‘Because it's our own’: Breandán Breathnach 1912-85

‘Because it's our own’: Breandán Breathnach 1912-85

Uilleann piper, writer, publisher, organiser, and one of the great music collectors, Breandán Breathnach’s name is known throughout the world of Irish traditional music for his five volumes of Ceol Rince na hÉireann as well as for his wide range of projects and publications. Nicholas Carolan, Director of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, recalls the life and work of this seminal figure who died in 1985.

I was influenced by Breandán Breathnach long before I ever met him. When I was a schoolboy – at secondary school in Drogheda in the 1960s – on a rare visit to Dublin I picked up in Walton’s music shop in North Frederick Street a little A5 magazine entitled Ceol. A Journal of Irish Music. This introduced me to the immediately fascinating world of Irish music scholarship. I was already entranced by the sounds and sights and the personalities of Irish traditional music, but Ceol revealed ways of thinking about traditional music, and studying it, and presenting it, that were absolutely new to me, but which struck a deep chord with, I suppose, my own nature.

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Published on 1 May 2005

Nicholas Carolan is Director of the Irish Traditional Music Archive. 

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