New Book: What Ireland Can Teach the World About Music by Toner Quinn


What Ireland Can Teach the World About Music – and other essays

A new book by Toner Quinn providing a unique insight into Irish music in the twenty-first century


‘a richly textured, all-embracing compendium … a formidable collection… Collecting so many well-argued pieces in one place underscores the heft of Quinn’s writing.’ – The Irish Times

About the book
What Ireland Can Teach the World About Music, a new book by Toner Quinn, founder and editor of the award-winning Journal of Music, is now available.

What can folk music tell us about our society? How do we create a deeper public discussion around music? How do we support music in our villages, towns and cities? And what can Ireland teach the world about music? For over two decades, Quinn has been writing about these questions and more in the multi-faceted world of Irish music. In this book, he gathers a selection of his essays and articles.

From Martin Hayes to Jennifer Walshe, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin to Sinéad O’Connor, and from the impact of the economic crash to the fallout from the pandemic, this collection provides a unique insight into Irish music in the twenty-first century.

Rich in ideas, What Ireland Can Teach the World About Music explores what makes this culture unique, and the challenges it faces into the future. What Ireland Can Teach the World About Music is available to purchase now.


About the author
Toner Quinn is a musician, writer, editor, publisher and lecturer. Born in Galway in 1974 and raised in An Cheathrú Rua in Conamara and Bray, Co. Wicklow, he began learning traditional Irish fiddle at the age of 11 and subsequently studied music in Waterford and publishing at the University of Stirling in Scotland. In 2000, he founded the Journal of Music, the Irish music publication that won the 2010 Utne Independent Press Award for arts coverage.

As well as editing the Journal of Music, Quinn is highly regarded as a writer on music and has made a significant contribution to public discussion on Irish music over the past two decades. He was also Project Officer for the Special Committee on the Traditional Arts, which, produced the report Towards a Policy for the Traditional Arts in 2004, and, in 2014, he was commissioned by the Arts Council to research the Irish harp, which led to the publication Report on the Harping Tradition in Ireland

In 2013, Quinn released a fiddle duet album with Malachy Bourke, Live at the Steeple Sessions, which was selected by the Irish Times as one of the traditional music albums of the year. He is also the editor of Desmond Fennell – his life and work, a collection of essays on the late Irish writer. 

Since 2008, Quinn has been a part-time lecturer in publishing at the University of Galway. 

Publications details
Published by The Journal of Music
Date of publication: 1 February 2024
ISBN: 978-1-7395774-0-7
Format: Hardback
Price: €19.95 (plus reduced P&P)
Page count: 256pp 
Weight: 520g/1.15lb

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University of Galway Bookshop, James Hardiman Building, Galway
Banner Books, Ennistymon, Co. Clare
Banner Books, Kilrush, Co. Clare
Custy’s Traditional Music Shop, Ennis, Co. Clare
O’Mahony’s Booksellers, 120 O’Connell Street, Limerick
The Maynooth Bookshop, 68 Main Street, Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Dingle Bookshop, 2 Green Street, Dingle, Co. Kerry
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From the Preface 
‘From the start, the purpose of the Journal of Music has been to publish in-depth writing on music and to try to deepen public discourse around the art form. For the first ten years it was a bi-monthly magazine with a print-run of no more than two thousand copies, and for the last thirteen years it has been entirely online, reaching a global readership of hundreds of thousands. Regardless of the medium or the numbers, however, creating a deeper conversation around music runs against the grain and it is always challenging, and yet I feel it is as important as ever.’ 
– from the Preface to What Ireland Can Teach the World About Music