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The Musical Heritage of Louth and Oriel

Over the past number of years, Adèle and Daithí have been engaged in a variety of research projects related to the study of the musical heritage of Louth and the wider Oriel region, extending into South Armagh and beyond. These projects have resulted in performances and recordings, notably with the DkIT Ceol Oirghialla Traditional Music Ensemble. Recent concerts have included a tribute to piano accordion player, band leader and composer Brian O'Kane, who was a member of the Siamsa Céilí Band from Dundalk, notable for winning three All Ireland Senior titles in a row from 1967-1969 (see Treoir 2017). Previous concerts, presentations and forthcoming publications relate to fiddle player and composer Josephine Keegan.

Current research includes projects on the life and legacy of Rory Kennedy, another accordion player and Adèle's teacher for a number of years. We look forward to further celebrations of and research into musicians and music from Louth and are enthusiastically gathering information and conducting interviews relating to the Siamsa Céilí Band, individuals including Brendan Gaughran and Kevin O'Callaghan, and other aspects of musical life in Dundalk and beyond in the twentieth century.

We are also involved in current postgraduate research in the area which includes projects that critically consider the potential of music in the context of tourism in the Oriel region, while completed work has examined music festivals in the region (Moley, 2016). With the 2018 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann coming to Drogheda, we look forward to disseminating our research more widely and providing context for the many visitors to Louth.


Kearney, D. ‘Listening for Tradition: Contributing to a Regional Musical Identity Through Higher Education and Research’ Musicology Research Series 2018, 4(2) 'Geography, Music, Space': 387-424. 

Conference Presentation

  • Commins, A. ‘We are the Champions’: Celebrating the All-Ireland Winning Siamsa Céilí Band', Seachtain na hÉigse, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

  • Commins, A. and Kearney, D. ‘Researching and performing the Oriel Region’, ICTM Ireland Annual Conference, UCD, 22 February 2019. 

  • Kearney, D. ‘The Changing Geography of Irish Traditional Music’, FUAIM Lecture Series, University College Cork, 8 November 2018. 

  • Commins, A. ‘The Musical Legacy of Rory Kennedy in Co. Louth’, Ó Ghlúin go Glúin Symposium, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Drogheda, Co. Louth, August, 2018.

  • Kearney, D. ‘Scottish Overtones: the influence of Scottish musical traditions on Irish fiddle player Josephine Keegan’ North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, University of Aberdeen, July 2018. 

  • Kearney, D. ‘Sounding Louth: Listening for Identity in the Traditional Music of Louth’. The Conference of Irish Geographers, Maynooth University, 10 May 2018. 
  • Kearney, D. ‘The relevance of regional identities in traditional music today and implications for teaching’ Pedagogies, Practices And The Future Of Folk Music In Higher Education Conference, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, 18 -  20 January 2018. 

  • Commins, A. ‘Traditional Music at Dundalk Institute of Technology: Where Creative Arts and Technology Meet’, Pedagogies, Practices and the Future of Folk Music Conference, Royal Conservatoire Scotland, Glasgow, 18 -  20 January 2018.

  • Commins,  A. 2017 'Put a Swing in It': The Musical Legacy of Rory Kennedy. International Council for Traditional Music Conference, University of Limerick, 19 July 2017.

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