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Growing up in Louth, Adèle Commins developed a deep love of local heritage and of traditional music under the influence of her teacher Rory Kennedy. Playing both piano and piano accordion, she began composing at a young age, with many of her tunes inspired by the people and places around her, as well as her experiences of playing in local céilí bands. Her music studies at NUI Maynooth facilitated her move full circle and in 2015 she was appointed Head of Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music at Dundalk Institute of Technology, where she had been Head of Music since 2008.


Kerryman Daithí Kearney arrived in Dundalk in 2011 to lecture in Irish traditional music. A banjo and mandolin player with a keen interest in regional traditions, he quickly became involved in various aspects of music making in Co. Louth. Having previously released the album Midleton Rare with accordion player John Cronin influenced by the musical heritage of Sliabh Luachra, he teamed up with Adèle to explore the music of the Oriel region and they began to share their own compositions.

There are many aspects to our research which you can discover on our website:

  • live performances

  • recordings

  • compositions

  • teaching and workshop facilitation

  • music research and postgraduate supervision

We are grateful to all who support us including our colleagues at Dundalk Institute of Technology, branches of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and other community and voluntary groups, and the musicians who share music with us.


BIOGRAPHY - Adèle Commins

Dr Adèle Commins is Head of Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music at Dundalk Institute of Technology. A graduate of NUI Maynooth with a PhD in Music and first class honours degrees in Music and Irish and Higher Diploma in Education, she also holds an ALCM and LGSMD in piano performance. She is an accomplished piano, piano accordion player and soprano. As a performer she has toured North and South America, France, Canada, Scotland, Norway and England. She enjoys composing music with many of her compositions inspired by her travels.

As a musicologist her main research interests lie in nineteenth and twentieth century English and Irish music. She has presented her research at national and international conferences in Ireland, England, America, Norway, Croatia, France and Australia.

Her doctoral work examined the reception history of Charles Villiers Stanford and included a detailed analysis of his forty-eight Preludes for solo piano. She penned the article on Stanford in The Companion to Irish Music and has published articles on Stanford’s Four Irish Dances (Musicology Australia, 2023), the pipes in his comic opera Shamus O’Brien (An Píobaire, 2022), his involvement with the Feis Ceoil (Eire, 2019), reception of his music in America (How Popular Culture Travels, 2019) and Stanford's Manuscript Collection (Brio, 2012).  Recent conference presentations include papers which examined different aspects of Stanford's repertoire including his relationship with Percy Grainger and Joseph Joachim and the reception of Stanford’s Shamus O’Brien in America and Ireland. She has also contributed articles on music in Ireland in the nineteenth century to the Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland in addition to working as an assistant style editor for this publication.

In addition to her work on Stanford, she has developed research examining Irish traditional music. Her work focuses on the music of the Oriel region and she has presented widely on musicians associated with the area including Rory Kennedy and the Siamsa Céilí Band and the Gardiner family. Recent publications contextualise and recognise the importance of Louth musicians within the broader activities and developments in Irish traditional music.

Other research interests include the scholarship of teaching and learning, music education, instrumental pedagogy, performance practice and music editing. Recent outputs include critical reflections on the impact of COVID-19 on musiking in community contexts.  Further publications on the scholarship of learning and teaching include contributions to Journal of Music, Health and Wellbeing (2021), All-Ireland Journal of Higher Education (2021) and Journal of Music, Technology and Education (2019).

Adèle is a board member of a number of creative and educational organisations including Creative Spark and Louth Music Education Partnership, LMETB (Music Generation). She is also a member of the Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM) Ireland committee and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Charles Villiers Stanford Society.

She continues to be active in local music groups. She is one of the musical directors of the Oriel Traditional Orchestra, a community-based intergenerational orchestra for which she composes and arranges music, and contributes music in two local churches.

BIOGRAPHY - Daithí Kearney

Ethnomusicologist, geographer and performer Dr Daithí Kearney is a lecturer in music, theatre and tourism and co-director of the Creative Arts Research Centre at Dundalk Institute of Technology. A graduate of University College Cork, his research is primarily focused on Irish traditional music and folk theatre but extends to include performance studies, community music, music education, tourism and the connection between music and place. His PhD concentrated on the construction of geographies and regional identities in Irish traditional music and his research interests include the negotiation, mediation and construction of identities through music and the relationship between music and place.

Daithí has toured regularly as a musician, singer and dancer with a number of groups including Siamsa Tíre, The National Folk Theatre of Ireland and was Artistic Director of the The Cork International Folk Dance Festival 2005. An All-Ireland champion musician, he is an active member of the Drogheda Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. He regularly teaches and adjudicates for CCÉ, is a regular contributor to Treoir, and was the recipient of a Bardic Award in 2023.

Daithí has performed with a number of ensembles, including the DkIT Ceol Oirghialla Traditional Music Ensemble. He performed for President Obama in The White House in 2009 and in 2013 performed at the National Folk Festival of Australia. In 2012 he released an album with Cork accordion player John Cronin entitled Midleton Rare, which is related to a wider research project on the music and musicians of the Sliabh Luachra region. His compositions also feature on the 2020 recording by Carobh Eochaille CCÉ and Ceolta Sí entitled Oidhreacht Eochaille and are regularly performed by the award-winning Oriel Traditional Orchestra.

Daithí is widely published with 14 book chapters and 22 journal articles, in addition to over 100 conference presentations and many creative outputs. Publications include contributions to the Companion to Irish Traditional Music (ed. Vallely, 2012), Ancestral Imprints (Ed. Smith, 2012), the Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland (ed. White and Boydell, 2013), Spacing Ireland (Crowley and Linehan, 2013), New Crops Old Fields (ed. Caldwell and Byers, 2016), How Popular Culture Travels (ed. Mikowski and Philippe, 2019), Women and Music in Ireland (ed O’Connor Madson et al, 2022), Festivals and the City (ed. Smith et al, 2022), and Staged Folklore (ed Motherway and O’Connell, 2022). Daithí has also contributed to Ethnomusicology Forum, Musicultures, The International Journal for Traditional Arts, Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, Ethnomusicology Ireland, Sonas, Musicology Review, The Yearbook for Traditional Music, Popular Music, Estudios Irlandeses, Journal of Music, Technology & Education, Musicology Research and the International Encyclopedia of Human Geography.

Daithí is a former treasurer and chair of and currently secretary to ICTM Ireland and a recipient of the 2023 DkIT President’s Prize for Established Researcher in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

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