Recent Releases 
Recorded Music from Co. Clare including Tommy Peoples, Garry Shannon, Conor McCarthy, The Madden Brothers, Joe Ryan, Gerdie Commane, Vincent Griffin and Mary McNamara
The Archive has just published A book of original tunes by Paddy O' Donoghue entitled "Ceol an Chláir". Click here for more about this noted traditional musician  in pictures, Words and a sound clip.

"Ceol an Chláir" is available from: Cois na hAbhna Archive

Traditional Music
Notes by Seamus MacMathuna
General Description Major Collections Facilities in the Archive
Cairde na Ceardlainne
Friends of the Archive
Tommy Peoples has released a new CD of his music. Information is available from his web site
Irish Traditional Music, Song, Dance and Folklore

Description of the Archive
The Regional Archive is a resource centre and a library of Irish traditional music, song, dance and folklore relating mainly to County Clare. Located at Cois na hAbhna, Galway Road, Ennis, the heartland of Irish traditional music and Clare's headquarters of Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Eireann, the Archive will serve as a focus of research in the local styles of the Munster area. While the Archive is a comparatively new venture, it already contains a large collection of material. This material exists in the following forms:
Major Collections
Four main collections form the majority of the Archive's holdings.
  1. The Culturlann Archive Collection. This consists of recordings made by Seamus McMathuna, Timire Cheoil C.C.E., covering a period from the late 1950s to the 1970s.
  2. The Vaughan Collection. Private recordings made by joe Vaughan from Miltown Malbay during the 1960s.
  3. The McNamara Collection. Recording made by Martin McNamara from Scariff in the 1960s and 1970s.
  4. Recent Field Recordings. Volunteers and participants in the  "Meet the Musician Project" have been gathering additional material since 1991.

Facilities in the Archive
Two fully equipped audio-visual stations provide the public with the most up-to-date means of extracting and researching material. A computer index and cataloguing programme are presently under way which will further enhance the service provided. The Archive policy is to make the collection as accessible as possible to the public, consistent with needs to insure the preservation of the material. None of the material in the collection is available for loan. A small research fee may apply and services such as photocopying will be at a minimal rate.

Irish Traditional Music
Irish traditional music comes in two forms, vocal and instrumental. The latter is mostly dance music -- reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, set dances, mazurkas -- the remainder being marches, slow airs (usually song tunes) and planxties (harpers' pieces which have survived from the 17th or 18th centuries). These tunes have various origins, but it is possible to state generally that they were mostly composed in the 18th and 19th centuries, that they were passed down aurally through generations of-music makers and that practitioners of the art of traditional music share a common approach and set of techniques in their interpretation of this music. Within this common approach there are standards -- accepted by performers and enlightened listeners -- by which one judges a musician's ability to interpret, rework and refurbish the old tunes, through the use of various forms of ornamentation and of melodic and rhythmic variation. These variations and ornamentations are generally minor ones, involving just a few notes in a particular phrase of a tune, yet when executed with skill and subtlety they can show a considerable level of imagination and even creativity. One is more likely to find this kind of music where music is played for listening, rather than where the dance tunes are "belted out" for the set, but even in the latter case the musician will usually try to give the tunes that little bit extra in rhythm (called "lift" or "swing" in traditional music) which will add extra zest to the dancing.

Seamus MacMathuna
Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Eireann

Contact the Archive by Email at

For other sites related to the archive see the Clare CCE home page
or the CCE home page in Ireland.

This web site has been developed behalf of CARTLANN RÉGIÚNDA by Jim Vint as a volunteer service to the Archive. It is based on published materials produced by Frank Whelan of the Archive.
This page was first posted on November 5, 1997 and last updated on 18 September  2000