The University of Limerick has an active and thriving cultural life. This is reflected by its policy to promote, develop and support the arts either through its own activities or in house support of resident arts groups.
The highly popular University Concert Hall mounts an annual season of concerts and performances that cater for all musical, and dramatic tastes and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance offers a wide variety of practical and theoretical postgraduate courses. Many of the visiting lecturers on these courses give twice weekly free lunchtime concerts in the University’s Performing Arts Centre. Daghdha Dance Company, a seminal force in the development of contemporary dance forms in Ireland, is based on campus and the Irish Chamber Orchestra is also resident. Staff/student groups such as the University Orchestra and the Choir are active throughout the academic year and regularly perform on and off campus.
The Foundation Building is home to the Bourn Vincent Gallery where international and national artists exhibit their works and the University has a large collection of art works, both purchased and donated. A number of complete collections have been bequeathed and the Watercolour Society of Ireland Permanent Collection
is housed here. The campus environs are also greatly enhanced by commissioned artworks, inclulding a life size iron figurative sculpture by the renowned artist Anthony Gormley in the centre of the Plaza. The University also initiated the National Self Portrait Collection and, through a series of bequests and purchases has established a collection of international importance.
The University reinforced its commitment to the arts in its appointment of an Arts Officer to develop an arts programme to promote the arts as valuable complements to students’ main areas of activity.
The objective of the arts programme is to incorporate diverse forms of creative expression to enhance the daily experience of the University community and to promote the University as an integrated, creative, artistic resource within the Limerick and Clare regions and beyond.
The Arts Office has a close affiliation to the activities of student Clubs and Societies. Some are course related but the large majority are college wide interest related groups who voluntarily organize and develop structures which greatly enhance students’ lives. UL has been represented worldwide through such wide ranging activities as sport and debate and this largely voluntary representation has greatly enhanced the University’s image. Recently, for example, two UL students were the only Irish participants in a worldwide invitational debating competition.
The Arts Office has a close affiliation
to the activities of student Clubs and Societies. Some are course related but the large majority are college wide interest related groups who voluntarily organize and develop structures which greatly enhance students’ lives. UL has been represented worldwide through such wide ranging activities as sport and debate and this largely voluntary representation has greatly enhanced the University’s image. Recently, for example, two UL students were the only Irish participants in a worldwide invitational debating competition.
From Orientation Week to graduation, students are given opportunities to sample many distinct and diverse art forms, experiences and activities whose common aim is to enrich the daily life of UL.
Irish Chamber Orchestra
The Irish Chamber Orchestra is Ireland’s finest chamber orchestra, renowned nationally and internationally for its energy, unique sound, programme diversity and outstanding musicianship. Working with Gábor Takács-Nagy (Principal Artistic Partner) and Jörg Widmann (Principal Guest Conductor/ Artistic Partner), the Irish Chamber Orchestra is breaking boundaries and opening new doors to music. Under
the leadership of Katherine Hunka,
the orchestra works with some of the world’s finest musicians, performing a regular season in Limerick and Dublin as well as regional touring. It has toured successfully across Europe, Australia, South Korea, China and the US. In October 2015 the orchestra embarks
on a US Tour with Gábor Tákacs-
Nagy and cellist, Istvan Vardai. In 2016, the orchestra returns to Heidelberg,
to Cologne and to the Mozartfest, Würzburg.
Outside the concert hall, the Irish Chamber Orchestra offers music as an instrument of social change, introducing children to music and helping them to reach their full potential as individuals. The ICO’s successful Sing Out With Strings project, set up in 2008, now provides weekly music workshops for 300 children across Limerick city.
The ACADEMOS Irish Chamber Orchestra Academy focuses on a full- time two year M.A. in Classical Strings Performance, operated jointly by the ICO and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. The course allows students to study and train with ICO Principals, to perform with the orchestra and engage with our soloists and collaborators.
The Irish Chamber Orchestra is resident at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick since 1995 and is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance
The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance was set up in 1994. The Academy welcomes students, academics and performers from around the world into an environment rich in indigenous culture. The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance is unique in that it carefully
allows for the co-existence of academic and performance programmes on a university campus. The academy has
a major performing arts remit and
hosts Comhaimseartha, a series of lunchtime concerts & seminars, featuring musicians, dancers and academics
from around the world. During the Comhaimseartha series, free lunchtime concerts take place every Tuesday and Thursday during the Spring and Autumn semesters. This free lunchtime concert series has become a significant part of UL life for many staff and students.
The Irish World Academy of Music
and Dance also hosts several festivals throughout the year: The Blas Summer School of Irish Traditional Music and Dance takes place for two weeks each July. Lá na nAmhrán, an annual two-day celebration of sean-nós singing takes place each October. Recently, the Academy took up residence of its new home on the North Bank campus.
This unique facility places equal emphasis on music and dance, and provides a dedicated setting for learning through its philosophy of reflection, practice, artists-in-residence and community outreach projects. The new building includes two performance workshop theatres, the 200-seat Sionna Theatre and the 80-seat Tower Theatre. The Sionna Theatre has been designed as a musical laboratory and is best suited to host dance performances, while the Tower Theatre is ideal for chant and voice performances. The building also includes a green room for performers, recording spaces, a researcher’s area, performance control rooms, music performance practical rooms and dance performance studios.
To find out more, go to www.irishworldacademy.ie