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With support from the Government of Ireland – Emigrant Support Programme, ITMA is delighted to present a comprehensive digital exhibition of Irish traditional music recorded in New York from the late 19th century to the present day.

Curated by New York musician and historian Don Meade and folklorist Rónán Galvin, the exhibition showcases rare recordings, stories and photographs relating to New York’s remarkably rich traditional Irish music heritage.

The at-risk materials have now been preserved and will be freely accessible to a global audience. Irish traditional music recorded in New York forms part of an invaluable cultural treasure of national and international significance and the story of how the tradition migrated from rural Ireland to the USA is central to our cultural history.

This unique project will help renew the deep cultural bonds between Ireland and the USA through increased digital connectedness and meaningful engagement. As a valuable learning resource, it provides a bridge between our thriving creative traditional arts sector at home and those increasingly disparate groups who identify with Irish heritage and culture in NYC.

About ITMA

Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) is the national public archive and resource centre for Irish traditional music, song and dance, and the globally-recognised specialist advisory agency to advance appreciation, knowledge, and the practice of Irish traditional music.

Established in 1987 and funded by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the role of ITMA is to:

collect and preserve the historical and contemporary materials of Irish traditional music, particularly those that are at risk;

organise and describe these materials according to international standards of archival and library practice to create collections that are discoverable by all;

present and publish content from our collections in ways that enhance the living tradition;

contribute to the knowledge base of traditional music, and engage with our diverse audiences worldwide.


ITMA would like to extend their sincere thanks to:

Our Funders:

Government of Ireland – Emigrant Support Programme

Arts Council of Ireland

Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Office of Public Works


Conor Long, Yvonne Ellison, Nigel Hutson and Seán Cunniffe of the Irish Abroad Unit


Don Meade, Rónán Galvin, Mary and Terry Rafferty, Seán Quinn, Tommy Mulvihill, Alan Morrisroe, John Blake, Harry Bradshaw, Marion Casey, Mary Coogan, Aidan Connolly, Brian Conway, Fionn MacGiolla Cudda, Frank Dalton, Brendan Dolan, Rachael Gilkey, Emmett Gill, Daithí Gormley, Dan Gurney, Irish Arts Center New York, Martin Koenig, Paul Kolnik, Vincent McGrath, Joanie Madden, Marianne Mangan, Mick Moloney, Pat Mullins, Lawrence Muresan, Iris Nevins, Richard Nevins, Eileen O’Brien, Mick O’Connor, Martin O’Connell, Barry Ó Séanáin, Richard Piggott, Deb Putman, John Ridge, Eimear Ryan-Charleton, Neal Warshaw, Nick Whitmer and Kestrel Wolgemuth.

It aims to strengthen the international Irish community and its bond with Ireland. Through this programme, the Government wants to fund projects that will have a clear and indentifiable impact on supporting and building global Irish communities. The Irish Abroad Unit in the Department of Foreign Affairs manages and coordinates the programme in partnership with Ireland’s Embassies and Consulates abroad. Since its inception in 2004, the Emigrant Support Programme has assisted over 530 organisations in over 36 countries with grants totalling over €200 million. Grants have ranged from small amounts for grass-roots groups to major allocations awarded to voluntary and community organisations operating on a large scale.
Email: Call: 01 6619699

Copyright and Take-Down Policy

Copyright is a protection given to tangible expressions of creative works to ensure that the rights of the creator are protected.

How is copyright enforced?
Copyright legislation differs from country to country but in Ireland it is governed by the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (CRRA) and the related Regulations and Statutory Instruments. Ireland is also a signatory to international treaties such as World Intellectual Property Organisation (WiPO) Treaty and the Berne Convention, as well as relevant European legislation.

What does copyright apply to?
The Act states that copyright applies to

original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works
sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes
typographical arrangement of published editions
original databases

Copyright does not apply to ideas or copies and should not be confused with patents (for inventions) and trademarks (symbols or words representing a company). Copyright only exists on tangible physical items. You can’t claim copyright on a performance but if that performance was recorded copyright would exist on the recording for both the performer and the person who recorded them. Within the Act this is known as a ‘fixation’.

How long does copyright last?
As a general rule copyright lasts 70 years from publication and 70 years from the death of the creator. However one item may have many layers of copyright and each layer must be taken into consideration. Take a singer who wrote a song and recorded it on a 78 rpm record in 1947. The copyright on the sound recording itself would expire 70 years later and the copyright on the song would last until 70 years after the singer died. Where there was more than one creator, for example on a film, the copyright lasts 70 years from the date of death of the last surviving creator.

What is Public Domain?
Once the copyright has expired on a creation it is considered in the public domain and can be freely re-used for any purpose. For example, a 78 rpm recording of a Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738) composition published more than 70 years ago would now be in the public domain.

Can I use the material available on the From the Bridge: A view of Irish music in New York microsite?
ITMA does not own the copyright on all the material that is on this microsite. The copyright status of any item is listed with the item’s metadata, and where the item is in the public domain this is clearly marked.

For any items that are in copyright ITMA contacted the copyright holder to get permission to make it available on the site. The items are all made available at low resolution, which means that while they may look and sound fine on a screen the quality of the digital file would not be good enough for any other type of reproduction. This is to safeguard the rights of the copyright holder.

If you would like to reproduce any of the material that is on the ITMA website please get in contact. We will put you in touch with the copyright holder so that you can get permission. Once permission has been acquired, or if the item is in the public domain, ITMA can supply you with high quality digital files (a small handling fee may apply).

Please read the ITMA Notice and Take Down Procedure if you believe that the ITMA website has, in any way, breached copyright.