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Ceol, The Smithfield Irish Traditional Music Centre

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Paddy and John Tunney

John has just completed work on editing the final volume of his father’s trilogy of books on collecting and disseminating of traditional song.  Paddy Tunney’s earlier volumes, The Stone Fiddle and Sing Another Story, are recognised as being classics of the genre, and Sing Another Story is packed full of similar folklore, characters, stories, and rare songs from the Irish tradition. This text, which was completed in draft form before Paddy’s death in 2002, has remained in his private papers since then. It is planned to have it published for the centenary of his birth in 2021. Other song projects that John has been involved in include:

‘Songs for our Children’:  Exploration of the writing of new traditional songs for children, sponsored by the Arts Council and Galway City of Culture (2020).

‘1916 Song Project’: Exploration of the theme of 1916 through newly composed work, sponsored by the National Library of Ireland, and Galway, Wexford, Meath, Fingal, and DLR County Councils (2016).

‘The Bird Song Project’: 33 singers in five venues across Ireland performing ‘bird-themed’ traditional songs, sponsored by the Bealtaine Festival (2015).

‘Man, Woman and Child’: Exploration of the Francis Child Ballad Collection, sponsored by the National Library of Ireland and the Irish Traditional Music Archive (2013).

‘As I Roved Out’ Project: Exploration of the theme of emigration through newly composed work, sponsored by the National Library of Ireland and The Arts Council (2012).

Around the Hand: New Compositions within the Tradition, CD and performance as artist in residence, Kilmaley Percent for Art Scheme (2008-2009).


Practice-based Professional Heritage Experience

John has wide experience in the field of applied heritage, having worked in museum design and as Head of Interpretative Planning between 1996 and 2000 for Event Ireland, the Irish subsidiary of Event Communications, the largest specialist museum design company in Western Europe. During that time, he won a Glen-Dimplex Irish Design ‘Oscar’ for Ceol: the Irish Music Centre, Smithfield, Dublin (best permanent exhibition 1999). A selection of projects that he worked on while employed by Event includes:

Ego Patricius: St. Patrick Visitor Centre, Downpatrick, Co. Down, 2000.

The Jersey Tunnels and Museum of Occupation: Jersey, 2000.

The Arigna Mining Experience, Dereenavoggy, Co. Leitrim, 1999.

Ceol, The Smithfield Irish Traditional Music Centre, Dublin. 1998.

The CBL Galleries at the Chester Beatty Library, 1998 [European Museum of the Year] 

King John’s Castle Interpretative Centre, Limerick, 1998.

St. Patrick, Cathedral, Dublin, 1998.

The Irish Diaspora, Manchester, UK, 1998.

North Kerry Literary Museum, Listowel, Co. Kerry, 1997.

Waterford Treasures: Museum, Waterford, 1997.

The National 1798 Visitor Centre, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, 1997.

South Leitrim Archaeology Centre, Fenagh, Co. Leitrim, 1996.

Hook Head Light House, Hook Head, Wexford, 1996.

Ulster Plantation Centre, Draperstown, Co. Derry, 1996.

Maison de Charmier, Lyon, France, 1996.

The RTÉ Museum of Irish Radio, Sunday’s Well, Cork, 1996.

From Farm and Factory, Industrial Gallery, Louth County Museum, Dundalk, 1995.

John also has experience as an independent Heritage Consultant, having been engaged as an advisor and content specialist on a number of projects including:

St. Isidore's Franciscan Irish College, (400th anniversary), Rome: Interpretative planner and consultant on video documentary for the Irish Province of the Franciscans Minor, 2008.

Caherconnell Interpretative Centre, Carron, Co. Clare: Research and storyline 2002.

Carrick-on-Shannon Workhouse: Research, storyline and interpretative theming, 1995.

Dunfanaghy Famine Museum: Research, storyline and interpretative theming, 1992.

Ramelton Heritage Town: Plantation Settlement and Georgian Port: Research, storyline and interpretative theming, 1990.

Colmcille Heritage Centre, Gartan, Letterkenny: Research, storyline and interpretative theming, 1988.

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