The SeŠn ” Riada Collection, Special Collections, Boole Library, UCC


One of Ireland's most influential composers and musical innovators, SeŠn ” Riada is credited with bringing Irish traditional music to the forefront of contemporary Irish culture. His group CeoltůirŪ Chualann led the revival in Irish Traditional Music in the 1960s. The group achieved unprecedented critical and popular acclaim and itís success catapulted numerous later groups, including The Chieftains onto the international stage. ” Riada is also recognised as one of the most significant Irish composers of music in the European Art Music tradition in the 20th Century.  In addition to his orchestral and chamber works in this idiom, he composed many original scores for theatre and film. His best known Ďclassicalí work  is his score for George Morrisonís groundbreaking film, Mise …ire.


The Papers: The SeŠn ” Riada Collection was acquired from the ” Riada family by University College Cork in 2004. In addition to a the personal and professional papers of ” Riada, the Collection  contains a large number of musical scores, many of which are unpublished and written in the composerís own hand. These scores are, arguably, the most valuable materials in the collection and they provide the primary focus of the proposed PhD project. 


The Project:  The principal aims are the the proposed PhD (DAH) project is the completion of a catalogue of musical materials in the collection, an analysis of these musical materials, and the generation of facsimile and performance editions of the music compositions.


In the academic literature, critical consideration of ” Riadaís life and work is scant.

Outputs from the proposed research will address this lacuna  and develop a critical understanding of SeŠn ” Riadaís creativity and contribution to Irish musical culture.

In addition, performances and recordings of ” Riadaís compositional output are limited by the availability of performance editions of much of his music; the PhD research outputs will expand the accessible repertoire of 20th Century Irish music through production of performance editions of the music contained in the collection.

Finally, through the generation of digital editions of the musical materials in the collection, the project will increase access to ” Riadaís compositions for scholars and performers.





White, H. The Keeperís Recital: Music and Cultural History in Ireland, 1770Ė1970 (CUP, 1998)

” Canainn, T. SeŠn ” Riada, His Life and Work The Collins Press, 2003)