Francis Roche Memorial Lecture

Thursday June 22nd, 5pm

The 2017 Francis Roche Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Helen Lawlor. This lecture is open to the public and takes place in the Tower Theatre, Irish World Academy Building. Admission is free (saor in aisce).


Helen Lawlor

Dr. Helen Lawlor: “Come Summer, Come Winter, from the Mouth of Harps”: The Irish Harp in Myth, Poetry and Music


Dr Helen Lawlor is a musician and academic, specialising in Irish harping.  She studied at UCD from 2004-2010 for a Masters in Musicology (2005) and PhD in Music (2010).  She was awarded an Ad Astra Research Scholarship for her doctoral studies under the supervision of Professor Thérèse Smith.  Helen’s PhD was entitled ‘Contemporary Irish Harping’ and provided a musical ethnography of Irish harping in the twentieth century. She now lectures ethnomusicology, music education and Irish music at Dundalk Institute of Technology where she is programme director of the MA in Traditional Music Studies.

Helen is co-editor with Sandra Joyce of ‘Harp Studies, Perspectives on the Irish Harp’ (Four Courts Press, 2016).  In 2012 Helen published her research on the harp tradition in a monograph entitled ‘Irish Harping 1900-2010’ (Four Courts Press).  Helen has also contributed articles to the Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, The Companion to Irish Traditional Music, Ancestral Imprints and Sonus.  While a doctoral student at UCD she co-edited Issue 3 of The Musicology Review. She has given guest lectures at Harvard University, the New England Conservatory, the American Irish Historical Society and the Royal Scottish Conservatoire. 

As a musician Helen has performed and taught traditional Irish harping at numerous international music festivals including the Interceltic Festival (Lorient), Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and The Gaelic Roots festival in Boston.  Her music has been broadcast on various radio programmes, including a feature interview and performance on the ‘Rolling Wave’.  She has also recorded with renowned singer Lorcán MacMathúna on his album ‘An Rogaire Dubh’.           








2016 – Dr Ryan Molloy: “Traditional Contemporary Music – Conflicts of Influence”
2015 – Dermot McLaughlin: “A Soundscape of the Donegal Fiddle – a response to the challenges of defining a regional style”
2014 – Toner Quinn: “The Thin Green Line: In Writing About Irish Traditional Music”
2013 – Professor Breandán Ó Madagáin: “The Elemental function of music and magic in the Gaelic tradition of Ireland and Scotland”
2012 – Dr Mel Mercier: “Making Music Together: Father and Son Duets”
2011 – Dr Breandán de Gallaí: “Noċtú: Irish Dance Laid Bare”
2010 – Paul Brady: “From Holyrood to Hooba Dooba: My Life in Music”
2008 – Dr Matt Cranitch: Learning and Teaching ‘Outside the Tradition”