OPENING ADDRESS: FairPlé – The Story So Far: 10.30am

Liberty Hall, Dublin, admission Free


PANEL 1: She Means Business - Making Music Work

Saturday September 8 @ 11:45 AM - 1 PM

Liberty Hall, Dublin, admission Free

Panelists: Eleanor McEvoy, Peter Cosgrove, Liz Doherty & Dermot McLaughlin.

Chaired by Lynette Fay.  


A panel discussion with industry professionals to evaluate the role of women in the business of Irish traditional and folk music. We will discuss how musicians and performers negotiate the politics and practicalities of creativity, touring, recording and earning money through art. Through the lived experiences of these panelists, we will examine the questions surrounding women in Irish music and the conditions that lend themselves to a largely male dominated industry.


Lynette Fay is an award winning presenter and producer working across radio, television and print media. She specialises in music broadcasting and has championed the promotion of Irish traditional and folk music throughout her career. She currently produces and presents BBC Radio Ulster's flagship traditional music programme Folk Club.


Eleanor McEvoy achieved star status in Ireland in 1992 with her song “A Woman’s Heart”. Her critically acclaimed canon of work spans 13 albums and she is today recognized as one of Ireland’s most successful singer-songwriters. She is the current chairperson of IMRO.

Liz Doherty is a traditional Irish fiddle player and renowned teacher. Winner of Ulster University Students' Union 'Inspirational Teacher of the Year Award' (2017). She currently holds the post of Irish Traditional Music Lecturer at the School of  Arts and Humanities at Ulster University in Derry. Liz has worked and continues to work as a consultant and advisor within the traditional arts sector and has conducted various pieces of research for national and European bodies. She has recently been appointed to the Expert Advisory Committee of Culture Ireland.

Dermot McLaughlin is a renowned exponent of Donegal fiddle music. He learned from Donegal fiddle masters including Con Cassidy, James Byrne, Francie Mooney, Dinny McLaughlin, Vincent Campbell, and Francie Dearg Ó Beirne. Dermot usually performs solo and unaccompanied, which is unusual in Irish traditional music these days. He also teaches at summer schools, masterclasses and other events and prefers to work with small groups or individuals

Peter Cosgrove is an expert on future trends and founder of the Future of Work Institute in Ireland. He is a regular media commentator on gender diversity in Ireland and is on the steering committee of the 30% club. He is founder of the future of work institute at Cpl, Ireland’s largest recruitment agency.


PANEL 2:Playing with Power - Sexual Harassment & Workplace Policy

Saturday September 8th @ 2pm - 3.15pm

Liberty Hall, Dublin, admission free

Panelists: Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, Paul Henry & Pauline Scanlon

Chair: Úna Monaghan

This panel discussion will address the issue of sexual harassment in the arts and Irish music, with a focus on the self-employed status of musicians. Our participants will explore the rights and responsibilities of employers, promoters, agents, sound engineers, teachers, producers and performers of all genders, and provide unique insight into their own experiences within their respective disciplines. 


Úna Monaghan is an Irish harper, composer, sound engineer and the Rosamund Harding Research Fellow in Music at Newnham College, University of Cambridge.


Paul Henry is a Trade Union official, studied Law in DIT Aungier Street and then trained as a barrister in Honourable Kings Inns and became a qualified barrister in October 2016. He heads up the Workers Rights Centre in SIPTU. This department represents individual members in their workplaces and at third party hearings such as the Labour court. He also studied sound engineering and worked in theatres and venues in Ireland.

Pauline Scanlon is folk singer from West Kerry who has been performing internationally for 20 years. A curious collaborator, she has performed and recorded with many of Ireland’s best known artists. She is a founding member of FairPlé.

Ellen O’Malley Dunlop is Chairperson of The National Women’s Council of Ireland. Ellen is a committed feminist, and for 10 years led the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and raised awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland, lobbying tirelessly for victims rights and legislative change. She is a qualified primary school teacher and psychotherapist, became the first woman chair of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy, and lobbied Government on issues of suicide, marital breakdown and children’s rights.


PANEL 3: ‘Emerging Artists: Shaping The Future & Open Floor Discussion’

Liberty Hall, Dublin. Admission Free.

Panelists: Shane Gillen, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Ciara O’Leary Fitzpatrick, Tola Custy & Nuala O’Connor & Eamon Murray

Facilitated by Joanne Cusack. 

A cursory look at participation in Irish music suggests that equal numbers of boys and girls learn music as children, yet at the level of professional performance, the public face is overwhelmingly male. A panel of experts will tease out this issue and offer early career advice to all participating musicians.  


Joanne Cusack is a button accordionist and doctoral researcher from Co. Dublin. Joanne began her doctoral research in Musicology at Maynooth University, focusing her research on gender in Irish traditional music.


Eamon Murray is a founding member of supergroup Beoga and has worked in all facets of the music industry for almost 2 decades.

Shane Gillen is the director of Big and Bright music agency. Big and Bright was established in 2017 in response to a gap in the market for an all-encompassing, 360 degree, specialised talent management service and booking agency. Bringing together established industry experience and PR expertise, they allow acts to flourish in all aspects of their careers, presenting greater opportunities for success.

Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is an award-winning traditional singer and musician from Corca Dhuibhne, West Kerry. She has enjoyed a successful career as a touring artist, with over thirteen years experience as lead singer and flute player with the Irish traditional supergroup Danú, as well as performing as a solo artist.

Ciara O' Leary Fitzpatrick, currently head of Digital Marketing at Cork Opera House has been playing traditional music since the age of four. A concertina player from North Cork, she also is a guest lecturer at CIT Cork School of Music where she previously graduated from with a Masters in Performance. With music and marketing in her tool belt, she has worked with many artists and artistic bodies in building their online strategies and presence. 

Tóla Custy is an exceptional fiddle player and composer from County Clare who has sought to create a sound of his own whilst remaining sympathetic to the subtle nuances in Irish Traditional Music.

Nuala O’Connor established Hummingbird Productions with Philip King in 1987 to produce high quality music and arts documentary films. With Philip King she worked as producer and writer on the BBC’s 'Bringing It All Back Home' and is the author of the book which accompanied the series. Nuala also sits on the governing body of UCC, and has worked as a traditional music reviewer for the Irish Times for many years


Session: 5.30pm



A concert featuring leading folk and traditional artists celebrating the creative contribution of women in Irish music. The evening will highlight the activism of FairPlé in the area of gender balance in traditional and folk music. Artists on the night include: The Friel Sisters, John Spillane, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Síle Denvir, Barry Kerr & Dónal Lunny, ATLAS, Niamh Parsons & Graham Dunne, Emma Langford, Úna Monaghan Jane Walls and Séan McKeon.