One of the most sought after aspects of Irish vernacular culture is traditional song. Access to earlier recordings is a way to ensure the best understanding and appreciation of earlier singers, styles and repertoires. Within Ireland this is often primarily associated with the Irish Folklore Commission and Radio Éireann. Such material was not only sought by these bodies but international recognition came about through bodies such as the BBC and individual collectors such as Alan Lomax. Such material was sought by these organisations and international recognition also came about through bodies such as the BBC. For the first time ever, a dedicated presentation of the renowned Conamara singer Colm Ó Caodháin is on offer encapsulating that apex of ethnographic fieldwork in Ireland. The book includes 33 audio tracks. It places Colm in the context of life in Conamara during his lifetime as a farmer and a fisherman for whom song, lore and music were the fabric of his everyday life. Colm’s autobiography as collected through Séamus Ennis is available here in the original Irish with an accompanying translation. The importance of making archival material accessible is one of the primary concerns of the author as former Director of the National Folklore Collection and this publication contributes greatly to the pursuit of these aims.
Ríonach uí Ógáin is former Director of the National Folklore Collection, UCD. She has published widely in Irish and in English on traditional music and song and has also published a number of compact discs with accompanying booklets. She was editor of Béaloideas: The Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society from 2009 – 2018. Her publications include The Otherworld: Music and Song from Irish Tradition with Tom Sherlock (2012) . She edited the diaries of Séamus Ennis published in 2007 ‘Mise an Fear Ceoil’ Séamus Ennis - Dialann Taistil 1942-1946 (2007), which appeared in translation in 2009 entitled Going to the Well for Water: The Field Diaries of Séamus Ennis. A Festschrift in her honour entitled Life, Lore and Song was published in 2019 by Four Courts Press.