Béal Beo

Recordings from the National Folklore Collection

Projects from Béal Beo

Early sound recordings are a valuable resource for the study of Irish and Irish-English, offering clues to historical changes in the dialects of both languages. They are also a significant source material for historians of social and cultural history. The Béal Beo site will be enlarged as other collections of early acetate, magnetic tape and other audio formats are digitized. A number of digitization projects are presently underway in the NFC, including:

  • The James Delaney Project
  • Gaidhlig na hAlban/Scottish Gaelic Project
  • The Mickey Doherty Project
  • The Tom Munnelly Song Collection
  • The Urban Folklore Project

Early Irish Voices

Approximately one-third of the wax cylinders in the NFC were recorded by full-time collectors of the Irish Folklore Commission (1935-1971); the balance consists of donations to the Commission, the earliest of these being the Feis Ceoil recordings made in Dublin and Belfast, dating back to 1897, in addition to rare Irish-language recordings made by eminent collectors such as Luke Donnellan in south Armagh (1878-1952), Lorcan Ó Muireadhaigh in Omeath, county Louth (1883-1941), and Piaras de Hindeberg in Waterford (1912-1982).

You can listen to the recordings below.

The Cylinder Project

Early Irish Voices

The audio archive of the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, houses some 1,100 wax cylinder recordings of folk narratives, folk song and folk music. The earliest of these date from the 1890s on the occasion of the first national Feis Ceoil competitions, which were held in Dublin and Belfast. This unique collection spans almost sixty years of folklore recording up to the mid 20th century. A selection is now available on Béal Beo on a searchable interface.

Click here to find out more