The Archive’s primary remit covers the island of Ireland and the Irish diaspora – Irish-Britain, Irish-America, Irish-Australia etc. – and all those performers of Irish traditional music throughout the world who are not of Irish blood. It also collects traditional music from other countries in a representative way in order to provide a national access point to these musics and to the world of ethnomusicology. The materials in the Archive collection, which exist in original or copied forms, are: Sound recordings Cylinders, 78s, SPs, EPs, LPs, reel-to-reel tapes, standard and DAT audio cassettes, CDs, digital audio files in various formats Printed items Ballad sheets, chapbooks, sheet music, song collections, instrumental music collections, dance collections, music studies, background studies, reference works, periodicals, and ephemera such as programmes, catalogues, postcards, leaflets, flyers, posters, and newspaper clippings Manuscripts Music manuscripts, card indexes, research notes, letters, lecture scripts, typescript theses Visual items Drawings, prints, photographs, negatives, slides, microfilms, video cassettes, DVDs, digital video files in various formats Artefacts Musical instruments, statues, badges, coins, trinkets
The Archive holds and preserves for public reference the largest multi-media collection in existence of the materials of Irish traditional music: song, instrumental music, and dance
Currently holds over 25,000 commercial and non-commercial sound recordings, 16,000 books and serials, 10,000 photographs and negatives, 9,000 melodies in digital form, 6,500 ballad sheets and items of sheet music, 2,500 programmes, 1,000 videotapes and DVDs, and a mass of other materials such as posters and flyers. It also holds the largest body in existence of information about the music, contemporary and historic, organised on unique computer catalogues, databases, indexes and stock-lists. More than half a million content items have been catalogued.
The Archive acquires material through donation, copying, and purchase of materials, and by a programme of audio and video recording in the field and in the Archive’s recording studio