Reference Code: IE 2135 N78

Title: The Brian Bunting Papers

Dates of Creation: 1953-2016; predominantly 1953-1967

Level of Description: Fonds

Extent and Medium: 1 box, 3 outsize items (64 files)



Name of Creator(s): Bunting, Brian (b. 1946)

Biographical History: Brian Bunting was born in Belfast in 1946.  He attended St Mary’s Christian Brothers Primary School and later the Grammar School in Barrack Street, Belfast.  At the age of 7, his parents sent him to the Patricia Mulholland School of Irish Dancing.  In 1954, he was part of the junior support cast in Cúchulainn, the first major Irish Ballet produced by Patricia Mulholland, with Norman Maternaghan (Maen) in the lead role. Over the subsequent years Brian also danced in the later Irish Ballets produced by Patricia Mulholland, including The Dream of Angus Óg, The Oul’ Lammas Fair, The Mother of Oisín, The Children of Lir, Phil the Fluter’s Ball, Celtic Anthology and the Variety Market.  In 1958, Brian won the inaugural Junior Northern Ireland Championships (Boys).  He was part of the team of Patricia Mulholland dancers that performed at festivals in the Royal Albert Hall, London and Cork (1962), Royan in France (1964) and the Isle of Man and Leeds (1967).  Brian joined the Northern Ireland Civil Service in 1963.  Owing to work and family commitments, he left the dancing school and stopped Irish dancing in 1968.  He retired from the NICS in 2005.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: Donated by Brian Bunting to the National Dance Archive of Ireland on 7 June 2016.




Scope and Content: This collection comprises photographs, programmes and memorabilia collected by Brian Bunting as a record of his time in Patricia Mulholland’s School of Irish Dancing.  The material relates to Mulholland’s choreographies in which Bunting performed and to festivals in which he participated as a member of Mulholland’s team.  Of particular note are designs by Mercy Hunter for costumes worn by Bunting in some of these performances (see N78/1/2/1, N78/1/8/1, N78/1/9/1 and N78/1/13/1-2).

Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Information: All records have been retained.

Accruals: No accruals are expected.

System of Arrangement: The material has been arranged in three series.  Series 1 contains material relating to Patricia Mulholland’s choreographies, which have been listed chronologically by date of first performance.  Series 2 contains material relating to festivals in which Brian Bunting participated as part of Patricia Mulholland’s team.  This material has been arranged chronologically according to the date of the festival.  Series 3 contains photographs of general Irish dancing interest and assorted programmes, mainly of Patricia Mulholland’s anniversary and other tours.  Also included in this section is a recording of an interview with Brian Bunting.  The material in this series has been arranged thematically by form and thereunder chronologically by date.




Conditions Governing Access: Unrestricted access to all items.

Conditions Governing Reproduction: Standard copyright regulations apply to all items.  For photocopying or reproducing material, please consult with the staff.

Language/ Scripts of Material: English; one item in French.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements: Mostly paper documents and photographs in good condition.  Items N78/1/2/3, N78/1/3/1, N78/1/7/1, N78/1/8/2, N78/1/12/1 and N78/3/3/1 require a PC or laptop with a Windows Media Player or similar.

Finding Aids: A hard copy of the descriptive catalogue is available at the Special Collections and Archives Department, Glucksman Library, University of Limerick.




Related Units of Description: For additional material relating to Patricia Mulholland’s choreographies and her School of Irish Dancing, see N29 (Patricia Mulholland Papers) and N65 (Norman Maen Papers) in the National Dance Archive of Ireland.

Publication Note: Many of the photographs and costume designs in this collection were used to illustrate Joyce Ann MacCafferty’s book The Deep Green Pool.  The Life, Work and Legacy of Patricia Mulholland (Derry: Guildhall Press, 2007).




Archivist’s Note: Papers arranged and described by Anna-Maria Hajba.

Rules or Conventions: This description follows guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd edition, 2000, Irish Guidelines for Archival Description, 2009, National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997 and EAP Guidance on Data Protection for Archive Services, 2018.

Date of Description: January 2019.  Revised May 2020.


© Copyright 2021 Special Collections Library, University of Limerick