An exhibition to celebrate the Edward Bunting Collection, a major collection of Irish music and song manuscripts, notebooks, printed works, correspondence and more.

The collection is the work of the Irish music collector and musician Edward Bunting (1773-1843) and was bequeathed to Queen's University Belfast by Charlotte Milligan Fox (1864-1916) in 1917. 

The manuscripts first arose from Bunting’s engagement as transcriber at the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792. Bunting was enchanted by the ancient music of the harpers and continued to collect and arrange Irish folk music throughout his life. He published 3 volumes of airs in 1797, 1809 and 1840 respectively.

However, Bunting only published about a quarter of the music he collected and often altered the original arrangements and melodies when publishing. He also never published the Irish song texts collected.

The collection is a treasure trove of information about Irish traditional music and song, particularly harp music, in the late 17th and early 18th century.


Exhibition text and design by Louisa Costelloe, Assistant Librarian, Special Collections. 

Digitisation and transcription of Patrick Lynch and Arthur O'Neill journals by Bronagh McCrudden.