Welcome to Irish Heritage

Irish Heritage is a not-for-profit, voluntary, performing arts organisation, established in London in 1974, to promote the appreciation and understanding of classical music and music composed by Irish composers performed by Irish musicians and singers in Great Britain to a wide audience.

It is the only Irish arts organisation in Britain dedicated to helping young Irish musicians and composers in the early part of their careers when their needs are greatest. It now awards three valuable Bursaries annually, one for performance, one for composition and another for vocal studies.

Irish Heritage presents a programme of public events in established music venues and supports other organisations, including the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival that shares its aims in music and the arts.  It has links with the Royal Dublin Society and conservatoires in Ireland and Britain to identify emerging, talented young performers and composers.

The organisation’s values: Creativity, Encouragement, Collaboration, Enjoyment and Inclusivity, reflect the legacy inherited from its founder Ethna Kennedy that it is committed to maintaining and enhancing.

These values are the inspiration for the organisation’s Outreach and Community programme which brings the joy of live music to people who cannot normally access it, to children in education and to those who benefit from music as therapy.

You can support the work of Irish Heritage by becoming a Friend. (See Join Us)

Celebrating five years of collaboration with the Royal Dublin Society

Special concert features the talents of Máire Carroll, Amy Gillen and Kevin Jansson

The collaboration between the Royal Dublin Society and Irish Heritage is five years old this year so we’re celebrating with a special concert on Wednesday 4th March.

The concert features present and past recipients of the RDS music bursaries including pianists Máire Carroll and Kevin Jansson and flautist Amy Gillen, three exceptionally talented performers.

The concert will take place in the elegant Princess Alexandra Hall at Over-Seas House in St James’s in the heart of the West End.

Máire Carroll is an international concert pianist who has performed throughout Europe, Asia, North America and Canada. Shewas the 2018 winner of the RDS Collins Memorial Prize and also received the 2015 Jim McNaughton/Tilestyle Artist Bursary and the 2012 RDS Music Bursary. Máire was the first recipient of the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance in 2015.

Amy Gillen is the most recent recipient of the RDS Jago Award and was awarded the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance in 2018. She is currently completing her Masters in Music Performance in flute at the Royal College of Music in London. Amy’s exceptional talent has already been recognised through the award of multiple prizes and orchestra performances both in Ireland and further afield not least by Sir James Galway.

Kevin Jansson is a multi-award-winning pianist who ranks among the most gifted musicians of his generation.  He was awarded the RDS Music Bursary in 2019 and is currently studying at the Juilliard Conservatoire in New York with Dr Veda Kaplinsky.  Kevin already has an impressive list of performances to his name, including with Camerata Ireland, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra and the New York Concerti Sinfonietta in Carnegie Hall.

Given the widely acknowledged talent of the three performers, a superb evening’s entertainment is assured.

Tickets are £20 each for adults (including wine reception and programme) and £5 for students on production of ID.  Adult tickets are available online via (there are no booking fees) and on the door; student tickets are only available on the door on the evening.

Date:     Wednesday 4th March 2020 at 7.30pm

Venue: Princess Alexandra Hall, Over-Seas House, Park Place, St James’ Street, London SW1A 1LR

Tickets: Adults £20 each on door or at this website in advance, see news story below for link to ticket booking.

Pictured above right is Kevin Jansson




Kevin Jansson - RDS Bursary Recipient 2019

Successful Inaugural City Fundraising Dinner

Bakers'Hall provides elegant venue for enjoyable evening

Irish Heritage’s inaugural City Fundraising Dinner took place in the elegant surroundings of Bakers’ Hall, home of the Worshipful Company of Bakers’, last Thursday evening (13th February).

Guests attending the event enjoyed a champagne reception, an excellent four course dinner and entertainment.  The latter was provided by two of Irish Heritage’s 2019 Bursary recipients, violinist Mollie Wrafter and soprano, Ellen Mawhinney who were making their first appearances in London since receiving their awards last November.  Harpist Tara Viscardi entertained guests during the reception and later accompanied Mollie and Ellen.

Welcoming guests to the dinner, Patrick Lennon, Chairman of Irish Heritage said that the organisation “would be unable to fulfil its mission without the support it receives from across the community including the Emigrant Support Programme, the Ireland Funds, the Irish construction industry in London and by the involvement of Irish Heritage’s Friends membership.”

Mr Lennon went on to acknowledge the attendance of representatives of Falcon Green, the organisation’s first corporate supporters led by Joseph Sweeney, and Lifestyle Residences and its Chief Executive, John O’Neill.

The evening was organised by Irish Heritage’s Directors Tom Scanlon and Mary Connolly and its Artistic Adviser, Audrey McKenna.

Such was the success of the event Irish Heritage has already decided to repeat it early in 2021.

Picture caption

Pictured (left to right) are: Ellen Mawhinney, John O’Neill, Lifestyle Residences; Linda Tanner, Irish Youth Foundation; Lady Mary Hatch, Patron Irish Heritage; Mollie Wrafter and Patrick Lennon, Chairman Irish Heritage,


"The Best Ever" Christmas Concert

Irish Heritage’s first bursary recipient Carolyn Holt returns for superb performance

The headline reflects the reaction on the evening and the response received over succeeding days to Irish Heritage’s “Christmas by Candlelight Concert” on Monday evening, 16th December.

The beautiful St George’s Church in Hanover Square in the heart of the West End provided an appropriate setting for an evening of carols, seasonal music and readings that the audience who thronged the church thoroughly enjoyed.

The principal soloist was mezzo-soprano Carolyn Holt, recipient of the first Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance awarded in 2015.  Carolyn’s superb performance of “O Holy Night” with the Arb Ensemble in the early part of the concert set the standard for what was to follow.

Accompanied by another of Irish Heritage’s bursary recipients, talented pianist Brian Hughes, Carolyn also sang “He was despised” from Handel’s Messiah and Shubert’s “Ave Maria”

The Arb Ensemble performed a number of choral pieces including “The Three Kings” by Cornelius and “The Wexford Carol”.

There were readings by Cecilia Gallagher, Chair of the Women’s Irish Network and Petroc Trelawny of BBC Radio.  Petroc’s lively interpretation of “The Christmas Dinner” from James Joyce’s “The Dead” was memorable.

His Excellency, the Ambassador of Ireland, Adrian O’Neill read three favourite poems including “Magi” by Collette Bryce which had the audience smiling.

A highlight of the evening was Carolyn Holt’s performance of a new arrangement of the Irish carol “Don Oiche Úd I mBeithil”.  The arrangement by Audrey McKenna, producer of the concert, was dedicated to Ambassador O’Neill, First Secretary Ruaidhri Dowling, and the staff of the Embassy in London to acknowledge Irish Heritage’s appreciation of their support.

In between traditional carols were enthusiastically sung by the audience accompanied on the church’s distinctive organ, the first American built of its type in London, by Polina Sosnina.

The evening finished with an enjoyable reception where the audience had the opportunity to meet the performers and readers.

Highlights of the concert can be viewed on Irish Heritage's YouTube channel:

See news story for further information.



First Irish Heritage City Fundraising Dinner on 13th February – Tables Available

As the scale and scope of Irish Heritage’s activities grow so does the organisation’s need to increase its sources of funding which is why it is holding its first City Fundraising Dinner on Thursday 13th February 2020.

Irish Heritage is fortunate to have been given access to Baker’s Hall, home of the Worshipful Company of the Bakers Guild, and it’s Livery Hall for this special dinner.  With high ceilings, superb acoustics and the stunning, contemporary John Piper stained glass windows depicting the Great Fire of London, this light and airy Hall with its Minstrels Gallery will provide a very appropriate venue for the Dinner.

The evening will start with a reception at 7.00pm and be followed by a four course dinner and entertainment.  The latter will feature recipients of Irish Heritage’s Bursaries with support artists.

There are only eight tables available at a cost of £1,440 each, this includes wine and liqueurs. Table holders have the option of including an Irish Heritage musician among their guests.  Individual places or combinations are available at £160 each.

Please contact Tom Scanlon at for further information and reservations.

City Fundraising Dinner on 13th February Buy tickets