Musical Culture and the Spirit of Irish Nationalism is the first comprehensive history of music’s relationship with Irish nationalist politics. Addressing rebel songs, traditional music and dance, national anthems and protest song, the book draws upon an unprecedented volume of material to explore music’s role in cultural and political nationalism in modern Ireland. From the nineteenth-century Young Irelanders, the Fenians, the Home Rule movement, Sinn Féin and the Anglo-Irish War to establishment politics in independent Ireland and civil rights protests in Northern Ireland, this wide-ranging survey considers music’s importance and its limitations across a variety of political movements.

chapter |20 pages


“Ballads Have Long Lost Their Revolutionary Powers”

part Part 1|36 pages

Nationalism, 1848–1913

chapter 1|15 pages

“Oh, What Matter, When for Erin Dear We Fall?”

Fenianism, Radical Nationalism and the Irish Soundscape 1

chapter 2|9 pages

Appropriating Radicalism

Nationalist Music and Home Rule

chapter 3|10 pages

Gaelicising “The Seonín Maids of Eirinn”

The Politics of Ireland’s Musical Revivals

part Part 2|40 pages

Revolution, 1913–1923

chapter 4|21 pages

“Great Men and Straight Men”?

Music, Radicalisation and Revolution, 1913–1921

chapter 5|6 pages

“Oh, How We Worship Our Dora”

Seditious Singing and British Laws

chapter 6|11 pages

“We Thought We Fought for Ireland”

Music and the Civil War

part Part 3|39 pages

Independence, 1923–1972

chapter 7|19 pages

“Three-Quarters of a Nation Once Again”

Music and Party Politics

chapter 8|18 pages

“Folk Music Alone Will Not Supply Our Needs”

Music and Cultural Nationalism

part Part 4|38 pages

Partition, 1923–1972

chapter 9|18 pages

“This Morning a Man Was Hanged. This Evening We Had a Concert”

Music, Nationalism and Northern Ireland, 1923–1967

chapter 10|10 pages

“For the Most Part We Played Rebel Songs”

Music and Civil Rights

chapter 11|8 pages

“Ireland for the Irish, We Shall Not Be Moved”

Music and the Troubles

part Part 5|43 pages


chapter 12|13 pages

Inventing the Irish Dancer, 1848–1923

chapter 13|13 pages

“Jazzing the Soul of the Nation Away”

Dance and Dissent, 1923–1935

chapter 14|12 pages

Modernising Irish Dance, 1935–1972

chapter |3 pages


Nationalist Communities, Revolution and Musical Mischief