Eoin McKiernan Library

EML Director Update, May 2021

Since February, we have continued our exploration of the musical Doherty family of Scott County and St. Paul through a visit with Tony Doherty’s granddaughter, a webinar at Irish Arts Week and collaborations with Irish music schools on both sides of the Atlantic to bring one of Tony Doherty’s tunes to life. We also wrapped up our MNHS grant project to digitize Dr. Eoin McKiernan’s 1960s television programs by preparing their metadata for upload into our catalog.

In March, we launched an online book sale and added a new custom-built CD case to our reading room. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, we processed an additional 100+ CDs for our collection of commercial recordings of Irish music.

Doherty Family Webinar and Musical Collaboration

As part of the 2021 Irish Arts Week, I gave a free online presentation on the McKiernan Library’s archival materials relating to the Doherty family of Scott County and Saint Paul. In the lead up to the talk, I was able to meet with Sue Wurdemann, granddaughter of Tony Doherty and daughter of Monica Doherty. Tony’s fiddle playing and Monica’s beautiful singing are featured in the Doherty Family Recordings. Sue allowed us to digitize several family photos and also contributed a short video recording of Tony playing his fiddle with daughter Marge at the piano at a Doherty family gathering at Christmas time 1960.  

The webinar was attended by viewers on both sides of the Atlantic and we brought Tony Doherty’s music across the ocean later that same afternoon through an inspiring partnership between St. Paul’s Center for Irish Music and the Traditional Arts Partnership of South Armagh. As part of the Traditional Irish Tune Exchange, young students from both music schools learned a waltz from the Doherty Family Recordings and each student made a video of themselves playing the tune. For the Tune Exchange event, Center for Irish Music edited together a video collage of 8 students from Armagh and 16 students from Minnesota all playing Tony’s tune together–an inspiring example of our archives coming to life!

Eoin McKiernan TV Programs: Phase I Complete!

We wrapped up Phase I of our long term project to make Dr. Eoin McKiernan’s 1960s television programs “Ireland Rediscovered” and “Irish Diary” easily accessible. Summaries, subject headings and other metadata for all 50 digitized programs have been tweaked and uploaded into our online archival catalog. View information on all 50 programs here. We submitted our grant report to MNHS and will now begin the process of assessing copyright issues with the programs in hopes of eventually offering them in a free online archive.

This publication was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee.

Online Book Sale

The McKiernan Library has had a small number of books for sale online through our website and we are planning a larger online book sale in March. All sale books are donated books that were duplicates of books already in our collection. See the current book sale items here and watch for more in March! All income from sales benefit the Eoin McKiernan Library.

New CD Case

Thanks to local craftsman Andy Tatham we have a beautiful custom-built place to store our growing collection of commercially recorded Irish traditional music on CD.

Thanks for the great work Andy!

Over 100 New CDs

Thanks to hours of hard work by McKiernan Library volunteers Maggie Sullivan, Jim Tarbox and Tim Scanlan, we completed processing on an additional 100+ Irish music CDs! These include several harder-to-find titles by local bands and artists as well as influential recordings by acclaimed Irish groups Altan and Clannad. We’re looking forward to establishing a listening station and helping people access our wonderful music collection.