Fionnuala has travelled the world as lead singer with Riverdance and has also done extensive touring with the Norwegian band Secret Garden. Her personal experience of meditation and mindfulness lead her to become a certified mindfulness teacher in 2010 and below you can read more about her journey so far – from both musical and mindfulness perspectives!
Fionnuala began singing at the age of seven and studied at the College of Music in Dublin throughout her school years. While completing a degree in Psychology at Trinity College Dublin she was a founding member of the choral group Anúna – the original vocal ensemble of Riverdance – who are highly acclaimed and recognized internationally for interpretations of Irish and sacred music. Her studies then took her to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, where, as winner of the prestigious Sean Connery Bursary, she completed an MA in Vocal Performance. Making her professional operatic debut with Opera Theatre Company, Ireland in the role of Lisetta in Haydn’s La Vera Costanza, Fionnuala then went on to work with Opera Northern Ireland (Flora in Britten’s Turn of the Screw). The roles of Pamina in Mozart’s Magic Flute and Barena/Karolka in Janacek’s Jenufa then followed, along with many oratorio and concert performances in Ireland and the UK.
Fionnuala’s international career gathered momentum when she was asked to tour as lead singer with Riverdance, with which she performed throughout the USA, UK and Europe.
In 2003 she joined the internationally acclaimed group Secret Garden with whom she has performed as singer and harper in Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Norway, and Ireland.
Having sung for such dignitaries as Úachtarán na hÉireann (President of Ireland) HE Mary McAleese and HE Michael D. O’Higgins, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, HM Queen Fabiola of Belgium and Bishop Desmond Tutu, Fionnuala has also toured with several artists in the USA, including Tim Janis, The Boston String Quartet and Kathleen Deignan.
In 2011 Fionnuala collaborated with the folk legend Davey Arthur on an album called Common Ground and her first solo album, Whispers of Love was released in April 2012. The album transcends all categories, incorporating the depth of beauty of ancient Irish song and Fionnuala’s years of experience in the classical realm.
Fionnuala has had a personal interest in meditation for over 30 years and personal practice is an integral part of her life.
Her interest in meditation began at the age of 17 and continued throughout her studies in Psychology at Trinity College Dublin. After graduation from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in Glasgow, she moved to the Findhorn Foundation, a spiritual community in the Highlands of Scotland. Here she combined her training in music with her interest in meditation and mindful living.
She attended her first seven day silent retreat with Martine and Stephen Batchelor in 1994 and in 1999 travelled to India and Nepal where she attended the teachings of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and completed a month long retreat at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu.
Since that time Fionnuala has attended many trainings and retreats with other renowned teachers including Mark Williams, Christina Feldman, John Peacock, Cindy Cooper and Rebecca Crane.
She completed her mindfulness teacher training with the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches in 2010 and is currently undertaking further mindfulness training with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University, North Wales.
Fionnuala has a particular interest in mindful movement and is a qualified yoga teacher (RYT 200). She offers both group and individual mindfulness courses and sessions. One of her special areas of expertise is mindfulness and music – an area in which she brings to bear her many years as a professional musician and as a mindfulness practitioner. Other areas of special interest include mindfulness in education (in July 2013 she became a certified teacher in .b (pronounced ‘dot-be’) with The Mindfulness in Schools Project) and mindfulness for children and families.
Adherence to the Irish Good Practice Guidelines for Teaching Mindfulness-Based Courses is important to Fionnuala and this means she is committed to engaging in regular supervision and ongoing training and retreats in her work as a mindfulness teacher.