There is certainly a lot of nonsense around ,
including our usual suspects
( Henry Grattan Flood, for example, is hardly usable. P. Henebry also. )
From Breand’an Breathnach I was lucky to inherit healthy scepticism ;
but also to approach Irish music much as an archaeologist would – his
FOLK MUSIC AND DANCES OF IRELAND has good stuff ( eg. on how recent the dances are- or on the genealogy of certain
Slow Airs )
A must , too, is Donal O’Sullivan FOLKSONGS OF THE IRISH
More recent collectors are also sounder – Tom Munnelly, Fintan Vallely, Swedish Professor of Folklore , Bo Almquist.
The odd introductions from the BBC collectors of the thirties to fifties , Seamus Ennis etc. ,
can be pearls.
Yes, a MUST is Breand’an ‘O Madag’ain’s pioneering work on the Old Irish Caoine
and its genealogy- going back to the Fenian “laoi”.
I myself published two important essays in The Journal of Music , was it 2000 and 2002 …
And a gob-smacking must is that beautiful reference in ” Agallamh na Seanorach ” ( “Tales Of The Ancients Of Ireland
where Oisin, quizzed by our St. Patrick, told of Finn McCumhal’s beloved little harper, Ceann Corach who
” the music of all that is…. ”