Ballyfermot College of Further Education BCFE

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Music – Irish Traditional Music Performance Diploma (HND) Level 6 Higher

Course Code: PTH

Duration: 2 Years

2-year traditional music performance course for musicians and singers with instrumental-making option. Students compose, record and produce their own CD

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The Higher National Diploma in Irish Traditional Music Performance, Ceoltóir, is a two year programme for musicians and singers who wish to develop and improve as performers. The course is practical in nature with an emphasis on performance and developing musical skills. In second year, students record, engineer and produce their own CD, using college facilities. Regular performances and guest lectures by leading figures in the world of traditional music are an exciting feature of the course. Recent guest lecturers included Harry Bradley, Liam O Connor, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, Gavin Ralston and Jean Michel Veillon .

In 2018 a new Instrument Making strand was introduced featuring Uilleann Pipe Making, Flute Making, and Whistle Making. This unique programme, organised in cooperation with Na Píobairí Uilleann, is designed to cater for the skills shortage within the traditional music community in terms of instrument making. The flute and whistle strands are taught by renowned flutemaker  Hammy Hamilton and the pipemaking strand is taught  by Donnacha Dwyer on behalf of Na Píobairí Uilleann.  All instrument making classes are taught in Na Píobairí Uilleann’s PipeCraft Training Centre in Clonshaugh. As well as workshop time with an expert instrument maker students have access to the instrument making workshop on a regular basis to further develop the skills learned.

See this PDF for more information on our Instrument Making strand.

The course aims to enable students to deepen their understanding of Irish Traditional Music and to equip students with the skills and academic qualifications for a successful career in music.


Year 1

  • Music Industry
  • Professional Development
  • The Evolution of the Instrument
  • Applied Music Theory
  • Performance
  • Instrumental Technique
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Recording Technology Or Application of Machine Tools (Instrument Making strand)

Year 2

  • Creative Research Project
  • Creative Portfolio
  • Developing as an Artist
  • Advanced Performance Skills
  • Live Arrangement Skills
  • Regional Styles in Irish Traditional Music
  • Advanced Music Production or Work Experience (Instrument Making strand)


View past students’ work.

The traditional music ceoltóir course is practical and instrumental performance based. Students compose, record, engineer and produce their own CD


Leaving Certificate/LCVP with a minimum of two H5/O1 and three O6/H7 grades or equivalent or QQI level 5 award with a merit profile such as PMC Music Management & Production. The academic entry requirements may be waived for mature applicants (21+). All applicants will be auditioned.


HND in Irish Traditional Music Performance

A Higher National Diploma is recognised by the QQI as being comparable to the Higher Certificate at NFQ Level 6.

QQI Comparability Statement


  • Rehearsal and Multi-track Sound Recording Studio
  • Demo Recording, Back-line Amplification
  • 2kw P.A. System
  • Range of Professional Instruments
  • 24 Track Digital Recording Studio
  • Midi Suites 8 Track Hard Disc Recorders
Traditional Music Ceoltóir Gig, Wednesday 5th April


Graduates may gain exemptions from one or two years of degree courses in the UK or may choose to continue performing on the traditional music circuit. Graduates who achieve a merit/distinction may also apply for entry to the BA (Hons) in Media Production Management programme in BCFE.

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