The Joe Burke Archive

Centre for Irish Studies, and James Hardiman Library (Archives)

National University of Ireland, Galway

Joe Burke's life and work Archival list The Sound Archives

Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, Joe Burke, Ann Conroy Burke and Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh at the "Friends of the Library" event to mark the accession of the collection, March 2008

Deeply embedded in the musical landscape of his native Kilnadeema, County Galway, Joe Burke, the renowned button accordion player, donated his collected correspondence, photographs, press cuttings and promotional material, as well as his extensive private sound recordings, to the Archives at the James Hardiman Library, NUIG, in October 2006.  The core of the collection covers a period of fifty years: it illustrates Joe Burke's musical career, thereby reflecting his stylistic roots and musical fellowships, and showing the extent of his work playing and teaching Irish traditional music on the Irish music circuits, but also as a member of the Irish diaspora in the United States.

On 3 March 2008 the donation was celebrated at NUIG at an occasion which was attended by a large gathering of friends, musicians, library and university staff, who had come along to pay homage to a man whose name is synonymous with the musical tradition of East Galway. In his opening address to a highly appreciative audience, Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh described Joe as "The maestro of Kilnadeema, a man whose music brings people to their senses."

These pages have been prepared to celebrate the generous donation by Joe Burke, and to give as comprehensive an insight into this very rich resource as possible, to coincide with the ACIS/ GCIS conferences of 10-13 June 2009. The material is in the process of being archivally listed, and the lists and samples made available here are provisional only. For further enquiries as to the archives within the wider remit of Irish Studies at NUIG, please contact Méabh Ní Fhuartháin at To access any of the material, please contact the Archivists; or