RTÉ Acetate Disc Collection

RTÉ Acetate Disc Collection

RTÉ has just released a substantial new archive - RTÉ Acetate Disc Collection - featuring recordings from 1930s through to the 70s in digital format.

Trawling through it atm if anyone else is interested. Will drop anything notable here.


Already found this interesting piece from 1939:

Presenter interviews a local farmer who claims to have encountered the fairies. A second presenter interviews a fiddle player about his experience with fairies. who then plays a tune on the fiddle to try coax the fairies out.


Sound quality is unfortunately poor, as explained on the site the acetate deteriorates quite badly, but fantastic that RTÉ have made this available.

Re: RTÉ Acetate Disc Collection

So these are quite fascinating…a small sampling below. Some of these would merit their own threads!

1948 - Joe Gallagher - this year contains a large collection of recordings of Leitrim fiddler Joe Gallagher

Reels https://www.rte.ie/archives/collections/acetate-disc-collection/11511502-joe-gallagher-reels/
Hornpipes https://www.rte.ie/archives/collections/acetate-disc-collection/11511503-joe-gallagher-hornpipes/
Reel - Down The Broom (25 seconds) https://www.rte.ie/archives/collections/acetate-disc-collection/11415579-joe-gallagher-down-the-broom/
Musical Priest, Jenny’s Chicken and O’Rourke’s - https://www.rte.ie/archives/collections/acetate-disc-collection/11415546-joe-gallagher-the-musical-priest/

Joe ‘Lacky’ Gallagher is discussed here but the recording examples on YouTube have disappeared - https://thesession.org/discussions/25435

1950 - Loads of music in this year, particularly lots of recorded ‘Auditions’ (unknown for what)

Mary Ryan of Moate - Piano, Accordion and Fiddle - a hornpipe and a jig https://www.rte.ie/archives/collections/acetate-disc-collection/11417752-mary-ryan-hornpipe-and-jig/

1956 - An unnamed singer sings She Moved Through The Fair on the programme ‘Fair Day’, which collected tunes at an agricultural fair


In style terms the singer sounds like Shane McGowan (note, it is of course not Shane McGowan) in that the voice is rough and ready slurred in parts. The opposite of the pseudo-classical style.

It’s accompanied by banjo played in what many would consider the Barney McKenna / Dubliners style (single string tremolo), this is 1956 so it could conceivably be Barney himself aged 15 or 16 though as it was apparently recorded at ‘an agricultural fair’ that is probably unlikely.


1966 - Accordion Tunes


“Two tunes played on the accordion, one titled ‘Colm’ [the other piece is possibly titled ‘Eileen ?’]”

Does anyone recognise these?

1966 Seamus Ennis interview - marred by a very big scratch on the disk.

- In Norfolk, he found that practically all the music was Irish due to inter-cultural and commercial connections. He sings a little snatch of a song at 2:50

- His advice is to hold Fleadhanna Ceoil further away from the big cities in order to limit the numbers of Beatniks and Hitchhikers attending!

His music choice is - Peggy Seeger, Pete Seeger - “Come All You Fair And Tender Maidens”


1967 - Two Colombian people visit the Fleadh at Castleblaney County Monaghan

They had a great time, deny that any bad behaviour took place despite newspaper reports and note how they are invited to sing their Colombian songs by those present.


Re: RTÉ Acetate Disc Collection

Re: RTÉ Acetate Disc Collection

There’s an absolute treasury of rare traditional material in this. I spent a few hours yesterday having a preliminary look and found much material of direct interest to me with my Wexford Project. It’s fairly clear that whomever RTE had working on this wasn’t too familiar with traditional music, missing obvious things like a disc labelled Seamus MacAonghasa is Seamus Ennis…I reckon that’s a lost track of his.
On a local note, one of the items of particular interest is a live recording of what is clearly the Kilfenora and Mayglass bands (incorrectly spelled Moyglass) competing in the senior ceili band competition in 1961. The researcher put this in the section where he/she couldn’t identify the year ….despite the disc having ‘Swinford 60’ (slip of pen it was 61) written on the bottom:


There was a big rivalry in the 50’s and early 60’s between the Mayglass band from Wexford and the two Clare bands The Kilfenora and the Tulla.

Re: RTÉ Acetate Disc Collection

The Archive people at RTÉ are very diligent on such things - Liam Wylie does brilliant work there on what is a very small team. And this collection covers a lot more than ITM.

Any corrections etc, etc would be gratefully received by them, I’ll be sending a list their way myself!

Along with great music available for free I suspect there are things in this collection - eg the banjo / singing example above - that should challenge a few of the familiar assumptions about the music.

On the music I think they could easily make an album series from it eg the fiddle music example above.

I’m sure those much more expert in the history of the music will spot more!