Major New Resource on Oriel Music and Culture Launched

Fiddle-player in Oriel in 1912

Major New Resource on Oriel Music and Culture Launched

Containing over 150 pages, the new project by Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin is ‘a website of reclamation and renewal’.

Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, traditional singer and author of The Hidden Ulster, has launched a major new website focusing on the musical traditions of the Oriel region.

The Oriel Arts site, with over 150 pages, contains extensive audio and video illustrating the musical and cultural traditions of the area as well as images, commentaries and biographical information.

Stretching from Carlingford on the Cooley peninsula in County Louth to the east, across south Armagh and down to the hinterlands of Drogheda, ‘Orialla’ – Oriel in English – has a rich culture that was the focus of numerous collectors at the turn of the twentieth century just as the historical culture was in decline.

Drawing on research from her book The Hidden Ulster – people, song and traditions of Oriel, published in 2003 (and reviewed here in The Journal of Music by the late Tom Munnelly), Ní Uallacháin explores topics such as the Oriel harp tradition, Oriel music and song collections, the Oriel song tradition, the Irish-language dialect of the area and the Éigse Orialla event. The project, which was supported by a traditional arts grant from the Arts Council, is described as ‘a website of reclamation and renewal’.

Videos of contemporary musicians and singers, such as Feilimí O’Connor, Gerry O’Connor and Dónal O’Connor, early Irish harper Sylvia Crawford, fiddle-players Darren Mag Aoidh and Zoe Conway, and Ní Uallacháin, are included on the site performing traditional repertoire from the area, and the site also contains audio of native Irish speakers, the last of whom died in 1969.

For more, visit

Published on 2 November 2017

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