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The Dublin Music Trade project was initiated by the late Brian Boydell (1917–2000): composer, professor of music at Trinity College Dublin and author of the seminal texts A Dublin Musical Calendar, 1700–60 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1988) and Rotunda Music in Eighteenth-Century Dublin (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1992). Over the course of his research, he compiled a card index of music publishers, printers, sellers and instrument makers in Dublin from 1750 to 1850. Publication of this research was planned but never came to fruition.

In the 1990s this research was passed onto his son Barra Boydell: professor of music at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and expert on the history of music in Ireland with an emphasis on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and on organology and musical iconography. Barra transferred the information from his father’s card catalogue to computer. He developed and expanded the database, planning to extend the research to the end of the nineteenth century. On his retirement in 2010, Barra passed the research onto Dr Catherine Ferris to develop into an online resource.

While access to the Boydell's research was restricted to those in personal contact with the family, it became a key reference for musicologists, historians, music librarians and archival scholars, particularly for establishing unknown publication dates of scores by cross-referencing dates and addresses of publishers. In bringing the Boydell's research online with the launch of DublinMusicTrade.ie in 2013, access to this valuable information is now freely-accessible and fully-searchable.

While the coverage falls primarily between 1515 and 1850, this is only the first step in bringing together information on the music trade in Dublin from the earliest times to the present day.

We consider this a work in progress and welcome additions and contributions on an ongoing basis.