Welcome to PAL – the Pathways to Learning programme which supports greater access to library and archives collections and services throughout the island of Ireland.

There are currently three PAL resource-sharing schemes, Cork PALMusic PAL and Midlands PAL which make access easier to libraries and archives throughout the island of Ireland.

Read the latest news on PAL below or click here for further information on this initiative.

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John Philip Holland (1840-1914) was an Irish engineer who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy. He also designed vessels for the British, Dutch and Japanese governments.

He was born in Liscannor, Co. Clare and was a Christian Brother between 1858 and 1873.

A unique collection of John Philip Holland’s papers and other archive material has been donated to Cork Institute of Technology and is housed in the library of the National Maritime College of Ireland in Ringaskiddy. The Edward M Graf collection details how Christian Brother John Phillip made his first drawings of his submarine while a teacher at Cork’s North Monastery secondary school. It also details how he carried out the first submerged experiments with scale models and explosives in the school’s ornamental pond in 1858 and later in the Lee. The wooden models were built by the North Mon’s renowned science teacher, Br Burke.

The collection which was presented to the National Maritime College comprises over 5,000 photographs, sketches, plans and specifications. It also includes copies of letters from the American, British and Japanese governments outlining to Holland their requirements.

CIT is pleased to announce that the indexes to this collection can be viewed at the National Maritime College Library, Ringaskiddy, Co.Cork

It can also now be viewed online by clicking here.

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The Contemporary Music Centre and the Association of Irish Choirs are seeking information about studies (theses/articles/papers) concerning Choral Music written by composers born or based in Ireland in the last 100 years.

We aim to develop a comprehensive collection of work done in this area, and we are particularly hoping to find out about theses that may not as yet be registered on the SMI Theses Register or housed in the CMC Library.

Please contact Caitríona Honohan, CMC Library Co-ordinator at chonohan@cmc.ie with any information.

Cork PAL is gearing up for its annual training day, with a Seminar in the Centre for Nurse Education of the Mercy University Hospital.

The event will be held on September 2nd, 2013.

This will be the fourth such training day for the programme.

The working title for the Seminar is:

The Digital Landscape: The Library Perspective

There will be speakers from UCC (Dr. Cronan O Doibhlin and Dr. Orla Murphy) and WIT (Terry O’Brien) on subjects such as The Digital Landscape; eBooks – Their Impacts on Libraries; and Engaging Digital Opportunities.

Joe Murphly from the Mercy University Hospital will give a tour of the library, and there will be the usual Cork PAL updates and an open floor discussion.

Click here for full agenda.

For any queries about the Seminar, contact Valerie King, UCC (v.king@ucc.ie) or Tadhg Coakley, CIT (tadhg.coakley@cit.ie)

Midlands PAL was officially launched on Friday 7th June at 2pm in the Aidan Heavey Public Library, Athlone by Mr. Phil Hogan TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.

Midlands PAL is the latest PAL scheme to be set up, in addition to Cork PAL and Music PAL. Midlands PAL aims to create a seamless route to information resources for the public by opening up access to a wide range of midland libraries: public, academic and HSE. These libraries have all been made easily accessible through the scheme. The current participants in Midlands PAL are Athlone Institute of Technology; HSE Midlands Libraries; Laois County Libraries; Longford County Libraries; Offaly County Libraries; Roscommon County Libraries; and Westmeath County Libraries.

Welcome Midlands PAL!

An afternoon and evening of celebrations for the composer of the once-popular opera Maritana – William Vincent Wallace, born in Waterford in 1812 – takes place at the National Concert Hall on Monday 15 October.

It is now scarcely remembered that Wallace was also a virtuoso on both the violin and piano or that he was a great adventurer, travelling the world and visiting places that no other Irish musician had set foot in. The day-long celebration presents a rare opportunity to discover more about this extraordinary Irish musical figure, so come along to the lunchtime recital and afternoon lectures to hear the experts on Wallace and experience his music, some of which has never been performed in Ireland before.

The evening Gala concert launches the new facsimile edition plus CD of the sumptuously-embellished music album published in New York in 1854, now in the collection at the National Library of Ireland.

Full details here

This month marks the 400th anniversary of the first Bachelor of Music degree awarded by the University of Dublin, in October 1612. The recipient of this degree is not recorded, but circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that it was Thomas Bateson (d. 1630), organist and vicar choral at Christ Church Cathedral since 1609.

Music was not taught in the College at this time, so Dublin University is likely to have followed the practice already established at Cambridge and Oxford of awarding the degree to a distinguished musician of proven ability, perhaps on submission and performance of a suitable composition.

To celebrate this anniversary, two music publications from the period are currently on display in the foyer of the Berkeley Library, TCD. The first is ‘A plaine and easie introduction to practicall musicke’ by Thomas Morley (London, 1608). This was the first book on music theory to be published in the English language, and was amongst the earliest books purchased for the Library in the first decade of the 17th century.

Also on display is John Dowland’s ‘First booke of songes or ayres’ (London, 1603), which has particular significance because of its innovative ‘table-book’ format which allowed the singers to read from a single copy while seated around a table. Five editions of this collection appeared between 1597 and 1613, making it the most successful musical publication of its time.

More information



The Cork PAL Training Workshop, 2012 was held at CIT’s NMCI (National Maritime College of Ireland) in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork

Date: Monday Sept. 3rd 2012

Focus: shared services.

Working Title:  “THE WIND IN OUR SAILS” Shared services – How technology can help us? From clutter to clouds!

Programme: click here to download

Summary: This, the 3rd annual Cork PAL training workshop, was great success with a large attendance, some very interesting presentations on cloud computing and federated searching, several updates on Pathways to Learning (Cork and Midlands) as well as very useful workshops on a range of relevant topics. Attendees also were given a very nice tour of the College and its facilities.

Click on the following pictures of the event below to see high resolution images:


Tim Horgan, CIT, speaking on Cloud Computing

In honour of Katie Taylor and the day that’s in it, the Irish Traditional Music Archive has unearthed a great Irish traditional song about female boxers The female prize-fight

Sharing the same air and structure as Morrissey and the Russian sailor, it’s a round by round account of the fight between the Ireland’s Jane Murphy and a German fighter. The song was unearthed by Dublin singer Barry Gleeson for his 2005 CD I heard a bird sing at dawn. He is accompanied on the recording by Grace Toland, ITMA’s Music PAL Co-Ordinator.

A worldcat search revealed an 1860 ballad sheet printed in Dublin by Brereton held in Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen called A new song on the American Female Prize fight and glorious victory over the Germans. It can also be found in The Mercier book of old Irish street ballads. Volume III. The people at play / edited with music by James N. Healy, published in Cork, 1969.



25th Anniversary of Founding of the Irish Traditional Music Archive

ITMA Online Catalogue Reaches 750,000+ Content Items

The Irish Traditional Music Archive / Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann was founded 25 years ago, on 29 July 1987, at a meeting in the Arts Council in Dublin.

Since that time it has grown from a concept without holdings, staff or premises to become the largest collection in existence of the materials of Irish traditional music – sound recordings, books, sheet music, ballad sheets, serials, theses, videos, photographs, manuscripts, programmes, posters, flyers, born-digital material, interactive digital music files, etc. – all of which is freely available for open reference access by the general public. The Archive is operated by a permanent staff of 10 and a number of contract and voluntary staff, and its operations are overseen by a voluntary rotating Board of 12. The collection has been built up by an extensive programme of field-collection, copying and digitisation, and by purchase and donation. It is housed in a Georgian heritage building at 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, which has been restored for the Archive by the Office of Public Works.

The Archive also now holds the largest collection of information on Irish traditional music, digitally classified, catalogued and indexed on computer databases, and this also is fully accessible in the Archive’s premises. For the past five years this information has also increasingly been made available world-wide on the Internet through the ITMA Online Catalogue, and a huge anniversary tranche of catalogue information has been added to it today.

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