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)

Kevin Jansson returns to London for solo recital

Irish Heritage is delighted to host the outstanding young pianist, Kevin Jansson when he returns to London to give a solo recital on Wednesday March 4th, this time as the recipient of the 2019 Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Music Bursary.

Kevin, who made his London debut last April in Irish Heritage’s “Showcase Ireland” concert, will perform in the same venue, the elegant Princess Alexandra Hall at Over-Seas House in St James in the West End.

Described by the RDS judges as “brilliant in all respects”, the nineteen-year-old Cork man is currently studying piano at the prestigious 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.

If last year’s cameo performance was anything to go by, the audience is in for a special treat on 4th March.

Kevin receives the opportunity to give a recital in London as a result of Irish Heritage’s collaboration with the RDS which is now in its third year.

See news story for further details.

Pictured above right is Kevin Jansson


Kevin Jansson - RDS Bursary Recipient 2019

Successful Start to 45th Season

Entertaining and Informative “Harps of Ireland” Recital

Irish Heritage started its 45th season with an entertaining and informative “Harps of Ireland” recital in the stunning surroundings of the Wolfson Room of the British Academy in London on Thursday last, 24th October.

The recital featured two leading exponents of the harp: Siobhan Armstrong who is one of Europe’s foremost historical harpists and Clare McCague, a talented solo, chamber and orchestral harpist who is recognised as the leading authority on the life and compositions of Boleyne Reeves, Ireland’s leading nineteenth century pedal harpist.

Siobhan, who played a brass-wire-strung early Irish harp and Clare a gut-strung, European pedal harp, introduced and presented an exceptional range of music, some of which had not been performed in London previously, including compositions by Carolan, Connelon, Handel, O’Hampsey, Dowland, Scott, Lyons, Taylor and Reeves.

Clare made her London debut with the recital - the latest, gifted Irish musician that Irish Heritage has provided with that special experience.

Commenting on the recital, Patrick Lennon, Chairman of Irish Heritage, said, “Our audience enjoyed an exceptional evening thanks to the informative insights given by Siobhán and Clare to the history of the harp in Irish culture and music and to their superb playing.”

Edited highlights of the recital are available on Irish Heritage’s YouTube channel.

Caption: Clare McCague (left) and Siobhán Armstrong (right) on stage in the Wolfson Room.


"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.

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