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Irish Music Center

john j. burns library

Watch or listen to a selection of IMC programs online!

The Irish Music Center of the John J. Burns Library is an archival and listening center, committed to documenting the history of Irish traditional music in America. The center's archives include commercial and field recordings, videorecordings, sheet music, manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, and books about music. Many of the center's archival holdings have been generously donated, including 78-rpm and LP recordings of solo instrumental music, sean nós singing, ensemble performances, céilí bands, and folk songs and ballads. The center also records performances and interviews at Boston College, and works with the Center for Irish Programs to sponsor Irish music events on campus.


Access and Research Help

Serving the music needs of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, the Irish Music Center is also available to the community of musicians and researchers beyond the university. Appointments are recommended, and may be arranged by telephone (617-552-4861) or e-mail (

Use the Irish Music research guide for online research help and to see a list of Irish Music events and exhibits at Boston College.


List of Named Collections

A-Z listing of named collections in the Irish Music Archives holdings.


Questions? Contact the Irish Music Center

The Irish Music Center is part of the John J. Burns Library (view hours). We encourage you to contact us by phone or e-mail with your questions, or to make an appointment. This helps ensure that visitors receive the best possible service.

Phone: 617-552-4861
Fax: 617-552-2465


Mailing Address:
Beth Sweeney
Director, Irish Music Center
John J. Burns Library
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3801



The Burns Library Irish Music Archives was founded by the Music Department, the Irish Studies Program, and the John J. Burns Library, in collaboration with visiting ethnomusicology professor Dr. Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin. Inspired by the work of the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin, the Irish Music Archives of the John J. Burns Library began to preserve and promote Irish traditional music in America in 1990. The Irish Music Center works with Séamus Connolly and the Center for Irish Programs to fulfill the mission of the Irish Music Archives, documenting the cultural contributions of Irish and Scottish traditional musicians in America. For a fuller description, please see Earle Hitchner's article, "The Reel Deal," in the fall 2004 Boston College Magazine.