New Edition of 'Companion to Irish Traditional Music' to be Published in 2023

A detail from the cover of the 2nd edition of the 'Companion to Irish Traditional Music' – 'Snapp Apple Night' by Daniel Maclise (Image © Bonhams, London)

New Edition of 'Companion to Irish Traditional Music' to be Published in 2023

3rd edition of encyclopaedia edited by Fintan Vallely will incorporate changes in the music over the past two decades.

It has been announced that a third edition of the Companion to Irish Traditional Music, edited by Fintan Vallely, will be published by Cork University Press in 2023.

The A–Z encyclopaedia, first published in 1999, was expanded from 478 pages to over 800 pages in a second edition in 2011. It had 1,800 topics and 4,000 articles by 200 writers, including many biographies of artists, sections on all aspects of the music from instruments and education to organisations and festivals, as well as entries on styles of performances, regions and counties, the diaspora, songs, dance, collectors, recordings and more.

Commenting on the new edition, Vallely says:

The twenty-three years since the book’s inception have been a period of great technological changes for the music scene, particularly in communications, and the eleven years since the much-developed second edition have also been marked by transformations, particularly by the on-line teaching-and-learning and performance which the 2020-22 covid crisis has created. The numerous new Irish citizens who have come from cultures world-wide is also a major new issue which demands reassessment of one-time certainties and the questioning of culturally-embedded assumptions. And, not least, the continuing outside-Ireland interest in the music, in both performance and learning, has created a new cultural Diaspora which presents fresh challenges.

‘Thus the third edition,’ he writes, ‘will not only be a thorough update, but will include new topics which involve and are of interest to all who play and listen to the music.’ This includes the economics of teaching and learning, the history of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann competitions, the development of awards, books listings, and developments in broadcasting.

Gender in traditional music, too, will be explored in more detail. He adds:

Ever since the first edition, gender has been dealt with as an important issue in opportunity, visibility and commendation, a subject which was expanded in 2011. Its coming dramatically to the fore in 2020 is responded to with deeper exploration, and key commentators will contribute both historical findings and sociological thinking.

The new edition will also be combined with the double album Compánach and the Turas, Virtual Ireland in Music DVD, which grew out of the 2011 volume.

For further information, visit To contact the editor with questions, comments and suggestions for the third edition, visit

Published on 14 June 2022

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