Music PAL

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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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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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Roy Stanley, Music Librarian at Trinity College Dublin and Music PAL Chair, provides an overview of the music library services in Ireland in his article, Concerted efforts: optimising music collections and services in Irish libraries.   Roy considers the music collections available across the various sectors and  includes a description of the Music PAL scheme, “which focuses directly on library users by facilitating access to the combined assets of all particpating libraries”.

The article is in the the latest issue of An Leabharlann: The Irish Library, published by The Library Association of Ireland and The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Ireland).


The Irish Traditional Music Archive have revised and redesigned their website. The new site has greatly enhanced access and search capabilities, including its Digital Library which offers access to a wide range of digitised sound recordings and visual and printed items from its collections, all available for free online access.

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As part of Bord Gáis’ READISCOVER Your Local Library Malahide Library will host An Introduction to the World of Opera by the Opera Theatre Company on Thursday March the 23rd @7pm. Please register your interest at the desk as places are limited. Read the rest of this entry »


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