Tutor Biographies

Eileen O'Brien


Eileen comes from a family background that is steeped in the Irish tradition. Her father, the legendary button accordion player Paddy, was instrumental in establishing the B/C system and was also one of the most prolific composers of traditional music. Her mother’s family,the “Seery” family, Dublin, were also well known musicians. Her late mother Eileen Seery was a singer. Eileen’s grandfather, Jim Seery played fiddle and was a founding member of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Eireann. Eileen’s uncle Sean Seery was a piper and played in the famous “Leo Rowsome Pipe Quartet” along with Leo Rowsome, Willie Clancy and Tommy Reck.

Eileen is an All-Ireland champion in senior fiddle. An accomplished composer, some of her compositions have been recorded by well known artists including John Carty and Josephine Marsh. Eileen also has an interest in liturgical music and has composed music for two masses, “Aifreann Baile Nua” and “Drúcht ar m’Ainm”.

Eileen has been teaching music for all of her adult life. She worked for over twenty years as a music teacher at St. Mary’s Secondary School , Nenagh. Eileen has performed and given masterclasses and lectures at various seminars and music events in many countries, U.S.A, Europe, China, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. She is a highly respected teacher and has influenced many aspiring fiddle players. Eileen is a graduate of the University of Limerick having completed post-graduate study there. At present, Eileen works at the University of Limerick, teaching students undertaking both undergraduate and postgraduate music programmes.

Eileen is also a singer in the traditional ballad style.

Eileen has recorded three solo cd’s to date, “Newtown Bridge” (1999), “The Fiddler’s Choice” (2005), “Aon le hAon” (2012). Eileen has recently joined with Clare musicians Andrew MacNamara (accordion) and Geraldine Cotter (Piano and Whistle) to form “The Boruma Trio”. Their new album “Gléas” was released in July of 2014. She has produced two publications, “The Compositions of Paddy O’Brien” 1991 and “The Definitive Collection of the Music of Paddy O’Brien” 2009 both with J.D.C. Publications.

James Carty


James Carty is one of the finest exponents of Sligo fiddle music and one of the leading players of his generation. Having grown up in a musical household in Boyle Co. Roscommon, James was exposed to lots of music from a young age. His father, John is an internationally renowned fiddle and banjo player. James however is cutting his own path in the traditional music scene with his own distinctive style which he has developed having grown up listening to the recordings of the old Sligo masters Michael Coleman, James Morrison, Paddy Killoran to name just three.

James currently lives in London and has become one of the mainstays of the traditional music scene there. He teaches fiddle in the Mulkere Academy, privately and at various summer schools. He has also performed in Ireland, the UK, Canada and the USA as a solo musician.

James has appeared on a couple of commercial recordings, most notably The First of May with Harry Bradley on flute and At Complete Ease, with his father John and Brian Rooney. He has just completed his first solo album entitled “Hiding Daylight in Dark Corners” with accompaniment from Brian McGrath and Francis Gaffney.

Josephine Marsh

Button Accordion

Accordionist, Josephine Marsh is 'A player of outstanding ability.' Nuala O' Connor, Irish Times. She comes from a musicial east Clare/Co Meath family with her father Paddy being her earliest musical influence. Josephine has travelled extensively over the years both as a performer and music teacher. Her travels have taken her to Australia, Europe and America . Josephine is also a composer of note and her compositions have been recorded by many artists/bands over the years such as Cherish the Ladies, Mike McGoldrick, The London Lassies, Liadain, etc.

Josephine's music has/is featured on a regular basis on local, national, and international radio stations such as Clare FM, RTÉ One/RTÉ Two, BBC World Service ,and in February 2000 she recorded for the Garrison Keillor programme, 'A Prairie Home Companion'.

Josephine Marsh is a musician with a highly personalised and distinctive style. She looks for the deepest feelings in the music and has a way of bringing about a mood of great happiness and uplift. Martin Hayes Her playing is loose, free, spiritual, simple, joyous, flowing. Phil Gaston, Folk Roots

Her latest album Music in the Frame is now on general release. The album features eleven of Josephine's own compositions as well as music sourced from the traditional canon. Joining her on the CD are guest musicians: Mick Kinsella(harmonica), Seamus Cahill(guitar), Pat Marsh(bouzouki), Angelina Carberry(banjo), Steve Larkin(fiddle), Gerry Madden(mandolin), Jack Kinsella(uileann pipes), Andrew Kinsella(banjo) and Bláthnaid Marsh (piano).

Geraldine McNamara


Geraldine comes from O’Callaghan’s Mills in East Co Clare. She learnt her first tunes, on a Clarkes tin-whistle from her father, John Joe who used to play a few tunes at home in the kitchen. She later went to music classes locally and took up the concert flute at the age of twelve. She was fortunate to get to hear and play with local musicians like Martin Rochford, Joe Bane, Paddy Canny, PJ Hayes and Francie Donnellan and going to music sessions, fleadhs and Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy became a regular part of life from a young age.

Geraldine has developed her own style on the flute which draws on the music of her native East Clare as well as the music of the wider Clare area and is also influenced by the flute-playing styles of the North Connaught region. She spent fourteen years living in Co Mayo and recently returned to live in Co Clare.

Geraldine plays regularly at sessions and concerts and festivals and has taught flute for many years.

Chan Reid

Sean-nós singing

Chan Reid was born into a musical family in Dublin where she was taught to sing by her grandmother, renouned singer and pianist Joan Kelly. Chan has been singing sean-nós songs in the Irish and English language for as long as she can remember and has performed as a soloist and with various bands for many years in the UK and Ireland. Chan now lives in Hastings where she chairs the Hastings Comhaltas branch and plays, teaches and performs Irish fiddle regularly, as well as teaching unaccompanied and harmony singing workshops in schools and at festivals throughout the UK. Sean-nós is Irish for "old style" unaccompanied singing. It is an ancient and traditional style of singing that is highly ornamental. At the Summer School Chan will be teaching an unaccompanied song in the English language. Vocal techniques, breathing, phrasing, delivery, audience engagement and confidence building will all be encompassed within the workshop which would suit an absolute beginner or experienced singer.