Music - Irish Traditional Music Performance

The MA in Irish Traditional Music Performance is a one-year, full-time postgraduate programme designed to provide advanced tuition in the performance of Irish traditional music. Instrumental and vocal tuition is provided by a community of world-renowned traditional performers and tutors. Past tutors have included Frankie Gavin, Liam O'Flynn, Martin Hayes, Matt Cranitch and Michael McGoldrick, amongst others, Academic skills relating to the understanding and critical examination of repertoire, sources and styles of performance, as well as an examination of modern, vocational, non-performance skills such as music business and music technology, form an essential part of the programme content.

This programme will develop music skills and other associated skills appropriate to the modern performance of traditional Irish music.

- To provide a learning environment for advanced performance in Traditional Irish Music to the highest standard;

- To honour the artistic integrity, history, and identity of the performance practice within an academic and performance orientated context;

- To facilitate interactivity with other performance practices;

- To assist each individual performer in 'finding his or her voice' through traditional music performance;

- To facilitate the cross-fertilisation of both the academic and performance pursuits of postgraduate performing music, dance and academic programmes;

- To equip the student with the necessary vocational skills for modern professional performance contexts.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

A primary degree in a suitable discipline with first or second class honours or an approved professional qualification (Primary Degree: Level 8 - National Qualifications Authority of Ireland).
An interview will be required in all cases, as well as an audition where necessary. Candidates may be required to submit additional audio visual and/or written material.
Careers: The prime focus of the course is the development of performers so many past students have gone on to develop careers as traditional musicians. However students have gone on to use skills acquired through this MA in a number of other fields including education (at primary, post-primary, secondary and tertiary levels), technology, arts management, etc.

What to include with your application
•Qualification transcripts and certificates
•English language qualification if English is not your first language
•Certified English translations of your transcripts/certificates where the originals are in a language other than English.
•A copy of your birth certificate or passport

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of either prior successful completion of a degree qualification taught through the medium of English or meet one of the criteria below (no longer than two years prior to application):

Acceptable English Language qualifications include the following:
Acceptable English Language qualifications include the following:
•Matriculation examinations from European countries where English is presented as a subject and an acceptable level is achieved
•Irish Leaving Certificate English –Ordinary Level Grade D or above
•TOEFL – 580 (paper based) or 90 (internet based)
•IELTS – Minimum score of 6.5 with no less than 6 in any one component.
•English Test for English and Academic Purposes (ETAPP) – Grade C1
•GCE 'O' level English Language/GCSE English Language – Grade C or above
•Cambridge Assessment English - Certificate of Proficiency in English - Grade C / Certificate in Advanced English Grade B
•GCE Examination Boards – Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations – Grade C / Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate – School Certificate Pass 1-6 / University of London Entrance and School Examinations Council – School Certificate Pass 1-6

Results in examinations other than those listed above may also be accepted as meeting our English language requirements. Contact the International Education Division for advice.


1 year full time MAITMPTFAD

Careers or further progression

Graduate Profile

Nicole McKeever, MA
The MA in Irish Traditional Dance Performance programme at UL, under the directorship of Dr Catherine Foley, changed me as dancer both physically and mentally. It allowed me to become the professional dancer and choreographer I knew I was destined to be. Through my experiences in the program and the people I met I was able to launch my professional career and take my life in a direction I never could have imagined. Since successfully completing the MA in Irish Traditional Dance Performance, I have toured consistently for five years with Riverdance the show, dancing on four continents. I have recently earned my TCRG as a certified Irish dance teacher. I have also taught workshops in Brazil and dance classes in New York City.

Kathleen Spanos, MA
The MA programme in Irish Traditional Dance Performance completely changed the course of my career path: Irish dance for me became something that was not only done at feiseanna, but could also be studied critically in academia. The combination of master classes and workshops along with coursework in dance history and ethnochoreology opened my mind to new ways of thinking about dance. I was encouraged to step out of my comfort zone of competitive Irish step dance to explore unfamiliar styles of dance, such as Brazilian capoeira and West African dance. I learned that I could combine my love of dance and movement with my academic research goals and desire to teach in a university setting.
I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, College Park in Performance Studies, and my doctoral research addresses the development of Irish dance as a percussive dance in the United States. My plan after completing my doctorate is to find a position as a professor of dance or performance studies. I credit the MA programme and my wonderful mentors at the University of Limerick's Irish World Academy of Music & Dance with giving me the means and the courage to allow my passion for Irish dance to guide my academic career goals."

Further enquiries

Dr Sandra Joyce
Tel: +353 (0) 61 202565

Subjects taught

Semester 1
MU5611 Irish Traditional Music Practicum 1
MD6021 Introduction to Fieldwork Methods
MD6071 Writing and the Documentation of Practice 1
MD6081 Critical Engagement with Irish Traditional Music
MD6091 Professional Development for the Performing Arts

Options: students can choose one option from the list below
• MD6051 Independent Study 1
• MD6102 Colloquium 1
• MD6061 Introduction to Somatics 1
• MD6031 Media Technologies for Performing Arts and Arts Research
• MD6101 Interdisciplinary Improvisation
• MD6041 Introduction to Ritual Studies

Semester 2
MU5612 Irish Traditional Music Practicum 2
MU6022 Irish Traditional Music Project
MD6062 Critical Contexts for Arts Management and Cultural Policy

Options: students can choose one option from the list below
• MD6052 Independent Study 2
• MD6111 Colloquium 2
• MD6072 Writing and the Documentation of Arts Practice 2
• MD6092 Introduction to Somatics 2
• BR5001 Broadening Through Awareness, Activism and the Arts

Semester 3 : MD5522 Final Presentation

Application date

Application Deadlines

Taught Programmes
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basies but specific programmes have individual closing dates which can be found on our on-line prospectus

Research Programmes
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis for research programmes. The applications for Research programmes are review each month by the Postgraduate Research Committee.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: 09/Sep/2019

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!