top of page

 Eilis Kennedy

Eilís was raised in Baile an Mhúraigh in West Kerry to parents who passed on a ifelong and committed interest in the poetry and songs of that region. The second youngest of eight children ,she has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to listen to many of the finest exponents of song in her locality .The emotion and stories associated with Gaelic singing thus informed her love of song .

Music and songs were in integral part of her Primary schooling with accomplished music teachers ( and her parents ,who were then teaching her at the same school ) happily passing on their knowledge . Éilís also attended Síamsa Tíre’s local classes under Fr. Pat Ahern at Teach Síamsa na Carraige . Each summer she would take part in shows there , and also on the bigger stage of the then National Folk Theatre -Síamsa Tíre in Tralee -involving song , music and dance; a huge part of her later decision to become more involved with performance.

Eilís recorded her first solo CD titled Time to Sail in 2000, with guitarist William Coulter and this gained widespread critical acclaim .This was followed by another solo collection One Sweet Kiss In 2007, along with composer Shaun Davey, Rita Connolly, Seamus Begley, Jim Murray,Eoin Ó Beaglaoich & Dáithí Ó Sé ,she was part of Béal Tuinne, a 15 song cycle, based on her father Caoimhín Ó Cinnéide’s poems and set to original music by Shaun Davey. This experience was a pivotal one for Eilís, leading to many opportunities working with these world-renowned musicians and singers. The common thread was a sense of place, and pride in the undeniable magic of West Kerry. There followed a live recording of the St James’ Church original performance of the song cycle for the TV documentary produced by South Wind Blows for RTÉ . Further performances of BEAL Tuinne in The National Concert Hall , Trinity College Dublin , as well as the Centre Culturel d'Irlandais in Paris and at festivals in Ireland followed.

Éilís formed LUMIERE with fellow West Kerry woman Pauline Scanlon in 2009, on discovering a shared interest in and love of song and enjoying the new experience of duo singing. They have recorded two award winning albums : Lumiere , and My Dearest Dear
In early 2017, Eilís released her third solo recording Westward with her friend and Grammy award winning US guitarist William Coulter .

Songwriting is a new departure for Éilís and her latest album So Ends This Day is a themed album of songs she has composed about lives involved in whaling , New Bedford whalers and their wives , including a song about the Fenian rescue in Fremantle by the whaleship Catalpa , in 1876 . Eilís worked on restoration of one the flags from the Catalpa for Rothe House Archaeological Society, and so had a longtime interest in it. Eilís made use of her Covid lockdown to finish this album , which is produced by Gerry O ’Beirne . The album received critical acclaim and was nominated for an RTE Folk Award. Eilís also received the 2021 ACLSR Award for Female Vocalist of the Year in recognition of American Celtic Listener Supported Radio for exceptional talents, Achievements of musicians in the Celtic Traditional genre. The song Petticoat Whalers , from the album So Ends This Day is a runner up in the 2021 American Songwriter International Songwriting competition.

In 2020 , she also released a download album of unaccompanied Irish language songs learned in childhood , titled Mo Theaglach . These have a significance to her family as they would have been sung in her household as she grew up . One of the songs, however , is Eilís’ original musical interpretation of the great poem Gile Na Gile . Eilís composed music in 2022 for a Gaelic song entitled “ Tusa” from theoriginal poem written by Dairena Ní Chinnéide . This is performed by Eilis and Steve Cooney in a new recording .  Eilís - Ciumhais Charraig Aonair  Eilís in Descendants

bottom of page