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'My Story' by Eamon Sweeney


Eamon performs and teaches music and is co-director of Alchemy Music.  He is committed to the provision of music in healthcare settings and Early Years music. 

I’m a musician, primarily a guitarist, who teaches, performs, and has particular interest in historical music, early year’s music and music in healthcare settings. I’ve been engaged in this career for the last 25 years or so and spend an appreciable amount of time applying for funding to support various creative projects and then overseeing those projects that get off the ground. Overall these years have been very enjoyable and rewarding – if occasionally sprinkled with predictable bouts of despondency, self-doubt, and despair. 

The best therapy I’ve found for these bouts is to try to keep my eyes forward and maintain some momentum towards the next idea. Sometimes pulling the duvet over my head for a while works well too. 

Projects I’m fortunate to be working on at the moment:

‘Baby Loves Music’- a concert setting for babies and parents. ‘Baby Loves Music: Night Light’ was developed with funding support from Wicklow Arts Office and The Arts Council and is the second show from the ‘Baby Loves Music’ team. The show is based around themes of night-time, sleep, and lullabies. The content is fully-developed with costumes and lighting still to be finalised. The show will tour nationally in June and July 2024, coming to Mermaid Arts Centre on 21 & 22 June. A video is worth many thousands of words so a trailer of the first show can be viewed here: 

‘Lullaby Project’ - an Early Years music & culture project for young children and parents from diverse cultural backgrounds that focuses on sharing and learning lullabies from different cultures in their various languages.  The Lullaby Project has been running at a number of centres in Dublin City during 2022-24 and will be extending to other centres around the country in 2024-25.

Ceol ársa Cláirsí - a concert setting of early Irish harp music from manuscripts and publications dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Employing historical instruments (lute, baroque guitar, bandora, viola da gamba), instruments from the Irish Music tradition (low whistle, guitar), and – of course – harp.

Engaging in such a variety of settings is very enjoyable: concert halls, family resource centres, schools, nursing homes. While it can necessitate some advanced plate-spinning it also provides wonderful opportunities to work with caring, creative people and organisations. And regularly having one’s heart and mind filled.

Getting a chance to pursue projects that are meaningful is such a great privilege. It’s a privilege that demands payment through ongoing work and unending funding applications. Without funding support, most of the creative work with which I’m involved wouldn't come to pass.

I believe we are very lucky in Ireland to have such a variety of funding opportunities tailored towards individual artists. My understanding is that in other countries the available funding tends to be aimed much more towards organisations and institutions.

But, of course, it can be a miserable pursuit pouring your ideas and passion into an application for it then not to be successful. Over the years I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that applying is simply part of the job: teach; perform;  put in as good an application as possible; wait anxiously for the outcome; rejoice or be disappointed; request feedback either way; move on with the project and/or onto the next application. Eyes forward.

Good luck to all.

Best wishes...



Eamon began his musical studies on the violin, picked up a guitar while in his teens, and subsequently studied Classical Guitar at the Dublin Institute of Technology [now TUD] Conservatory of Music and Drama where he was also awarded his PhD. He continued his study of early plucked-instrument performance at ESMUC in Barcelona.

Eamon teaches and performs extensively in a variety of genres and styles giving broadcasts, lectures and seminars in his native Ireland and internationally. He is committed to the provision of Music in Healthcare Settings, Early Years Music, and is co-director of Alchemy Music – an organisation that supports multi-disciplinary arts events, school projects, and recitals in Co. Wicklow.  

Eamon has had the good fortune to collaborate with some fantastic artists over the years including the late Seamus Heaney, Cormac Breatnach, Steve Cooney, Elaine Agnew, Mary Coughlan, and Theo Dorgan. He gratefully acknowledges the support of The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, The Arts Council, and Music Network through the Music Capital Scheme & the Artist Bursary Award.