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Welcome to Irish Music Stories! This is the LIBSYN Landing page for Irish Music Stories.

Irish Music Stories is the show about traditional music.... and the much bigger stories behind it. IMS is about everything--through an Irish music lens.

Whether you already play the fiddle or you know nothing about trad music or dance, I hope you'll join me, Shannon Heaton, as I learn how a band of Boston tweens ended up at a big music competition in Sligo, and what it meant to their families... and as I dig into the darker, sweeter side of Irish humor... and as I explore what learning Irish songs together is really all about.

Meet thoughtful and incredibly charming people in pubs, kitchens, and backstages throughout the U.S., Ireland, and beyond, underscored with toe-tapping and heart-soaring melodies that seem familiar, even if you've never heard them before.

Jun 21, 2022

When flute player and police captain Francis O’Neill published his first and most extensive collection of Irish tunes in 1903, he included a LOT of tunes. Nicholas Carolan called it “the largest snapshot of this music ever taken in its 9,000 year history.” 120 years later, I revisit O’Neill’s two biggest books, to explore what’s in there, and what isn’t. With the help of authors Michael O’Malley and Ronan O’Driscoll, librarian Aedin Clements, and fiddle player/scholar Laura Flanagan. I attempt to deepen (and maybe even adjust) my perspective on this heavy piece of the Irish music foundation.


For playlists, transcripts, links to videos, companion essays, and to contribute to this project, please head to


Thank you to everybody for listening. And a special thank you to this month’s underwriters: Susan Walsh, Rick Rubin, Ken Doyle, Chris Armstrong, Gerry Corr, Jonathan Duvick, Sean Carroll, Isobel McMahon, Ian Bittle, Finian McCluskey, John Ploch, Brian Benscoter, Chris Murphy, Irish & Celtic Music Podcast, David Vaughan, Suezen Brown, Paul DeCamp, Bob Suchor, Tom Frederick, Leslie Stack, Andrew Westphal, Roland Hebborn, Chris Armstrong, Ralf Wolfgarten, and James Falzone.