Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain

Lecturer PhD




Dr Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain is an ethnochoreologist and Course

Director of the MA in Irish Traditional Dance Performance programme at the Irish

World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland, where she

teaches Irish dance skills, Irish music and dance studies, Western Art Dance History,

Music and Dance education and ethnochoreology to undergraduate and postgraduate

students. As an accomplished performer and teacher of Irish music song and dance,

she delivers workshops and seminars internationally and is a recognized expert in the

Irish traditional music and dance world featuring in many broadcasts and

documentaries on radio and television as cultural commentator. Her book The

Terminology of Irish Dance was published in 2008 by Macater Press and in 2013 she

was commissioned by Dance Ireland to write and article on Contemporary Irish step

dance. Her current research involves collaborative work with physiotherapists

Amanda Clifford and Joanne Shanahan to investigate the feasibility of set dancing for

people with Parkinson’s, and with designer and illustrator Michael Mc Cabe with

whom she has secured Arts Council Funding to publish an illustrated history of Irish

set dance tunes.

Research Interests

Creative processes and competition culture within the Irish step dance idiom; music and dance of the Diaspora;the relationship between music and dance; Music , dance and education;Limerick Soundscape and Arts in Health.


  Year Publication
2008 The Terminology of Irish Dance.
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2008) The Terminology of Irish Dance. Madison Wisconsin: Macater Press. [Details]

Conference Contributions

  Year Publication
2003 September 2000.16th Annual Meeting of the ESEM: John Blacking’s Legacy. Queens University Belfast,
Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain (2003) ‘Irish Dancing, Ethnicity and cultural Transmission among Post-War Irish Immigrants in Britain: A case study from the West Midlands (Birmingham)’. [Non Refereed Paper/Abstract Presented at Conference], September 2000.16th Annual Meeting of the ESEM: John Blacking’s Legacy. Queens University Belfast, Queens University Belfast , 10-APR-03 - 16-APR-04 [Details]
2003 Dance History Scholars Conference,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2003) Competition Culture and Irish step dance. [Non Refereed Paper/Abstract Presented at Conference], Dance History Scholars Conference, University of Limerick , 01-JUN-03 - 30-JUN-03 [Details]
2003 Comhaimhseartha Seminar Series,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2003) Examining the role of the Gaelic League on competitive Irish step dance. [Oral Presentation], Comhaimhseartha Seminar Series, University of Limerick , 01-OCT-03 - 31-OCT-03 [Details]
2005 Irish Studies Symposium,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2005) The Irish Dancing Body. [Invited Lecture], Irish Studies Symposium, Centre for Irish Studies NUIG , 01-MAR-05 - 31-JAN-05 [Details]
2005 Close to the floor,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2005) Percussive Dance Conference organised by Dr. Mick Moloney NYU in conjunction with Ireland House. Irish Dance Music; for the feet of for the soul?. [Invited Oral Presentation], Close to the floor, Ireland House, NYU , 01-APR-05 - 30-APR-05 [Details]
2005 A.E.D.E.I,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2005) Representations of Irishness through Irish Dance. [Plenary Lecture], A.E.D.E.I, Tarragona Spain , 01-MAY-05 - 31-JAN-05 [Details]
2006 Dance Research Forum Ireland,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2006) The Institutionalisation of Competitive Irish Step Dance. [Non Refereed Paper/Abstract Presented at Conference], Dance Research Forum Ireland, University of Limerick , 01-JUN-06 - 30-JUN-06 [Details]
2007 Musicology Conference,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2007) Teaching traditional music and dance at a third level institution. [Plenary Lecture], Musicology Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece , 01-MAY-07 - 31-MAY-07 [Details]
2007 Dance as Art,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2007) Dance and the Arts. [Invited Lecture], Dance as Art, The Heuston School of Film and Digital Media, NUIG , 01-MAR-07 - 31-MAR-07 [Details]
2007 Cultúr agus Gaeilge,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2007) Damhsa tradisiúnta sa fichiú aois . [Invited Lecture], Cultúr agus Gaeilge, Aras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim.Carna, Condae na Gaillimhe , 01-FEB-07 - 28-FEB-07 [Details]
2008 Dance Research Forum Ireland,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2008) Mediating Movement Communication and Dance,. [Non Refereed Paper/Abstract Presented at Conference], Dance Research Forum Ireland, IT Tralee, Kerry , Ireland , 01-JUN-08 - 31-JAN-08 [Details]
2010 Ethnochoreology Sub Group, ICTM. International,
Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain, Catherine Foley, Breandán de Gallaí (2010) Contemporizing Irish Dance, panel presentation. [Non Refereed Paper/Abstract Presented at Conference], Ethnochoreology Sub Group, ICTM. International, Trest , 01-JUL-10 - 31-JUL-10 [Details]
2010 ICTM Ireland Conference,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain, Niall Keegan (2010) Irish Music and Dance ; a tradition torn. [Non Refereed Paper/Abstract Presented at Conference], ICTM Ireland Conference, University of Ulster, Magee , Derry , 01-FEB-10 - 28-FEB-10 [Details]
2011 Irish Dance in Russia,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain (2011) Exploring the music/dance relationship within the step dance idiom. [Invited Lecture], Irish Dance in Russia, Nureyev Ballet School Ufa Russia , 01-MAY-11 - 31-MAY-11 [Details]
2011 ICTM International,
Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain, Krisitn Harris Walsh,Kathleen Flanagan (2011) Panel presentation on dance of the Diaspora. [Non Refereed Paper/Abstract Presented at Conference], ICTM International, Memorial University, St Johns, Newfoundland , 01-JUL-11 - 31-JAN-11 [Details]
2012 Comhrá Ceoil Symposium,
Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain, Sandra Joyce, Niall Keegan, Catherine Foley (2012) Approaches to research within Irish Studies,Invited panelist to represent University of Limerick May 2012. [Invited Oral Presentation], Comhrá Ceoil Symposium, Centre for Irish Studies NUIG , 01-MAY-12 - 31-JAN-13 [Details]
2012 Tower Seminar Series,
Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain, Aileen Dillane, Tríona Ní Shíocháin, Margaret Harper, Michael Griffin (2012) Interdisciplinary Seminar Presentation Performance-text context. [Oral Presentation], Tower Seminar Series, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance , 01-FEB-12 - 29-FEB-12 [Details]

Professional Associations

  Association Function From / To
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Member of Castletroy Branch /
An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha member /
Dance Research Forum Ireland Board member /
ICTM Ireland Chairperson /


  Committee Function From / To
Irish World Academy Co-ordination Group member /
BA Course Board member /
Blas Academic Board member /
Research Academy Panel member /
Library Committee Irish World Academy Representative /
AHSS Management Committee Academy representative Autumn semester 2012 /
Coiste na Gaeilge Cathaoirleach /
AHSS Faculty Board Irish World Academy Representative /


  Employer Position From / To
An Roinn Oideachais Milford Primary School Limerick Oide Scoile /
Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál Luimneach Assistant lecturer in Physical Education /
Williams College MA USA Guest Artist in Dance Spring 2003 /
University of Limerick Lecturer in Dance /


  Year Institution Qualification Subject
1998 University Of Limerick Master of Arts Ethnochoreology
2010 University Of Limerick PhD An Examination of the Creative Processes in Competitive Irish Step Dance


  Language Reading Writing Speaking
French Functional Functional Functional
Gaeilge Fluent Functional Fluent

Outreach Activities


Regular performances at Milford Hospice Limerick.
I have led dance workshops  with students at  schools  in Limerick City and County.