DIT confers honorary doctorates on music legends The Chieftains and distinguished harpist Sheila Larchet Cuthbert

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Members of The Chieftains at St Patrick’s Cathedral L:R – Tríona Marshall, Paddy Maloney, Matt Molloy, Seán Keane and Kevin Conneff

25 November 2013: DIT has conferred an honorary doctorate on music legends The Chieftains, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to Irish music nationally and internationally and their role as cultural ambassadors for the country.

Members of the traditional music group, which was formed 51 years ago – Paddy Maloney, Seán Keane, Matt Molloy, Kevin Conneff and Tríona Marshall – were conferred at the graduation ceremony for DIT music, drama and media students on Saturday 23 November.

Speaking at the ceremony at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Paddy Maloney said, “It is a great musical achievement for The Chieftains to be receiving an honorary doctorate from Dublin Institute of Technology.

“It’s wonderful for the Chieftains to be recognised individually as well as collectively with this kind of tribute.”

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Sheila Larchet Cuthbert receiving her honorary doctorate from the President of DIT, Prof Brian Norton

Mr Maloney said that after so many years of making music, it was very special to be given this recognition.

President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton, said, “DIT honours The Chieftains for their outstanding contribution to music and their vital role in bringing Irish culture to new audiences around the world. We also acknowledge them as standard bearers for graduates assembled here who are about to embark on their own careers in music, drama and media.”

Sheila Larchet Cuthbert, who has had a long and distinguished career as a musician, teacher, arranger and researcher, also received an honorary doctorate at the ceremony. In particular, she has been a passionate advocate for Ireland’s national instrument, the harp.

Amongst Sheila’s many accomplishments, she was principal harpist with Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the celebrated conductor Sir Malcom Sargent and wrote the definitive publication The Irish Harp Book.

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Paddy Maloney and Matt Molloy with the DIT Irish Traditional Music Ensemble

Family and friends of Sheila Larchet Cuthbert and The Chieftains were in the audience at St Patrick’s Cathedral to see the awarding of the honorary doctorates and attended a special reception afterwards.

On leaving St Patrick’s Cathedral as part of the academic procession, The Chieftains were greeted with a huge cheer from the graduating classes of 2013.

The Chieftains have been highly influential in the world of Irish traditional music – their combination of uilleann pipes, fiddle, flute, tin whistle, bodhrán and later the harp have become synonymous with the music and culture of Ireland.

They formed in 1962 when Paddy Maloney invited four of the most highly regarded Irish traditional musicians together for a one-off recording for the second album release of Gareth Browne’s new company, Claddagh Records.

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The Chieftains with Dr Michael Mulvey, Director of Academic Affairs and Registrar, President of DIT, Prof Brian Norton and John O’Connor, Dean of the College of Arts and Tourism

Many gifted musicians have played with The Chieftains throughout the years. They’ve collaborated with a myriad of cultures – from playing with Chinese folk musicians to country musicians in Nashville and incorporating the music of Mexico in their 2010 San Patricio project.

They’ve played with musicians as varied as The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, James Galway, Bon Iver and Imelda May.

Each year, Dublin Institute of Technology seeks to acknowledge the important contribution to society made by those who have achieved distinction in a number of fields – the arts and sciences, business and the professions and in scholarly, cultural and sporting activities.

Two honorary doctorates were awarded at graduation ceremonies held earlier this month.

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Prof John Monaghan and Dr Michael Mulvey, Director of Academic Affairs and Registrar

Professor John Monaghan was awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of his outstanding achievements in engineering and engineering education and his contribution to society and social justice, including his work with the Society of Vincent de Paul.

And Michael Webb was conferred with an honorary degree in recognition of his outstanding professional achievements and his contribution to civic society.

In a career spanning almost 50 years, Mr Webb is a leader in industry (most notably showing a commitment to developing the profession of quantity surveyor), is widely respected for his contribution to the field of built environment and has made a significant impact to society through his life-long commitment to civic engagement.

This has included working with the Scout Association of Ireland, the National Youth Council and the Church of Ireland amongst other organisations.

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Michael Webb with members of his family after the graduation ceremony

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