RTÉ Publishes Archive Recordings of Irish Music from the 1930s to the 70s
RTÉ has today (23 May) published thousands of radio recordings from the 1930s to 1970s including many performances by, and interviews with, well-known musicians.
The recordings are taken from acetate discs, the earliest sound recording format held by RTÉ, which were used in the production, recording and broadcast of programmes for Radio Éireann. Over the last three years, RTÉ Archives has been creating digital files from thousands of fragile acetate discs.
The online archive now contains a treasure trove of musical items. Among the recordings are:
- An early recording of Séamus Ennis when he was 21
- A wide range of interviews with musicians carried out by Ennis around the country for radio programmes in the late 40s
- A number of performances by the Donegal fiddle player Mickey Doherty
- An interview with Ennis from 1966
- An interview with the collector Breandán Breathnach about his work on Ceol Rince na hÉireann and his magazine Ceol
- A range of recordings by fiddle player Pádraig O’Keeffe
- Early recordings from the Cork Choral Festival
- A recording of Michele Esposito’s Irish Symphony from 1961
- A wide range of recordings by pianist and composer Rhoda Coghill
- An interview with folk singer Bill Meek from 1967
- Recordings by the Donegal singer Cití Ní Ghallachóir
- An interview with composer John F. Larchet
- A number of performances by singer Delia Murphy
- Recordings from the Oireachtas na Gaeilge festival in the 1940s, 50s and 60s
- A number of talks by Dónal O’Sullivan on Carolan, Irish harpers and Irish music collectors
The collection also includes recordings of major cultural and political figures such as Maud Gonne and Douglas Hyde.
The specialist digitisation and cataloguing work was supported by Comisiúin na Meán and carried out by RTÉ’s archive specialists in partnership with the Irish Traditional Music Archive.
Commenting on the publishing of the collection, Bríd Dooley, Head of RTÉ Archives, said:
We are delighted to open up this hugely evocative collection from the earliest decades of broadcast recording technology. It will take audiences back to the mores, sounds and voices from 1937 onwards as the new Irish State was emerging, many decades before television itself came along. It provides a unique insight our audiences can now enjoy and will be a source of important discovery for researchers, programme makers, historians and educators alike.
To view the entire collection, visit https://www.rte.ie/archives/collections/acetate-disc-collection/
Subscribe to our newsletter.
Published on 23 May 2023