NUI Galway award Honorary Doctorate to world-renowned Folklorist

Jun 19 2007 Posted: 00:00 IST

World-renowned folklorist, Mr Tom Munnelly received the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from NUI Galway in recognition of his lifetime of service to the collection and publication of folksong and folklore in Ireland. Mr Munnelly was honoured at the University's summer conferring ceremony on Tuesday, 19 June, 2007.

Tom Munnelly is widely recognised as one of the world s foremost collectors of traditional Irish songs in the English language, with over 20,000 songs collected to date. A native of Dublin, Mr Munnelly is an archivist/collector with the Delargy Centre for Irish Folklore in UCD, and since moving to West Clare in 1978 he has collected over 4,000 Songs from local traditional singers. He has also recorded songs, music and folklore in most other counties in Ireland.

Dr Pádraig Ó Héalaí, a former lecturer in Irish at NUI Galway said: "Tom Munnelly has made an immense contribution to the future of Irish folkore studies by producing an index of all the English-language oral poetry contained in vols 1 to 2000 of the National Folklore Archive's manuscripts, some 18,000 items in all, and by developing a classificatory system for this material based on internationally accepted models.

"Formidable as Tom's feats as an archivist may be, his achievement as a collector of oral tradition is truly awesome. He has recorded well over 1,000 hours of song and lore and has been responsible for the most comprehensive collection of traditional songs in English ever compiled by any one individual in Ireland. It constitutes a very substantial enrichment of the National Folklore Collection and it significantly expands the database available to future scholars in this field."

Mr Munnelly was a founder member of the Folk Music Society of Ireland/Cumannn Ceoil Tíre Éireann, has acted as Chair of the Irish Traditional Music Archive/Taisce Ceol Dúchais and of Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and has served the Arts Council of Ireland in a number of different roles. His close association with these bodies and his founding role in other local historical and folk music societies, folklore schools and singing festivals highlight his contribution to Irish cultural life.

The Conferral ceremony at NUI Galway will also include the posthumous award of the PhD degree to Mr John Mulqueen of Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo and a native of Kilrush, Co. Clare. John, a graduate of UCD and Iowa, was a former Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering, an employee of An Foras Talúntais and Teagasc and an international authority on soils, and died in 2006. The award will be accepted by his family.

Almost 200 students from across the Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences, Engineering, Commerce, Science, Law and Arts will also receive their degrees and diplomas at the ceremony.



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