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Cormac Breatnach (whistles) & Martin Dunlea (guitar)

July 27 @ 8.00pm - 10.00pm

Photo of Cormac Breatnach with arms folded and photo of Martin Dunlea with guitar

Tickets €20, from eventbrite

Cormac Breatnach and Martin Dunlea released their first duet album, entitled Music for Whistle & Guitar (Dioscaí Mandala/Pressure Records) in July 2000 to critical acclaim. Martin met Cormac in late 1998 while touring with the Triple Harp Bypass, which featured harmonica virtuosos Mick Kinsella, Brendan Power and Rick Epping. They decided to get together informally to play some tunes in Co. Wicklow, where they both live, and this developed into their current musical relationship.

 Since the release of their album they have performed at the Copenhagen Irish Festival on a double-bill with folk/trad supergroup Patrick Street, on a nationwide tour with Luka Bloom, and at the Cork Folk Festival. They have also appeared on Irish television music programmes such as Geantraí and Árdán.

 In August 2003, they took part in Martin Hayes’Masters of Tradition’ festival in Bantry House, in Co. Cork, giving masterclasses and performing as a duo. The series of concerts were broadcast on Lyric FM in March and April of 2004.

 In April 2004, they recorded with the celebrated U.S. actress/singer Vanessa L. Williams on two tracks on her Xmas album with Atlantic Records. Their contact with Ms. Williams goes back to their first trip to the States together in October 2001, one month after North America’s ‘9/11’. Many of their engagements were cancelled but they nevertheless decided to make the trip. One of their radio interviews on Kathleen Biggins’ One Hundred Thousand Welcomes broadcast on the 6th October 2001 was heard by Ms. Williams, who was much taken with their music. She duly made contact with Cormac and the result of this was a music collaboration involving the duo, Ms. Williams, and her producer, the celebrated Rob Mathes, on The Holly and the Ivy and Silent Night songs which featured on her Xmas CD, Silver and Gold.

 In May 2004, they also represented Ireland with many of its writers and poets at the international Book Fair held in Prague in the Czech Republic, which featured, to name but a few, Brian Keenan, Hugo Hamilton, Peter Fallon and Gabriel Rosenstock. In August of that year Cormac and Martin were invited to perform at the ‘First World Musical Festival’ near Coimbra by the celebrated Portuguese musician, Ricardo Diaz.


Artist Biographies


Cormac Breatnach

Cormac Breatnach’s playing can be heard on more than fifty albums, including Riverdance and on his own solo albums, including Musical Journey, Music for Whistle & Guitar and Éalú, on the film soundtracks for The Secret of Roan Inish, Horse, The War of the Buttons and Moondance, as well as the award-winning TV programmes Bringing It All Back Home, A River of Sound, Súlt, and The Session. Cormac also featured on and presented TV programmes with Geantraí in Greystones Co. Wicklow and with Ceolchuairt in the Basque Country.

Apart from co-founding and recording an album with the Irish-Baroque group Sonamus (Music of Ireland: Where Irish and Baroque Music Meet (2016)), he co-founded Deiseal (1993) recording two ground-break albums, The Long Long Note (1993) and Sunshine Dance (1996). He has also collaborated and recorded with the Bray-based guitarist Martin Dunlea (Music for Whistle & Guitar (2000)) and he performs occasionally with Steve Cooney and Seán Whelan, as well as with Martin himself.

Between 2016 and 2019 he project-managed and performed in The Whistleblower project with Daire Bracken and Martin Tourish, involving a short-film, a live/video show and an album, which in part features in RTÉ Radio 1’sDocOnOne’ series which won many human rights radio awards including the prestigious New York Human Rights Silver Award.

Between 2017 and 2019 he project-managed and performed in the Irish/Spanish ‘Loco Por Lorca’ poetry and music/video show based on Spain’s national poet, Federico García Lorca.

In February 2024, Cormac was part of the music ensemble for An Craiceann Agus A Luach show, featuring narrator Eithne Ní Ghallachóir and composer-guitarist Steve Cooney, after which he toured under Music Network’s National Touring Programme with Niamh Dunne, Seán Óg Graham and Bróna McVittie, performing in ten arts venues throughout Ireland.




Martin Dunlea

Cork-born guitarist, Martin Dunlea is a self-taught musician and now lives in Co.Wicklow. He played in folk rock and blues bands in Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S.A. from his early teens to his late twenties.

Martin moved to Dublin in 1992 to play and record with the innovative band ‘Soon’ and simultaneously developed an interest in traditional Irish music. He began teaching at the Professional Musician Training Course in the Newpark Music Centre in 1997.

Martin is also a composer and has appeared on many notable TV and radio programmes. He features on Mick Kinsella’s album Harmonica, contributing one original composition and playing guitar on seven tracks. His guitar playing can also be heard on the Gavin Friday’s and Maurice Seezer’s original soundtrack to the film Disco Pigs (Berlin Film Festival, February, 2001). On Music for Whistle & Guitar, his 2000 album with Cormac Breatnach, he contributed six original compositions, with one from Cormac himself and a re-working of another from musician/producer Máire Breatnach.

When not playing music, Martin holds a B.A. (Honours) in Psychology from University College Dublin, advanced certifications in Clinical Hypnotherapy, and a Higher Diploma in Human Givens Psychotherapy.


Doors open at 7.30pm, performance at 8pm. 

This concert is presented by the OPW as part of the 2024 cultural programme at Farmleigh House.

Attendees who are expecting to take a taxi home after the concert are advised to book one in advance for no later than 10pm.


July 27
8.00pm - 10.00pm
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Farmleigh House
Farmleigh Estate
Phoenix Park, Dublin D15TD50 Ireland
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