Dancing At Lughnasa tells the story of five colourful sisters, barely surviving on a hardscrabble farm in 1930’s Ireland, and the powerful moment that changes their lives forever.

This is director Pat O’Connor’s version of the International stage success by Irish playwright Brian Friel. Whelan’s score for Dancing At Lughnasa combines the texture and strains of traditional Irish music with a sensibility singularly informed by both classical and popular musical styles. 

Most of the music for the film is an orchestral score performed by the Irish Film Orchestra under the direction of Proinnsias O’Duinn, with the final song, Whelan’s setting of the poem “Down By The Salley Gardens” by WB Yeats sung by Dolores Keane. 

The title track, “Dancing At Lughnasa” is composed for traditional ensemble and features such talented artists as Nollaig Casey, fiddle: Mairtin O’Connor, accordion: Davy Spillane, pipes and low whistle: Martin Murray, banjo: Sean D Halpenny, bodhrán: and the composer himself playing drums and percussion.