Dublin Irish Festival Academy

The 12th annual Dublin Irish Festival Academy is returning this summer as a warm-up to the Festival. A variety of classes will be offered that highlight Irish music and culture.

  • Academy classes will be held on Friday, July 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with an hour break for lunch.
  • Classes will be held at the Dublin Community Recreation Center
  • All students must be 12 years of age or older to participate in Academy classes or receive prior approval
  • Classes are all $50 per person, and include a one-day Festival admission ticket ($10 value)
  • Class space is limited; students will be notified if class is full
  • We reserve the right to cancel a class if there is not a minimum registration number
  • Please register on or before Friday, July 24

Scroll to bottom of page for registration form.


Instructor: Kevin Crawford, Lunasa

This class is for students who are skilled enough to play tunes in a variety of rhythms (jigs, reels, etc.), with good technique and at a reasonable tempo. This course will expand on the skills and topics introduced in the beginners class, with more attention given to ornamentation, breathing, style and repertoire, while continuing to emphasize rhythm and phrasing in the music. Tunes will be taught by ear so bring a D flute and a recording device. ABC notation will be provided for those who need it.

Born in Birmingham, England, Kevin Crawford’s early life was one long journey into Irish music and Co. Clare, to where he eventually moved while in his 20’s. He was a founding member of Moving Cloud, the Clare-based band who recorded such critically-acclaimed albums as Moving Cloud and Foxglove, and he has also recorded with Grianin, Raise the Rafters, Joe Derrane, Natalie Merchant, Susan McKeown and Sean Tyrrell. Kevin appears on the 1992 recording, The Maiden Voyage, recorded live at Peppers Bar, Feakle, Co. Clare, and appears on the 1994 recording, The Sanctuary Sessions, recorded live in Cruise’s Bar, Ennis, Co. Clare. Kevin now tours the world with Ireland’s cutting-edge traditional band, Lúnasa. His latest project is the Teetotallers, a supergroup trio that also features Martin Hayes and John Doyle. .


 vallely-squareUilleann Pipes

Instructor: Cillian Vallely, Lunasa

This class will focus on tunes from the standard piping repertoire and their associated piping techniques. Through the teaching of new tunes, we will examine standard piping elements such as rolls, crans and triplets, and also look at how to get the best sound from the instrument in terms of tone and tuning. We will spend some time looking at the various styles of playing and how to develop the music from the basic melody through the use of ornamentation and melodic and rhythmic variation.  Intermediate and advanced players will benefit the most from this class.

Cillian Vallely is an uilleann pipes and low whistle player from Armagh in the north of Ireland.  In recent years, he has played and recorded with Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Tim O’Brien, and Riverdance in addition to recording as a guest on over 60 albums.  Since 1999, he has been a member of the band Lunasa, with whom he has recorded 7 albums and has played at many major festivals and venues.


Irish Tenor Banjoenda

Instructor: Enda Scahill, We Banjo 3

Galway born banjo player Enda Scahill is one of the most critically acclaimed banjoists in Ireland today. Enda has long established himself as one of the finest exponents of traditional Irish banjo playing and is widely recognized for his technical prowess and banjo teaching abilities.

In 2008 Enda published his Irish Tenor Banjo Tutor, now the top selling Irish banjo tutorial on the market. Enda has just released Volume II of his banjo tutorial series.
Enda has guested with The Chieftains, recorded with Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs, toured with Frankie Gavin and Stockton’s Wing, was an original member for 10 years of The Brock McGuire Band and now leads his award winning group We Banjo 3.


mattIrish Fiddle, Intermediate and Advanced

Instructor: Matt Cranitch

Note: This class runs from 10 a.m.-Noon only and is $25. Students can also register for the afternoon class with Matt & Jackie.

In this class, detailed consideration will be given to idiomatic interpretation of the music, with particular reference to bowing in the context of the appropriate rhythmic articulation for the different tune-types. Other important aspects of the music will also be dealt with, such as ornamentation and variation, as well as repertoire development.

Matt Cranitch is renowned at home in Ireland and abroad as an Irish traditional fiddle-player, teacher, lecturer and author. He has performed extensively with various groups at concerts and festivals, as well as on radio and television, and has made a number of highly-acclaimed recordings. He has also presented many lectures, master-classes and workshops on various aspects of Irish traditional music.


Button Accordion (C#/D), Intermediate and Advanced

Instructor: Jackie Daly

Note: This class runs from 10 a.m.-Noon only and is $25. Students can also register for the aftejack-dalyrnoon class with Matt & Jackie.

This class will concentrate on the particular aspects of accordion technique that are central to the C#/D system of playing. The various different dance rhythms will be explored, as will the expressive aspects of the music such as ornamentation and variation. All the information will be presented within the context of developing additional repertoire.
The words ‘Button Accordion’ and ‘Jackie Daly’ are synonymous in the world of Irish traditional music. Described in the New York Times as “probably the best accordionist in Ireland”, Jackie was born in Kanturk, Co. Cork, where he grew up surrounded by the rich music tradition of Sliabh Luachra. One of the greatest influences on his early musical development was Ballydesmond fiddle-player, Jim Keeffe, a pupil of the renowned Sliabh Luachra fiddle-master, Pádraig O’Keeffe. Jackie was a central figure in some of the most dominant groups playing Irish music in recent times. His performances with bands such as De Danann, Patrick Street, Buttons and Bows, Arcady, Reel Union and Kinvara all attest to his wonderful music and versatility. However, it is the style and repertoire of the Sliabh Luachra tradition that has made the most significant impression on his accordion-playing, a fact well exemplified through his performances and recordings.


 Music from the Cork/Kerry Border

Instructor: Matt Cranitch & Jackie Daly

Note: This class runs from 1-3 p.m. only and is $25

In this interactive joint presentation, Jackie Daly and Matt Cranitch will discuss their formative musical influences with particular reference to the Sliabh Luachra area on the Cork/Kerry border, and they will also teach some tunes, particularly from its rich repertoire of slides and polkas. This class is not instrument-specific, and so participants who play any of the traditional melody instruments are welcome to attend.

Beginning BodhranVignoles

Instructor: Michael Vignoles

Have you ever wondered how to play the bodhran? Michael Vignoles from Galway, Ireland teaches this traditional heartbeat of all Irish music. Michael is also known internationally as an instrument maker. For more than 20 years, he has made bodhrans and uilleann pipes from his GalwayCity shop. Bodhrans will be provided for this class or you can purchase one from Michael.



Intermediate and Advanced Bodhran

Instructor: Fergal Scahill, We Banjo 3

Multi-instrumentalist Fergal Scahill is one of the most renowned performers in Irish Music. Fergal has performed and recorded with Kevin Crawford, Martin O’Connor, The Brock McGuire Band, Michael Rooney & June McCormack, Enda Scahill, The David Munnelly Band, Ragus, Celtic Legends, Monto & Stockton’s Wing. An Irish Champion of fiddle and bodhran, Fergal’s two solo albums The Dusty Bridge and Wayfaring are among the very best Irish albums available. “Fergal’s music reflects his personality; it’s full of innovation, enthusiasm and fun. It is intense, fiery and frenetic and at the same time playful” IKTradFolk

Register for the Dublin Irish Festival Academy

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