- complément
Thursday 13th April 2023 at 7pm

About the speaker

Dr Helen Lawlor (neé Lyons) specialises in research on music in Ireland with a focus on the musical practice, education and history of the harp.  She lectures in music at the TU Dublin Conservatoire. She is author of Irish harping 1900–2010 (2012) and co-editor with Sandra Joyce of Harp studies: perspectives on the Irish harp (2016). Her work is also published in The Encyclopaedia of Music in IrelandAncestral ImprintsSonus, American Harp Journal, JSMI and JMI. 

Helen is Executive Editor of the Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland (JSMI) and Secretary of Performance Research Ireland. She is an advisory board member of Irish Musical Studies and previously served as Chair of the Irish national committee of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM Ireland).

In 1999 Helen graduated from Trinity College Dublin and the TU Dublin Conservatoire with a BMusED. In 2005 she graduated from UCD with a Masters in Musicology Degree before embarking on her doctoral research at UCD for which she was an Ad Astra Research Scholarship recipient. Her PhD (2010) was supervised by Professor Thérèse Smith and subsequently published as her first monograph by Four Courts Press (2012).

Current research projects include: Harp Studies II: World Harp Traditions (in preparation, 2023) and Sounding Empowerment, an edited collection of essays co-edited with Adrian Scahill. Her research is grounded in the discipline of ethnomusicology, drawing also on performance practice and musicological methodologies.

            Helen has shared her research both nationally and internationally. She has lectured/performed at Harvard University, Boston College, New York University, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, University of Limerick, University College Dublin and at many music festivals including the Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and Gaelic Roots. Television appearances include: Comhluadar Ceoil (2021, TG4) and The Flourishing (2022, RTE 1).

            Helen has supervised PhDs and Masters by research in Irish traditional music, arts practice, ethnomusicology, music education, musicology and composition.



Join us at the library for an inspiring talk by specialist Dr Lawlor who will also perform pieces on the harp from music sheets in the Princess Grace collection

Theme: 'The Irish harp in music, literature & culture'

The lecture considers the music and symbolism of the Irish harp in musical practice, literature and cultural representations. The harp as an instrument and symbol of Ireland has a rich history, reaching back to Gaelic antiquity. Its music and symbolism have been mythologised in painting, literature and song for centuries. This lecture will include live performances of Irish music played on the harp by Helen Lawlor and a selection of songs from the Princess Grace Irish Library Song Sheet Collection performed by Helen and members of the Dubh Linn traditional Irish music group. 

Our thanks for support from 

Irish Research Council New Foundations Award


Please reserve for the lecture (no need to email us if you purchase your ticket online):

  • Email:
  • Tel: + 377 93 50 12 25

The talk starts at 19:00 – please arrive at least 5 minutes before the event begins to be seated and to avoid disturbing the speaker.

Entry is €10 Euro (includes a drink)

  • Pay at the door when you arrive (cash or cheque only) OR
  • Pay via credit card in advance (click HERE to buy your tickets online) – a small online transaction fee is added.

You are welcome to arrive from 6.30pm to explore the library and read the books!

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