The Comhaltas Traditional Music Archive

The Comhaltas Traditional Music Archive comprises the recordings, documents and images collected by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann during our 50 years of promoting Irish music and culture.

Our Archive is housed and curated within a network of Regional Resource Centres, with local specialists on hand to catalogue the unique music of each area. If you would like to work with the Archive in its entirety, you are very welcome to visit any of the Centres and sign up for your account. Read more about the history and holdings of the Comhaltas Archive.


Cois na hAbhna Archive Tobar Ceolta Tíre Éireann

The Cois na hAbhna Regional Archive is a resource centre and a library of Irish traditional music, song, dance, and folklore relating to the Meitheal region of Galway,Clare, Limerick and Kerry. The Archive serves 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:

  • Sound Recordings: records, 78s, LPs, EPs, Reel to Reel tapes, Audio Cassettes and CDs.
  • Printed Material: ballad sheets, sheet music, instrument tutors, song books, dance studies, music studies, histories, periodicals, programmes, catalogues, magazines, leaflets, posters and newspaper clippings.
  • Visual: paintings, prints, photographs, video cassettes and DVDs. We also have a collection of old instruments and other interesting artefacts.

Major Collections

These collections form the majority of the Archive’s holdings:

  • The Culturlann Archive Collection. This consists of audio recordings made and collected by Seamus McMathuna, Timire Cheoil C.C.E., covering a period from the late 1950s to the 1970s.
  • The Vaughan Collection. Private audio recordings made by Joe Vaughan from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare during the 1960s.
  • The McNamara Collection. Recording made by Martin McNamara from Scariff, Co. Clare in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • The Hassett Collection. Recording made by John Joe Hassett from O’Callaghans Mills, Co. Clare in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • The Frawley Collection. Recording made by Jimmy Frawley from Lough, Doolin, Co. Clare in the 1960s.
  • The Murphy Collection. Recording made by Jack Murphy from Tulla in the 1960s.
  • Meet the Musician Schools Project 1999 & 2000. A school based project involving the collection of music, song and Irish social history . This innovative venture was devised by Cois na hAbhna Traditional Music Archive in conjunction with the Clare Education Centre. It entailed the presentation of a project on the life and music/songs of a chosen musician or singer. “Meet the Musician” encouraged participants to undertake a study on a traditional musician or singer in their locality and to present collected data in project form. Each project contained two main elements – an audio-visual element and a written element. Interviews were recorded on Audio Tape & video. Then a mini life story or biography of the performer was presented in written format.
  • Field Recordings. Volunteers have been gathering additional material around Co. Clare since 1991.Our recording programme is now extended to the Counties of Galway, Limerick and Kerry.

Facilities in the Archive

Fully equipped audio-visual stations provide the public with the most up-to-date means of researching material. A computer index and cataloguing programme are presently under way which will further enhance the service provided. There is also a sound recording room to be fully equipped with recording devices. 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.

The archive has also produced a number of publications, CDs and DVDs:

  • Ceol an Chláir - a book of tunes by noted composer Paddy O’Donoghue, Ballycunneen, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare.
  • Come to An Irish Dance Party - CD by The Laichtín Naofa Céilí Band from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare. A re-issue of the historic recording of 1959
  • John Joe Casey - CD- a recording of the great concertina & fiddle player from Clarecastle, Co. Clare
  • The Fleadh Down in Ennis 1956 - a DVD commemorating that famous event
  • On Malbay’s Shore - CD- Songs and music of Michael Mahony from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare
  • Keepers Of Tradition - Concertina players of Co. Clare.This is a rare recording of 28 different styles of concertina playing from around Co. Clare.
  • Last Night As I Lay Dreaming - Documentary DVD and accompanying CD of the renowned traditional singer Robbie McMahon.

Also available are several other Comhaltas titles including the Clare Prizewinners at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann  DVDs, ‘The Rambles of Kitty’ CD, Foinn Seisiún book and CD Vol.1,2,3&4,(Brian Prior and Cois na hAbhna Archive) and numerous Comhaltas tour CDs.

To purchase any of the above titles, please contact Cois na hAbhna at 065 6724276 or by email