Irish music holds pride of place among the cultural attributes defining Ireland, and its role in shaping national identity is undisputed. To question these certainties which tend to convey a restrictive notion of a so-called Irish music, the first Irish music studies conference in France, which took place at the université de Caen Basse-Normandie on September 10th-12th, 2008, brought together Irish studies scholars, musicologists and musicians from Ireland and from France. Proceeding from this conference, this collection of essays places itself in the context of the fairly recent development of music studies as an area of scholarship within Irish studies. After an introductory essay by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, head of the Irish World Music Academy and chair of Culture Ireland, other articles look at issues such as (re-)defining, instrumentalising, performing, staging and listening to Irish music. In this volume, studies of form, setting, repertoire, political and ideological exploitation and government policy sit alongside explorations of music motifs and themes in literature and on the stage.