Achievements and Distinctions
Martin Dowling is a Sligo-style fiddle player, historian and sociologist and has performed on national radio and television in both Ireland and the UK. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has held research fellowships in history and sociology in Queen’s University of Belfast and University College Dublin.
From 1998 to 2004 he was the Traditional Arts Officer in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He teaches the fiddle regularly at the Scoil Samhraidh Willy Clancy in County Clare and at the South Sligo School of Traditional Music, and performs regularly in Ireland, continental Europe, and the U.S., as well as at sessions and ceilithe in Belfast.
Dr Dowling joined the staff at Queen's in November 2006.
Dr Dowling's research interests have evolved from Irish rural economic and social history, which were manifested in the monograph Tenant Right and Agrarian Society in Ulster, 1600-1870 (Irish Academic Press, 1999) and other publications, to the history and contemporary practice of Irish traditional music. Current research involves fieldwork with traditional Irish musicians in Ireland, the United States, and continental Europe on the subject of music and identity, and archival research preparatory to the writing of a monograph history of Irish traditional music from the death of harpist-composer Turlough Carolan (1738) to the first performance of Riverdance (1994).
Current work is focused on developing, editing, and annotating a database of interviews with performers of Irish traditional music in four cities on the globe (Minneapolis, Rome, Belfast, and Dublin). The fieldwork employs a methodology of semi-structured interviewing developed on the Contemporary Irish Identities research project at University College Dublin (2004-2006). The fieldwork is also informed by an active and reflective practice of performing and teaching traditional Irish music in Belfast. Archival research and writing is currently concerned with material relating to the decades of the Irish Revival (1890 to 1920), particularly the place of Irish traditional music in relation to the origins and early development of the Gaelic League and the Feis Ceoil Association, and the place of music in the literary revival of those decades.