Click here to visit our pop-up museum.
View all Previous

The Music of Dublin: 120 years of the Feis Ceoil

The Music of Dublin: 120 years of the Feis Ceoil


An exciting chapter in Ireland’s musical history was on view at the museum, as we celebrated the 120 year story of the Feis Ceoil association. This beloved classical music festival has been held annually in Dublin since 1896, and now comprises almost 200 competitions, attracting over 5,000 participants from all over Ireland. 

To accompany the exhibition we programmed a series of short lunchtime recitals. They began at 1.30pm and were no more than 30 minutes in duration.

The lunchtime recital series has ended.  We would like to thank all the incredibly talented participants who entertained us and our guests, and we would like to thank Feis Ceoil for inspiring such talent.

Incredible details from the history of the Feis were on show, including the first public display of James Joyce’s famous 1904 singing medal – on loan to the museum from its current owner Michael Flatley.

Soprano Claudia Boyle performing at the opening of the new exhibition

Other artefacts on display included the very first Feis programme, early judges’ scoresheets and reports and beautifully designed winners’ cups, alongside songbooks and personal mementos from the competition. 

 “ESB Feis Ceoil now occupies a unique position in Irish life,” said Laura Gilsenan, CEO of Feis Ceoil Association. ”It is an essential element in the musical infrastructure of the country and has made an immeasurable contribution to the study and cultivation of music. We hope we can continue to do so for another 120 years.”

Through the decades almost every classical Irish musician has performed in Feis Ceoil. Some of the performers through the decades include; Margaret Burke Sheridan, John McCormack, Suzanne Murphy, Bernadette Greevy, Eithne Robinson, Hugh Tinney, Philip Martin, John O’Conor, John Ronayne, Emma Murphy, Geraldine O’Grady, Anne Murray, Mary Hegarty, Cara O’Sullivan, Celine Byne, Orla Boylan, Finghin Collins, Cora Venus Lunny, Tara Erraught and Claudia Boyle.

The history of the Feis encompasses the history of the 20th century in Dublin.