“Spiritual director, retreat leader, and one of the world’s finest Celtic harpers. Her music sits in that liminal space where music meets spirituality.”
Cath Connelly has been playing the Celtic harp professionally since 1998.
She is now considered one of Australia's leading Celtic harpers, with her career flourishing since claiming 3rd prize (Seniors Division) in the 2004 Turlough O'Carolan Harp Competition, Nobber, County Meath, Ireland.
These days Cath is very much in demand for concerts, conferences and workshops throughout Australia. Cath returned to Ireland to perform in 2006, 2009, 2014, 2016 & 2018. She also completed a solo tour of the East Coast of USA in 2012.
Cath has produced five gorgeous albums over the past several years, composing and arranging her own harp music as part of a rich, collaborative process with Greg Hunt, Jules Vines and other skilled and sensitive musicians.
She is well known for performances that invite audiences to engage in quiet reflection and a deeper sense of being. In true Celtic fashion, Cath also incorporates storytelling into engaging concerts that span Irish folklore, Celtic tradition, music and spirituality. Her music is deeply grounded in the Celtic tradition, with its potential to dwell in that liminal space between the known and the unknown. It is here that Cath’s music melds contemporary spirituality with the ancient Celtic harp tradition.
When not performing, composing or teaching the Celtic harp, Cath leads workshops and seminars on spirituality. In 2008, she completed her Master of Arts thesis in Spirituality through the Melbourne College of Divinity. Cath's thesis topic explored the mythic figure of Brigid and her representations as Celtic Saint and as Goddess. As a result of her thesis research, Cath, like Brigid, finds herself dwelling within a "Christian" spiritual context whilst simultaneously engaging with various creative "secular" and earth-based spiritualities. Cath has recently completed her Doctor of Ministry qualification, writing A Handbook of Hope: Emerging Stories Beyond a Disintegrating World for her dissertation.
During 2008 Cath also completed a four-year Spiritual Direction course offered by the Living Well Centre in East Melbourne. Consequently, Cath is now a qualified Spiritual Director, involved with the Leadership Team in providing spiritual direction training. In 2013 Cath became the co-director of the Living Well Centre in Melbourne. This is a position that she continues to hold. Her work increasingly involves leading retreats and facilitating workshops.
In her spare time, Cath loves playing in her vegetable garden on the outskirts of Melbourne. If you ever wander around Victoria's Dandenong Ranges, you might just catch Cath in her gumboots in the backyard, composting, nurturing her beehive and harvesting pumpkins!