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John J. Burns Library Events: Nótaí/Notes

Notai/Notes: Music & Ireland

Piano Accordion Girl, Lorcan VallelyNótaí/Notes: Music and Ireland
Research Symposium
Saturday, 23 September 2017
Gasson Hall, Boston College

Boston College and NUI Galway are delighted to announce the forthcoming research symposium Nótaí/Notes: Music and Ireland, which will take place on Saturday, 23 September 2017 in Boston College’s Gasson Hall. This full-day symposium will gather together international scholars from a variety of academic disciplines. The symposium theme is tied to a 2019 special issue of Éire-Ireland: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Irish Studies. Keynote speakers will include Dr Helen O’Shea (University of Melbourne) and Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin (National University of Ireland, Galway).

Symposium participants will also have an opportunity to acquaint themselves with Boston College’s extensive Irish Music Archives at the opening reception Friday, 22 September, 5:30PM at the Burns Library. Irish Music Librarian Elizabeth Sweeney, onsite coordinator for the symposium, will display featured items and be available for questions from 6:45pm to 7:30pm in the Burns Library Reading Room.


Please register below by Monday, September 4.
The symposium will be free and open to all interested parties.

Questions? Email


This event is cosponsored by Comhrá Ceoil, Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, together with the Boston College Libraries and Boston College Center for Irish Programs, with additional funding provided by the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme. 

Image: Piano Accordion Girl by Lorcan Vallely 

Boston College Logo     Irish Research Council Logo      NUI Galway Logo



Friday, September 22 -- Evening Reception

5:30 pm Reception / refreshments
6:15 pm Harp demonstration: “Key Changes: John Egan and the Revival of Ireland’s Harp” by harp historian Nancy Hurrell.
The John J. Burns Library owns two rare Portable Irish Harps by Dublin’s leading nineteenth-century harp maker, John Egan (fl. 1797-1829). Egan’s iconic shamrock-adorned harp was a nationalistic product in post-Union Ireland, and at a time when harp playing was dying out, the newly-invented chromatic model enabled a new harping tradition to continue in Ireland. Hurrell will play a two-hundred year old Egan harp from her own collection.  
6:45-7:30pm Conversation and an opportunity to view staff selections from the Irish Music Archives of the John J. Burns Library. Hosted by Elizabeth Sweeney, Irish Music Librarian, and other Burns Library staff.
8:00 pm  Reception ends

Saturday, September 23 -- Full Day Symposium

8:45am Tea/Coffee
9:00am Fáilte (Welcome)

Panel A 
Chair: Méabh Ní Fhuartháin

Thomas O’Grady
Ars Poetica: A Cultural History of Patrick Kavanagh’s “On Raglan Road”

Adam Kaul
Pedestrian Performances: Irishness, Cosmopolitanism, and Busking in Ireland

Verena Commins
Bronzing the Tradition: Commemoration and the Willie Clancy Summer School

10:45am Tea/Coffee

Keynote 1
Chair: Sally K. Sommers Smith Wells

Helen O’Shea
Listening to Irish Music from the Outside: Jos Koning’s Study of East Clare Music


Lunch hour
Acknowledgements from NUI, BC Irish Programs/Studies, BC Burns Library. Lunch is included with free registration.


Panel B
Chair: Verena Commins

Dan Neely
On the Importance of Shaun O'Nolan, the Wicklow Piper of Boston

Aileen Dillane
Irish Music, Material Culture, & the Curatorial Impulse: A Chicago Case Study

Michael Nicholsen
From the Neals to O’Neill’s: Major Published Collections and the Invention of Traditional Music, 1724-1907

3:00pm Tea/Coffee

Keynote 2
Chair: James M. Smith

Méabh Ní Fhuartháin
Dance Halls, Parish Halls and Marquees: Regulating and Sharing Spaces for Music and Dance Practice in Early Twentieth Century Ireland

4:45 - 5:00pm

Performance of Irish traditional fiddle music by Sheila Falls Keohane