Cois na hAbhna Regional Archive

The Cois na hAbhna Regional Archive comprises over one thousand five hundred hours of recordings of traditional music, song and dance from the counties of Clare, Limerick and Galway.

Located at the Cois na hAbhna Centre in Ennis, this archive is one of several regional archives established by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann throughout the country to record, collect and preserve the cultural heritage of local areas.

Since he began his work in 1990, curator of the archive Frank Whelan has travelled throughout the gerion gathering songs, stories, music and memories in the form of original recordings, old records hidden away in attics, rare photos of singers and musicians and even old 8mm film footage. In more recent yars Frank has video taped many of the older musicans in the area, recording their rich musical legacy before it is lost to future genrations. Some of the better known musicians to be found in the archive include Micho Russell, P Joe Hayes, Kitty Linnane, Chris Droney and Robbie McMahon.

The following are some of the achievements worthy of mention:

As well as the ongoing task of collecting available material, the Cois na hAbhna Archive now faces the new challenges of caring for the archived material and making its treasures accessible to the hundreds of thousands of traditional music enthusiasts around the world.

The immediate concern is for the survival of some of the older tape based recordings in the collection. It is felt that transferring them to a digital format would not only ensure their availability for future generations but also enable their quality to be enhanced. it is our belief that transferring the entire collection to digital format would also ensure access to the archive by musicians, students, broadcasters and the general public.

An idea currently being developed is to have an interactive website dedicated to the Cois na hAbhna archive featuring the story of traditional music and ance in the region, biographies of musicians, old photographs and audio and video clips.

However, the first task at hand is to care for the material now in the archive.

It is proposed to work with a local Audio/Visual professional using the latest editing software to insure the optimum quality from the digital transfers.

In the meantime, work is currently underway to upgrade the archive storage area at Cois na hAbhna and a comprehensive catalogue of all material is currently being compiled.

Through this project the Cois na hAbhna Regional Archive seeks to ensure that the rich cultural legacy of our ancestors can be a source of wonder and inspiration for generations to come.