Folk Music Society of Ireland

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Folk Music Society of Ireland (Cumann Cheol Tíre Éireann)
Formation24 April 1971
Legal statusCultural organization
PurposeTo encourage interest in traditional music in Ireland and its practice and to promote research on this and related subjects
HeadquartersDublin, Ireland
Official language
English, Irish

The Folk Music Society of Ireland[1] was founded in Dublin in 1971 by a group of interested individuals with the aims of encouraging interest and promoting research in the traditional music, song and dance of Ireland. To this end it organised a regular programme of public lectures, recitals and seminars. By 2003 the Society felt that FMSI had largely fulfilled its initial intentions, and it decided to bring its main activities [2] to an end. It does however continue to act in its publishing capacity. This archival site is being preserved for its historical interest. It is being kept updated by the addition of digitised material and PDF downloads on its new website.[3]


Éigse Cheol Tíre / Irish Folk Music Studies. ISSN 0332-298X [4] was the journal of the society. The editors of the most recent issue (vols 5–6, 1986–2001) were Hugh Shields, Nicholas Carolan and Thérèse Smith.


Ceol Tíre,[5] the FMSI newsletter for members, was published from 1973 until December 1989. It was begun by its editor Hugh Shields in November 1973 and continued by him and Nicholas Carolan (who was Secretary of the Society 1977–1992) until December 1989. The complete series of 33 issues are now available as free pdf downloads from the FMSI and Irish Traditional Music Archive websites.[6]


A number of books on Irish folk music, songs and musical history were published and more are in the pipeline.[7] These include the following:

  • John & William Neal, A collection of the most celebrated Irish tunes: proper for the violin, German flute or hautboy, Dublin [1724], 2nd facsimile ed. with new introduction & notes by Nicholas Carolan, Dublin: Irish Traditional Music Archive in association with the Folk Music Society of Ireland, 2010. xiv, 118 pp. ISBN 9780953270439 (hbk).[8]
  • Blas: the local accent in Irish traditional music, ed. Thérèse Smith, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin et al. [selected proceedings from ‘ The Local Accent Conference’, University of Limerick, November 1995].[9]
  • Old Dublin songs, ed. Hugh Shields, 1988. ISBN 0-905733-04-5 (out of print but pdf download now available from FMSI website)[10]
  • Chants corréziens—French folk songs from Corrèze, collected & ed. Hugh Shields, 1988, booklet & audiocassette. ISBN 0--9524197-0X (pdf download of booklet now available from FMSI website)[11]
  • A short discography of Irish folk music, by Nicholas Carolan (1987)[12]
  • Ballad research. The stranger in ballad narrative and other topics. Papers read at the European Ballad Conference.Dublin 1985, ed. Hugh Shields, 297 pp. (1986). ISBN 0-905733-02-9 [13]
  • Popular music in 18th-century Dublin (articles by Brian Boydell, Breandán Breathnach, Nicholas Carolan and Hugh Shields, 1985, out of print)[14]
  • Scéalamhráin Cheilteacha [Narrative songs in the Celtic languages]. Baile Átha Cliath, An Clóchomhar Tta, 1985, book (82pp, out of print)& audio cassette [15]
  • A short bibliography of Irish folk song, by Hugh Shields (1985)[16]
  • Oliver Goldsmith and popular song, by Hugh Shields (out of print)[17]
  • European oral traditions (series of audiocassettes with booklets[18])