Traditional Song as Cultural Heritage Research Cluster
As I Roved Out: Traditional Song Conference June 2022


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As I Roved Out: Songs, Singers and Collectors of Britain, Ireland and Beyond. 

Traditional Song Conference

3rd – 5th June 2022

Venue – Irish World Academy of Music and Dance (University of Limerick)

 Jointly organised by The Traditional Song Forum &

 The Traditional Song as Cultural Heritage Research Cluster


Traditional song has been one of the core activities of the Irish World Academy since its inception.  Song scholars/performers engaged in research at the Academy have been presenting papers at local and international symposia and conferences for some years and from these roots the research cluster TradSong has formed.  Launched at a special song symposium in October 2015, TradSong reflects the traditional song interests of staff and students at the Academy.  Grounded in academia the cluster is focused on performance, preservation and transmission of traditional song in Ireland.

TradSong’s mission is to provide a forum for sharing expertise on Irish traditional song and related areas.  With performance at the heart of our scholarship we engage with Irish song communities and academics through meetings, symposia, performances and conferences.  There will be an emphasis on producing publications and other events that embrace the wider Irish traditional song community as well as international scholars.  While our current focus is on the Irish and related song traditions, we warmly welcome any scholar who has an interest in our events.



Spring 2022 Bulletin

The past two years certainly have been a whirlwind! While we have been sheltering in place, isolating, wearing our masks and washing our hands, we have also been continuing to explore traditional song as intangible cultural heritage.
Here are a few things that we have been up to ––

Dr Carrie Dike is teaching world music and music history classes at Chapman University in Orange, California. She’s also the Music Minor Coordinator, which means she oversees the music minor program, interviews new students for Music Technology, Music Business, Film Music, and History or Performance-based music minors, and helps them develop their course plan. Dr Dike is also a staff singer at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach. She is now living in Newport Beach, loving the beach and sun!

Dr Felix Morgenstern started his FWF-funded (Lise-Meitner Grant) research project “Irish Folk in Austria: Evading National Identity” at the Institute for Ethnomusicology, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. Engaging in the ethnographic study of Irish music-makers and consumers in Austria, the task of this two-year postdoctoral research project is to trace how translocal (Irish) folk-music practices and their consumption still confront the traumatic legacy of extreme nationalism in modern European cultural history.

Dr. Morgenstern has also produced the following publications:

Morgenstern, F. (2021a) ‘Of Sentimentalists, Rebels, and the Musically Attuned: Nineteenth-
Century German Travel Writing on Ireland,’ New Hibernia Review 25(3), 99-110, available:
Morgenstern, F. (2021b) ‘Sideways Nostalgia, Adopted Republicanism and the Performance
of Irish Rebel Songs in the GDR,’ Ethnomusicology Forum 30(3), 340-357, available:

TradSong Scholar Róisín Ní Ghallóglaigh was commissioned by The Arts Council’s Creative Schools programme in January 2020 to facilitate songwriting workshops with students of Ard Scoil Mhuire in Limerick City where they explored the history of Irish women and feminism. They composed two new songs – ‘Fair Play’ and ‘The Ballad of Lady Mary Heath’. Both songs were performed live by the students in Ormston House in Limerick in March 2020. In May 2020 Ní Ghallóglaigh launched an album of unaccompanied traditional songs in Irish and English. The album is called ‘Red Is the Rose’ and is available at the following link:

Ní Ghallóglaigh also received a commission from Meath Arts Office and Creative Ireland in April 2021 to produce and direct an animated video to accompany the song ‘Bóinn -The River Goddess’ which composed for the Songs For Our Children Project in 2019. The song follows the River Boyne as she makes her way from source to sea and tells the myth of her creation. Available to view here: In August 2021 Ní Ghallóglaigh contributed to the 39th EVA International Biennial of Contemporary Art. She was part of an installation by Em’kal Eyongakpa of Camaroon which incorporated sean-nós song into “a polyphonic sculptural and audio installation.”

TradSong Scholar Kara O’Brien has been working to complete her PhD dissertation (coming any year now to a research depository near you!). In addition, she has been actively participating in the Inishowen Singers’ Circle as a singer, a volunteer on the reboot of the Inishowen Song Project, and as part of the committee for both 2021 and 2022 Inishowen Singing Weekend. O’Brien has presented two papers for the Traditional Song Forum, and published blogs for ITMA and the Irish Humanities Alliance. She has also been helping to organise As I Roved Out: an upcoming conference on traditional song, which will be held in Limerick in June 2022.

O’Brien and Dr. Ciara Thompson have co-hosted the Limerick Singing Session online since spring of 2020. They have also published a study together for a special edition of Health Promotion International, in 2022. It is entitled “From hearth to hard drive: well-being benefits of online Irish traditional singing sessions during COVID-19”, and is available here:

Dr Karan Casey has maintained a full touring schedule throughout the pandemic, bringing her music to centres across Ireland, England, France, Canada, and the United States. She has also undertake recording projects with Harry Escott, Niall Vallely, Sean Óg Graham, Niamh Dunne, and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Dr Ciara Thompson has been providing voice lesson for the boys at Glenstal Abbey School, as well as lecturing in Irish traditional music at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. She has also been assisting with event planning at the Academy, including the ‘As I Roved Out’ Traditional Song conference, welcoming Silkroad to the Academy, the UL 50 event ‘Sionna’s Song: celebrating the river Shannon through music, song and dance’, and the Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival event ‘And the flowers they are springing in the May morning dew: A taste of Irish Traditional Song and Singing’.

Dr Thompson and Kara O’Brien had the pleasure of representing the Academy and the Limerick Singing Session by attending the Inishowen Singing Weekend in March 2022. In addition to presenting at a number of national and international conferences, several of Dr Thompson’s publications have come through over the past couple years, including:

Thompson, C. and Shea O’Brien, K. (2022) “From hearth to hard drive: well-being benefits
of online Irish traditional singing sessions during COVID-19”, Health Promotion International, [online] pp. 1-14. DOI:
Thompson, C. (2021) “Finding Happiness in Irish Lullabies, 1860-1910”, Happiness in
Nineteenth Century Ireland. Edited by Mary Hatfield. pp. 159-179. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
Thompson, C. (2021) “The (Non)Gendered Practice of Irish Traditional
Lullabies”, Ethnomusicology Ireland. Edited by Verena Commins, Síle Denvir, Úna Monaghan and Méabh Ní Fhuartháin. Issue 7. ICTM-IE: [online], pp. 123-136. Available at:
Thompson, C. (2019) “The Mason’s Word: Balladry Within Lullabies”, Street Music and
Narrative Traditions. Edited by Sergio Bonanzinga, Luiza Del Giudice and Tom McKean. pp. 257-268. Palermo: Associazione per la Conservazione delle Tradizioni Popolari.

Current Cluster Members
Sandra Joyce
Felix Morgenstern
Róisín Ní Ghallóglaigh
Ciara Thompson
Kara O’Brien
Mary Mclaughlin
Carrie Dike