Tom Munnelly at the Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Clare, 1980

Tom Munnelly at the Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Clare, 1980

Traditional-song collector Tom Munnelly (second, left) with Clare traditional singers Tom Lenihan, Miltown Malbay; Kate Droney, Ballyvaughan; Martin Reidy, Connolly; and Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan, Inagh, at the Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown...

Traditional-song collector Tom Munnelly (second, left) with Clare traditional singers Tom Lenihan, Miltown Malbay; Kate Droney, Ballyvaughan; Martin Reidy, Connolly; and Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan, Inagh, at the Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, 11 July 1980.

Tom Munnelly (b. Dublin, 1944) has made the largest field-collection of Irish traditional song ever compiled by any individual. Since recording privately in the 1960s, collecting especially from Traveller singers, he has been a professional folklore collector with the Department of Irish Folklore, University College Dublin, from 1974 to date, with a concentration on English-language song. He has recorded, indexed and transcribed over 20,000 songs (and a mass of other folklore) during decades when older traditional culture has been fast disappearing. His extensive list of print and audio publications includes The Mount Callan Garland: Songs from the Repertoire of Tom Lenihan. He has lectured and taught widely, been an activist in many folkmusic organisations and festivals, and served on national bodies such as the Arts Council. Recently he has been presented with the festschrift Dear Far-Voiced Veteran: Essays in Honour of Tom Munnelly and has been made an honorary Doctor of Literature by the National University of Ireland at Galway.

Photo © Liam McNulty. Courtesy Irish Traditional Music Archive

Published on 1 July 2007

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