The performance is a celebration for the traditional holiday, Imbolc. This is the time when the dark Winter recedes and the light of the Summer returns. The theme will be explored through a selection of pieces ranging from melancholy airs to lively and raucous polkas, reels and jigs. These old and traditional tunes and dances will be combined with new and original music from Irish composer Mark Hennessey, who also stars in the performance as principal dancer and musician (fiddle). His vision will be brought to life featuring a talented cast of musicians, dancers and singers including visiting performer David Brennan from Dublin, Ireland (Guitar, Bódhrán, Vocals).

They will be joined on stage with very special guests Helena Rängman & Mariia Bertus, along with musicians from the European Irish Music Ensemble and Finland based Irish dancers, Rince Revontulet.

In 2023 the European Irish Music Ensemble and company will celebrate Imbolc in Helsinki with the performance of “Imbolc” on the 21st of January at the Kannusali theatre, Espoo city.

Mark Hennessey is a multidisciplinary artist and educator with a distinct style and vision. His characteristic outlook is felt through his varied works and contributions to diverse artistic spheres. He has had a varied career ranging from performing as a dancer and soloist musician touring with Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames & Celtic Tiger, to lecturing in Visual Music in the prestigious Trinity College, Dublin, where he also received an MPhil in Music & Media Technologies.

Mark also composes in a range of styles including traditional and contemporary Irish music as well as electronic and soundscape. His music has been broadcast on regional and national radio as well as being performed by the Young Dublin Symphonia and the renowned Crash Ensemble. 

Mark is the creator and Musical Director of the European Irish Music Ensemble, a community that engages with the culture of Ireland, learning and performing Irish music with branches and musicians around Europe. As a qualified Irish dance teacher, Mark teaches regular classes and workshops in Ireland, Austria & Finland. He has also developed “Trad Culture”, a specially devised program for young children as an introduction to Irish music, dance and culture delivered through games and exercises currently being taught in Ireland and abroad.
Dáithí has his roots steeped in Irish music and culture from an early age.  Hailing from Dublin’s Northside he began learning classical piano but his love for Irish traditional music, history, culture and folklore outshone the classical and he immersed himself in that world. While studying under several top dance teachers in Dublin, he won many titles regionally & nationally in both solo and team championship competitions.

His passion for Irish culture followed him into academic circles, studying for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Celtic Civilisation, Gaeilge (Irish language) and English in University College Dublin, before qualifying with a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from Trinity College, Dublin. Dáithí’s talent has made it possible for him to tour with many Irish Dance and music shows throughout Europe and further a field since the late 1990s, performing as a dancer, musician and vocalist. This in turn led to his playing and recording with several bands and music groups encompassing various genres, from Rock to pop and traditional to contemporary.  He has also had the privilege to have choreographed a number of Irish dance shows, these have been performed in Ireland and across the world.
Helena Rängman is classically trained actress, versatile singer and musician known from many lead roles such as Evita and Sugar in Finnish theaters as well as recurring roles for primetime TV series Uusi Päivä and Syke. Helena has shown strong dancer skills in many productions (Cats, Mary Poppins to name a few) and remarkable ability to coach musical theatre students. She is passionate in everything she does, she loves Opera and Irish dancing and bakes excellent sourdough bread.
Mariia Bertus is a Finnish-based soprano currently working as a freelance singer and teacher. Mariia completed her studies in the opera program at the Sibelius Academy in 2018 and in the vocal pedagogy program at Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Music and Drama Institute in 2015.
Mariia has performed with many opera companies in Finland and her roles include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Adele in Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss), Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Britten), Gretel, Taumann and Sandmann in Hänsel und Gretel (Humperdinck), Nannetta in Falstaff (Verdi), Maria in The Sound of Music (Rodgers & Hammerstein), Genovieffa in Suor Angelica (Puccini), 1. Witch in Dido and Aeneas (Purcell), Pharao’s daughter in Akhnaten (Glass), Fillyjonk in Mumin Opera (Kuusisto), Kaarina in Daughters of the Fatherland (Kuusisto) and Truls in Children of the Forest (Ruotsala). Mariia has sung little roles like Page in Rigoletto (Verdi) in Savonlinna Opera Festival where she has been a member of the choir for many years. She has also sung as a soloist with Finnish orchestras like Kauniainen Orchestra, Kirkkonummi Chamber Orchestra and Tapiola Sinfonietta.
The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation and The Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) have supported Mariia’s music making with grants. The next bigger project will be the role of Ljusja in Moscow, Cheryomushki operetta (Shostakovich), which will be performed at Alexander Theatre in Helsinki in January. 
Prisca always has been interested in handcrafting, so schools of Arts & Crafts and Textile Design led to studies at the University of Derby, England. After that she restorated textiles for several years. Becoming a three times mum changed her working field. Since 2012 she supports people of all ages with energetic methods.
Beside that she started playing the recorder at the age of six and enjoyed a long musical education including five years at the University of Music (mdw), Vienna. Since then she still is teaching the recorder and classes in first musical steps for 1-5 year old children at the local community education centre as a side job.
Dancing also always has been an important part of her life. After the common social dancing as a teenager she started dancing Tango Argentino, and at the age of 38 she started with Irish Dance. At the moment she is a competition dancer and trainer for adults (both hobby and beginner classes) at the DoDo Academy of Dance in Vienna.
Tina Tynys is a violinist-musician from eastern Finland. Tynys has worked as a freelance musician, performing both solo and in various groups. She grew up with classical music, but the genres performed today vary from classical all the way to pop and jazz. Tynys has studied violin and music education at the Conservatory of Lahti, bachelor degree at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and also master’s degree at the University of Jyväskylä. Currently Tynys is working as a violin lecturer at Lappeenrannan musiikkiopisto.
Some members of Rince Revontulet & European Irish Music Ensemble

We would like to thank the friends of the community below for their contribution and help to make Imbolc a reality. You contribution and continued support is greatly appreciated!


Imbolc marks the beginning of spring and the end of the dark winter days and it has been celebrated since ancient times. It is a midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Imbolc derives from the Old Irish “i mbolg” meaning “in the belly”, when new life returns after the dark and cold of winter.

In early Celtic times, it was a time to celebrate the Celtic Goddess Brigid. She was the Goddess of inspiration, healing, and smithcraft with associations to fire, the hearth and poetry.

In pre-Christian times people would flock to healing wells during the celebration of Imbolc. They would walk clockwise around a healing well or wishing tree. People would bring strips of cloth and tie it to a branch of the tree, wishing for good fortune for the year to come.

When Ireland was Christianised in the 5th century, the mantle of the Goddess Brigid was passed on to Saint Brigid. She founded a monastery in Kildare and ended her days there. The goddess Brigid festival was Christianised to become Saint Brigid’s Day.

The Saint Brigid’s Cross is one of the archetypal symbols of Ireland, it is considered a Christian symbol but it has its roots in the pre-christian goddess Brigid. It is usually made from rushes and comprises a woven square in the centre and four radials tied at the ends.

The cross was traditionally hung on the kitchen wall to protect the house from fire and evil. Even today a Brigid’s Cross can be found in many Irish homes, especially in rural areas.

Text by Brian Murphy