Gerry O'Connor

Researching Irish Traditional Music Manuscripts: A Lecture-Demonstration With Gerry O’Connor

Friday, May 12, 2023 at 2:00pm
Davison Rare Book Room, Olin Library, 252 Church Street

FREE! Reservations required.

Join the celebrated Irish traditional fiddle player, music producer, record label owner, and luthier Gerry O’Connor for a lecture-demonstration on the music of the Oriel region of Ireland from early 20th-century music manuscripts in the Luke Donnellan collection. This collection served as the basis for his modern edition of these regional tunes in The Rose in the Gap: Dance Music of Oriel from the Donnellan Collection.

This event will take place in the Davison Rare Book Room of Olin Memorial Library, co-hosted by the World Music Archives and Special Collections and Archives. Space is limited; RSVP here or with “Reserve Now” button above.

A workshop on typical bowing patterns specific to the playing of Irish traditional dance music, for intermediate and advanced fiddle players, will follow at 4 PM in the Music Seminar Room. For more information and to reserve a spot in the workshop, contact

Gerry O'Connor plays tunes from the Donnellan Collection: 



Gerry O’Connor grew up in the town of Dundalk, County Louth in a family of musicians, dancers and singers. His mother Rose (née O’Brien) taught Gerry and his siblings the fiddle at home and she continued to teach from there for the next 40 years. Students traveling from Armagh and Dublin as well as closer to home to learn from the doyenne of fiddle teachers. His father Peter was a singer whose seven uncles all played music. From an early age Gerry was involved Irish music and dance, winning numerous All Ireland titles between 1967 and 1973 in a range of formations including duet, trio and four Céili Band titles. Playing with Michael Coleman’s contemporary John Joe Gardiner in the 1970’s formed Gerry’s style of music, focusing on the fluid and ornamented lyrical fiddle playing of the great Sligo masters. His own background in step dancing translates into vibrant pulsating dance music for which he is noted; today he is regarded as one of the great fiddle players of his generation. He has played and recorded with such highly-regarded groups as Lá Lúgh and Skylark, recording four CDs on the Claddagh label. Gerry has toured and recorded with members of all the legendary groups including Planxty, Bothy Band, De Dannan, Boys of the Lough and Chieftains. Lá Lugh’s album Brighid’s Kiss was voted Album of the Year 1996 by readers of the Irish Music Magazine. His solo album Journeyman was counted in the top five Albums of the year 2004 by the Irish Times. This critically acclaimed solo album, co-produced with his son Dónal, was heralded as a significant milestone in recording the music of the Oriel region of South Ulster. In 2018 Gerry was awarded “Ceannródaí”, the prestigious Bardic Award by Comhaltas for his valued contribution to the Traditional Arts. In the same year he launched his second solo album Last Night's Joy and published The Rose in the Gap: Dance Music for Oriel from the Donnellan Collection. He teaches fiddle at the Willie Clancy Summer school and at master-classes throughout Europe. When at home Gerry works as a violin maker/restorer.