Arts Council Announces Increased Funding for Music, Opera and Traditional Arts Organisations

Polly Barrett and Frank Wieler performing as part of West Cork Music's new 'Resound' project – West Cork Music is one of the organisations funded under the Arts Council's Strategic Funding programme. (Photo: Joe Chapman)

Arts Council Announces Increased Funding for Music, Opera and Traditional Arts Organisations

Strategic Funding scheme provides €1m extra for opera, €836k increase for music organisations, and an additional €230k for the traditional arts compared to last year.

The Arts Council has announced the results of the 2021 Strategic Funding scheme, which supports key arts organisations in Ireland.

Over €11m has been allocated in the categories of music, opera and traditional arts from a total arts allocation of over €46m. The Arts Council’s budget from the government was increased substantially this year which has meant increases for a number of organisations.

Among the recipients are Irish National Opera, which received €3.9m, a 28% increase on last year. Wexford Festival Opera also received a 10% increase to €1.6m. 

In the category of music, the Irish Chamber Orchestra received a 22% increase to €1.2m, West Cork Music received a 29% increase to €410k, and First Music Contact received a 58% increase to €175k.

Also in the music category are Music Network (€658k), Chamber Choir Ireland (€550k), Contemporary Music Centre (€400k), Irish Baroque Orchestra (€288k), Improvised Music Company (€285k), Crash Ensemble (€282k), and Sing Ireland (€260k), all of which received increases.

In the traditional arts, the Irish Traditional Music Archive received a 17% increase to €866k, Na Píobairí Uilleann’s funding was increased by 20% to €499k, the Willie Clancy Summer School received an increase of €5k to €100k, and the Donegal fiddle-playing organisation Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí’s funding was increased from €30k to €44k.

The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras received funding under the young people, children and education category (YPCE), amounting to €35k and €240k respectively.  

Commenting on the announcements, Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly said

Increased public investment is enabling us to support ambitious plans throughout the country and to ensure that the core infrastructure of the arts landscape survives the most challenging period ever faced. Ireland’s key organisations are demonstrating impressive levels of imagination and adaptability in their planning and we are confident that these funding decisions will support them to build back better and to reach the widest possible audience.

For the full list of Strategic Funding decisions, as well as funding for arts venues, see the PDF below. For more, visit

Published on 2 March 2021

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