Creativity - Joy - Transformation


MusicAlive was established in 2009 by Kevin O’Shanahan and Caoimhe Conlon following their participation with Waterford Healing Arts Trust in a European Music and Health Exchange programme. It’s purpose is to provide access to high quality, participative based programmes. in mental health and older age community and health care contexts.

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What we do

At MusicAlive we aspire to bring the joy, creativity and therapeutic benefit that live musical interactions can bring to people. The choice to participate in programmes lies with the person.

While music is at the heart of our work, we also collaborate with professional artists from a wide variety of other art forms, including movement, creative writing and the visual arts.

MusicAlive’s project partners in the past have included Age and Opportunity, The Arts Council, Cope Foundation, Cork City and County Arts Offices, Cork Arts and Health partnership , the HSE and Cork Mental Health Services.

Our work is informed by evidence based research, from many perspectives, including healthcare and ethnomusicology. We also contribute to research publications, such as

Beyond Diagnosis - The transformative potential of the arts in mental health recovery

No 49 North Street

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No 49 North Street

MusicAlive are proud partners with West Cork Mental Health Services at 49 North Street - an innovative community based hub for creativity, recovery and wellness in Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

Since opening its doors in 2017, 49 North Street has been host to numerous events, including the West Cork Feelgood Festival, World Music Day, Skibbereen Arts Festival, and the First Fortnight Festival.

In 2019, 49 North Street hosts events also for Seachtain Na Gaeilge and the Lifelong Learning Festival.

To read more about the background to the development of 49 North Street visit: In conversation with Declan McCarthy - Creativity and Mental Health

Current projects include:

The Claddagh Rogues
Bantry Community Choir
Gamelan Spréacha Geala
The Happiness Ensemble
Open Door
Fite Fuaite Pop Up Gaeltacht
Mindful Movement
Song shop 49
Grow Together

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Exploring Life Writing:
An Ongoing Workshop Series on Memoir with Arnold Thomas Fanning.

Arnold Thomas Fanning is the author of  Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery

Arnold Thomas Fanning is the author of Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery


If you have always wanted to begin writing your life story, but didn’t know how to start, these workshops are for you. Exploring Life Writing is an ongoing and continuing series of two-hour interactive workshops exploring an exciting range of topics related to the creative writing of life stories. The series is ideal for those new to writing and wishing to explore the rich area of Memoir creatively. Through readings, discussion, presentations, exercises, and lots of writing, areas covered will include but not be limited to:

What is Life Writing?

  • Diaries & Letters.

  • Where to Begin & Gathering Ideas.

  • Prompts & Inspirations.

  • Memoir & Memories.

  • People, Places, Things.

  • Character, Conversation, Dialogue.

  • Truth, Words, & Representation.

  • Research, Sources, & Material.

  • Challenges, Difficulties, & Opportunities.

  • Publishing & Professional Development.


About the facilitator:

Arnold Thomas Fanning is the author of Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery, published by Penguin Ireland in 2018 and shortlisted for the Butler Literary Award, The Irish Book Awards Newcomer of the Year and the Wellcome Book Prize 2019. His work has been published in The Dublin Review, Banshee, the Irish Times, Crazyhorse Magazine, Hot Press, gorse, Paper Visual Art Journal online,, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and RTÉ Radio 1.


Booking a place

Exploring Life Writing will be meeting monthly, every
Second Friday, 11:30am-1:30pm,
in No. 49 North Street, Skibbereen.

First session
11 October 2019

8 November 2019
13 December 2019
10 January 2020
14 February 2020
13 March 2020
10 April 2020 (note: this is Good Friday)
8 May 2020

Informal enquiries:

To reserve your place please contact:


Percussion Workshop:
Play a part in the Rhythm of Life


This September, the West Cork based Gamelan Spréacha Geala
will delve deeper into the fascinating world of rhythm in an
open workshop with internationally renowned percussionist Alex Petcu.


About Alex Pectu

As well as being a member of the energetic and adventurous Bangers and Crash Percussion Group, Alex also performs in a wide variety of settings with a multitude of orchestras and ensembles. However, his main specialty lies in solo and chamber music. As a soloist, recent appearances include performances at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Kilruddery House and the National Concert Hall.

 Presented by Music Network, as part of the group’s nationwide tour in October, this workshop will be delivered in association with MusicAlive. Participants will learn a variety of rhythms, how to build and tune their own percussion instruments and will even get the chance to try out some of Alex’s own instruments, made out of everything from hanging pipes and tiles to pieces of wood and more.


No Booking required

The workshop will take place at
Cope Foundation Skibbereen, Mill Road
on Wednesday, September 18 at 7.00pm.

Participation is open to all from 12 years and upwards
(Under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult). 

No musical experience is necessary and the cost of the workshop is €10, payable at the venue. 

For more information and updates about the workshop please visit West Cork Gamelan on facebook.
To book tickets to attend the Bangers and Crash performance at the Curtis Auditorium at the CIT Cork School of Music, on October 10 please visit


Photography by Richie Tyndall and Aoise Tutty