Michelle Mulcahy is one of Ireland’s most talented and gifted multi-instrumentalists in Irish traditional music today. She is considered to be one of Ireland’s most adroit and creative harpers. “Her revolutionary style on the harp is scintillating-played with power and panache, no concession to the complexity of the instrument, confirming her as one of the most significant musicians redefining harp at present’- The Living Tradition. She is a regular performer and tutor worldwide and has toured extensively in Europe, United States, Canada, China, Australia and Vietnam. Michelle has three highly acclaimed albums recorded by American record label Shanachie and Irish record label Chlo- Iar Chonnachta. She was awarded the prestigious TG4 Young Musician of the Year in 2006 and was also awarded Female Musician of the Year in 2005 at the Live-Ireland awards in the United States and also in 2013 for her solo album Suaimhneas. She has also recorded with Bill Whelan and the Irish Chamber Orchestra on his highly acclaimed Connemara suite album on which she was a lead soloist. Michelle’s solo harp debut album “Suaimhneas” was released under the Clo Iar Chonnacht label in 2012 and has been receiving worldwide acclaim as one of the top harp albums in Irish Traditional Music.


Michelle completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music in UCC. She progressed on to postgraduate study at the University of Limerick where she graduated with a first class Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology and in the following year in Music Education. She has just recently completed her PhD dissertation titled ‘Aistear: Performing Cultural Encounter: An Arts Practice Investigation of Karen, Burmese and Irish Harping Traditions’ at the University of Limerick this year.  

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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’.           










**Please note all teachers are subject to change.