within a 40 miles radius of Waterford, settling on the shores of Newfoundland during the 18th and 19th centuries.

———. 1980. In the Wake of St Brendan. Radharc documentary. Reported by Aidan O’Hara, edited by Brian Cash. First broadcast 21 December 1980. Dublin: RTÉ.

This 26 minute television documentary focuses on the religious tensions that marked social and political life in 19th century Newfoundland. The situation in Newfoundland paralleled that found in Ireland with an English Protestant elite, Irish Catholics who had a troubled relationship with British rule, enactment of Penal Laws, the presence of the Orange Order, and sectarian riots and murders. While sectarian tensions persisted in Ireland into the 20th and 21st centuries, they were largely resolved in Newfoundland in 1880 through a political device known as the Tripartite Arrangement.

———. 1981. The Forgotten Irish. Radharc documentary. Reported by Aidan O’Hara, recorded by Donal Wylde and Pat Hayes. Dublin: RTÉ.

This approximately 50 minute-long award-winning documentary features many of the same singers, musicians, and dancers as A Grand Time. Produced in partnership with Radharc Films, it was RTÉ’s 1981 entry into the Golden Harp Festival. Scenes from the documentary subsequently appeared in the MacNeil-Lehrer and BBC co-production, The Story of English (1986, episode 6).

O’Hara, Aidan. N.d. Field recording of a lecture “The Songs of Newfoundland.” Folk Music Society of Ireland. S.l. 60 minutes.

A field recording of a lecture given by Aidan O’Hara about the folk songs of Newfoundland, featuring recordings collected on the Cape Shore from John Joe English, Gerald Campbell, Patsy Judge, Mick Nash, and Denis McGrath.

———. 2000. “The Entire Island is United …’: The Attempted United Irish Rising in Newfoundland, 1800.” History Ireland 8(1):18–21.

This brief article addresses sectarian and cultural divides that existed in Newfoundland during the 19th century through an account of an attempted rebellion by the United Irish.

Ó hEadhra, Aodhán. 1998. Na Gaeil i dTalamh an Éisc. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim.

Aidan O’Hara’s award-winning book about the Irish in Newfoundland. It traces the history of migration and settlement of mainly southeast-Irish to Newfoundland during the pre-famine era, addressing issues of cultural retention and adaptation with particular emphasis on the persistence of Irish language words in Newfoundland dialect. The second part of the book focuses on the music and culture of the Cape Shore, drawing on the same source materials that are featured in ‘A Grand Time.’ Na Gaeil i dTalamh an Éisc won the Oireachtas ‘97 literary award for a work in prose, and was nominated for The Irish Times Literature Prize in 1999 for a work in the Irish language.
Na Gaeil i dTalamh an Éisc
Get it at ITMA

Radio Telefís Éireann. 1981. The Forgotten Irish / Les Irelandais Oublies. [Programme for the Golden Harp Festival]. [Dublin]: [RTÉ].

In 1981, the Radharc documentary, The Forgotten Irish, was RTÉ’s entry into the Golden Harp Festival, an international television festival. This booklet appears to have been created to accompany the entry. It provides details of production, the history of the featured songs, and a full transcript of the documentary.
The Forgotten Irish / Les Irelandais Oublies
Get it at ITMA

Other publications, broadcasts, and recordings

O’Hara, Aidan. 1997. I’ll Live ‘Til I Die: The Delia Murphy Story. Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim: Drumlin Publications.

While living in Ottawa, Canada, Aidan was serendipitously introduced to the Mayo songstress, Delia Murphy. Their encounter was the inspiration for this book. It featured on RTÉ’s Book on One in May 2005.

———. 2010. “Emigration from County Longford.” In Longford: History and Society, ed. Martin Morris and Fergus O’Ferrall. Dublin: Geography Publications.

Part of Geography Publications’ counties of Ireland series, each chapter is contributed by a specialist in history, geography, archaeology, folklore, literary history, and/or politics. Aidan O’Hara’s chapter addresses emigration from the county.

———. 2013. Atlantic Gaels: Links between Donegal and the Hebrides. Isle of Lewis, Scotland: The Island Book Trust.

This short booklet explores the linguistic, cultural, and historical connections between Donegal and the Hebrides. Text is supplemented with photos, maps, and detailed footnotes.

O’Hara, Aidan, and Natalie Dignam. 2018 (August 3). Living Heritage Podcast: CHRM Radio Station at Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland.

 This interview took place in the radio studios in St. John’s when Aidan visited the area to launch the ITMA digital exhibition and subsequently featured on the ITMA website.

O’Hara, Aidan, Joyce O’Hara, and Pat Kenny. 1972 (July 7). “RTÉ field recordings of Mo Cheol Thú.” RTE tape no E 2270. [S.l.]: RTÉ.

Recordings for a radio broadcast featuring Aidan and Joyce O’Hara singing and playing guitar.

O’Hara, Joyce (producer). 2005. Canaimís le chéile / Let’s sing together. Treasa Ní Cheannaigh (singer), Aidan O’Hara (speaker). Ashton Productions CD82–6. 1 compact disc. (Orig. pub. 1986)

———. 2005. An tamhránaí óg / The young singer. Treasa Ní Cheannaigh (singer), Aidan O’Hara (speaker). Ashton Productions CD82–3. 1 compact disc. (Orig. pub. 1984)

Two collections of songs in Irish for children.

Other Works Cited

While not specifically pertaining to the cultural connections between Newfoundland and Ireland or the oral traditions and songs of Newfoundland, the following sources were useful background references for the content of A Grand Time.

Clare County Library. 2015. Singers and Songs of County Clare from the Carroll Mackenzie Collection. (accessed 18 June 2018).

Ford, Robert (ed). 1904. Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland: With Many Old & Familiar Melodies. New and improved edition. Paisley, Scotland: Alexander Gardner.

McBride, Jimmy (ed). 1988. The Flower of Dunaff Hill And More Traditional Songs Sung In Inishowen. 2 Parts. Buncrana, IE: Crana Publishing Company.

Rosenbaum, Art. 2013. Folk Visions and Voices: Traditional Music and Song in North Georgia. Athens GA: University of Georgia Press.

Shields, Hugh (ed). 1981. Shamrock, Rose and Thistle: Folk Singing in North Derry. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.

Statistics Canada. 2017. Canada [Country] and Newfoundland and Labrador [Province](table). Census Profile. 2016 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-316-X2016001. Ottawa, ON. Released October 25, 2017. (accessed 31 October 2017).

Statistics Canada. 2017. Focus on Geography Series. 2016 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-404-X2016001. Ottawa, ON. Analytical products, 2016 Census. (29 April 2017).