Deidre Ni Chonghail

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile

- This content was streamed on Tuesday 12 May -

Mapping Song Through Time and Space: Rev. Daniel J. Murphy collects sean-nós song in Pennsylvania, 1884-1935. 

Musician, broadcaster, and writer Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile shares the story of sean-nós song among the Irish diaspora as documented in the Rev. Murphy Collection from Sligo to Pennsylvania.

Many Irish traditional musicians enjoy accessing historical sources to inform and enrich their contemporary practice. But what archives remain unknown to us? And how can we improve their discoverability and accessibility? Considering these questions, this presentation shares the story of Rev. Daniel J. Murphy from Sligo and J.J. Lyons from Galway, who transcribed over 1,200 sean-nós songs from Irish-speakers in Pennsylvania from 1884 to the 1920s. Preserving the pre-Famine memory of Ireland in a diasporic setting, this extraordinary collection of manuscripts reveals a unique opportunity to map song through time and space and so highlight its currency, mobility, and enduring power.

A musician, broadcaster, and writer from the Aran Islands, Deirdre Ní Chonghaile (MA Oxon, PhD) is the co-ordinator of the on-going community-based project Amhráin Árann – Aran Songs. She was previously NUI Postdoctoral Fellow in Irish/Celtic Studies and Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at NUI Galway, Alan Lomax Fellow in Folklife Studies at the Library of Congress and NEH Keough Fellow at the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include the untold story of the cultural lives of Irish-speaking immigrants in nineteenth- and twentieth-century North America; and the potential of digital humanities to enable creative access to the rich archive of Irish music and folkloric material that survives on both sides of the Atlantic. Her monograph on music-collecting in Ireland will be published in 2020. As a consultant, she has served Harvard University, the Library of Congress, English National Opera, Druid Theatre Company, and the Irish-American Climate Project among others.


Back to: Institute of Irish Studies