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Irish Heritage Newsletter January/February 2021
Welcome to the first issue of Irish Heritage’s newsletter for 2021. 
  • The ever-changing Covid-19 situation has delayed the circulation of this issue as we awaited clarification of the impact of the pandemic on the Charity’s plans for the remainder of the 2020/21 season – see lead story.
  • Blackwater Valley Opera Festival Announces 2021 Bursary Recipients
  • Volunteers required for new Irish Heritage Committee
  • Music Bursary for Composition – Update 
  • Review: Virtual “Christmas by Candlelight Concert” attracts viewers
  • News from Friends and Collaborators
Remember to visit the new Irish Heritage website at for all the latest news and updates about the charity.


Irish Heritage cancels remainder of 2020/21 season

Charity plans to stage full 2021/22 programme starting in September

Given the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the latest government guidance, the Board of Irish Heritage has decided to cancel the remainder of the 2020/21 season’s calendar of events.

As a result there will be no concerts or recitals in front of live audiences before the 31st July.  In the meantime, Irish Heritage will continue to seek opportunities to stage virtual events on its own or with its collaborators.

Commenting on the decision, Patrick Lennon, Chairman of Irish Heritage said, “I’m sure it will come as no surprise to the charity’s Friends and supporters that we have had to cancel the remainder of our 2020/21 programme. 

“It is very frustrating for us to be unable to provide the wonderfully talented, young Irish musicians, singers and composers that we support with opportunities to perform in front of live audiences."

"We are working on the calendar for our 48th season which is scheduled to start in September.  Hopefully, the current restrictions on live events will be removed by then and we can return to helping artists and audiences experience the joy of live music once again.”

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival Announces 2021 Bursary Recipients

Irish Heritage’s collaborator, the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (BVOF), has announced that the co-recipients of its 2021 Music Bursary are flautist Amy Gillen and bass-baritone Rory Dunne.  The recipients share a prize of €10,000.

Multi-award winning Amy Gillen is well known to Irish Heritage audiences and supporters.  She received the charity’s Music Bursary for Performance in 2018 and has since performed at a number of its live and virtual events, most recently in the 2020 “Christmas by Candlelight concert”.

Kildare born bass-baritone Rory Dunne studied at TU Dublin Conservatoire and has gone on to perform with Wexford Festival Opera, Lyric Opera Productions, Irish National Opera, Cork Opera and Opera Collective Ireland. He received the 2020 PwC Emerging Young Artist Bursary.

In an enhancement of the collaboration between the BVOF and Irish Heritage, both recipients will perform at an Irish Heritage concert in London in the 2021/22 season.

The BVOF Bursary supports exceptionally talented artists and is a vital part of the Festival’s commitment to nurture and develop the careers of the best emerging Irish performers. The bursary recipients are selected by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Dieter Kaegi, and are encouraged to use the funding to further their musical education and performing ability.

Announcing the award, Dieter Kaegi commented, “Amy and Rory are most deserving recipients of our 2021 bursary award and we are looking forward to welcoming them back to perform at the Festival later this year.”

This year’s Festival will take place in Lismore, County Waterford between 1st and 5th September.

For further information please visit:
Amy Gillen (pictured) and Rory Dunne share valuable €10,000 award.
Volunteers required for new Irish Heritage Committee

Following its achievement of registered charity status in May 2020 and In order to comply with good governance guidelines from the Charity Commission Irish Heritage wishes to establish a Committee that will be responsible for its day-to-day operation. 

The Committee will report to the Board of Trustees.
Individuals with experience and expertise in any of the disciplines listed below, who are interested in contributing to the development of the charity and the performing arts, are invited to contact the charity’s Chairman, Patrick Lennon at:

The disciplines where help is needed are in no order of priority: current performing arts experience (ideally in this country and Ireland); knowledge of Ireland, its culture and the issues impacting on the latter at present; event management; digital marketing and communications; fundraising;  communications and presentation technology; current music education; and broad Irish Community contacts.
Music Bursary for Composition – Update

Entries for Irish Heritage’s 2020/21 Music Bursary for composition closed on 31st January.  The entries are currently being assessed by the independent adjudicator and the charity plans to announce the recipient by the end of February.

Thanks to the support of the Ireland Funds Great Britain, the recipient will receive a cash award of £3,000 and a world premiere of her/his new composition at an Irish Heritage concert next season.

Virtual “Christmas by Candlelight Concert” attracts viewers

Irish Heritage’s first virtual concert a success on YouTube channel

The disappointment of being unable to stage Irish Heritage’s annual “Christmas by Candlelight Concert” in front of a live audience in St George’s Church in Hanover Square was compensated by the viewing figures the concert received on the charity’s YouTube channel.

Between the 14th and 31st December the concert was watched by 725 people, an encouraging audience for the charity’s first, full length event on the digital channel.

The concert which was recorded in early December in the Embassy of Ireland in London featured a talented cast, five of whom were Irish Heritage bursary recipients – Carolyn Holt, Amy Gillen, Mollie Wrafter, Justine Gormley and Aran O’Grady, the other two performers were Ava Dodd, the 2020 RDS music bursary recipient, and Conall O’Neill, who starred in the 2020 Wexford Opera Festival Factory. The readers were H.E. Ambassador O’Neill and Katie Jemmett, Director of the Ireland Funds Great Britain.

Irish Heritage hopes to return to St George’s and a live audience for this year’s Christmas concert.

News from and about Irish Heritage Friends and Collaborators

The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival 2021

The dates for this year’s Blackwater Valley Opera Festival are 1st – 5th September.  The Irish Heritage Bursary recipients’ recital is scheduled for  Dromore Yard on Friday 3rd September at 12.00pm.

For further details please visit:

Irish Music and Dance in London (IMDL) announce their 2021 Digital Concert Series

The series starts on Thursday 25th February with a double bill featuring The Wilderness Yet and Eimear McGeown & James Carty with Jonas Fromseier. The concert will be streamed live from Kings Place (stream available to view for seven days after event)
Tickets: £10

Programme for West Wicklow Music Festival 28th-30th May 2021

Pianist and friend of Irish Heritage, Fiachra Garvey has been in contact to share details of the 2021 West Wicklow Festival programme which will take place from the 26th-30th May 2021 subject to government guidelines.

Featured artists include Sean Shibe (guitar), Rosanne Philippens and Zoltán Fejérvári (violin and piano), Quatuor Van Kuijk, Jamal Aliyev and Sam Armstrong (cello and piano), Trio Sitkovetsky, Rachel Kelly (mezzo-soprano), Fiachra Garvey (piano), Phoebe White and Peter Regan (violin and piano). The programme will also feature a new commission by composer Linda Buckley

Tickets will go on sale in March 2021 but for now enjoy checking out the full programme at  The organisers can be contacted at 


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Irish Heritage · Apt 71 Vida House · 50 Trundleys Road · London, se8 5ej · United Kingdom

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