Francis Ward

A graduate of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, where he received academic and performance direction from Dr Míchéal Ó’Súillebháin, Francis is an exceptional young academic.  He completed the BA in Irish Music and Dance and an MA in Ethnomusicology with First Class Honours.  After working as a lecturer on the BA Irish Music and Dance undergraduate programme, Francis now holds the prestigious IRCHSS Government of Ireland Scholarship, and his doctoral studies investigate the divergent processes of transmission in Irish traditional music.

Francis is one of Ireland’s most dynamic young piano players.  Involved in Irish traditional music from an early age, he has performed all over the globe, at music festivals including Celtic Connections and the Tønder Festival, and provided musical accompaniment for all major Irish dance competitions including the World Irish Dance Championships.

Francis has performed with many young traditional Irish musicians and has provided numerous recordings for Irish dance shows.  Francis has several national TV appearances to his credit including a performance with Ireland’s most vibrant young ceili band, The Five Counties Ceili Band, at the Rose of Tralee festival as well as on RTE’s latest programme showcasing young Irish traditional musicians, ‘The Reel Deal’, with band Éalú.

Also a talented step dancer, Francis has performed with the world-wide phenomena Riverdance – The Show, and has performed as a dance soloist with music groups including Altan and Cherish the Ladies.  He is also a qualified teacher (TCRG) with An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha, and is involved in teaching at a local and international level.

Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences


Current Research

Francis is a PhD research student in the Irish World Academy.  Supervised by Dr. Colin Quigley, his PhD research is entitled

‘The Effect of New Technologies on the Transmission of Irish Traditional Music’

This work recognises the growing presence of new forms of technology, principally the internet, in the Irish music tradition and seeks to identify the uses of such technology, and as a result, document the divergent transmission processes.

Francis acknowledges funding for his research from the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences.



Ward, F (2009)  Ear Training, Notation and Theory Skills Semester 1 Textbook – Produced for the Certificate in Music and Dance at the University of Limerick

Ward, F. (2008) Multi-Instrumentalism in the Irish Music Tradition, unpublished thesis (M.A.), University of Limerick


Conference Presentations

‘Virtual Fieldwork: The Transmission of Music in the Irish Traditional Music Virtual Community’ National Graduate Conference For Ethnomusicology, 20-23 September 2010, Institute for Music Research, University of London.


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