Companion to Irish Traditional Music, 3rd edition

This comprehensive A-Z encyclopedia of Irish Traditional music was published first in 1999, then revised and greatly expanded in 2011. A third edition, updated and developed, is in production, publication expected in late 2021.

To date, 'The Companion' is the largest single collection of diverse, essential data in Irish Traditional music. It's earlier editions have brought together the knowledge of c. two hundred contributors in an easy-to-use A-Z format. The topics are addressed in the book by a total of c. 1800 individual articles, all of which are listed on this website:

  • For a full list of all A-Z entries and word-counts see Entries
  • For a list of major topics to which these articles relate see  Topics
  • For a full list of referenced people and bands see Index
  • For text of the addresses at the book's launch on November 24, 2011, see Companion Launch information and images
  • The Companion is now represented in a concert – Companach – which has toured in Ireland, England, Europe and Australia.
  • The sound-track of Compánach is now released as a 2-CD album with 8 songs (ballads, sean-nós & song in Irish) and 22 tracks of music
  • In December, 2020, arising from the Covid-era ceasing of live performance opportunities, this concert performance will be made available in digital format for viewing as an on-line video (Vimeo, Youtube) and as a DVD, each designed for viewing by private, organisational and community recreation and culture initiatives. The DVD will also be available for purchase.
  • Book by sending an email.
Cover of the Companion to Irish Traditional Music
Companion to Irish Traditional Music - Hardback, 245 x 175mm, 880pp - ISBN: 978 1 85918 4509
  • Song in Irish and English
  • Dance – Step Dance, Céilí and Sets
  • Solo and Group Playing
  • Céilí Bands and Professionalism
  • Storytelling
  • Instruments and Technology
  • Tune Types and Composition
  • Styles and Ornamentation
  • Organisations and Promotion
  • Education and Transmission
  • Collectors and Archives
  • History and Revival
  • Performers, Stylists, Commentators
  • Broadcasting and Recording
  • English, Scottish, Welsh music and song
  • Music in all Irish Counties, Europe & USA
  • Timeline - 1100 BC – 2011 AD
  • Irish Music Books 1724 – 2011
Book sections
  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgements
  • Using the Volume
  • Contributors
  • The Companion to Irish Traditional Music – A- Z articles
  • Chronology: A Timeline of Irish Music in History
  • Published Material Relating to Traditional Music
  • Index of names referenced in the text
Cataloguing and Publication Data
  • A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859184509
  • Typeset by Dominic Carroll, Co. Cork
  • Printed by MPG, UK
Cover painting:

This 1833 work is 'Snap Apple Night' by by Daniel Maclise, the earliest painting of indigenous Irish music in context, the earliest of a traditional-music ensemble and also of a tambourine in Ireland. Aspects of the picture are acknowledged as intentionally playful, making it possible that the depiction of fiddle, flute and pipes together may be fanciful - as may be the inclusion of a perfect, hand-struck tambourine, an instrument which was common in 18th-19th century art as an evocative symbol.

Reproduction is courtesy Bonhams, London, The Bridgeman Art Library. For a full, measured web account of Daniel Maclise see  ‘Ask About Ireland’.  Print information on Daniel Maclise can be found in nancy Weston’s 2000 Four Courts Press book ‘Daniel Maclise  - An Irish artist in Victorian London’