and comes from a family steeped in the traditional music of Donegal. She is a gifted pianist and accordion player and has won All-Ireland senior honours. In 1999 she made history, as the first graduate gaining a degree in traditional music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
In 2005, Kathleen joined the award-winning international group Cherish the Ladies. She appeared with the band on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning show, playing for over 6 million listeners and viewers. They have performed alongside dozens of symphony orchestras, and were ranked in the Top 100 Irish Americans by Irish America Magazine. In May 2010 they performed for Bill Clinton and Bono at the Lincoln Centre in Manhattan at the annual American Ireland Fund event. Their album “Country Crossroads”, was recorded in Nashville and featuring guest stars Vince Gill, Nanci Griffith and Maura O’Connell. In 2013 Cherish the Ladies won a mid-Atlantic Emmy for their PBS special “An Irish Homecoming”.
Kathleen is also a member of Scottish group Dòchas, who have released two albums to much critical acclaim. Dòchas won best new comers at the Scots Traditional Music Awards and were also nominated as best folk band. Kathleen’s first solo album “An Cailin Rua” or “The Red Haired Girl” was released to rave reviews.
Kathleen is also in great demand as an accompanist and has performed with Mary Black, Frances Black, Maura O’Connell, Heidi Talbot, Julie Fowlis, Michelle Burke, The Black Family, Don Stiffe, Rachel Walker, Arty McGlynn, Nollaig Casey, Liz Carroll and was part of Phil Cunningham’s Sir Walter Scott commission, premiered at Celtic Connections.
Kathleen is also a sought-after teacher at the Royal Conservatoire Scotland and the Irish Academy of World Music in Limerick University.
Kathleen is well known for her compositions which are now becoming staples in the traditional music scene. Many of her tunes such as “The Homecoming”, “Waltzing down the Aisle”, “Errigal Beauty” and “The Murphy Boys” feature on Cherish the Ladies albums and are performed regularly in concert. In 2019, Kathleen was invited to take part in the Distil Scotland program, a weekend event encouraging composers to expand their creative horizons.