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)

Aran O’Grady awarded 2019/20 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition

Irish Heritage is pleased to announce today (6th March) that Aran O’Grady, who is studying for a Masters in Opera Composition at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, is the recipient of the 2019/20 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition.

The Bursary, which is worth £3,000, was open to young, first or second generation Irish composers studying at recognised music conservatoires and colleges in this country and Ireland.  An encouraging number of entries was received in this the second year of the award indicating the growing awareness of the Bursary.

Twenty-six year-old Aran who is from Bray in County Wicklow, received a BA in Composition from the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2016 and has already had compositions performed in Ireland, the Netherlands, France and Singapore.

The Bursary which is an important part of the performing arts organisation’s annual programme of collaborations, concerts and recitals, was made possible through the support of The Ireland Funds Great Britain.  It complements the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance that was launched in 2015 and the Brackaville Bursary for Vocal Studies introduced last year.

See news story below for full details.

Picture caption: Aran O'Grady, recipient of Irish Heritage's 2019/20 Music Bursary for Composition



Irish Heritage announces the end of its 2019/20 season

Next season's programme to start in September

The Board of Irish Heritage has decided to cancel the remainder of this season’s programme of events.

Originally, the Board decided to cancel the events scheduled until the end of May however, given the ongoing threat from the Coronavirus and the Government’s current guidance, the organisation is now cancelling the events in June.  These include the debut recital by its bursary recipients and the fundraising golf day - both are a big loss to all concerned.

The golf day has been rescheduled for Friday 2nd October and a recital for the bursary recipients will feature early in the organisation’s 2020/21 programme.  Work is well advanced on the latter which all concerned are determined to make the best ever.

Announcing the decision to cancel the remaining events, Patrick Lennon, Chairman of Irish Heritage, said, “Rest assured that Irish Heritage is determined to survive and emerge from the current situation stronger than ever.  We have a strategic business plan in place that is clear about our purpose and vision for the next five years.  With the ongoing support of our Patrons, Friends, sponsors and audiences, we will continue to contribute to the promotion of Ireland’s rich culture and its musicians, singers and composers in particular.”

Take care and stay safe.

Statement issued on 8th April 2020.

“From isolation…..inspiration”

Irish Heritage has been pleased to support HE Ambassador O’Neill’s entertaining initiative “From isolation…..inspiration” series on Twitter that features videos from Ireland’s performers reading and playing favourite poems, songs and music of all genres.

Irish Heritage selected its bursary participants to contribute to the series which has featured Amy Gillen, Adam Heron, Carolyn Holt, Ellen Mawhinney and Mollie Wrafter to date with more to come.

You can enjoy the series by following the Embassy of Ireland (London) on Twitter.




Irish Heritage Granted Registered Charity Status

Irish Heritage announced today (19th May) that it has been granted registered charity status by the Charity Commission.

The charity’s objective is to advance public education and appreciation of the arts, particularly that of Irish and Anglo-Irish music, arts, literature and drama of all genres and traditions to the benefit of the community.

Irish Heritage 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.

Commenting on the recognition by the Charity Commission, Patrick Lennon, Chairman of Irish Heritage, said, “This is one of the most exciting developments in the 45-year history of the organisation.  Achieving official charity status has been a long-standing objective and is one that will bring considerable benefits, in particular in terms of improved perception in the cultural sector, and in the financing of programmes and fundraising.

“We are very grateful to our legal advisers at Muckle LLP and to all those who provided advice and guidance throughout the application process that helped bring it to a successful conclusion.”