Category Archives: Libraries

The ERIN catalogue: Thomas Moore in Europe

The Gibson-Massie Moore collection. Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Queen’s University Belfast

At you will find the ‘Home’ tab and the ‘Search resources’ tab. These lead to the ‘simple search’ interface of the ERIN catalogue, a resource which documents editions of Moore’s Irish Melodies, his National Airs, and also music inspired by these series as well as music inspired by Lalla Rookh. The time frame is 1808-1880; European publications only are featured; it represents the collections of eight European libraries: McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast; the British Library; the National Library of Ireland; the Royal Irish Academy;  the Bibliothèque nationale de France; the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin; the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich; and the Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig. These were chosen to represent four nations where he was particularly popular (Ireland, Great Britain, France, and Germany). Further considerations were either the size of their collection on Moore, or the uniqueness of their holdings.

The catalogue currently holds nearly 1000 records within. Although all libraries are represented, there are additional entries to come for the British Library (circa 125 records, mainly instrumental arrangements), Queen’s University Belfast (circa 125 of records, further Irish Melodies), and Leipzig (circa 30 records). Further blogs will report as these final stages of the catalogue are completed.

Brief guide to the catalogue: The Home and ‘Search the resources’ tabs lead to the simple search interface of the catalogue. The user enters a keyword of interest to them, examples including: the name of a composer, performer, artist, engraver, publisher, or bookseller from the 19th century; a musical instrument, or a European city. ‘Select relation’ enables the user to filter results to ‘Irish Melodies’, ‘National Airs’, or ‘Lalla Rookh’. The results can be sorted by title, or by date. They are displayed in two formats: as a list with basic information; to see the details of a particular source, click on its title.

The advanced search option enables the user to access search terms that represent the actual contents of the database as well as its indexing terms. The user can achieve more specialised searches here. The fields include: free keyword, relation (Irish Melodies, Lalla Rookh, National Airs), place of publication, agent role (eg, author, composer, dedicatee, illustrator, publisher, etc.), language, type (kind of score: the musical forces or instruments required), as well as a date filter. The get the best result when searching for a range of dates enter your earliest date of interest in the from field, and then sort by date. It is not necessary to put data into all the fields when searching. Choose Relation combined with one or two other fields to gain the best results. The advanced search enables the user to access index terms that will produce results in the database; these terms can sometimes work most effectively in the simple search.

Kunstbibliothek & Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek, Berlin

Kunstbibliothek, Berlin

While researching in Berlin I also visited the Kunstbibliothek; Berlin’s Art Library, or, The Library of Art History. This library is located at number 6 Matthäikirchplatz, which is situated opposite the SBB’s Potsdamer branch. A number of art history libraries are housed within this building, including the Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek (Lipperheide Costume Library), where a selection of extant sources for the 1821 Berlin performance of Spontini’s Lalla Rookh are housed.


Gaining admission to the Kunstbibliothek/Lipperheidesche was very straightforward. You first need to register, and this can be completed onsite when you arrive. The registration office is located on the left next to the entrance. There is no registration fee but it is necessary to complete a form and to present your passport for identification purposes. You receive your library card immediately and this permits admission to all libraries within the Kunstbibliothek building. It is possible to order material through the online catalogue. Some items can be retrieved within 30 minutes, others will be retrieved the following day. I placed my order at about 4pm and the material was available to consult at 10am the following morning; this arrangement suited my research schedule.


As with all libraries visited to date, bags and coats are not allowed in the reading rooms. There are no locker facilities at this library. Similar to the SBB’s Unter den Linden and Potsdamer sites there is a cloakroom manned by a porter and this is where you store your belongings while in the reading room. You receive a token with a number for retrieving your belongings before leaving the library. There is also a café onsite.


For more information about the Kunstbibliothek and Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek, including information about admission and opening times, visit the websites listed here:


This research trip was kindly and generously funded by the Keats-Shelly Association of America, Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr., Research Grant 2017.



Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preuβischer Kulturbesitz (SBB)

Unter den Linden site, SBB
Unter den Linden site, SBB

I recently completed my final research trip for project ERIN. I visited Berlin for five days to research at the Staatsbibliothek (SBB). This was my first time visiting the SBB and Berlin. The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin has four branches; Unter den Linden, Potsdamer Straβe, Westhafen and bpk-Bildagentur. I needed to visit the Music Reading Room (Musik-Lesessal), which is located at the Unter den Linden site, and the Manuscripts Reading Room (Handschriften-Lesessal), which is located at the main site on Potsdamer Strasse; both branches are located within the Berlin Mitte district. The closest U-bahn stops are Friedrichstrasse and Potsdamer Platz respectively.


Readers who are not resident in Berlin may register online prior to visiting the library; click on the following link and select Registration Form via SSL Access http:// Shortly after you submit the registration form you should receive an email acknowledgement. In order to adequately prepare for your visit, especially if travelling to Berlin from outside Germany, it is important to include the dates of your intended visit on the registration form. You should receive your library card number and a password via email exactly one week before the date of your arrival at the SBB. Once you receive this information you can login to the SBB’s online catalogue and place your order in advance of your visit. Since it may take 2-3 days to retrieve some items, it is important to allow adequate time when placing your order. It should also be noted that orders are held for eight days only, it is therefore recommended not to place your order too far in advance of your visit. If you experience any difficulties using the online system you can email your request directly to the relevant library department; click on the following link for a list of the SBB’s departments and contact details


To order material when in the Music Reading Room complete a white call-slip, available at the issue desk. When researching in the Manuscripts Reading Room complete a pink callslip, available at the issue desk there. One call-slip must be completed per item. There is approximately a two hour wait time for orders placed in the Music Reading Room and a one hour wait time for orders placed in the Manuscripts Reading Room. If researching in the Music Reading Room it is important to be aware that orders placed before 11am can be retrieved on the same day, but orders placed after 2pm will not be retrieved until the following day.


On arrival at the library you will need to complete the registration process; this can be done at either the Unter den Linden or Potsdamer sites. Since I had planned to begin my research in the Music Reading Room it was most convenient for me to complete the registration process at the Unter den Linden site. The entrance to the Unter den Linden site is located on Dorotheenstraβe. To complete registration visit the issue desk on the first floor, submit a print out of the completed online registration form and present your passport for identification purposes. Registration for one month costs €12 and registration for one year costs €30. The library card is issued immediately and payment is made using an automatic cash machine located to the right of the issue desk. It is not permitted to bring bags or coats into the reading rooms. I found the locker system in use at both the Unter den Linden and Potsdamer sites to be a little unusual as some lockers require padlocks. I am unsure if the padlocks are supplied by the library of if you need to bring your own; I suspect the latter. All lockers are located in the foyer on the ground floor at both Unter den Linden and Potsdamer. It is imperative to arrive at the library in the early morning, preferably before 10am, if you wish to avail of a locker with its own key, for which you will need a €1 coin. If there are no lockers available one must leave all belongings in a cloakroom which is manned by a porter. A numbered token is issued for retrieving belongings from the cloakroom before you leave the library.


The Music Reading Room is located on the first floor at the Unter den Linden site and accommodates 36 readers. Facilities include PCs and microfilm machines. The reading room is spacious and the work desks are large, so there is adequate space for working with larger sources. The Manuscripts Reading Room is located on level three at the Potsdamer site and accommodates up to 24 readers. Wifi is available at both Unter den Linden and Potsdamer sites. Opening times for the Music and Manuscripts Reading Rooms vary; consult the SBB’s website for information about reading room times and closure dates; a link to the library’s homepage is provided here There is a café onsite at Potsdamer and a selection of vending machines are located in the foyer at Unter den Linden. The staff at both sites were friendly and very helpful.


In my next blog I will provide an account of my experience researching at the Lipperheidesche Kostuembibliothek (Lipperheide Costume Library) which is located at the Kunstbibliothek, 6 Matthäikirchplatz, Berlin.


This research trip was kindly and generously funded by the Keats-Shelly Association of America, Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr., Research Grant 2017.



Researching at the British Library

During the month of July (2016) I spent two weeks researching at the British Library (BL); the St Pancras branch which is located at 96 Euston Road, London. My experience of researching here was extremely positive – it’s a state of the art facility and the library staff are professional, helpful and friendly. Since my reader’s pass expired in 2013 I first needed to visit Reader Registration (on the ground floor) to renew my pass. This is a straightforward process, however expect it to be busy. On arriving at the desk you are asked for the required documentation (see website Provided all is in order, you are then directed to one of the PCs to fill in an online form and receive your number in the queue. Once you go through the registration/renewal process the assistant will issue your new card. Coats and bags are not allowed in the Reading Rooms; lockers, which require a £1 coin, are provided on the lower ground floor.

British Library, London
British Library, London


I was researching in the Rare Books and Music Reading Room located on the first floor. To order items you must register online via the ‘Explore the British Library’ page. Once you have your reader’s pass you can order in advance of your visit online. You can track the progress of your order by clicking on ‘My Reader Requests ‘and orders take up to 70 minutes to arrive to the reading room. You can order up to 10 items each day, however you will only be issued 6 items at a time. Up to 6 items can also be held over until the next day.  The Rare Books and Music Reading Room is well equipped; despite the large number of desks available to readers it is best to get there early to ensure your seat. The reading room times are listed on the library’s website ( Each desk has a reading lamp, wi-fi is available onsite and there are three cafés, a restaurant and coffee dock onsite. The shop is also worth a visit whether looking for an interesting book or a souvenir!


Moore and McDonagh

The Irish peasant to his mistress (Thro’ grief and thro’ danger) is from the Third Number of the Irish Melodies which was first published in the Summer of 1810. An undated manuscript copy of the lyrics to the first verse in the hand of poet, playwright and 1916 signatory Thomas McDonagh is extant at the National Library of Ireland; A digitised version of this source is available to view online by following this link;

The lyrics to many of Moore’s Irish Melodies are well known for their political and nationalistic content and themes; subjects which may well have resonated with McDonagh. The lyrics for the complete song are transcribed below.


Thro’ grief and thro’ danger thy smile hath cheer’d my way,
Till hope seem’d to bud from each thorn that round me lay;
The darker our fortune, the brighter our pure love burn’d
Till shame into glory, till fear into zeal was turn’d;
Oh! salve as I was, in thy arms my spirit felt free,
And bless’d e’en the sorrows that made me more dear to thee.

Thy rival was honour’d, while thou wert wrong’d and scorn’d;
Thy crown was of briers, while gold her brows adorn’d;
She woo’d me to temples, while thou lay’st hid in caves;
Her friends were all masters, while thin, alas! were slaves;
Yet, cold in the earth, at thy feet I would rather be,
Than wed what I loved not, or turn one thought from thee.

They slander thee sorely, who say thy vows are frail-
Hadst thou been a false one, thy cheek had look’d less pale!
They say too, so long thou hast worn those ling’ring chains;
That deep in thy heart they have printed their servile stains;
Oh! do not believe them – no chain could that soul subdue;
Where shineth thy spirit, there liberty shineth too!

Image Courtesy of Special Collections, McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast

The Irish Peasant to His Mistress
The Irish Peasant to His Mistress

Researching at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin

The National Library of Ireland reading rooms are located at two sites; the Main Reading Room is located at the main library site 5 Kildare Street and the Manuscripts’ Reading Room is located at 2-3 Kildare Street. Sources for Moore’s works are available to view at both sites however the majority of Moore sources are available in the Manuscripts’ Reading Room and are Special Access; this means the items are stored offsite, consequently call times and access may be limited. Reader’s tickets can be obtained from the Reader Services Office which is located to the left of the security desk on entering the main site; consult the library’s website for more information about visiting the library (see link below).

I’ve held a National Library reader’s ticket for a number of years now and my current ticket doesn’t expire until 2017, however I did need to visit Reader Services in order to acquire a password for wifi access which is available in both reading rooms. If you have a valid reader’s ticket you can order items online in advance of your visit. If working in the Main Reading Room you can order up to three items at a time and you can choose items to be delivered at any of the 10 available call times; bags and coats must be stored in the lockers located in a small room on the left after the security desk. The variety of call times available to readers working in the Main Reading Room facilitates with planning your research schedule and it’s possible to hold items for up to a week by filling in the forms available at the main desk. Copying and microfilm facilities are available onsite; see the library’s website for further details. The Manuscripts’ Reading Room is smaller than the Main Reading Room, however there is space to seat approximately 30 readers. Storage space is limited, consequently the number of items you wish to order may be restricted. The library is located in the centre of Dublin city so there are plenty of cafés and restaurants to choose from if you are in need of lunch or a coffee break; Café Joly is located on the ground floor at the main site.

Moore’s Library

Thomas Moore was made an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1846 and after his death in 1852 his wife donated approximately 1,200 items from his personal library to the Academy. Moore’s Library, which is stored in the Council Room at Academy House, contains eighteenth- and nineteenth-century texts in English, French and Italian. Its contents include works by Shakespeare and Voltaire, titles on oriental and eastern cultures and traditions, and books about Irish history and politics. Moore was an accomplished scholar and thorough researcher as evidenced by the extensive library he acquired. His researching skills and attention to detail are also evidenced by the presence of numerous footnotes throughout the Irish Melodies, National Airs and printed text for Lalla Rookh. Titles on oriental customs and cultures extant in Moore’s Library no doubt provided the poet-songwriter with the knowledge required to write his epic oriental poem. The following quotation, which provides a definition for the word Lalla, is taken from Bibliothèque orientale: où dictionnaire universel, contenant tout ce qui fait connoître les peuples de l’Orient by Barthélemy d’Herbelot (page 143).

“Laleh Ce mot, dont les Persans & les Turcs se servant pour signifier une tulipe, est chez eux le symbole d’un Amant passioné, à cause que cette fleur a ordinairement se feuilles rouges, & qu’elle est marquée au fonds d’une noirceur, qui a quelque ressemblance à la marque que laisse l’application ou l’impression d’un bouton de feu. Ainsi, disent-ils, l’Amant à le feu sur le visage, & la blessure dans le coeur. Laleh Deschti & Lalech Gouhi. Tulipe de campagne & de montagne, c’est-á-dire, sauvage & non cultivée. Les Persans appellent ainsi les anémones, que les Arabes nomment Schacaik al Noôman, à cause que ce fut Noôman, Roi d’Arabie, qui les transporta le premier de la campagne dans ses jardins.”


Image Courtesy of Special Collections, McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast

Cover, Lalla Rookh: an oriental romance, illustrated by John Tenniel
Cover, Lalla Rookh: an oriental romance, illustrated by John Tenniel

Researching at the RIA Library, Dublin

During the month of June I spent 2 days researching at the Royal Irish Academy Library (RIA), which is located at Academy House, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. With Grafton Street, Trinity College and several busy cafés located close-by, the RIA Library provides a research haven in the heart of Dublin city. The unique reading room, which dates from the early 1850s, seats 10 readers. As suggested in previous posts, it’s best to make contact with a librarian by email in advance of your visit to help ensure you can access all the material you require. A reader’s ticket costs €15 and information about visiting the library is available online (see the link below). Bags and coats are not allowed in the reading room, lockers for storing personal belongings are available and are located downstairs. The library staff are very friendly and helpful and wifi is available onsite.

Academy House, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
Academy House, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin

I examined and catalogued ten music sources of relevance to ERIN; eight nineteenth-century editions of the Irish Melodies and two nineteenth-century editions of the National Airs. These sources were donated to, or purchased by, the library. Several volumes bear the name(s) of former owners and all volumes are beautifully bound and in very good condition.


Since its foundation in 1785 The Royal Irish Academy has had many distinguished honorary members including Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Thomas Moore. Moore’s association with the Academy dates back to 1846 when he was made an honorary member. A number of tributes to the poet-songwriter are displayed in Academy House including a portrait and bust of the poet, both of which are displayed in the Council Room, located on the right as you enter the building. Also stored in the Council Room are the contents of Moore’s Library; access may be limited so check in advance that you can access material on the day you plan to visit. My next blogpost will provide an overview of Moore’s Library and some of its contents.





Moore Sources at the BSB

Like the BnF, the BSB does not possess a dedicated ‘Moore Collection’, however the following musical sources are contained in the library’s music collection: a copy of Duffy’s 1859 edition of the Irish Melodies edited by Glover, one copy each of Numbers 1-8 of the Irish Melodies, one copy each of Numbers 1-3 of the National Airs and one copy of each of the following individually published songs from the Irish Melodies and National Airs series; The harp that once thro’ Tara’s halls (First Number Irish Melodies), Has sorrow thy young days shaded (Sixth Number Irish Melodies) and Should those fond hopes (First Number National Airs). The Irish Melodies Numbers 1-7 and all three copies of the National Airs are available to view online via the BSB’s online catalogue;

Just over one third of the sources I examined and catalogued at the BSB were for works from, or inspired by, Moore’s Lalla Rookh. These include songs by Attwood, Clarke, Hawes and Stevenson, a fantasy-overture by William Sterndale Bennett (1816-75) based on Paradise and the Peri and a cantata by John Francis Barnett (1837-1916) also based on Paradise and the Peri. Music for Anton Rubinstein’s opera Feramors is also contained in the library’s music collection.

Image courtesy of Special Collections, McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast

title page: Paradise and the Peri by John francis Barnett
Title page: Paradise and the Peri by John Francis Barnett

Researching in Die Bayerische StaatsBiblioithek, Munich

In early May I visited Die Bayerische StaatsBibliothek (BSB) in Munich; this was my first visit to Munich and to the BSB. If travelling from abroad to carry out research at the BSB it is worth planning your trip at least a couple of weeks in advance. I began my preparations about three weeks in advance which helped ensure I could get access to all the material I needed during my visit. If visiting from abroad you are required to complete an online registration form. Alternatively you can download the form and post or fax a completed copy. I completed the online form which involved providing personal details, listing the dates of my intended visit and providing information about the material I wished to examine. Within a day or two you should receive an email acknowledgement confirming that you have been issued with a reader’s card which you collect on arrival at the library. You are also provided with a user number and password which permits readers to login to the BSB online catalogue and order items online. Items are available three days after the library receives your order and are reserved for ten days once available, consequently it is important to plan well so your order coincides with your arrival and the duration of your visit. You are advised by the library staff to order items at least one week in advance of your visit. Readers are permitted to order 10 items at a time, however since I was on a short visit (3 days) my order was upgraded to 30 items. Placing your order online is very easy; select the item, press the ‘Order’ button and select the reading room where you want your order to be delivered (for me it was Musiklesesaal 1/Music Reading Room First Floor). It is possible to view the BSB website and catalogue in English and you can view your order by going to ‘My details’ and ‘Requests’ provided you are logged-in. After placing my order I also emailed the music reading room just to make sure the order had gone through successfully. It had!

Die Bayerische StaatsBiblioithek
Die Bayerische StaatsBiblioithek

Die Bayerische StaatsBibliothek is located at No. 16 Ludwigstrasse, about a ten minute walk from Marienplatz and five minutes from the Bavarian National Theatre and State Opera House. On arrival at the library go to the counter marked “Zulassung and Sonderfaelle’ to receive your reader’s card; this desk is located on the first floor. Note that you cannot bring bags or coats into this area which is located at the entrance to the general reading room. Lockers, which require a €1 or €2 coin, are available on the ground floor. Once you receive your reader’s card you can get started! The Lesesaal Musik, Karten und Bilder (Music, Maps and Coins Reading Room) is located on the first floor.  Lockers are available in the corridor outside the reading room which is convenient if researching in this part of the library. Once you check-in with the duty librarian you can access your order which will be stored in alphabetical order according to your surname on shelves at the top of the reading room. Once the items have been processed you can work away and you can store items on the shelves for the next day.

The music reading room can seat 28 readers, is equipped with two PCs and there is a piano at the back of the room. A scanner for copying items is available in the corridor outside the music reading room and copying cards are available from a machine on the second floor; a minimum payment of €5 is required. I found the library staff to be very helpful and extremely understanding of the fact that I don’t speak German; the library staff were very willing to converse in English and prior to my visit I corresponded via email with staff in the library and music reading room in English. There is a café onsite; a lunchtime ham and cheese roll and medium cappuccino will set you back €6.50. There is also a lounge onsite if you prefer, or have the facility to bring a packed lunch. I found the BSB a very pleasant library in which to carry out research. Consult the BSB’s website for information about admission, reading room times, closure dates, contact information and how to obtain a reader’s card; a link to the library’s homepage is provided at the end of this blog. Wifi is available onsite, just ask the duty librarian for the details needed to connect, or, consult the BSB’s website for this information.